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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

CIS Jubilee Pilgrimage to Spain and Rome

by Lyn Enriquez

The year of the First Companions (03 Dec. 2005 - 03 Dec 2006)

is a very special year, not just for the Society of Jesus, but also for many others, lay men and women, whose lives have been profoundly touched and greatly enriched by the lives of
St. Ignatius of Loyola and his first companions, St. Francis Xavier and Blessed Peter Faber.

On 31 July 1556, 450 years ago, Ignatius died in Rome.
500 years ago were born Francis Xavier in Navarre, Spain on 07 April 1506 and Peter Faber at Villaret, in Savoy, France on 13 April 1506.
Jubilee Pilgrimage and a Retreat:

The Center of Ignatian Spirituality celebrates this Jesuit Jubilee by organizing a pilgrimage to those places in Spain and Rome that influenced the lives of Ignatius, Francis Xavier and Peter Faber and inspired the birth of the Society of Jesus. The highlight of the trip will be a 5-day retreat at La Cova de Sant Ignasi in Manresa where the Spiritual Exercises were written. The pilgrimage will start in Madrid on 02 May and end in Rome on 22 May.

... retreat givers have been giving the Exercises for years and yet have not been to the Ignatian sites...

To better appreciate the significance of this event, allow me to go back to another trip, this time to Baguio, one early morning in January 2004. Eva Galvey who was then the Executive Director of CIS and Oyet Bustamante of EMMAUS were on their way to give the Spiritual Exercises to some members of SJSA. Fr. Noel Vasquez, SJ and the SJSA retreatants were with them, including Lynn Enriquez. As Fr. Noel, Eva and Oyet chatted about the events and activities of the Society, there was a realization that the two retreat givers have been giving the Exercises for years and yet have not been to the Ignatian sites. Thus was born the idea of putting together a pilgrimage and a retreat for those who have been giving and continue to give the Exercises. As an interested listener, I sensed that Fr. Noel was moved to express his and the Society's thanks to Eva and Oyet, not just for their work with SJSA, but for all the self giving that is part of and has marked all the 20 plus years they have been in the apostolate.

Fast forward to mid 2005, Fr. Arnie is now the ED of CIS while Eva has moved on to EMMAUS to re-join Oyet. In a meeting with Tina Mossegeld, who Fr. Arnie has requested to plan the pilgrimage, Fr. Noel has enlarged the original group of retreat givers to include those who have done the Exercises and are potential retreat givers and another circle to include those who desire to have a personal experience of Ignatian spirituality.

From the first group of ten retreat givers, the number of CIS and non-CIS pilgrims is now 25. It includes 4 Jesuits, Frs. Noel, Vic Salanga, Arnie Bugtas and Totet Banaynal, 2 nuns, Sr. Edith Ontiveros and Amelia Vasquez, rscj, and one Teresiana, Maria Luna who will be joined by her father and sister in Spain.

Eva and Oyet are joined by the CIS retreat givers Riza Carasig, Lynn Enriquez, Nerry Gool, Liesl Lim, Monchito and Tina Mossesgeld, Mila Santillan, Daisy Santos, Filaine Tan and Gigi Tobias.

The others are Luz Asuncion, Metti Jimenez, Melvi Lejano and Tess Naval.

Pilgrimage Itinerary:

From Madrid, the pilgrims will go to Alcala de Henares, Toledo, Avila, Salamanca, Burgos, Loyola, San Sebastian, Xavier, Pamplona, Manresa, Barcelona and Rome.

It is a retreat giver's dream come true, a meeting of intense desires which cannot but find fulfillment. More so since the desires come from the hearts of God, Ignatius, Xavier, Faber and all 25 pilgrims. God's blessings are many and wondrous to behold throughout the months of planning. Special mention needs to be made of the invaluable contributions of Maria Luna, the Espanola Teresiana who is turning out to be a natural travel organizer.

And yet, without the support of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, all these would not be possible. Riza put it so well when she thanked Fr. Provincial Danny Huang.. "the generosity of the Province will be repaid a hundred fold." The prayer in each retreat giver's heart is expressed by Gigi.."that the pilgrimage will deepen our commitment to our work and strengthen our friendship as one community."

Dear Saints Ignatius and Francis Xavier and Bl. Peter Faber, watch out, your current companions are coming!