Sunday, November 30, 2008

Former Jesuit From Australia

Brian Stoney, who was buried last week from St Canice's Church in Kings Cross, was a significant figure in shaping ways of accompanying the poor. For over 40 years he embodied and fought for a commitment to the poor that was based on sharing their lives. In the 1960s he was a Jesuit, and worked in suburban communities in Melbourne and Adelaide. He later directed Corpus Christi Greenvale and shaped the spirit of its work.

In more recent years he lived in communities with marginalised people in Redfern and Surry Hills. During this time he left the Jesuits.
In his life and work he represented many of the tensions that faced Catholics generally, and particularly Jesuits, in the 1960s. By then, in a Catholic community that had become more affluent, Jesuit engagement with the poor was less direct than it had been.

Link (here)

A Wahhabi Upbringing And Jesuit Training

This is a portion of a question and answer session at recent speech by Saudi Royal diplomat Prince Turki Al Faisal

Wahhabism, just briefly, there is a very good book by a very difficult name for me [DeLong-Bas]. I think some of you know the book I am talking about. I advise anybody who wants to know about Wahhabism to read that book. It’s a very good analytical piece on Wahhabism. As you know in Saudi Arabia when somebody says Wahhabism, we say what are you talking about. We don’t consider we’re Wahhabis because for us to accept that would be like accepting that we have invented a new [mithab?] or a new school of thought in Sunni Islam, which we don’t. As Wahhabis between quotation marks we follow the Ahmad bin Hanbal school of thought in Islam and one of my favorite remarks that I make to Americans in particular is that I have the best of both worlds, I have a Wahhabi upbringing and Jesuit training at Georgetown University..

Link (here)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rest In Peace: Fr. Francis X. Miller, S.J.

Holy Cross mourns loss of former official
By Bronislaus B. Kush

WORCESTERThe Rev. Francis X. Miller, S.J., who shunted aside a career as a Manhattan banker to become a Jesuit priest and who is credited with putting the College of the Holy Cross on sound financial footing, died Tuesday at the Campion Center in Weston. He was 82. Rev. Miller, a beloved figure on Mount St. James, served for 22 years as vice president of development.

He worked closely with then college President John E. Brooks, S.J., in financially strengthening the school and reaching out to alumni for support “Father Miller was a very important figure on campus,” said school spokesman Ellen Ryder.
Born in Worcester, he was the son of Francis L. and Mary (O’Brien) Miller. After graduating from St. John’s High School in 1942, he began his college studies at Holy Cross; however, he joined the Navy in 1944. He returned to the school and was an infielder on baseball teams managed by legendary Holy Cross coach Jack Barry. He graduated from Holy Cross and worked for Chase National Bank of New York.
But in 1951, he decided to become a priest and entered the Jesuit Novitiate of New England Province at Shadowbrook in Lenox. He later studied philosophy at Weston College and earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1956. He was ordained in 1959 by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing, archbishop of Boston.
Rev. Miller served as Holy Cross’ financial adviser from 1963 to 1970, and as a trustee from 1970 to 1973. The school conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters upon Rev. Miller in 1996, a year after he retired. “You have traveled the length and breadth of America on behalf of Holy Cross and led a development effort unparalleled in the history of this college,” read the citation.

Link (here)

You Have Got To Love The Metaphors

He urged his organization called The Network of Spiritual Progressives to support a campaign against the forces of reaction within the Catholic Church. “We are not anti-Catholic,”

Michael Lerner insisted, even as he inveighed against the church hierarchy for bigotry and oppression. Generously, Lerner observed that many Catholics “remain committed to peace and social justice” but live in fear because the Inquisition may descend upon them.
Many Jesuits who are faithful to the “true teachings of Jesus” would join Lerner’s Network but for the threat of persecution, he opined.

Link (here)

Photo is of Rabbi Michael Lerner

Michael R. Denton Writes About His Alma Mater Jesuit High New Orleans

Why is that? Because we still let teachers do this. Hysterical; I hope Top (the prefect of discpline) got a huge laugh when he read that.
Link (here)

Father Drinan More Of A Leftist Than Barney Frank?

Father Robert Drinan, the Jesuit priest Barney Frank replaced in Congress in 1981, was asked to step down from government as part of a blanket request by Pope John Paul II that members of the clergy not hold elected office.
But most observers suspect the blanket request was inspired by Drinan, whose politics on many issues were pretty far to the left of Frank’s.
Before his death in 2007, Drinan used to joke that Barney Frank was the only member of Congress actually appointed by the Pope.

Link (here)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Jesuit And Still Working For 360 Years

The Jesuits Gymnasium is worth taking a picture of, as it is the oldest continuously working Kaunas school, established in 1649. Polish tourists are especially fond of this locale, as famous poet Adam Mickiewicz was a teacher there and his classroom is still preserved.
Link (here) to the lengthy piece.

Jesuit On Holy Communion

If the sight of our sins tends to keep us away from daily Communion, the confidence of finding in it a remedy for all our evils ought to make us hunger for it, profoundly convinced that if we are unworthy of the favour the help is essential for us, otherwise I do not see who could communicate even once a year.
And there are some who keep away and do themselves great harm ; the reason of their mistake is that they only look at the excellence of the Sacraments, then they think they must be holy before they approach them, instead of reflecting that it is the Sacraments which make the soul holy.
Thus in trying to avoid pride they fall into it, because when at last they come to Communion they judge themselves worthy to participate.

From the book entitled Holy Confidence by Fr. Benedetto (Benendict) Rogacci, S.J. published in 1869 (here)

The Jesuit Mission In Sarasota, Florida

The Sarasota mission post of the Tampa Jesuits became a parish when Father Charles L. Elslander, as a young man, said Mass in the little frame church facing east on Adelia Street on October 1, 1927, and the congregation numbered 132. Sarasota had been a mission post since 1889 when Bishop John Moore, D.D., of St. Augustine, brought the Jesuits to Tampa to assume responsibility for St. Louis Parish (now Sacred Heart) and its large mission area in South Florida. A number of circuit riding Jesuits visited the still remote and pioneer region bringing the presence of the Church (infrequently but always welcome) to the Catholic community, celebrating Mass, administering sacraments, preaching, visiting the sick and bringing Christ closer to the lives of the often scattered Catholic families. Rev. Alfred Latiolais, S.J., in 1911, accepted adjoining lots, donated by the families of Owen Bums, T.C. Callan and George McAlpine. A small - about a dozen families - but a staunch band in Sarasota, was determined to build its church! The lots fronted on Adelia at the corner of the thoroughfare now known as Fruitville Road. Construction began the next year with Father Andrew B. Fox, S.J., in charge. The first public notice of a Mass being offered in the Adelia Street structure appeared in February 1913. It read: "Catholic Church Adelia Street Services will be the first Tuesday after the Second Sunday of each month with Father Latiolais, S.J. saying Mass at 7:00 a.m." Until the nineteen-twenties the Catholics in the area numbered 13 or 14 families. Coming to the Mission Church was an especially lengthy and arduous trip for many families because of difficulties in travel. The exterior was not completed for two years because of the lack of funds and it was not until 1919 that the interior could receive attention. Masses were however, celebrated during construction. The little church came to be known as St. Martha's in honor of the patron saint of Owen Burns' mother, Martha, who had suggested to her son that he donate the first lot. The number of Masses was increased in November 1921 when two Masses were scheduled for the second and fourth Sundays. Many new families moved into this area after World War I. The first attempt was made to have St. Martha's Mission raised to the status of a parish as the nineteen-twenties progressed. The local Catholic Woman's Club recently established, sent a committee to St. Augustine to petition the Most Rev. Patrick Barry, Bishop of the diocese, to assign a resident priest to St. Martha's. Priests however, were still quite scarce and Bishop Barry was unable to grant this request. Despite this setback, this small group of devoted women made every effort to instill a parish life into St. Martha's Mission. They organized social and fund-raising affairs to maintain the original church in good repair. They purchased pews and arranged to have a choir loft constructed. The group brought to Saint Martha's a spirit of giving and sacrifice which made it a truly Christian community long before St. Martha's Catholic Church was formally established.
Photo is of the Jesuit Mission Director of Central Florida, Fr. Alfred Latiolais, S.J.,
Link (here)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Should Students Of Jesuit Schools Be Protesting At An American Military Base

This is an excerpt from The Rock and The Sword blog regarding the latest protest against SOA. I understand why the protest, but is a coordinated Jesuit effort using students at protest march / vigil at S.O.A. a good idea? I would even say that S.O.A. has done a great deal of good for the world. I quick glance at the S.O.A. Watch website certainly does not leave you with warm fuzzies.

Nine Jesuits and I just got back from a six-day, 40 hour trip to attend the 19 th annual SOA vigil and ninth annual Ignatian Family Teach-In.
We were just 10 of thousands of students from Jesuit schools.
Along the way we stopped at three different high schools and met with thousands of students to talk about vocations, discernment, and life as Jesuit novices. It was kinda like being on a concert tour going from town to town but without the crazed fans and luxury tour bus. Since I focused a lot on vocation, discernment, and life as a Jesuit (in general and personally) during the trip, the next few blogs will be about some of my experiences.

Link (here) to the full post.

Further links on the subject.
The School of the Americas
SOA Watch
Jesuit Martyr's of El Salvador
Ignatian Solidarity Network

Questions to consider?
  • Should there not be the same effort put into the Pro-Life movement that has claimed 40 million people in this country?
  • And yet the repulsive and immoral play The Vagina Monologues will be produced on many Jesuit campuses on the feast of St. Valentine and across this country and a "howl" will be let out at the so-called persecution by the Cardinal Newman Society.
  • Is this what Liberation Theology is all about?
Notice the Catholic symbolism in the old insignia for The School of the Americas.
The design is based on the design of the USARCARIS shoulder sleeve insignia. The galleon is symbolic of the Caribbean area and bears a replica of the red cross insignia used by Columbus during his explorations in the Caribbean area. The motto is a Spanish translation of the well known quotation from Alexander Dumas' "Three Musketeers" which is well known ("All for one and one for all") and frequently used by democratic leaders in Latin America.
Link (here)

Jesuit On Interrogations

Conservative or Liberal Catholic

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

In almost any group of Catholics today, one hears the question frequently asked, "Are you a conservative or liberal Catholic?" Or perhaps it is posed, "Are you charismatic?"

Then again the speaker may interrogate his audience about his familiarity with renewals, retreats, liberation theology, centering prayers, Cursillo or any other currently popular movement or practice within the Church.
Oftentimes people feel that the answer to such a question involves deep philosophical pondering. Semantics aside, there can be only one answer to these questions. But before that reply is supplied, and its rationale, one need examine the rather bizarre practice of describing our faith in social and political terms and the implications of such nomenclature.

Link (here) to the ful article.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jesuits Lead Eucharistic Procession With Thousands Of Laity

Thousands Join in Vasai Procession to Mark Feast of Christ the King

Mumbai, Nov 26: Vasai is famous for churches and the first Indian Saint Gonsalo Garcia is from Vasai. There are more than a dozen churches here, quite a few are historic ones.

There are also three Jesuit parishes in Vasai—St Michael’s Church, Manickpur, St Ignatius Loyola Church, Ambadi Road, and St Roque’s Church, Gokhevare. All three churches celebrated the feast of Christ the King on Sunday November 23 in a different manner this year.

Thousands of people from all three parishes took out a procession through the streets of Vasai giving the message ‘Christ is for all’. Then all of them gathered at the Manickpur Church ground where the religious ceremonies were held.

Fr Kiran Lopez of Palghar, gave a touching sermon. He said ‘Christ is for you and Christ is for me. Christ is the same as yesterday, today, and forever. He is the king for all people. Love and peace are the power and strength of Christ’. He also called for preserving our culture, explaining the differences between ‘Sanskriti’ and ‘Vikruti’.

In the beginning, Fr John Froz, parish priest, St Michael’s Church, Manickpur, and Fr Ozy Gonsaves, St Ignatius Loyola Church, Ambadi Road, welcomed the gathering. Jesuit deacons Yohana Alphonso and Anil Pereira were the special guests on the occasion. Vincent A D’Souza, Fr Joseph Justin Prabhu and Fr Tony Jurschik from St Ignatius Loyola Church, Ambadi Road, Fr Joseph Gonsalves from St Roques Church, Gokivere, were present on occasion.

Link to the full article with lots of pictures (here)

Jesuit Bishop On Catholic Hospital Sterilizations

The Catholic bishop of Tyler has announced that a church investigation found that Catholic hospitals in his diocese had been performing sterilizations, in contravention of church law -- even though they'd indicated that they hadn't been. Here's what Bp Alvaro Corrada, SJ, had to say about the matter:
I wish to address the matter of direct sterilizations in Catholic Hospitals in the Diocese of Tyler. Last June it was reported by anonymous researchers that a large number of tubal ligations performed in Catholic Hospitals in the state of Texas. Initially both Catholic hospitals in the Diocese of Tyler responded that they were in compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services. Sadly, subsequent investigation reveals that there had been a serious mis-interpretation of the ERDs and that in fact many direct sterilizations had been done and continued to be done at the time of the article.

As a Bishop, I am deeply saddened and upset by this news. As Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, I have to admit my failure to provide adequate oversight of the Catholic Hospitals as regards their protection of the sacred dignity of each human person. Many causes and complications that have resulted in this unacceptable situation.

I continue to work directly with the Catholic Hospitals in the Diocese of Tyler, and with my brother Bishops in the state of Texas, to bring an end to immoral procedures and to put in place some method of ongoing accountability and transparency of monitoring both protocols and actual practices. As Catholics, we must insure all people seeking health care in our Catholic Hospitals will be treated with respect and dignity as Jesus teaches us.
The Church has approved the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic
Health Services as binding upon our Catholic Hospitals to insure the sacred dignity of each patient is protected and defended. The Directives are for the protection of every woman's human dignity.

Thankfully, in response to their own investigation of the matter, CHRISTUS St. Michael's in Texarkana has discontinued all tubal ligations. They report a favorable response from their local medical community. Prior to release of the report, Trinity Mother Frances had experienced a 50% reduction in the number of tubal ligations. Trinity Mother Frances is a large health care system and is developing plans to protect the sacred dignity of each human person through compliance with an authentic interpretation of the ERDs, particularly ERD 53 which prohibits direct sterilization.

Bishop Alvaro Corrada, SJ
Bishop of Tyler

Link (here)

Mass At The Church Of The Gesu

On our first Sunday in Rome, we were invited by our Jesuit friend, Fr. Jose Quilong-Quilong of Cebu City, to attend a concelebrated Mass at the Jesuits’ baroque Church of the Gesu, with Jesuit Father General Alfonso Nicolas as the main celebrant. The Mass brought to a close the observance of the centenary of the birth of the late Father General Pedro Arrupe, who is buried along with their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, in the same church.

Link (here) to the full article.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jesuit Named To Military Medical Board

GUMC Professor Named to Defense Health Board
The U.S. Department of Defense has named Dr. William Blazek, S.J. to its Defense Health Board to provide independent scientific advice and recommendations on matters relating to the promotion of health and the delivery of health care to about 9.2 million members of the military and their families.
As a member of the federal advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) professor will also look at operational programs, health policy development, health research programs and requirements for the treatment and prevention of disease and injury within the realm of the defense department.
“The questions we will address as an advisory board are the same questions any large health system would have -- and they speak to who we are as a nation,” says Blazek. “There are a number of issues facing the military health system right now that impact a huge number of people, including the impact of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and health issues that impact amputees.”

Link (here) to the full article.

A Former Jesuit Recruited By A Former Priest

United Way loaned executive left priestly calling,
raising money for nonprofit
Monday, November 24, 2008
News staff writer

It took a one-way bus ticket, a 90-mile bike ride, and the kindness of a stranger to get Ben Wilson from St. Paul to Birmingham, but it was love that made him stay.

In April, the 25-year-old Nebraska native was on his way to becoming a Jesuit priest when he made the trek, both as training for the priesthood and as a reason to visit Mary Ann Doughton, his friend from his days as a student at the University of Notre Dame.
When Wilson got here, he realized he and Doughton were meant to be more than friends and that the priesthood was not for him, so he decided to move to Birmingham. Wilson is just completing a 13-week stint with the United Way of Central Alabama, a job he was led to by former United Way of Central Alabama president Dan Dunne.
Wilson had long thought he was meant to be a priest. When his training called for him to take a one-way bus ticket, a phone card, and $35 and go out into the world, he decided to use the opportunity to visit Doughton. After riding a bus to Memphis, Wilson biked 90 miles to Tupelo, Miss., where he attended a small church and, as he prepared to bike to Birmingham, met a UAB student who was on her way to the city and offered him a ride. Wilson and Doughton spent the next week together, and as he headed back to Minnesota, Wilson began to consider making some big changes. "We had a lot of fun together, but we had never dated because I was always interested in the priesthood, and I couldn't do both," Wilson said. For three weeks, Wilson walked, biked and hitchhiked back from Birmingham, praying the entire time about what he should do. "I felt called to be with her," he said.
In July, Wilson moved to Birmingham to be with Doughton, who works as a campus minister at Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic School, but had no job prospects of his own. "I knew why I wanted to be here, but I didn't know what I was going to do now that I was here," Wilson said. A family friend who lives here told Wilson to meet him at his office.
When Wilson arrived, he was greeted by Dunne. In 1972, Dunne left the priesthood to get married after serving five years and then became associate director of the United Way of Jacksonville, Fla. In 1990, Dunne became executive director of the United Way of Central Alabama and retired in 2007. Dunne said he was instantly impressed with Wilson. "I thought he had a great heart and a great mind and both are aligned nicely," Dunne said. "I though he would be perfect for human service work."
At Dunne's suggestion, Wilson took a job as a loaned executive. The United Way often recruits executives to help collect donations from area businesses, according to spokeswoman Samuetta Nesbitt. Some companies do not have the manpower to give up an employee, but provide funding for the United Way to hire someone, which is how Wilson came into the United Way fold, Nesbitt said. Wilson has done a great job for the United Way's annual campaign, Nesbitt said. "He's enthusiastic, and he's adapted to Southern culture pretty well for a Yankee," Nesbitt said. On Tuesday, Wilson said he hoped to exceed his goal of collecting $500,000 in pledges by "several tens of thousands thanks to people's generosity." "Some companies are so aware of what a tough time this is and have contributed above and beyond and some are making a heroic effort to give at the levels they gave last year. The community is really behind this effort," Wilson said. When the job ends, Wilson will once again be looking for work. Wilson, however, said the job has given him an opportunity to see that the area lives up to a Birmingham News story he read soon after arriving about a study that ranked Birmingham as the most generous city in America. "It's true. In this position, I've seen it every single day," Wilson said.

Link (here)

From the Jesuit vocations page

Ben Wilson, 24, of Davenport and Omaha, graduated from Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Neb. In 2006, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in philosophy and minors in both theology and anthropology. While there, he was active in campus ministry, service programs, cross-country and as a retreat leader. After graduation, he returned to Creighton Prep as a volunteer, teaching high school philosophy and theology. He has traveled to Rome, Russia, Uganda and the Dominican Republic. His personal interests include playing and composing music, running, reading, Frisbee and traveling. Link (here)

Jesuit In Mubai On Breathing And Dancing

Let your inner child have a free run
24 Nov 2008,
By Joeanna Rebello, TNN

MUMBAI: You walk into this workshop with your eyes closed. Figuratively, you don't know what to expect; literally, the opening injunction directs you to "Join the circle and close your eyes''. And you do so. "Now walk''. This, you try to do. You're on the rim of a human circle, all spaced evenly at first, until the participants start to circumambulate "slowly, co-ordinating each breath with the forward motion of each foot''. Easy? You think? Tight-walking the road divider, eyes wide shut, would've been easier.

If you don't cheat, prepare either to collide lightly with the person ahead, trip the person behind, or stray out of the circle entirely and embrace the furniture or a wall. Apparently, you can't duplicate blindsight.

But you can trust the wisdom of your body to show you the way to InterPlay. Conceptualised in 1989 by two Americans, Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter, in Oakland California,
InterPlay is a movement of body and thought that unhinges the being from its learnt history of quotidian convention, and returns it to its original skin through play to resurrect instinct and intuition and let the body decide, and narrate.

The founders write that InterPlay is the ability to hold life both deeply and lightly. Without amusement we lose perspective, buoyancy and flexibility. In short: Yank out that inner child and give her broad latitude to express herself. How long do you think it took the group of adults to doff their inhibitions and do before each other what they wouldn't dare do before a mirror? To simulate, on command, the actions of a bird or a fish; to walk backward, forward, then in a wholly original way; to dance in abandon to music? No time at all.

Well, to have a middle-age priest run you through the motions really helps thaw that intransigent exterior.
Fr. Prashant Olalekar of the Jesuits wasn't himself so pliant at his first InterPlay experience in America in 2004. The gnawing question then, `How can a priest dance?' was superseded by the more troublesome `How can a priest dance with a woman?'
One of the techniques of InterPlay, an areligious concept, requires you to join your palms with another InterPlayer's and dance in synchrony and Fr. Prashant's partner happened to be Winton-Henry. Reservations thwarted, he danced and danced the concept all the way home.

"Dance is a medium for peace,'' Fr. Prashant explains, paying out the corollary that communing with other people somatically helps dissolve isolationism. "We restrict our communication to our intellect, and disparities and conflict can arise from there, but when you interact at the level of the body, you interact as equals.'' And so,
the methods of InterPlay have been recruited across five continents for the edification of industry, education, the arts, healthcare, peace activism and religion. In India, Fr. Prashant plugged the compatible programme of his self-devised `Movement Meditation' (alchemy of mindfulness and yoga) into the mainframe of InterPlay.
The result: Instant relaxation. This could explain the participants' readiness to dance like free radicals.

It has therapeautic virtues as well. "In America, my workshop was frequented by a 90-year-old woman who invariably fell asleep and started snoring when we got into guided relaxation (where the participant reclines on the ground in shavasana),'' Fr. Prashant recounts. "I gently suggested she rest at home if she was so tired, and she replied, `I suffer from insomnia and no treatment has worked so far. The sound of your voice puts me to sleep, and so I come to your workshops for the much-needed rest.' I didn't know whether to be offended or ple- ased,'' says the priest, laughing.
Fr. Prashant has taken Interplay to a slum settlement in Dahisar, the catacombs of Kamathipura, the clergy house of Vasai, a tribal village in south Gujarat, and everywhere the naturalness of this method, its ability to peel off the social straitjacket, and the peace it is capable of brokering among I-Players have won many to this `game'.
He hopes to win more through an intensive 3-day workshop in concert with American InterPlayers, from January 9 to 11, at Atma Darshan, Andheri. And so, the ones who've explored the hitherto undiscovered contours of body wisdom emerge from these sessions and continue to play privately, making animal shapes in the seclusion of their bathrooms or free-dancing before the telly. After all, why should kids have all the fun?

Link (here)

Monday, November 24, 2008

In The Middle Of Nowhere

NEPAL Disabled Men Find Ray Of Hope In Jesuit-run Home

On 2008-11-20

KATHMANDU (UCAN) -- Knowing that somebody cares is a great pick-me-up for Sher Bahadur Gurung as he sits in a wheelchair enjoying the sun on a cold November morning.

np_kathmandu.gifSt. Xavier's Social Service Centre in Nakhipot, on the southern outskirts of Kathmandu, can accommodate 16 mentally and physically challenged men like Gurung, whom society has effectively discarded.

Gurung uses a wheelchair to move around the grounds, unable to walk due to a spinal problem and leprosy. "Whatever has been happening in my life is God's will," the Hindu man told UCA News on Nov. 13.

"This center has given me fresh hope of reuniting with my family," said Gurung, who comes from Rupandehi district, 300 kilometers west of Kathmandu. His wife is working in Saudi Arabia, and their three young daughters live with her parents back home.

Gurung was working as a gatekeeper at a cinema hall when he was struck with yellow fever, which led to spinal problems. He then contracted leprosy while recuperating from the fever, he recounted.

The Jesuit-run center also looks after 85 poor and disabled boys at a separate facility nearby and runs Freedom Center, a rehabilitation facility for alcoholics and drug abusers. These services began in 1976 on the initiative of Jesuit Father Thomas Gafney, an American missioner who was murdered in 1997 in an unsolved crime.

Father Lawrence Maniyar, who heads the Jesuits in Nepal, told UCA News Dilip Kumar Toppo, a Jesuit seminarian, runs the facilities. Funds come from the Nepal Jesuit Society, occasional foreign donations and the small contributions some of the people using the services can afford.

According to Lal Bahadur Thami, 23, the nighttime caretaker of the men's facility, some residents and former residents eke out a living selling cigarettes, tobacco and sweets on the streets.

"The center helps by training them to make envelopes, candles and chalk," added Thami, who formerly lived at the Jesuit-run home for disabled and poor boys.

Every Sunday, groups of students from St. Xavier's College in Kathmandu visit the men and organize recreational activities. Some take the men for short walks around the grounds, the caretaker related.

"This is to make the men feel they have people who care for them," he said. "Protestant pastors also visit and talk to the inmates about Jesus Christ."

Suresh Khadki, 33, feels the center has finally given him a "new lease on life," but he longs to go back to his family in Kathmandu and live a normal life.

"I have done a lot of repenting here and back in jail," said Khadki, who killed his father 15 years ago in a drunken rage and went to prison for it.

"My family members don't want me back, while my fellow inmates at the jail once thrashed me so badly that I lost my mental balance and finally landed here," he recounted.

Another inmate, Gorakh Thapa, a 39-year-old Protestant, told UCA News his hopes of him returning home have faded, but he thanks God and the Jesuits for being there for him when he "needed them most."

"I heard my parents are no more, and I don't know of any relatives who may be around, so I am happy here," said Thapa, who was crippled by polio. He added that he has peace of mind now "in a society that looks down upon disabled and homeless people."

Gurung too feels good when pastors visit him and pray for him. He said he hopes to become a Christian one day and lead a normal life with his family.

He recalled that a Christian neighbor back home told him his ailments would be cured if he went to church and prayed earnestly. "I started going to the church and have felt a lot better since then," Gurung continued, with tears in his eyes.

Pastors at a Protestant church referred him to the center, he added, thanking God for this.


Gasson Hall Restoration

University officials and construction workers held a “topping off” ceremony on August 29 to commemorate the completion of an 18-month project to restore the tower of Gasson Hall—our “signature building,” in the words of project manager Jacob Mycofsky.
The tower’s exterior facade was replaced, as well as the cast stone and some of the stained glass windows in the building’s south wall.
Joining the celebration were (in foreground, from left) President William P. Leahy, SJ, Mary Nardone, associate vice president of planning and construction, Mycofsky, and John Romeo, director of capital construction. Work to renovate the building’s other walls and improve surrounding landscaping will continue and is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2011.

Link (here) to the Boston College blog

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jesuit Baptizes Baby With Water From The River Jordan

Baptisms are a wonderful time for Christian families to welcome their newest family members into their faith. But for Dennis and Pauline Joaquin, parishioners of St. Mary's Church in Dartmouth, a trip taken this past spring meant they could provide a little something extra for their granddaughter's baptism ceremony — water from the river Jordan.

The Joaquins decided to take the trip to Jerusalem after their son, who is currently studying to become a deacon, told them about an organized travel group that would be visiting the holy city.

"We're quite religious, and it was just wonderful to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ, from his birth to his crucifixion," said Mr. Joaquin of his travels.

Following those footsteps included a strict security regime that took some getting used to, said Mr. Joaquin.

"Security is a serious thing there. I wasn't accustomed to it being so stringent," he said, recalling the many checkpoints his bus tour went through. "We had an experienced priest with us, who was a resident of Jerusalem. They knew him and he was like a mediator, and they didn't bring any of us off the bus, but you could see it happening on the other buses."

The tour group visited places of importance, including Jesus' birthplace and the river Jordan, where visitors witnessed people being baptized. When someone mentioned that water could be taken from the river and brought home, Mr. Joaquin was struck by the idea that he could put the water to a more personal use.

"It was absolutely not planned, I thought of it when we were going there," he said. "We thought we could bring it back and have it so that my granddaughter would be able to use that water."

After filling two water bottles full, the Joaquins finished their trip; but their arrival at JFK airport almost saw their own country's security take the bottles away.

"To get them into this country," he said, laughing at the memory, "caused me to go and get pulled out of line asking, what is this for?"

After contacting St. Mary's for permission and being informed they needed to boil the water before it was used, the baptism day arrived. For the Rev. Francis J. Moy, S.J., this was only the second time he had performed a baptism using water from the Jordan River.

"I said this is perfect. I mean, water is water, but symbolically this is a great symbol. Symbolically, St. John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the river, of course it's not a Christian baptism as we have it, but it is a cleansing that was done by the Jews once a year. They ... felt they could be absolved of all their sinfulness by being blessed and having water poured on them from the river. From that, Jesus picked up on that the concept of Christian baptism."

Only a little water was used during the actual baptism and according to Mr. Joaquin, it was Father Moy who asked if all the babies present for that day's baptismal would be allowed to use the water.

"Why would we mind?" said Mr. Joaquin. "So we shared some. Before [Father Moy] started, he announced that was going to happen, and everyone clapped. It was a nice gesture. Two relatives of babies being baptized came over and thanked us after the ceremony. And my son got some thank-yous from other people."

Link (here)

Some Say Potato, Some Say Po-ta-toe

The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. recently spoke about Liberation Theology. Some say "Courageous" and some say "No confidence".

Jesuit On The Struggle Between Faiths In Malaysia

Aloysious Mowe, SJ is an International Visiting Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He is a Jesuit priest with an academic interest in Islamic law and history.

The position of the ahl al-dhimma, at least as found in the classical sources in Islam, is not one to which any non-Muslim living in Malaysia should be aspiring. Neither the Charter of Medina nor any of the early Muslim sources can provide a model for any modern nation. We need to go beyond these historical religious sources if freedom of conscience, equality, and citizenship are to have any meaning for Malaysians.

Read the full article (here)

More from Aloysious Mowe, S.J. (here) , (here) and (here)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

There Are 3,000 US Jesuits

The Rev. Timothy Lannon, president of St. Joseph's University, can envision a time when a lay person will lead the Jesuit school in Philadelphia because of the dwindling number of his brethren. So it's important now to instill the order's philosophy on campus through curriculum and staff initiatives, he said.

"Without Jesuits, how can you call yourself Jesuit?"
Lannon said. St. Joseph's is not alone, said Richard Yanikoski, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. As religious orders shrink, the critical challenge is for Catholic identity "to be built into the goals and operations and practices of the institution," Yanikoski said. The story is similar for Jesuits, whose numbers have been decreasing since the 1960s, according to the Jesuit Conference of the United States. Currently, there are about 3,000 nationwide and their average age is 60.

Link (here)

Nice Picture!

Everyone wants to find a Caravaggio
IN 1990, a lost painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was discovered by a curator from the National Gallery of Ireland. The Taking of Christ, which was spotted hanging in a Jesuit priests' residence in Dublin, became an international sensation.
That painting's authenticity has never been seriously challenged. But ever since, complains Helen Langdon, author of a major Caravaggio biography: "They (works attributed to him] are coming up all over the place."

Caravaggio's chaotic life lasted just 39 years, lived on the run between Milan, Rome, Sicily and Malta before his mysterious death in 1610 – notorious for his involvement in stabbings, brawls and beatings, Caravaggio left Rome after killing a young man in 1606.

But, for all his roving, rapacious lifestyle, he left scores of followers and artists deeply influenced by his work. Abhorred by Victorian art critic John Ruskin for feeding "upon horror and filthiness", Caravaggio's work returned to favour in the 1950s, when he was seen as an artist for the modern age.

As a young man he also painted several versions of the same subject, a fact which may help explain why, four centuries after his death, the art world is still arguing over what is a Caravaggio and what is not. Caravaggio left perhaps 50 canvases that we know survived, but that number appears to be increasing, with newly discovered works currently on show from Rome to Scotland. Langdon comments: "Everyone wants to find a Caravaggio."

For the next three months a newly uncovered Caravaggio, The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, is the centrepiece of The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection at the Queen's Gallery in Edinburgh. A second work in the exhibition, Boy Peeling Fruit, is also being attributed to the artist.

The former piece has been in royal hands since 1637, but was treated as an almost worthless copy until conservation and cleaning removed layers of dirt. It was unveiled at Buckingham Palace last year as a "discovery to shake the art world".

While some experts agree the Queen has an important "new" Caravaggio on her hands, others emphatically don't. Langdon says: "I don't think it's a copy, even. I think it's by somebody else."

Keith Sciberras, art history professor at the University of Malta, adds: "I'm one of those who is very sceptical. I have seen it during restoration and after restoration and, despite initial expectations the work might be an original, my reactions to it after restoration were much cooler. I do not hold it to be by Caravaggio."

So what are the tell-tale signs? The Royal Collection's curator, Lucy Whitaker, highlights details in The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew she says show the hand of the master. These include the way the paint and canvas was scored to save the pose of the figures. There are also the long fingers of one hand, with the white highlights on the fingernails; the stroke of pale colour under an eye, the horizontal light source. Above all, she says, "if it is by Caravaggio it has to punch you in the eyes… it hits you".

But Langdon's objections include "meaningless gestures", strange colours, a "ridiculously drawn" head and neck, boring composition and, above all, no sense of "wow" in the picture.

Sciberras doesn't like the way a big tilapia fish's head is handled, for example, but says the work is "very close to the master's manner".

However, Whitaker can cite the support of respected art historian Sir Denis Mahon, and points out that scholars who have worked on a painter for years often struggle to accept a new find.

The battles go on. In 2004, the National Gallery of Ireland's experts fought off claims by an Italian dealer that their Caravaggio was a copy because he had found the original. In 2007, an Italian art restorer claimed to have found a new work, Saint Jerome Writing. The same year, Mahon also claimed a discovery, purportedly an early version of the well-known Cardsharps.

Sciberras says: "I can tell you why a picture is by Caravaggio, but it is hard to say why a picture is not. (The Calling…] is that kind of picture that scholars will debate for decades."

Link (here)

"More Ex-Jesuits, Than Jesuits"

David Gregory is a candidate for entering the Jesuit order upon graduation from Georgetown.

During his senior year here, he will apply to the Jesuit Novitiate, a process which consists of a 15- to 20-page spiritual biography, several 4- to 6-hour long interviews and a psychological evaluation.
The Novitiate itself is a two-year process, at the core of which is a 30-day silent retreat and “apostolic experiments,” which are various service projects to serve the needs of the community. This is still a time of discernment for the young men.
As Gregory puts it, “There are more ex-Jesuits than Jesuits.”
Jesuits are known for their intellectual talents, and the education process is rigorous. There are four years of theology and three of philosophy, along with three years of either a missionary or teaching position before ordination.
Witnessing the sacrament of ordination was what confirmed Gregory’s belief in his calling. “There’s a part where the ordinates lie prostrate and everyone present blesses them,” he says. “Tears came to my eyes, and I thought that’s where I want to be, that’s where I’ve been led to.”
“People need to listen, there is a tendency to immediately quiet that voice,” Gregory says about the calling to vocation. According to Gregory, Georgetown sends about one student every year into the priesthood and Father Thomas King, S.J., echoes that statistic, placing the number at about 50 students during the 40 years he has been at Georgetown. King stresses the importance of the student in the discernment process. “There are ideas that pop into our heads and then pop back out. So, what kind of idea is it? We [the Jesuits] help them deal with different inclinations and making those inclinations their life.”

Link (here)

A Former Jesuit Is Close To Becoming A Congressman

Cao settled in Indiana for four ears, then resettled in Houston for high school, then earned a B.S. in physics in 1990 from Baylor University. Baylor is a Baptist university. But upon graduation,
Cao joined the Jesuit order. For six years he remained a Jesuit -- novice, scholastic, regent -- while earning a graduate degree in philosophy from Fordham University, several times doing social (anti-poverty) work abroad (including in his native Vietnam) and then teaching philosophy at Loyola University of New Orleans. But he was never ordained a priest. He had become interested in politics, and "religion and politics don't mix," he told me. Cao continued teaching philosophy at Loyola while attending Loyola's law school. (From physics to religion to philosophy to law -- quite the intellectual journey.)
Along the line he married, and eventually fathered two children. He found that New Orleans East had a vibrant Vietnamese expatriate community boasting a nursery run by Vietnamese nuns and an active church. He set up a shingle as general-practice attorney. He was appointed in 2001 to the National Advisory Council for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He became a board member of a charter school, and a board member for a community development corporation that runs a medical clinic, a retirement center, and an urban farm.

Read The full article (here)

America Magazine's Acting Publisher On Violation Of Church Teaching

The news that peace activist Fr. Roy Bourgeois was threatened with excommunication for his support of women’s ordination unleashed a storm of commentary and reaction from various Catholic interest groups and around the blogosphere.

One of the most high profile clerics to weigh in on the Vatican discipline is Jesuit

Fr. James Martin, an author and frequent contributor to America magazine, the weekly Jesuit publication. In a Nov. 11 blog posting, Martin essentially explained the collision course that was inevitable when Bourgeois clearly violated church teaching by participating in the ordination, no matter that on another level, he was following his conscience, an inviolable activity.
Martin cites several of the powerful references to conscience in Vatican II documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, including the line from Gaudiem et Spes: “Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

Martin tacks a “reflection” to the end `of his entry in which he recounts that the excommunication warning was sent to Bourgeois in October, within three months of the ordination ceremony in August. “Would that the church had acted with equal swiftness against sexually abusive priests. Would that bishops who had moved abusive priests from parish to parish were met with th same severeity of justice.

“Were their offenses of lesser ‘gravity?’” he asked. “ Did they cause lesser ‘scandal?’”

Link (here) to the full story

Friday, November 21, 2008

Military Chaplain Talks About Veterans Day

Jesuit in Iraq Paul Shaughnessey, SJ, a chaplain in Iraq was interviewed for a Veterans Day program on Catholic TV.
Watch his interview (here)
Link (here) to previous post

No Confidence In Liberation Theology

The Superior General of the Jesuits, Father Adolfo Nicolas, said this week he was disappointed that Liberation Theology has not received a “vote of confidence,” and he said the controversial approach should be given more time to mature.
Link (here)
Photo is of Fr. Jon Sobrino, S.J.

Interactive Bernard Lonergan, S.J.

A new Web site,, provides access to the archives of Bernard Lonergan, the late Canadian Jesuit theologian, philosopher and economist. Organization and development of the Web site was managed by Rev. Robert Doran, S.J., professor of theology at Marquette University.
Link (here)

Maryland Jesuits Consolidating To One Location

The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesuits wants to build a new residence for its 360 priests and brothers on the current 12-acre grounds at 5704 Roland Ave. "I think the need is to expand the community," province spokeswoman Mary Tilghman said. "There are Jesuits out there who need to come to community." .....Jesuits are scattered in rectories throughout the Maryland province.

The Roland Park location, known as the St. Claude La Colombiere Residence, is a kind of home base, with a chapel on the grounds, Tilghman said. Priests hear confessions there and have group meetings.
Some have their own offices, where they do their writing, Tilghman said. Province offices are no longer there. They moved to 8600 LaSalle Road, in Towson, Aug. 4, consolidating offices that were in three different locations, Tilghman said. Tentative plans are to build a new residence either in place of, or behind, the existing one, Tilghman said. "That's what's being worked on -- what to do with what's there now," she said.

Link (here)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Le Moyne College Receives $50,000,000.00

Le Moyne College has received one of the largest single donations ever made to a Jesuit college or university, Le Moyne President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., announced today. The McDevitt Endowment, currently valued at approximately $50 million, will more than double Le Moyne's current endowment. It will be dedicated to the academic areas of computer science, information processing, physics and religious philosophy.
The McDevitt Endowment was established by a generous donation from the estate of Robert and Catherine McDevitt of Binghamton, N.Y., long-time friends of Le Moyne College and faithful supporters of Jesuit education. Robert McDevitt's cousin, the late Rev. Edward L. McDevitt, S.J., helped establish Le Moyne College's physics department after the college was founded in 1946.
"The McDevitt Endowment is a transformational gift and one of the most significant events in our history," Dr. Pestello said. "The new McDevitt Endowment will enhance our standing in the national academic community, continue our momentum toward becoming one of the finest institutions of our kind in the country and ensure that Le Moyne remains an excellent value."
Link (here)

Our Jesuit Friend In The Curia

In the apostle’s footsteps in Rome
By Belinda Olivares-Cunanan

An Excerpt.
Right in St. Peter’s Basilica, the gigantic marble statues of the two princes of the Church dominate the huge square: the benign Peter on one side holding the keys of the kingdom, and Paul across, wearing his customary scowl and holding up a sword. Statues and paintings of St. Paul invariably depict him with the sword, possibly because it was by the sword that he attained martyrdom in the year 67.
But it could also symbolize, as our Rome-based family friend, Fr. Jose Quilongquilong, S.J. of Cebu City, now a ranking official of the Jesuit Curia,
noted, the penetration of the Gospel in the hearts of men everywhere that Paul did so effectively in his 30 years’ apostolate among the Gentiles.

Link (here)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

With Friends Like These....

Our organization contains many faithful Catholics and is co-chaired by Sister Joan Chittister (Benedictine Sister). We seek to recruit faithful Catholics into the NSP, and we do not wish to give them the impression that we are challenging their entire faith.
Moreover, at the SOAW demonstration this weekend you'll be able to meet many Catholics who have anti-war, anti-violence and pro-peace and generosity perspectives--and they represent a major part of American Catholicism. So please help us communicate our outrage at the attempt to silence or excommunicate Father Roy Bourgeois without doing so in a way that indicates respect and genuine caring connection to the many Catholics who remain committed to peace and social justice but who may be afraid to speak out on this issue for fear of losing their connection with the Church
(including many many Jesuits, for example, who share our progressive peace-oriented and social-justice oriented perspectives and would be part of the NSP, but are fearful that they too would be thrown out of their livelihood should they speak out clearly on these topics).
Link (here)