Ecumenical approach to Ignatian spirituality

Pola Jasińska | Jesuit Youth Ministry - WAJ, South Poland Province
[From “Jesuits 2023 - The Society of Jesus in the world”]

Encouraging testimonies of young people about the Jesuit Youth Ministry in Cracow, nourished with Ignatian and Taizé prayer.

How does the Society of Jesus fulfil one of the Universal Apostolic Preferences – Journeying with Youth – in Poland?

To answer that question, we take a look into the life of the Cracow’s Jesuit Youth Ministry – WAJ, gathering students from local universities. One of the groups of this ministry, called Taizé, aims to establish a link between the Ignatian spirituality and the idea of ecumenism; learning together how to build unity and peace between Christians. This year, answering the request of Pope Francis, we also focus on the preparation of the synodal postulates.

Giving and receiving

The motto of our community is the verse from Matthew 10:8 – “Freely you have received; freely give”. How do we find ourselves in these words? What do they mean to us? “It means that if we are indifferent towards our possessions, so we can be generous in giving to others,” suggests Łucja. “It increases the sense of a deeper relationship,” adds Róża.


You can get involved in WAJ in many ways. Starting with really simple acts of service like keeping the place tidy and clean, preparing snacks and tea after prayers and meetings, as well as helping with the preparation of prayers and serving during the liturgy. It teaches us responsibility for each other, generosity, and hospitality. This simple kind of involvement opens our hearts to other people’s needs. What is more, it allows us to contribute to the great work of extending the faith among youth. We give to others what we have, whether it is our time, engagement, singing... and thus, we receive values – like trust, hope, and love – that simply cannot be quantified. “It is like an inner drive – by giving I get, and by getting I can give even more” – explains Daria.

A taste of the French Taizé village in Poland

Taizé is an ecumenical Christian monastic fraternity in Burgundy, France. It is a community of monks from Protestant and Catholic traditions; these men come from all over the world. Each year, many young people from various countries come to experience the life of the brothers and their service. They are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity, and reconciliation. Life in the village is organized both by monks and by volunteers; nevertheless, the most amazing aspect is that it is the pilgrims who perform everyday tasks in the community.

“For people unfamiliar with the life of the village, such a solution may seem abstract. However, it has its unusual charm. Through work, each person contributes to the peaceful life of the village,” says Michał after returning from a pilgrimage to Taizé.

In WAJ, inspired by the simplicity and, at the same time, the depth of the prayer based on the reading of the Gospel, by singing simple canons from Taizé and practicing silent meditation (significant in the tradition of Ignatian prayer as well), we gather to pray in that spirit. It teaches us the simplicity of being present before God in prayer. That simplicity opens our hearts to the experience of the tender love of God that shows us that we do not need much to feel fulfilled.


“One day someone told me that just being present during the prayer was enough. It is true for me: that helps to discover how many beautiful things God is doing in my life. I believe that it was the first time I have been so happy with the way I am,” says Julia about her experience of the Taizé prayer.

Co-creation of the mission – the contribution to the Synodal Process

This year, answering the request of Pope Francis, we focus as well on the preparation of the synodal postulates. After our prayers in the spirit of Taizé, we meet to reflect on the questions proposed in the Vademecum for the Synod on Synodality; we share with the method of the spiritual conversation. We have the real possibility to contribute to the process of meaningful change in the Church through community discernment. “It is so beautiful to learn together how to build the dialogue” once said Dominika after the sharing.

It is truly delightful that everyone is called to participate in shaping the mission in his or her own life. We are all created for the good, and our goal is to “admire the goodness of our God and to serve for His greater glory”.

In the heart of Jesus, there is a place for everyone

A central part of our weekly program is the prayer for the Unity of Christians. Each month we gather in different Christian churches and communities to pray together, to hear how people from different Christian denominations present, compare, and explain their points of view. We can experience reconciliation and see how much we do have in common. It is touching that, despite our differences, we can enrich and strengthen each other and, additionally, learn to build unity in diversity. All this is being facilitated by the presence and guidance of the Jesuits who lead our community.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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