Diocesan News

Astoria Lecture Series Teaches Spiritual Tools of St. Ignatius

Jesuit Father Joseph W. Koterski was the featured speaker of a fall lecture series focusing on the life and spiritual journey of St. Ignatius of Loyola at Immaculate Conception Church, Astoria. (Photo Matthew O’Connor)

This fall, Immaculate Conception parish, Astoria, hosted a lecture series featuring Fordham University professor Father Joseph W. Koterski, S.J., as the guest speaker. The series extended over three weeks and focused on the life and spiritual journey of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Father Koterski is a member of the philosophy department at Fordham University, where he has taught since his ordination to the priesthood in 1992. He regularly teaches courses on natural law, ethics and medieval philosophy.

This lecture series gave him the opportunity to teach people about the founder of his Jesuit order. He chose “A Way to Find God’s Will” as the theme of the second talk, which focused on St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises.

“Right from the beginning of my priesthood, I was asked to start giving lectures and I have been doing it since and find great peace in the work. This series is focusing on St. Ignatius of Loyola and Ignatian Spirituality,” said Father Koterski.

The first session was devoted to St. Ignatius’ life, and the third focused on Ignatian forms of prayer. “I was very pleased to be able to represent the Ignatian tradition. Having a Jesuit pope provides great inspiration,” he added.

In regard to Ignatian spirituality, he told attendees that is “very accessible,” in that “it is a way of praying using the imagination as a tool for reflecting on prayer. It helps to discern the spirits, including the difference between the Holy Spirit and the evil ones. My hope is that as a takeaway from this series these people will have a few more tools than when they started.”

Msgr. Fernando Ferrarese, pastor of Immaculate Conception, also takes part in the sessions. This is the ninth year he has been hosting guest speakers.

“It is part of adult education and giving people a better sense of what we mean by our faith in relationship to other faiths and within our own faith,” he said.

“In today’s world you have to aim high and explore outside our comfort zones. We tend to just dismiss things in life and people do genuinely appreciate not just talking about what is going on currently but taking a complete view and see a bigger picture and people respond well to that.

I asked a number of Jesuits of who would be a good choice for this topic and a few names came up but Father Koterski was the one who kept coming up, so we have been excited to have him here and learn as much as we can.”