How often do you hear about the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Mass or the Bulletin?


I’m trying to get of sense of people’s experiences.

How often do people hear about the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Mass or the Bulletin? Several people saying “never” would be an interesting response too.

The Spiritual Exercises are the major work by Saint Ignatius who was one founders of the Jesuits and their first superior general (There are actually several founders of the Jesuits). The Spiritual Exercises play a major role in the formation of Jesuits, but lay people have found considerable value in them to.

I’m finding my experience strange. While I heard several homilies about Ignatius at the Jesuit Parish I’ve attended, very rarely, if ever, do they specifically mention the Spiritual Exercises and what is contained in them. At some of the diocesan parishes I’ve attended they will go into great detail about the spiritual exercises and what is contained in them in the mass or bulletin.

What are people’s experiences?


Jesuit Global Demographics in 2018

I’ve seen them mentioned in bulletins or websites for Jesuit parishes but never anyplace else. I’ve never heard them mentioned in a homily or even just announcements at Mass.

I did the 19th Annotation version and it was life changing. Very highly recommended!



I’ve perhaps heard them mentioned once or twice in a homily, and likely it would have been in a retreat setting where people were seeking ways to deepen their faith.

It’s not uncommon for the pastor, priests, or lay apostolate at a parish to have some favorite spiritual exercise that they try to promote in the bulletin or by having a class or a group on it or whatever. If somebody high up in a parish thinks the Spiritual Exercises are the greatest thing since sliced bread, you will hear a lot about them. If somebody high up in a parish thinks the LOTH is awesome, you’ll start seeing and hearing that around the parish. Etc. I have seen so much of this stuff in my life at so many different parishes that most of it goes right past me to be honest.

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Not very often, but I have heard the Spiritual Exercises mentioned a few times during homilies. I live near a large Jesuit university, and through the years different Jesuit priests from the college have helped our pastor by saying Mass at our parish, and it was they who mentioned the Exercises.

There is a parish about 20 miles from me administered by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, and like the Jesuits they specialize in offering the Exercises. They are offered in this parish every few months, and the opportunity has been advertised in our parish bulletin.

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(Tantum ergo)




But except for a secular priest pastor who was only with us 3 years, all the priests who have ministered in our parish were religious, mostly Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Would that even be on their radar?

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What does I mean that a parish is administered by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary? Do they have a Diocesan priest? My understanding is that usually lay people are administering the Spiritual Exercises. Is that what is going on here?

Wow…that’s fantastic!



About twenty-five years ago there were two people from my parish church that took the thirty-day retreat of the Ignation exercises at a Jesuit monastery.

Because of that they were given permission to give, I think it was the 19th Annotation as someone mentioned in this thread, as it was given over an eight month period if I am remembering it correctly. We met once a week with one person giving it, and there were approximately six in each group. It was a great experience for me in doing the exercises daily for one hour, following the instructions on the pages we were given each week. It helped me to be aware how important it is to pray in a deeper way!

There was an explanatory session first in which about twice the amount of people attended, with the person who was to give it. After hearing about the requirements about half changed their minds about doing it.

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Please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but

  1. What were the requirements that were so awful, and
  2. What is the great benefit to doing this as a group? You could do it yourself at home, and it’s an introspective exercise.


I can actually answer some of these questions, as I’ve heard detailed discussions about this subject with lay people who guide others thru the spiritual exercises…the potential directors of the spiritual exercises.

-The time commitment for the spiritual exercises it pretty significant. It can be an hour a day of prayer and introspection for several months. In addition you’d be meeting your spiritual director every week or every other week along with going meetings if it is done in a class.

-You’re right that the spiritual exercises are meant to be an introspective exercises. Most people will say they should be done one on one with a spiritual director. As far as I know, this is what Ignatius intended. However, you do need a spiritual director to work with you on the exercises, and part of the issue is the time commitment by the spiritual director. It is more efficient for some of the information about the spiritual exercises to be shared to a group.

Some have said doing the spiritual exercises in a group detracts from the experience, while others have said that the group setting provides a motivation to all members of the group. For example, you see that everybody in the group is struggling, so you can talk about it and don’t feel so bad if you are struggling.

I’ve never done them, but I plan to do them someday.



I’m not into spiritual directors (I doubt i could even find one) and the few time I tried to do some of these exercises they just seemed glaringly obvious to me. I guess I’m not the target audience.



The spiritual exercises don’t make much sense to read on your own. On one level they come across as obvious, and on another level they come across as disjointed.

The big part of the spiritual exercises that is not obvious is the imagination part. Sometimes people’s imagination can really go wild, or people just won’t imagine anything. This part is where I understand you really need the spiritual director.

And yes…finding a spiritual director is a major challenge…it feels harder than is should be.



It is not a stupid question. The requirements were an hour a day of prayer…what we were to pray and meditate on each day was printed out for us a week in advance.

I had heard about the thirty-day retreat being one on one, but couldn’t be doing that one. When the group met each week we shared how the Lord spoke to us during that week. I found it to be inspiring. I don’t think I could have done this by myself. Actually we did the exercises by ourselves in our own homes and wrote down what we would share with others (what we wanted to share). We met once a week in a small conference room in another parish.



I see. I like the prayer part, but not the share part.

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Here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the great majority of our parishes are staffed by diocesan priests, but there are a handful that are staffed by priests from different orders, by mutual agreement between our archbishop and the superiors of the order. The Oblates of the Virgin Mary have been at St. Peter Chanel for about 15 years or more. If you scroll down the webpage linked below you can see the next session for the Spiritual Exercises they are offering, which are done in a group setting.

Now, I signed up for the Exercises there about 10 years ago. Sometimes the priests would facilitate or lead the sessions, but they also had lay facilitators whom they had trained (lots of people show up from all over Southern California - too many for the 3 or 4 priests, who have other parish responsibilities). I made it about half-way through, but I never finished :disappointed:. As I said that parish is about 20 miles from me, and it became difficult to get there. Like @Tis_Bearself above, I also didn’t really care for the group sharing part. Some of the ladies there were too emotional and weepy for me and it made me uncomfortable (I guess I’m just not in touch with my feelings :roll_eyes:), but still, I’m glad for the experience :+1:.

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didn’t even know they existed until today



@christofirst …thank you for the very helpful response!

I never really thought about what a group Spiritual Exercises would be like, and I obviously need to. Everyone’s spiritual journey is very personal, and it should be personal. Being in an environment with weepy people who want you to also weep…uh oh. I’d think your lack of comfort had nothing to do with you not being in touch with your feelings. I won’t say where I live, but I’d have a good chance to do the spiritual exercises one on one.

Getting to LA would be a good day’s drive for me but thank you for the link. I checked it out. It is interesting and very positive how serious and open they are about the spiritual exercises there in LA.

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Never heard of it during Mass or in the bulletin



Never heard of it at mass, never saw it in the bulletin.



Once in a while, and I have preached about the Exercises once or twice before.

There is more local interest in then with the opening of The Cloisters on the Platte, a world-class retreat facility built exclusively for giving Spiritual Exercise 4-day retreats every weekend.

I have attended the retreat there, and the setting and facilities are beyond your wildest imagination.

Deacon Christopher


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