Today as we celebrate the life of St Ignatius of Loyola, Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (14: 1-12) which tells how Herod had heard about the reputation of Jesus and likened him to John the Baptist, who Herod had recently beheaded.

Fr Paul, after reading the Gospel shares a little about St Ignatius.

Ignatius was born in Loyola. He was a soldier and was wounded in the battle of Pamplona when he was about 30 years of age. During his long recovery Ignatius read ‘A life of Christ’ and he read a collection of the lives of the Saints and after doing so he decided to devote his life to God.

His enthusiasm for his vocation placed him under suspicion and on more than one occasion Ignatius was questioned and imprisoned. He went to Paris to study in 1528 and in 1534 he and his companions wanted to go and minister in Palestine, however, the war stopped this from happening and so the offered their services to the then Pope, who ordained them and set them some tasks. They then formed the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, in 1540. Ignatius was its first Superior General until his death.

Ignatius had deep spiritual insight and soon after his conversion he wrote the spiritual exercises which are a systematic step-by-step retreat that can be followed by anyone, and which is still used to this very day.

Fr Paul says as we celebrate the life of St Ignatius of Loyola let us ask, pray for us.