Prayers for the Ignatian Year

The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa S.J., has called for an “Ignatian Year” to celebrate the life of St Ignatius Loyola the founder of the Jesuits.

The Year opened on May 20th, the 500th anniversary of when Ignatius the soldier was injured by a cannonball in the Battle of Pamplona. The Year will conclude on July 31, 2022, the feast day of St. Ignatius.  The peak of the celebration will fall on March 12, 2022, the 400th anniversary of the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier.  While the Ignatian Year honors the past, we are invited to be future-focused and attend to the Universal Apostolic Preferences.

Prayer for the Opening of the Ignatian Year

They fired the canon. It exploded. It ripped through the wall of the castle of Pamplona. It shattered the right leg of a leader of the castle's defenders, Inigo de Loyola. A flying rock injured his left leg. The assault almost killed them, but he survived.

Inigo - Ignatius - had been able to persuade those other defenders to stay with the task the king had entrusted to them. He was ambitious and strong-willed, stubborn. He was brave, and his bravery was contagious. He was a leader.

The French assault army respected this middle-aged nobleman and transported him back to his home castle, some 70 miles to the west. This journey on a litter was extremely painful. But Inigo endured it. His adventuring days, his military days, his courtly days were over. He was going home. His life, and ours, would never be the same.

During his long recovery, Ignatius found God in a new and profound way. He recognized the errors of his sinful past. He had been a true man of the world with ambition for glory and fame, with passion to serve the powers of the day, with an eye for the women he met and impressed. He now turned his energy toward serving God as the saints had done in centuries past. He began to put his journey at the service of others, to lead others to find the consolation of God's ways as he had found it.

A canon shot. O Lord, when have I felt the shattering of a canon shot, known the agony of a heavy wound? Nothing so dramatic as Ignatius? Still, have I experienced a sudden call, an urgent need to change, to reach out, to speak an uncomfortable truth? When have you broken through my complacency and urged me to move off in a new direction? How have I responded?

Great things came from Ignatius's shattered leg. He found you, O God, for himself and then gathered others to share his experience. He attracted a band of young men to join his mission of proclaiming Jesus to his world. They preached, they guided souls, they founded schools that changed the shape of education in Europe and later around the world.

Let me know, loving God, where you want me to go. Subtle, quiet perhaps, still you send the cannonballs that surprise and change us and our ways. These cannonballs are works of your love. Ignatius found new life in his near death. Let us find that new life more quietly, more peacefully, but no less deeply as we seek to know your ways.

- Written by Fr. Ed Schmidt, S.J.

Back to Top

A Prayer for the Ignatian Year

God of all people,

You were there when the cannonball shattered the leg of St.
Ignatius, shattered his dreams, and shattered what he assumed
his life would be. Even in a moment of pain and uncertainty, doubt
and darkness, you spoke to Ignatius a word of peace and light.
You showed him the path to you and the person he might become.

We may not be soldiers, standing in the path of a literal
cannonball. And yet we've been hit all the same. Cannonballs
shatter our own hopes and dreams and expectations.

Like Ignatius, may we hear the compassionate voice of your Son
in the aftermath of these cannonball blasts. May we seek the face
of Christ even when our dreams are shattered. May we turn and
follow Jesus with the courage it takes to change and grow.

As we journey through this Ignatian Year, may we be shown the
path to you, God of all people, and live our our vocation,
becoming the person you have invited us to be. Give us the grace
to work for reconciliation every day: with you, with others and with
your creation. Open our eyes so we might see all things new in

- by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States

Back to Top

A Prayer for the Ignatian Year

Five hundred years stretch wide and coil in tight
All at once, drawing us from our modern lives
Back to a battlefield, a cannonball flying,
Reminding us that we are pilgrims before anything else.
Wherever we find ourselves on this earth--
Like us, breathed into being by divine love--
May we never make the mistake of believing
That we are far from you.
In this Ignatian year we are called
To see all new in Christ--
Even time. Even space.

- by Cameron Bellmselves

Back to top

Know a prayer that could be added to this page? Please submit one here: Submit a Prayer

To provide feedback, please email: is developed by The Center for Mission and Identity at Xavier University with support from the Conway Institute for Jesuit Education. Learn more about Jesuit Resource.