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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
British Jesuits celebrate restoration
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¬†Pupils, staff and parents of Stonyhurst College in Lancashire will be joining Jesuits and other guests at a celebration next weekend (18 May) to mark the Restoration of the Society of Jesus in Britain 200 years ago. The event will be held at the college where Marmaduke Stone SJ renewed his vows in May 1803. Father Stone became the English Jesuits' first Provincial once Pope Pius VII had given permission for the Society to be re-established in England. The current Provincial, Fr David Smolira SJ, will preside and preach at the Mass, at which a memorial marking the anniversary will be dedicated. A plaque will be positioned beneath the memorial to Marmaduke Stone, at the approach to Saint Peter's Church, in the Silence Gallery. As it is blessed, Stonyhurst pupils will read a litany of Jesuit martyrs and other saints, and the school choir will sing the refrain. Fr Smolira said: "This is more than simply an occasion to look back at our history and to give thanks. It is a time for all of us ≠ both Jesuits and our co-workers ≠ to recommit ourselves to the challenges that our predecessors identified: the need to help people find God in all things, to support them in their personal and spiritual development, to affirm their human dignity, and to work for a fairer, more just world. This is what generations of Jesuits have lived and, on occasions, died for, and they continue to be our inspiration today." The Society of Jesus was suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773, in response to concerns from various European Heads of State that the Jesuits had become too influential. The Jesuits continued in Russia however, under the patronage of Catherine the Great; and when the former English Jesuits affiliated themselves, with papal permission, to the Russian Province at the beginning of the 19th century, the way was open for England (later Britain) to be restored as a Province in its own right. By 1833, the English Jesuits numbered 112, including priests, brothers and students, two-thirds of whom were actively working in and around Stonyhurst. But with the immigration of Irish Catholics and the Industrial Revolution came new opportunities and missions. Jesuit parishes and schools ≠ particularly in poorer inner city areas ≠ were established in the North West, most notably in Liverpool and Preston, as well as in London and Glasgow. By the beginning of the 20th century, Jesuit schools were providing education for Catholic children in some of the most impoverished districts of England and Scotland. Over the past 200 years, the British Jesuits have included within their ranks eminent philosophers and authors, scientists and poets, teachers and missionaries. With Catholic secondary education now firmly and professionally established in Britain, the Jesuits continue to support their schools and are also closely involved in tertiary level education. One current priority is Adult Formation at such places as Heythrop College in the University of London, which is also the base for the new Institute of Religion, Ethics and Public Life. In working with adults, there is a major emphasis on academic, spiritual and personal development. Jesuit-led retreats (both residential and in everyday life) are on the increase, and there is a noticeable growth in requests for the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius in parishes, schools and colleges. In 1980, the Jesuits' then-General, Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, established the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) as a practical response to the plight of refugees and a means of promoting the justice of God's kingdom. In the ensuing decades, its work has become even more vital, and JRS ≠ UK continues to provide practical help and support for refugees and asylum seekers in Britain. And in supporting the Church overseas, British Jesuits have strong ties with Zimbabwe, Guyana and South Africa. The Mass and dedication of the memorial at Stonyhurst College will take place at 10am this Sunday. It will be one of several events around the country during 2003 to mark the Restoration of the Society of Jesus in Britain. The Jesuits will also be celebrating their 200th anniversary with two ordinations to the priesthood in June and September.
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