Student chaplaincy in Utrecht
Theology is about God and about believing. It is also about your God, and your belief. That is what makes theology so fascinating.
The university wants to help you in two ways. In the first place with thinking. For that reason there are lectures, professors and the facilitating personnel. This is the most important service of the university. Then secondly, with the experience of your belief. For that reason, there is the student chaplaincy.
The student chaplaincy deals with everything that has not to do with the mere thinking about the faith, but with experiencing it.
My name is Ward Biemans, I am a Jesuit, that is why I put SJ behind by name (Society of Jesus). After secondary school, I have studied environmental policy science in Utrecht. During that time, I discovered God and Scripture anew, mainly through conversations with fellow students and after visiting Taizé, the ecumenical community in France. In the mean time I was working in environmental policy, but after some years, I discovered my vocation to the priesthood.
I have entered the Society of Jesus, the first two years I lived as a novice in Birmingham, U.K. After that I have studied theology in Nijmegen and in Rome, at the Gregorian University. As a priest, I have worked for six years in a parish in Nijmegen. There, I have learned a lot about the sacraments, about pastoral ministry, about preaching, about collaboration with a lot of other people.
After those years, I spent one year in the United States to complete my formation as a Jesuit. Since then, I live in Amsterdam.
What attracted me most in the Jesuits is their striving for developing faith and justice. From the beginning of the Order, many Jesuits have worked in the educational sector. Besides that, Jesuits work in the care for various vulnerable groups in society, such as refugees, prisoners, the elderly, etc.
Part of my formation is to receive and to give the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This is an excellent method which could help people to make choices in their lives, by means of meditation and searching for the will of God in daily life.
I am student chaplain for the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology and the Fontys Hogeschool voor Theologie en Levensbeschouwing, location Utrecht, for one day a week. I work on various days.
Further, I am a spiritual director for the students at the seminary of the Archdiocese of Utrecht, the Ariënsinstitute. I am ecclesiastical assistant for the Ignatian lay movement Christian Life Community, CLC. In 2016, I have published ‘The Heart and the Abyss. Preventing Abortion’, a book which deals with the abortion dilemma. And finally, I assist in the liturgical celebrations in Amsterdam, in the St. Francis Xavier church (the Krijtberg).
You can reach me by
- e-mail: W.J.A.Biemans@tilburguniversity.edu or
- phone: +31 20 - 344 6652 or +31 6 - 57215205.