The Society of Jesus in the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces offers a series of experiences for men who are seriously considering a Jesuit vocation. This program, called the "Jesuit Associates," provides its members with vocational material for reading and prayer; spiritual direction and retreats; opportunities to meet Jesuits and to experience a variety of Jesuit ministries and communities; and service opportunities – all in an attempt to strengthen the call.
The program's main goal is to assist a serious discerner as he prayerfully examines how God is at work in his life's path and whether the Society of Jesus is right for him.
Prayer / Spiritual Direction / Service
During the time of discernment, the Vocation Director encourages the Associate to incorporate a regular time of prayer into his daily life. Each Associate is expected to have a Spiritual Director, ordinarily a Jesuit, arranged by the Vocation Team. With the assistance of the Area Vocation Coordinator and a Spiritual Director, the Associate is introduced to Ignatian spirituality and the "Jesuit" way of praying, with an emphasis on helping the man carefully examine his desire to become a priest or brother in the Society of Jesus.
The Associate is encouraged to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and Reconciliation on a regular basis, and may also be encouraged to engage in some local apostolic service, again to help reveal God's plan for him.
An important part of the Associate's getting to know the Jesuits and vice versa is the Associate's participation in Local Gatherings and "Come and See" Events.