In a letter dated 29 May 2020, the Provincial of the former Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus announced his decision to close the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, effective August 2021. You may read the Provincial’s letter, accompanying FAQs, and Br. Derby’s letter of response here.
While we are sorrowful at the decision, we are focused on the remaining time of ministry here in Wernersville. The Jesuit Center will continue to offer retreats and other programs for spiritual renewal, and to host groups, through August 2021. You can see our 2020-2021 program calendar here.
Our Jesuit Community usually gathers for a half an hour before dinner for some socializing and prayer. About a week ago, someone made a passing comment noting that, with the shift to warmer weather, summer had arrived. Among Jesuits few comments go unchallenged and before long there was a lively discussion about when summer actually begins.
There is the obvious point of view that summer comes when the weather begins to feel like summer, but there is also an objective date that tells us that summer does not arrive until June 21st. Those (me) who just like to stir the pot brought up “meteorological summer” and tediously reminded the group that meteorological summer begins on June 1st.
As with most Jesuit discussions there was much debate but no conclusion, and we all went down to dinner each convinced of his own original thoughts on the matter.
I feel something similar when thinking about Easter. When does it start? When does it end? What defines the Easter experience? In some ways you can think of Easter as the 90 days that surround the Feast. It is Christianity’s major feast, so much so that it takes us 40 days to prepare for it and 50 days to celebrate and ponder its meaning. The liturgical celebration of the full Easter mystery is a three-day liturgy that begins on the evening on Holy Thursday and concludes on Easter Sunday morning, but for many Easter is that single morning with Easter Mass, lilies, alleluias, marshmallow peeps and chocolate bunnies. Then there is the full Paschal moment (the Resurrection, the glorification of Jesus at the right hand of the Father, and the giving of the Holy Spirit), which according to the Evangelists all happens on Easter Sunday (John 20:22-23 & Luke 24:50-51), but which according to the Acts of the Apostles takes place over fifty days (Acts 1:5-2:4).
Time and the passage of time is a strange thing. There is clock time and there is how time so often feels. There are those minutes that seems to go as slowly as hours and those days that seem to fly by in seconds. In faith we speak of Kairos (the appointed time in which God acts) when chronological time (Kronos) takes on a timeless feel that can seem both fleeting and endless.
THE TIMES, THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
Fr. Frank Kaminski, SJ
As Certain as the Dawn | May 20, 2020
George W. Bur, SJ