To create a Christian community
Vilnius Jesuit High School associates its beginnings with Vilnius Jesuit College, established in 1570. The Jesuit archive in Rome maintained a program of celebrations for the opening of the college, which said: "The more religious, wiser and more educated counselors and citizens the state will have, the better and more successful it can be handled." One of the goals of Vilnius Jesuit High School is to create a community filled with an evangelical spirit of love and freedom that would help to educate a young person. In our community, talents can easily develop, a sense of responsibility for oneself, others, and the world can be born, compassion and charitable activities can mature.
In addition to academic activities, an integral part of the life of the High School is Pastoral care. Pastoral care’s activities are aimed at developing Christian spirituality, fostering communion and sympathy between them. The activities above include liturgy, religious celebrations, retreats, camps, other events.
Religious experience plays a big and important role in developing a community in the High School. The symbol of the cross that we use expresses our faith in Christ, i.e. the belief that victory won’t be celebrated by selfishness or death, but by Love and Life.
We learn to value small things, to accept life as a gift, to thank for him, as Christ did. We go into the secrets of the Savior's life with retreats, we celebrate them with the liturgy. We experience mutual communion in prayer, charity campaigns, social activities, camps.
Foster faith and seek justice
From a Christian point of view, faith and justice are closely related to each other. A document prepared by the Jesuits - Pedagogy of Ignatius: practical application says that "the new community of justice, love, and peace in the world needs competent, enlightened, honest and compassionate men and women who are prepared to accept and support all that is truly humane, determined to work for the freedom and dignity of all nations, willingly cooperating with other people dedicated to the renewal of society and its structures". The goal is for the school community to seek a personal relationship with Christ so that he would become a friend and a leader.
Eucharist for the High School’s community
At the beginning of the School Year, before Christmas, during St. Casimir’s feast, the Last Bell and Graduation Day are celebrated by the solemn Eucharist, which includes the High School community – students, teachers, parents, alumni, guests.
During advent, the Eucharist is celebrated on Thursday mornings. The liturgy of the Mass takes place before the candlelight is lit in anticipation of Christ, the birth of the light of the world.
Charity for those in need
On special occasions (e.g. before Christmas) the celebration of the Eucharist is associated with a charity campaign – each class brings goodies for charity, which are distributed to the poor.
Eucharist for classes
Each class has the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist separately. Students are taught to participate actively in it, to pray together, and to thank them. For the Eucharist, students prepare during religion classes. The celebration is combined with educational goals and themes of lessons of religion.
The sacrament of reconciliation
The sacrament of reconciliation is celebrated twice during the school year: during Advent and Lent. The entire parents’ community of Jesuit High School helps to provide this sacrament. Students are encouraged to celebrate this sacrament at other times, such as retreats and celebrations.
Retreats, camps, community days
Once a school year, students participate in retreats dedicated to them. Retreats take place at the High School’s campsite in Guopstos (Trakai District). 3-5 day camps are held for students in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades. This is a great opportunity to get to know each other and make friends.
Retreats are prepared for teachers, parents, and alumni. Every year, parents of fifth grades are invited to a prayer weekend in Guopstos. For many, it is a strong spiritual experience that encourages us to go further into the Christian faith. It should be noted that alumni and teachers have days of focus/concentration dedicated to them.
A very beautiful celebration of our community, which usually gathers all members of the community – Christmas Eve. St. Mass, a charity for the needy, breaking Kalėdaitis (consecrated thin-flat cake, used at Christmas Eve supper), sincere words of apology, gifts from one’s Guardian Angel, wishes from Santa Claus (for teachers!) bring together even more new actions.
In 2008, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus Adolfo Nicolás SJ visited Lithuania. He met with VJG teachers in Guopstos and gave a presentation about the teacher's calling at a Jesuit school. It was a special experience.
St. Ignatius of Loyola "Spiritual Exercises", a program to focus
Upper-class students, teachers, and parents are invited to perform Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. There are different ways to do them. One of them is an intense week of prayer during Lent. Those conducting the Exercise undertake to pray daily, read the texts of Scripture, participate in the Eucharist and meet for a personal conversation with the retreat leader.
For Teachers and Parents
Before the school year, teachers participate in community days. There is also a time for prayer and self-reflection. In addition, teachers celebrate All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and Ash Wednesday. Kaira retreats were also held for teachers.
An Alpha course is being held for parents and teachers. This is a great opportunity to get to know the Christian faith better, to learn how to share experiences of faith, to build a community. The desire to extend alpha's experience inspired parents to form a prayer group. From now on, parents gather once a week to chat, plan activities, pray together.