Evolution of lay collaboration
The last meeting of the Peter Kenney Project took place in Milltown Park, Dublin, on 8 June 2022. The project was setup to find ways of engaging collaboratively – Jesuits and others together – to promote Ignatian Spirituality and the Jesuit vision in all the province’s ministries. Leon Ó Giolláin SJ (pictured) has now been missioned as Director of Ignatian Formation to continue the work of the Peter Kenney Project.
Mr Joe Greenan, who was a member of the Peter Kenney Project, says:
“The project commenced in 2013 that showed the Jesuits’ commitment to lay people who collaborated with them, known as ‘Partners in Mission’.
The term evolved from the ‘Lay Jay Committee’ that arose out of a response to the Jesuit General Congregation (GC) 34 Decree 13 ‘Collaboration with the Laity in Mission’ and GC 31 Decree 33 ‘The Relationship of the Society to the Laity and Their Apostolate'”.
The Peter Kenney Project was named after Peter Kenney SJ as he was instrumental in restoring the Society of Jesus in Ireland in 1814.
Mr Greenan continues: “The work of the project has been carried out through province inductions, pilgrimages to Loyola and Manresa in Spain (significant places of St Ignatius), and meetings with directors and with managers.” It supported initiatives and enabled programmes from 2013 to 2022.
A key document of the project is The Jesuit Workplace (Ethos & Practice) which was first published in 2017 with a new edition now available. It identifies a number of characteristics or dynamics that should animate any Jesuit or Ignatian workplace, and it describes what a Jesuit ministry, at its best, might look like.
Irish Provincial Leonard Moloney SJ also notes: “It is my hope that this booklet will encourage fruitful, respectful and mutually enriching conversations among all of those engaged in our ministries”.
The next phase of lay collaboration will see Leon Ó Giolláin SJ, Director of Ignatian Formation, follow in the footsteps of Peter Kenney SJ.
Fr Ó Giolláin comments on his new role:
“Most of my work deals with people at a stage of transition, a bit like making a furrow in a field in order to plant seeds that will later grow. For example, I’ll be working with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice soon, and I will provide the team with prompts on what makes their work ‘Jesuit’.
It will be a chance for them to reflect and ponder on a shared sense of mission. This attention to the local is akin to an individually guided retreat as distinct from a preached retreat which is more general. It is the Ignatian methodology I favour going forward.”
Mr Greenan adds:
“Collaboration has been a hallmark of the Society of Jesus from its early days. St Ignatius collaborated extensively as he set up the Society of Jesus. The Peter Kenney Project enabled the Irish Province to continue with this same spirit of collaboration.
We thank the members of the Peter Kenney Project as they pass on their mission. And we wish Fr Leon well in his role”.