The Jesuits in Guyana

The Formation of Jesuits

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To be a Jesuit is to know that one is called to be a companion of Jesus. It is a call to partner Jesus in the crucial struggle of our times to bring about God’s reign . The Jesuit vocation is to be a man of God and man for others. It is a vocation to live the gospel message fully, generously perhaps even heroically. It is a wonderful vocation: Everything for the greater glory of God; more is not possible. (In Photo L-R: Ramesh, Britto, Edwin & Jerri, studying theology in the UK)

Novitiate

The Novitiate has been described as a “school for prayer”. Prayer and a deepening relationship with God are the focus of the first stage of Jesuit formation, which lasts for two years. During this period, knowledge of what the Society of Jesus is and what this vocation in the Church entails is developed. Central to the experience are the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, a month’s retreat based on the Jesuit founder’s writings. Several “experiments” are also undergone which normally involves experiences that will the challenge the novice through involvement in Jesuit work.

For Guyanese Jesuits, people have recently been going to the British/Irish Novitiate in Birmingham, UK. However, the novitiate is likely to move to a new location in Ireland soon.

 At the end of the Novitiate, the novice then takes his first, simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as they are understood by the Jesuit Constitutions.

For more information about the Novitiate, have a look at the blog from Birmingham http://manresaamigos.wordpress.com/.

First Studies

After the Novitiate, the fresh Jesuit participates in academic study, either as a brother or as a scholastic for the priesthood. This stage takes 2-3 years normally completing a degree in philosophy, but often also including some theology. A couple of days a week the Jesuit also takes part in apostolic works of his choice, which may be youth work, parish work or chaplaincies in place like schools, prisons, or hospitals. For Guyanese Jesuits, philosophy studies have taken place in Sto. Domingo, Port of Spain, Manila and London; it would depend on what best suits the individual.

Tertianship

After a few years of ordination, the tertianship beginswhen a Jesuit undertakes a time of preparation before he takes final vows. It’s a bit like a third year of novitiate, where a Jesuit goes through experiments, is taught again about the Society, and completes the Spiritual Exercises for the second time in his life. When the year is successfully finished, the Jesuit is then invited to take his final vows.

Becoming a Jesuit

You have to know the Jesuits before you can become one. We begin then by building a relationship with the Jesuits by emailing (brstefangarcia@yahoo.com) or calling (ask for Stefan +592-226-7461). We start informally with a simple conversation. It is also a good idea to get involved in the work the Jesuits, like in the Pastoral Area, the churches in the Pakaraimas or the Rupununi, Catholic Magazine or the Guyana Human Development Centre in Berbice. If there is an amount of uncertainty at this point, that is often a good place to start, in order to see if the Jesuits are for you, or to see if you might be better suited to lay ministry, diocesan priesthood, or religious life in another order or congregation.

Have a look at the Vocations website of the British Province (which includes Guyana). It very thoroughly looks after all aspects of vocation questions, guidance, and prayer.

Candidacy 

When an inquirer reaches a place where he and the Society feel that a serious application may be made, the inquirer becomes a “candidate”.

As candidate you will be:

  • Invited to make a silent retreat of up to eight days
  • Given a Jesuit Spiritual director with whom you can meet once a month
  • Encouraged to visit Jesuit communities to get to know the Jesuits and the work of the Society better

You will then undergo a formal application process by

  • Filling out an application form, which includes a 2000 word autobiography.
  • An initial interview
  • A psychological assessment
  • A second set of interviews
  • A meeting with the Regional Superior

Brother

Scholastic leading to ordination

Novitiate for 2 years in Manresa House, Birmingham

Novitiate for 2 years in Manresa House, Birmingham

1st Vows

1st Vows

 Formation for ministry with studies in philosophy and Theology and other areas  of Apostolic Work

Philosophy studies for 2 years at Heythrop College London

Regency – apostolic work for 2 or 3 years

Theology studies for 4 years often abroad (Paris, Madrid, Boston)

Diaconate Ordination after the 3rd year of Theology followed by Priestly ordination

Apostolic work to ground priestly ministry

Tertianship: the final part of Jesuit formation. Lasts for 8 months, and includes the 30 day retreat first done in the Novitaite.

Tertianship

Final Vows

Final Vows

  • You can contact the Vocations Director:
Fr Stefan Garcia SJ, Email: brstefangarcia@yahoo.com