The Faber Companions are a group of young laymen who live and pray together in community, in Leinster Rd, Rathmines. They came together in Dublin in 2018 under the direction of Myles O’Reilly SJ who assists them in exploring the spirituality and legacy of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.

The Companions have developed a strong outreach and ministry to young adults, now known as the Faber Community. Below is an account by Callum Douglas, a member of the Faber Companions, of the wide variety of activities, events, faith sharing, prayer meeting, and liturgies that the Faber Community have been taking part in over recent months.

Stronger Than Ever

The Faber Community grew and changed during the challenges of COVID-19, and now that Zoom’s stranglehold is slipping we are being reinvented once again.

A lot more goes into running events and launching new projects in person, so we are building a stronger, more long-lasting network for life after the pandemic.

Our first Mass, on the second Saturday in October, was a gathering charged with the joy of real communion and served as a fitting launch to this year’s adventure. Afterwards, nearly all of the 25 young adults who came to celebrate the Eucharist crammed into the kitchen of the community house in Rathmines, delighted to be able to sit down and continue the feast together.

The second monthly Mass will be celebrated this weekend, Saturday 13th, in St Michael’s College Chapel, Rathmines, at 5.30pm. All are welcome to join our intimate, music-filled liturgy, and of course the meal that follows!

A large offer of activities

We now have a team that broadcast a guided Examen of Consciousness every Thursday evening, a choir that will lead the music at Mass, a fortnightly book club, and a dedicated retreat team planning a year-long series of Community retreat experiences that follow the themes of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.

The first of these retreats, drawing content from the Pre-Exercises’ focus on understanding the depth of God’s love, took place on the October bank holiday weekend. Ten community members travelled to Clare together to surf, pray and delve into scripture.

Stunning surroundings, good friends, and a house flooded with the Spirit combined for a deeply restorative weekend. Our next retreat is a day spent walking the Dublin mountains on 28 November, with reflections aimed at meeting God in nature and one another.

In close contact with students

Financial support given by the Jesuits has also allowed two members of this retreat team to bring some of the spiritual richness of their Community experiences to young people in schools across the country. Crescent College Comphrensive SJ Limerick, Our Lady’s, Terenure, St Mary’s, Naas, Coláiste Mhuire, Cabra, St Joseph’s, Killiney, and Gonzaga, Belvedere and Clongowes colleges, have or will all benefit from an Ignatian presence on their school retreats this year.

The Faber Community is also running an Alpha course for Transition Year students in Belvedere College, teaching Religion to sixth class kids at Gardiner St Primary school (see photo), providing a parish-based after school club for kids in the same area, planning a collaborative young-adult retreat with Scripture Union, and bringing boys from Belvedere and Clongowes to Gardiner St to give peer-to-peer mentoring and literacy support to disadvantaged children there.

Promoting Justice

Finally, just last week, Community members attended the launch of a new report put together by the Jesuit Refugee Service. It was an incredible feeling to connect with this global network of people heeding God’s call to respond to the migrant crisis at every level, and we are full of a new desire to build links with refugees in Ireland at a relational level, something we were prevented from doing last year due to COVID -19.

In the new year we will partner with Gonzaga College and the JRS’s Fáilte Project to run welcoming sports and orientation days for newly arrived asylum seekers. And next month we aim to launch a community soccer team for people around Rathmines who are in transition out of Direct Provision and want to build links and relationships in the city.

Living in the passionate way God calls us to is its own reward, but the need to build things up again has still been tiring at times. Taking this walk back through the last few months, reflecting on the experiences, and seeing them now collectively, has made it much easier to appreciate the foundation-building currently being done among us and the great potential for growth that is on our horizon. Transformation comes in God’s time, and for now, it is a privilege and joy to serve the Faber Community.

Callum Douglas
Faber Companion

Jesuits in Ireland