SPOKANE, Wash. — Jesuit ministries around the Northwest, including Gonzaga University, are celebrating the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius Loyola’s “cannonball moment.”

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of St. Ignatius’ transformational life change — that fateful day when Ignatius the soldier, struck by a cannonball, began his transformation into Ignatius the pilgrim.

Through July 2022, the Society of Jesus worldwide will join together to celebrate an “Ignatian Year” in recognition of the anniversary.

“Together with our friends and the whole church, the universal Society [of Jesus] wants to remember that privileged moment when the Holy Spirit inspired Ignatius of Loyola in his decision to follow Christ, and to deepen our understanding of this pilgrim way in order to ‘draw fruit’ from it,” noted superior general of the Jesuits, Father Arturo Sosa.

Erik Mertens, coordinator in the Office of Mission and Ministry at Gonzaga University, said the Ignatian Year offers all of the Jesuit ministries in the inland Northwest an opportunity to celebrate heritage and remember what’s at the heart of it all: the love of Christ.

“Each of our institutions serves distinct populations, but we all make up one community doing its best to lead people closer to that love,” Mertens said. “We’ll have some fun events, some great podcasts and book clubs, and opportunities to pray together. Hopefully, all these opportunities will lead us to join our greater Jesuit family around the world in ‘seeing all things new in Christ.’”

Events held throughout the year include:

May 20: Ignatian Year began

Throughout Ignatian Year: “Cannon Ball Stories” podcast (featuring conversion stories from community members) and book clubs (reading about St. Ignatius and Jesuit spirituality)

July 31: St. Ignatius Day

Aug. 1: Celebration of St. Ignatius feast day at St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane (featuring live music, food and community)

October (TBD): first community Examen prayer service

December/Advent: second community Examen prayer service

March 4-12, 2022: 95th annual novena at St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane

Lent/Easter 2022: third community Examen prayer service

Summer 2022: fourth community Examen prayer service

July 31, 2022: St. Ignatius Day — Ignatian Year closing party