Jesuits in southern Vietnam have promoted St. Ignatius’ spirituality among Catholics by offering courses in reflection, psychology and spiritual direction.
The newly-established Center for Ignatian Spirituality held its first course on prayer and discernment in Saigon on September 5-7.
The course drew 90 priests, religious, and laity.
Sister Anna Do Thi Thoa said she and her two of her fellow sisters from the local Servitium Christi community, learned useful lessons from the course.
“They taught me how to recall what has happened in my life, to discern what God’s will is in my daily work and what occurs,” Sister Thoa said.
“The lessons helped me accept life’s realities and to fully trust in God’s love instead of complaining bitterly,” she said.
The 55-year-old, who trains young nuns, said she would share the method of prayer based on the Ignatian Spirituality with the 80 members in her community.
Joseph Nguyen Van Hoa from Long Xuyen Diocese in the southern Mekong Delta, said he appreciated how the course taught him how to pray earnestly.
The 65-year-old, who works with young Catholics, said he also learned how to get closer to God.
“It is important that I must detect what God wants me to do to bear witness to Him through my daily activities,” Hoa said.
Jesuit Father Dominic Nguyen Duc Hanh, head of the center, said Ignatian Spirituality, especially the Spiritual Exercises, is one of the Church’s greatest traditions.
Father Hanh said the Spiritual Exercises are an effective way to follow Jesus Christ in one’s daily life.
“The prayers of the Spiritual Exercises help those who pray with this method to discern, deepen, and have a personal relationship with God and with the world,” Father Hanh said.
The Jesuits are promoting and offering Ignatian Spirituality as one of their four Universal Apostolic Preferences over the course of the next ten years.
Father Hanh said the center, which was only recently established, serves as the local Jesuits’ practical response to this apostolic preference.
“We plan to make available courses and additional activities which are practical and long-lasting for those who want to live their vocation actively in society and within their particular circumstances,” he said.
Short courses in meditation and prayer which are aimed at strengthening spiritual life are designed for both laity and religious.
The 56-year-old priest said the center has courses and seminars that are to help Catholics deal with social justice issues and social problems such as addictions to drinking, drug, sex, and gambling. Qualified courses on counseling and pastoral counseling on depression, internal conflicts, social relationships, and growth in faith will likewise be held.
Father Hanh said the center will provide certificated courses on psychology, the structure and dynamics of the spiritual exercises, and spiritual discernment and accompaniment. He said local Jesuits also will try to offer training for trainers and spiritual directors for the local Church.