Who are you guys?
We are Jesuits, “J's” for our friends. We are members of what is officially called the Society of Jesus (SJ), a Roman-Catholic order (this is Church-speak for a religious group) made up of priests and brothers.
Is this like an official publication of your order?
Nope. We do not in any way officially represent the Jesuits on this blog. But, with permission of our superiors, we do write as Jesuits.
What do Jesuits do?
A bit of everything. We have men working in universities, schools, parishes, hospitals, prisons, disadvantaged neighbourhoods, tribal areas, refugee camps, and many other places where we can help people find God and assist them in their distress or in their struggle for justice and a better life.
Is that what you are doing now?When we started off, we were all students in London, mostly at Heythrop College. In Jesuit-speak we're called scholastics. The time of our formation is about 12 years, during which we alternate study and work. Some of us are still studying in London while some have moved on to work, mostly in Jesuit schools.
Wow, that's long!
Uh-huh. Tell us about it!
So... you are priests? Does that mean, like, you can't have sex?
Well, the ones writing on this blog are not priests yet, but on their way to becoming one. As for the second concern, that's right.
Call me wrong, but that's just unnatural!
Your reaction is understandable. The normal way for a Christian to follow Jesus is in the married life. However, some are called to follow Jesus in a particular way by vowing themselves to a lifelong renunciation of personal ambitions, possessions and exclusive relationships. Jesuits do the latter and are thus more free to defend the powerless, be in solidarity with the poor and a friend to all. Still, we all crave for human warmth and contact. That's one of the reasons why we live together in community and consider friendships an important part of our way of life. But yeah, it can be lonely at times.
I see. Well, rather you than me. But tell me, why is this blog called Catching Fire?
We wanted a title that expresses best the purpose of what we try to do as Jesuits. We found the name in a poem by the 19th century Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins: “As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme”. Hopkins describes the kingfisher, a beautifully coloured bird, as on fire in the early morning sunlight. The title thus expresses two ideas that we think are central to our way of life: passing on to others the fire that enthuses us and showing how that fire changes the way we look at the world and transforms us.
I was reading some of the contributions and I noticed the word 'Ignatian'. What does that mean?
The man who founded our order is called Ignatius of Loyola. When something is called Ignatian, it is inspired by his example or by his teaching.
Where could I find out more about you guys?
If you would like to find out more, see the About Us page and the About the Jesuits page. You can also take a look at some of the links and blogs on the right pane of this blog.