St Ignatius Loyola is the founder and first superior general of the Society of Jesus (SJ), His feast day is celebrated annually on the day of his death, July 31.
The day began with a faculty development programme for the teaching and administrative staff. Fr Dionysius Vas SJ, Rector, St Aloysius Institutions spoke about the ‘Challenges to Jesuit education’ in the time of COVID – 19.
“The pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty and so the value of education has been substantially downgraded. Education of the person as a whole is a challenge in these times,” said Fr Vaz. He also urged the staff to ask students the bigger questions about life, society, justice, and the poor, thus helping them to learn and grow.
Fr Vaz led the staff to actively discuss today’s challenges in academics – learning approach and also brainstorming on the 4Cs of Jesuit education; namely, competence, conscience, compassion, and commitment. The session ended with a few insights from Ignatian spiritual exercises.
Soon after the programme, the staff participated in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Dr (Fr) Melwyn Pinto SJ in his homily explained about the three phases in the life of St Ignatius Loyola, his life as a soldier, a contemplative, and a pilgrim. As a contemplative, St Ignatius Loyola was always in the presence of God. Fr Pinto said that we are called to work with the divine and be contemplative in action during work – both personal and professional.
Towards the end of the celebration, Fr Dionysius Vas SJ, Rector, addressed all the staff. He said that just as St Ignatius was hit by a cannonball in his time, we too have been hit by a cannonball, i.e. COVID – 19. “This is a time for our perspectives to be changed. It is also an opportunity to learn through the inspiration of St Ignatius Loyola,” he said.
The programme ended with a festive lunch for all the staff.