The Walking Examen: Blessing Ceremony and Celebration, May 1

The Walking Examen: Blessing Ceremony and Celebration, May 1

Examen statue on Egan Chapel plaza

The May 1 Blessing Ceremony will commence at the Examen statue on the plaza of Egan Chapel.

Fairfield University community members of all faiths are invited to participate in a blessing ceremony and celebratory reception to introduce the new outdoor Walking Examen, the first of its kind on a Jesuit campus.

The natural beauty of Fairfield University’s scenic 200-acre campus will gain a one-of-a-kind spiritual element with a new mile-long prayer and meditation trail, the Walking Examen, to be introduced in a blessing ceremony and celebratory reception after the 11 a.m. Mass at Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola on Sunday, May 1.

In recognition of the Ignatian Year, which runs from May 20, 2021 to July 21, 2022, Fairfield’s Office of Mission and Ministry has partnered with the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality to create the new outdoor Walking Examen path, designed to cultivate prayerful discernment and an awareness of God’s presence around us.

“For Saint Ignatius, the Examen was the most important prayer, the one a Jesuit should never neglect. It is the secret to becoming a ‘contemplative in action,’ a person capable of finding God in all things,” said Rev. Paul Rourke, S.J., vice president for Mission and Ministry. “How appropriate, then, that in this Ignatian Year Fairfield once again places this most important prayer at the heart of our University, giving our community a unique opportunity to review their day in the light of God’s grace and the beauty of our campus.”

The Walking Examen path will feature five “steps,” each marked by a large boulder and plaque, representing the five movements of the Examen prayer: Thanksgiving, Illumination, Examination, Contrition, and Hope. The project has been generously funded by James D. Fitzpatrick ’70, MA’72, P’08, his wife Phyllis P’08, a former director of Residence Life and Management Information for 33 years, and their family.

“When you’re on campus so much, it’s easy to overlook all the natural beauty of the campus,” said Fitzpatrick, who retired from his job as assistant vice president for Auxiliary Services in February 2021. The idea for a Walking Examen at Fairfield evolved over his 56 years of walking and running the sidewalks and footpaths Stag country — first as a student, then as a staff member.

“As a student, I remember noticing so many Jesuits walking on campus while doing their reflective office, in all weather conditions,” he said, noting that not even blizzard conditions could keep the priests from their prayerful ambulation. “At times we forget that reflective prayer can happen anywhere, not just a chapel or church.”

Open year-round to Fairfield community members of all faiths, the Walking Examen path will begin at the Examen statue on the Egan Chapel plaza, continue to the Campus Ministry Center entrance on the chapel’s lower level, and then wind its way through fields and over hills toward steps at the Mary Garden, Bellarmine Pond, and lastly, the lawn of the Jesuit Community Center.

All are invited to participate in the inaugural Walking Examen blessing ceremony, immediately following the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass on May 1.

Register to attend through the Murphy Center portal at

The Walking Examen: Blessing Ceremony and Celebration

Date: Sunday, May 1, 2022
Time: Immediately following 11 a.m. Mass
Location: Beginning on the Egan Chapel Plaza

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