In-person & online
Online Course Details
On this page you will find all the information and resources you need to take part in the Lent Guided Retreat 2023. Alongside this document are a series of other downloadable documents about different types of Ignatian prayer.
The Lent Retreat is being offered by the London Jesuit Centre in partnership with Jesuit Young Adult Ministries.
We suggest you do not try to go through all of this material at once but just look at the section you need for each day.
If you have any questions or need help, please contact email@example.com
What happens on the Lenten Guided Retreat?
The Lenten Guided Retreat runs over the course of 5 weeks in Lent and is an opportunity for you to set aside some time for prayer and meditation each day, accompanied by an experienced retreat guide who will help you prepare the prayer and suggest ways of praying and material to pray with.
The whole retreat takes place online using the Zoom app. There is an opening and closing session, a weekly individual meeting with your retreat guide, and an optional prayer workshop every Wednesday for these 5 weeks.
You will be matched with your retreat guide before the retreat begins. Your guide will contact you to arrange your weekly individual meeting times at a time that will work for you. You meet with your guide each week for about 30-40 minutes.
Each day you set aside some time, agreed with your guide but usually about 15-20 minutes, for prayer and meditation. The most important elements of the retreat are the time you spend in prayer and the conversations with your retreat guide.
To give you a sense of how the retreat flows, all participants and guides meet together for an introductory meeting on the opening Sunday (4:00 - 5:30pm)
Everyone on the retreat gathers for the Opening and Closing Sessions. The weekly prayer workshop is optional.
Who are the prayer guides?
The guides for this retreat are all trained in the Christian spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) and are part of the extended team at the London Jesuit Centre and the team at Jesuit Young Adult Ministries.
St Ignatius(1491-1556) committed his life to God when he discovered that God could be found in all things and that he could have a genuine encounter with the person of Jesus by entering into the gospel stories imaginatively.
The guides are a mixture of priests, members of Catholic religious orders (such as the Jesuits),and lay men and women of various Christian denominations, all of whom practice Ignatian Spirituality in their own lives.
Meeting your Retreat Guide
A few days before the retreat begins your Retreat Guide will get in touch with you by email, using the email address you gave us when you enrolled on this retreat.
They will introduce themselves and give you a Zoom link and ID/Passcode for your weekly meeting with them. Please note that this Zoom link is different from the one you will be sent for the Opening and Closing Sessions and Guided Prayers of the retreat and can only be used for your weekly individual sessions with your guide.
Using the Scriptures
Your retreat guide will suggest that you use some Scripture passages for prayer and reflection -so you need a Bible.
If you do not have a Bible with which you are familiar and comfortable, we would suggest a modern translation such as the Revised New Jerusalem Bible (RNJB).
You can also access the Jerusalem Bible online here:
The Lenten Guided Retreat is run entirely online using the Zoom app.
If you are not familiar with Zoom, it is free to download and very easy to use. You can download the Zoom app here (download Zoom Client for Meetings).
The Zoom link for this retreat is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81223246555?pwd=bUhkMDZLdFFoU1dTWjVSWmxDeVlsZz09 or Meeting ID 812 2324 6555 or Passcode: 192603
We will use the same Zoom link (or Meeting ID and Password) for all the group sessions of the retreat. Your retreat guide will give you a different Zoom link for your one-to-one sessions with them.
Opening Session - Sunday February 26th at 4:00 – 5:30pm
The Opening Session of the retreat is at 4:00pm on Sunday and will last about 90-minutes.
You should log onto the Zoom meeting about 5-minutes before it is due to start. You will see a message saying that you are waiting for the Zoom host (that's us) to admit you. We will hen admit you to the group session and welcome you. Please note that all sessions will begin promptly on time.
It is useful to have a notepad and pen to hand for this session.
During the Opening Session, the Retreat Lead will introduce him/herself and the other members of the team. We will explain how the retreat works and what to expect from your individual private sessions with your Retreat Guide and the Guided Prayers.
The Opening Session will include a time of prayer together. This is intended to help you into the retreat and give some pointers about how to become still and prayerful. This will be an experience of ways of entering into prayer that enables us to be more aware that God is there welcoming us with love; to slow down to be more present to the moment; to focus on what it is that we most desire and to be with God. This time of guided prayer will end with ways in which we can reflect on our prayer time. You may find this structure of prayer helpful throughout the retreat.
Towards the end of the Opening Session, you will be invited to share your hopes for the retreat -so you may wish to give this some thought beforehand. But it is entirely up to you to share on not - there will be no pressure to do so.
At the end of the Opening Session, you will go into a breakout room online (don't worry about how to do this - the technology is all done by us) with your Retreat Guide and the handful of other people that person is guiding. This is an opportunity to arrange the times you will have your individual daily meeting with your Retreat Guide and to ask any questions you have. There is also an invitation, if you would like to, to share your hopes for the retreat – so you may wish to give this some thought beforehand. But it is entirely up to you to share on not -there will be no pressure to do so.
Stepping Stones to Prayer is a resource to accompany the Opening Session and your first times of prayer in this retreat. You will find it among the documents available to download.
The heart of the Lent Retreat is the time you set aside each day for prayer. Your retreat guide will discuss this with you. It is important to do what you can, not what you can't.
The Lent Retreat is exactly what it says - prayer in the midst of busy lives. So don't worry if you are distracted, or tired, or things crop up that have to be dealt with. Again, do what you can, not what you can't.
What will I talk about?
During the weekly one-to-one online meeting with your retreat guide, you will talk about what is happening in your prayer time and this may touch on aspects of your day-to-day life. This is, after all, a retreat in daily life.
The guide will listen and offer ideas for prayer as you journey through the weeks of the retreat. They may also offer help with ways of praying. Each person’s retreat will be different. Your guide will listen to how God seems to be at work in your life and accompany you as you explore this further. Your guide will be used to listening to many different types of people. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. Your retreat will unfold according to who you are, and God will meet you exactly where you find yourself at this time.
How do I pray?
We encourage you to set aside around 15-20minutes for prayer each day during the week; and also to do a review of each week’s prayer before you next meet with your Retreat Guide.
You might split the prayer time into two shorter time periods. You may choose to have some time in each day in silence or you may simply build the retreat into your daily routine. The important thing is that you pray as you can and not as you can’t. You will have the opportunity to discuss what is right for you with your Retreat Guide.
You may already have established ways of praying and we encourage you to take the opportunity to try some new ways during this retreat. We will provide ideas to get you started in the Opening Meeting.
The London Jesuit Centre will use the information you provided to us to keep in touch with you during the retreat. You may also have agreed to receiving emails from time to time about LJC retreats, courses and events. We will keep your details safe and not share them with any other organization. You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The team of retreat guides will be supervised during the retreat so that high standards are maintained, and guides are helped through any difficulties they may have. Please be assured that your privacy and confidentiality is always honoured. The guides do not discuss their individual retreatants by name.
Workshops and prayer resources
Each weekly prayer workshop will focus on one type of Ignatian prayer, or approach to prayer. and these will include:
1. The Examen of St Ignatius – Wednesday March 1st
During your Lenten retreat and in the opening session, you will be introduced to the examen of St Ignatius - a cornerstone of Ignatian spirituality and a key to recognising God’s presence and movement in your everyday life. Even if you are familiar with the examen, there are always new insights into the fruits of this prayer.
The Examen of St. Ignatius is a resource to accompany the workshop and you will find it among the other documents available to download.
2. Images of God –Wednesday March 8th
Our images of God make considerable difference to the way we relate to God. Because of our childhood experiences we can see God as a remote elderly uncle, even a judge, or as a merciful Father or nurturing mother among other images. This workshop will explore how our images of God can evolve and how we can let go of images that get in the way of relationship with a loving God and encounter new images that will help us grow closer to God.
3. Imaginative Contemplation – Wednesday March 15th
Imaginative contemplation is a way of praying long associated with St Ignatius. It is a method of prayer which leads to encounter and experience of the person of Jesus in a deeply intimate way. Engaging with the gospels using our senses and imagination brings Jesus into the ‘here and now’ of my story and I come to know myself within his story. Through imaginative contemplation I come to know him rather than just know about him.
Imaginative Contemplation is a resource to pray with Imaginative Contemplation and you will find it among the other documents to download.
4. Discernment and decision-making – Wednesday March 22nd
Making good decisions is one of life’s challenges and St Ignatius created principles of decision-making that have stood the test of time. Discernment involves listening for the voice of God. As we grow in relationship with God, we discover that God’s will is not something imposed on us from the outside but can be found in our deepest desires. The workshop explores how we can invite God into the process of our decision-making and understand better the different ways that God guides us.
The following are resources to accompany this workshop and you will find it with the other documents to download:
How do we distinguish the spirits – Pope Francis (Let us Dream)
Discernment of Spirits
A Method of Discerning Prayer
5. Praying with Art – Wednesday March 29th
Images, like music, can move us beyond words, engaging our feelings and emotions at deep we sometimes cannot express in any other way. Art, whether secular or religious, can be a way into prayer.
Praying with Art :Two Images for Prayer (Chagall and Qi)is a resource to accompany the workshop and you will find it among the other documents to download.
Closing Session – Saturday April 1st at 3.00-4.30pm
The closing session begins at 3:00pm and will last about 75 minutes. It is an opportunity to gather again as a group of guides and retreatants at the end of the retreat and to reflect individually and together on the gift of this retreat as well as to consider some next steps in our ongoing journey with God.
Knowing what has been more helpful or less helpful to you in this retreat enables us to shape and sharpen retreats for the future. We would very much appreciate it if you would complete an evaluation of your retreat. Your response is not shared verbatim with your retreat guide – we give guides a general sense of how people found the retreat.
Please complete your evaluation online here Evaluation form - Lent Retreat · ChurchSuite Forms
If there is anything you want to say which you would be uncomfortable putting on the evaluation form, please email the LJC Director, David Birchall SJ at email@example.com
Contact with your retreat guide
You should not contact your Retreat Guide after the retreat. The arrangement we have with those who agree to guide retreatants is that this work is for the duration of the retreat only. If, for some particular reason, you wish to get in touch with your Retreat Guide, please do this through the LJCAdministrator and we will pass on your request. For the same reason you are asked to delete your retreat guide’s email and phone number from your laptop or phone, as they will yours.
You may find some of these resources helpful as you take your experience of retreat this week into your daily life.
Pray as you go is a daily prayer podcast and offers many resources for prayer and you can find it here https://pray-as-you-go.org/ and also available as an app.
The London Jesuit Centre runs in-person Saturday retreats bi-monthly and also bi-weekly sessions of Guided Prayer Thursdays 7.00-8.00pm). You can book for these on our website https://www.londonjesuitcentre.org/
PREGO is an online prayer group from St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre based on the Sunday readings.
IMAGINE is a recorded Ignatian contemplation session on YouTube and there, Imagine - YouTube and there are some audio sessions on Pray as you Go: https://pray-as-you-go.org/series/5-imaginative-contemplation-exercises
Michael Hansen SJ has put together four self-guided Ignatian retreats in his book The First Spiritual Exercises.
St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in north Wales offers a full programme of online and in-person retreats.
The Retreat Association's website on https://www.retreats.org.uk is a good place to search for other retreat centres in the UK and Europe.
If you want to read more about Ignatian spirituality, What is Ignatian Spirituality? by David Fleming SJ is an excellent and accessible introduction.
If you enjoy praying with art, the Christian Art website has many resources.
Fr Geoff Wheaton SJ has produced a number of Youtube videos on praying with art.