More than 40 friends and benefactors of the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces gathered in Palm Beach Gardens and Naples, Fl., to meet members of the East Coast advancement and communications team and take part in a Lenten reflection offered by Fr. Joseph Simmons, SJ, and Patrick Hyland, SJ, a Jesuit scholastic.
In their reflection, Fr. Simmons and Patrick talked about formative experiences along their Jesuit journeys and offered practical advice on forgiveness, nurturing relationships with those we love and learning to grow closer to God through prayer. A special service took place at the Naples event on Feb. 14, that included the distribution of ashes to mark Ash Wednesday.
These events were organized by the USA Midwest Province, but in the room, the ties to Jesuits and Jesuit works on the East Coast ran strong. Those gathered included graduates of East Coast Jesuit high schools, colleges and universities; former parishioners from the Northeast; and even their friends and family members.
After living most of her life in the New York and New Jersey area, Peggy Brown moved to Florida in 1995. She remained in touch with several Jesuits she got to know at St. Peter’s Prep, including Fr. James Keenan, SJ, who served as president at the time. Her husband passed away a few years after relocating, but for the past four years, Peggy has attended the Palm Beach Gardens reflections, accompanied by her grandson, Paul, who lives and works in Florida.
James Skurka, of the USA Northeast Province, in Palm Beach Gardens, greeting Jerry and Eileen Burke and Richard and Jean Sweeney.
“The event provided the perfect opportunity for East Coast friends and benefactors to connect with one another through prayer and Jesuit spirituality,” said James Skurka. “Many of those who gathered have built lasting friendships among other friends of the Jesuits, and this was a special opportunity to remember that, even miles from their roots, they’re still part of an Ignatian community.”
In the upcoming years, further events in Florida and elsewhere will be planned by the East Coast provinces. For more information, contact Jim Skurka at jskurka@Jesuits.org.