Apostolic Planning – Guided by the Holy Spirit

Apostolic Planning – Guided by the Holy Spirit

Apostolic Planning – Guided by the Holy Spirit

There are four working fields, or Universal Apostolic Preferences, to which the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) will pay special attention and in which they will invest a significant portion of their various resources over the next few years. They are: Showing the Way to God, Walking with the Excluded, Journeying with Youth, and Caring for our Common Home. They provide context for planning and actions undertaken by Jesuits around the globe.

On September 24, 2022, members of the parish and parish staff joined with representatives from St. Brigid’s School, Cheverus High School, the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), and the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine (all pictured here) to participate in the United States East (UEA) Province of the Society of Jesus’ Apostolic Planning Process. In preparation for this day, each member of this group had spent hours prayerfully considering material provided by the province throughout the summer. The goal of the day was “to provide Fr. Joseph O’Keefe, S.J., Provincial of the UEA province and his staff in deploying human, physical, and financial resources for the greater praise and service of God and to live out the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Global Society of Jesus more fully.”

Thirteen similar gatherings in English and four in Spanish were held throughout the UEA, which stretches from Maine to Georgia and as far west as Scranton PA. Also, Jesuit Communities throughout the Province all gathered for three similar sessions throughout the fall. The summaries of these meetings have been provided to province staff members who will formulate an apostolic plan to help guide the UEA through the next decade. You can learn more about the how the USA East Province will grow in the coming years through this video on their website.

Much gratitude to all involved!

Fr. Brian Conley, SJ

A Break from the Busy

A Break from the Busy

A Break from the Busy

The signs that the season is changing are all around us. I had to scrape my car windows for the first time this morning. People are talking about the first snowfall of the season. The TV ads have changed from politics to Christmas. But what season are we entering? In the secular world, we have already entered the Christmas season with an emphasis on gift giving, parties, and connections with family and friends. We all know that this makes the month between Thanksgiving and December 25th a busy and hectic time. This secular Christmas time ends on December 25.

In the Catholic world, we are entering the season of Advent. This coming Sunday, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King – the last Sunday of the Liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent bringing in the next year. Descriptions of the Advent season often include words like “expectant waiting,” “reflective preparation,” and “solemn.” In ancient times, the Advent season lasted 40-days, much like Lent. In the Catholic Christian world, the Christmas season begins on December 24 and ends on January 6th with the feast of the Epiphany (the 12 days of Christmas that we will sing about between now and December 24!).

Our Lady of Hope, Cheverus High School, and the Ignatian Partnership of Maine are offering a way to make space for the reflective, preparatory aspects of Advent without completely forgoing the fun and connections found in the secular Christmas season. We don’t want to give you more to do in this time – to make a busy season even busier. Instead, we want to give you a 15-minute break from the busy each day – a time to stop and reflect on the Gospel readings of the day as the Church prepares for the coming of Christ. We will introduce two styles of prayer important in Ignatian Spirituality – Ignatian Contemplation and Lectio Divina.

In addition, we are inviting you to share the journey with others through two sessions of small group faith sharing. We invite you to integrate the prayer experience into your life by meeting with a spiritual director twice. These times will serve as a small introduction to these practices for those who have not done them before and an opportunity to deepen the experience for those familiar with these practices.

We hope you will register and join us for an orientation session on Monday November 28th, at 7 PM on Zoom. To get started, you’ll find the registration here at this link.

Brian Conley, SJ

Listening in Prayer

Listening in Prayer

Listening in Prayer

“What is God’s love? It is not something vague, some generic feeling. God’s love has a name and a face: Jesus Christ.” – Pope Francis

THE MISSION CONTINUES –  If you, or someone you know, has ever considered serving God’s people, the Church, as a Jesuit, then the Society of Jesus invites you to pray and discern if your passions and desires may lead you to a life with us.
For almost 500 years Jesuits have been serving the Church as “men on mission.”  Through prayer, we aim to orient our own passions and desires with God’s desires for the Church and the world.
To explore if God is calling you to serve in Christ’s mission as a Jesuit brother or priest, please visit our Vocation Website BeAJesuit.org. We are ready to help you to discern our Jesuit life, AMDG Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (“to the Greater Glory of God”).

Eucharistic Adoration and Prayer
The USA East Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) are uniting in prayer in the Real Presence of Jesus on the weekend of November 5th and 6th – up and down the East Coast. Here, on Sunday evening November 6th, following the Sunday 5:00 PM Mass, Fr Brian Conley, SJ will lead a half hour of Eucharistic Adoration and prayer at St. Joseph Church. This is a good time to bring to the Lord any concern or joy you may have in your heart.

Along with our personal prayers, we will be asking the Holy Spirit to guide those men and woman who may be discerning a call to serve the Church as priests religious or pastoral leaders. We especially invite prayers for those whom God may be drawing to consider the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) as a vocation. Is the Lord inviting you, a member of our parish, to follow Him in one of these ways? 
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Welcome Back Jesuit Volunteer Corps

Welcome Back Jesuit Volunteer Corps

Welcome Back Jesuit Volunteer Corps

We are happy to welcome back to Portland and to the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). The JVC had community volunteers here for many years and after a brief absence, has now returned.
We welcomed the arriving JVC folks at the 5 PM Mass on Sunday, August 14th. Thanks to Kathy Crosson and others representing the Ignatian Volunteer Corps for amplifying our welcome!

JVC members make a one-year commitment and usually serve in agencies that provide direct service (and advocate) for people who are often excluded or living on the margins of society. This year’s Jesuit Volunteer placements are with Agencies well known to many of us: PSL/Strive, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Cheverus High School, Preble Street – Emergency Food Program Staff, Preble Street – Wellness Shelter Staff. We look forward to supporting this year’s Jesuit Volunteer community and to learning from them.

If the JVC is new to you, here’s a brief introduction:

HISTORY – For over 60 years, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) has been a pioneer in the service landscape. With over 200 volunteers each year and 11,000 alumni, we are one of the largest lay, Catholic, full-time volunteer programs in the world.

MISSION & VALUES – Aspiring to create a more just and hopeful world, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps engages passionate young people in vital service within poor communities, fostering the growth of leaders committed to faith in action.

SPIRITUALITY – We believe in open and honest engagement with spirituality and faith. We strive to perceive God in others, practice personal reflection in daily life, discern and discuss the challenges of living faithful and just lives, and pursue deep attention to the common good.

SIMPLE LIVING – We value opportunities to live a simple and practical life. We seek to maintain balance and perspective in the presence of consumerism, busyness, ambition, and materialism in our everyday lives and careers. We hope to understand the lives and resource constraints of the communities we accompany and serve, and we evaluate the human and ecological consequences of our choices.

COMMUNITY – We build intentional communities that broaden our perspectives and confront our boundaries. We practice methods of active listening, consensus building, and conflict resolution, and we value humility, self-reflection, and self-awareness. We are committed to developing mutual relationships across lines of difference, and we assume good will on behalf of those around us.

SOCIAL JUSTICE – We advocate for compassion, fair treatment, and structural change that addresses the root causes of injustice. We recognize and move to transcend personal prejudices, stereotypes, and presumptions. And we apply the Jesuit practice of discernment, analysis, reflection, and action as we address current social problems and their impact on human communities.

THE “JESUIT” IN JESUIT VOLUNTEER CORPS – The Jesuit Volunteer Corps draws inspiration and direction from the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers. Better known as the “Jesuits,” the order was founded almost 500 years ago by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who challenged others to live as “contemplatives in action,” balancing between reflective prayer and work for justice.

WHO CAN Become a Jesuit Volunteer?
As an organization committed to advancing racial equity and inclusion, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps encourages applications from candidates of all races, classes, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, languages, and physical abilities. Applicants must be between ages the ages of 21-25 by August 2023 in order to be eligible for the 2023-24 program year. True to our Jesuit, Catholic heritage, JVC firmly believes that all spiritual perspectives contribute to the richness of our community. Applicants from all religious traditions and spiritual backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

And, if you represent a nonprofit organization that works to alleviate poverty or other barriers to inclusion, you can learn more about sponsoring a JVC member in the upcoming year.  Let us know and we’ll put you in touch.

19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat

19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat

19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat

The Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine is offering a retreat that aims to offer a “blueprint” for prayer to help people discern God’s presence in their lives. This 19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat will be offered virtually via Zoom starting this October and running through June 2023. Established in 2018, The Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine is designed to assist anyone interested in sharing and promoting the Ignatian spiritual vision. Members of the partnership include the Jesuit Community of Maine (Cheverus High School, Our Lady of Hope Parish), the Sisters of St. Joseph in Winslow, the Sisters of the Presentation in Biddeford (Marie Joseph Spiritual Center), the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, and the Maine Ignatian Volunteer Corps, clergy and lay people of serveral Christian traditions who have been trained in Ignatian Spirituality.

Also known as the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, the heart of this retreat is daily prayer. Participants need to make a commitment to praying daily with the retreat materials for about 30 minutes each day, attending a virtual Zoom meeting with the whole group on the first Wednesday evening of each month, and attending a monthly meeting with a spiritual director/prayer guide either in person or via Zoom.

“This retreat is designed for people who have had some experience praying with Scripture, and who have had experience talking with someone about their prayer,” notes Fr. Paul Sullivan, SJ, one of the retreat prayer guides and pastor of Our Lady of Hope. “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola can be transformational.”

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In four stages, referred to as “weeks,” participants contemplate various aspects of their lives, as well as the Life, Passion, and Resurrection of Jesus. Leading and encouraging women and men to make the journey of the Exercises is a key priority of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) globally and for its partners in mission today. “God continues to invite each of us into a deepening relationship, to ongoing conversion. We belive that by embracing this invitation, we embrace our God who calls us to act in new, bold ways that reconcile our world – bringing about justice, peace, and compassion,” states Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, superior general of the Society of Jesus.

Jane Hartwell, Partnership member and co-coordinator of the retreat, notes that 2022-2023 will be the fourth time time we have offered this opportunity for retreat. “We have over 50 women and men, from Frenchville to the New Hampshire border who have now shared this experience. We hope that you might join us this year.”

Space is limited, for a most fruitful experience for participants. So if you’d like more information or to register for this retreat, visit ignatianme.org. Once registered, organizers will arrange for an in-person or online meeting to talk more about the retreat and pair you with a spiritual director/guide.

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

We have an opportunity for you to learn more about the Spiritual Exercises, and deepen your own spiritual journey.  The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God. For centuries, the Exercises were most commonly given as a “long retreat” of about 30 days in solitude and silence.

In recent years, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Spiritual Exercises as a program for laypeople. The most common way of going through the Exercises now is a “retreat in daily life,” which involves a monthslong program of daily prayer and meetings with a spiritual director. The Exercises have also been adapted in many other ways to meet the needs of modern people. Over the past three years, the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine has accompanied more than 50 people here in Maine in this spiritual journey.

Consider joining other men and women from Maine in “making the Exercises” this year. The priests here at Our Lady of Hope welcome the chance to speak with you about it. You can also find helpful information at the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine’s website. Our parish and the Jesuit Community are members of the Partnership). Applications for this year’s retreat, which runs from October 2022 – June 2023, are now available here.

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