Fr. Robert M. Hussey, SJ, the Provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, has decided to close the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, effective August 2021. Fr. Hussey announced his decision on 29 May 2020 in a letter to the Province. You may read Fr. Hussey’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. As much as possible in this pandemic, the Jesuit Center will be offering retreats, days of prayer, and other programs for spiritual renewal, and hosting groups, through August 2021. You can see our 2020-2021 program calendar here.
Just as Jesus showed up behind closed doors a few days after the first Easter, he continues to be undeterred by walls!
Afraid of what might happen to them, Jesus’ first disciples huddled together, hidden away from what they feared most. Jesus came to them, bringing comforting words of peace. “Peace be with you!” Jesus said. And then, he gave them the strength to carry on, the strength he had relied on all his life, the strength that had accompanied him through suffering to New Life. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” Jesus said to his disciples.
Jesus then told his followers to go back to their homes in Galilee, saying that there is where they would continue to find him.
Be assured, Jesus says today, that I am with you behind closed doors during this time of coronavirus. If you listen for my Words echoing in your hearts, you will experience a peace that only God can give. Whether you are struggling with irritable family members or waves of loneliness, believe that I am offering you the gift of the Spirit. Open your heart, ask for the grace you need, and trust you’ll receive!
Just as the newly risen Jesus walked with people confused and grieved by recent tragedy, he has traveled far beyond Emmaus and still is listening to people’s hearts.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had just had their world cave in. The life and future they had hoped for in having met Jesus now seemed destroyed by his death. A seeming stranger listened patiently to the pain they expressed, and with great compassion, helped them understand that there was hope. Sitting hospitably together at a meal, they realized they weren’t abandoned at all and that Christ was with them as they remembered him with bread and wine.
Be consoled, Jesus says today, for I still listen. Bring to me your fears and questions, your grief and loss, for I understand. I listen, not only when you pray, but in the presence of people who care around you. Remember always - that I have given myself to you as Bread for life and that I empower those who love to be Bread as well.
Easter Life continues today in hearts afire, encouraging one another in this waiting time.
Easter 2020: Jesus Christ Still Appearing!
As Certain as the Dawn | April 15, 2020
George W. Bur, SJ