Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fr. Gustave Weigel, S.J., On Billy Graham

"What to Think of Billy Graham" is the title of an article in America, 4 May 1957, by Father Gustave Weigel, S.J. a student of modern Protestant theologies. This is perhaps the most competent evaluation of Dr. Graham and his "crusades" that I have seen, but, unfortunately, much of it would be lost on many people. Father Weigel is a learned and widely-read man and a deep thinker. His tribe is not great. Nevertheless, there is much in the article that is clearly and simply expressed. Father Weigel sees three elements in Dr. Graham's popularity: "current interest in religion; the revival tradition; Graham's streamlining of the revival framework." The last two elements are explained at some length. Father Weigel pays generous tribute to Dr. Graham's sincerity: 
"The man himself is not eccentric in any way whatever. No one has ever questioned his seriousness and sincerity. Nor can he be accused of preaching the gospel for filthy lucre's sake." 
Then Father Weigel raises the fundamental question of authority. What right has Dr. Graham to tell anyone what is Christian truth? Mr. High, in the first books mentioned above, labours mightily in chapter two to explain how Dr. Graham "can be so sure." This is not such a difficult question. It is individual and personal, and the answer to it explains Dr. Graham's sincerity. But does Dr. Graham tell us with authority what the Bible means - what is the authentic and complete message of the inspired Scriptures? Certainly not. 
"Graham's sincerity is no guarantee of the accuracy of his understanding." What has he, then? "He says, in effect, that he has found his own life transformed by an act of trust in the message he has sincerely extracted from Bible-reading.
This comes down to saying: "It is true because it worked for me." Father Weigel's examination of the question is much more extensive than I have indicated. He tries to examine every aspect and to show exactly what is involved. There can be no satisfactory answer to Fr. Weigel's arguments. 

Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. On Perfection

What does it mean to be perfect?  Perfect is defined as that which is complete or whole.  So a perfect house, or a perfect car, is one that is complete—it has everything it needs to function well, as a house or as a car.  The imperfect is anything that lacks wholeness and completeness.  So a house without a roof is imperfect, and a car with no motor is imperfect. My reason for raising this subject is that Our Lord tells us, in Matthew 5:48, that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.  Also, I have noticed, in reading St. Thomas Aquinas, that he often uses the distinction between what is imperfect and what is perfect. 
Our ultimate goal in life, a supernatural goal, which is the face-to-face vision of God in heaven for all eternity, is a state of perfection.  Everyone in heaven right now is perfect.  Each one is perfect, according to the degree of grace attained, according to divine providence, something similar to the hierarchies of angels.  God alone is infinitely perfect in every way. 
Perfection in this life means developing all of one’s faculties, and practicing all the virtues, especially the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.  For example, what is required by the Church in the canonization process is that the individual under consideration must be proven to have practiced heroic virtue, that is, to have achieved a certain perfection.
Read (here) the full article by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. at Homiletic and Pastoral Review

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

John Carr Now At America

America is pleased to announced the naming of John Carr as our new Washington Correspondent. Mr. Carr, whose first column will appear in the March 11 issue, will offer regular analysis and commentary, in print and online, on key issues and events in the nation’s capital. His print column will be called “Washington Front,” a name that will be familiar to America’s long-time readers. “Washington Front” appeared in the magazine for more than 25 years; its various authors included the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Mary McGrory. John Carr has spent decades at the intersection of faith and public life. For more than twenty years, he served as Director of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Department on Justice, Peace and Human Development, where he assisted the bishops in sharing and applying Catholic social teaching on a broad range of national and international issues.  Carr retired from the U.S.C.C.B. last year to accept a residential fellowship on religion and politics at Harvard University and to develop new ways to encourage greater knowledge and dialogue on Catholic social thought and educate lay men and women for leadership in public life.
Link (here) to America

Fr. Matt Malone, S.J. On Garry Wills

Garry Wills
What is one to make of Garry Wills?  Some years ago I reviewed his book, Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit. It’s a tendentious tissue of half-truths that, taken as a whole, amounts to willful distortion, which is quite ironic in a book that self-righteously presents itself as exposing the Church’s lies. There’s a lot of angry bluster in Garry Wills, but little else. 
Recently, he was being particularly adolescent on the Colbert Report, leading Fr. Matt Malone, S.J., to make the following comment on the America website: “It is not really Mr. Wills’s unorthodox views that give us cause to question his Christian commitment; it is his manifest lack of charity.” 
But his books play an important ideological role, which is why this inflated man continues to have currency. In America, Christianity remains a powerful cultural and political force, and Catholicism is often its  most visible institutional form. For progressives of all stripes, it’s therefore ideologically important to discredit Christianity and Catholicism. That’s what Garry Wills sells. 
Link (here) to the full article by R.R. Reno at First Things

A Chief Curse Of Life In Japan

St. Ignatius of Loyola was so keenly interested in the fortunes of his sons, wherever they might be, that he once said he would like to know how many fleas bit them at night. Plenty of fleas bit his dearest son Francis Xavier while snatched his brief slumbers on the matted floor, for though the cleanest people in the world beat and shake the mats incessantly the fleas still thrive in such excellent cover and are, or used to be a chief curse of life in Japan.
From the book entitled, St. Francis Xavier, S.J., by Fr. James Brodrick, S.J. page 245 an Image Book

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fr. Ronald Tacelli, S.J. And Fr. Patrick Ryan, S.J. Said, "No"

The statue of St. Ignatius at Boston College
Students Christopher Canniff and Ethan Mack, editors of The Observer at Boston College, wrote an open letter to Fr. William Leahy, S.J., president of Boston College, asking him to reconsider the production of the Vagina Monologues. The editors wrote:
Two points of particular concern to us, among the very many problematic components of the play, are (1) the radical reduction of the female person to her sexual organs and (2) the lauding of the statutory rape of a sixteen-year-old girl as not simply good, but in fact salvific and heavenly for her. In the light of recent Church history, it is incomprehensible how a play that praises sexual intercourse involving a minor can be permitted to continue on this campus.
An online petition supporting the discontinuation of the annual production was signed by nine faculty members, including many in both the theology and philosophy departments, and a couple dozen students and alumni. The effort also received the public support of Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for Military Services, and a 1973 graduate of Boston College.

Link (here)

 The following persons support the discontinuation of the annual productions of The Vagina Monologues. (listed in alphabetical order)
  1. Stephen Brown – Professor of Theology
  2. M.J. Connolly – Chairman of the Department of Slavic & Eastern Languages
  3. Jorge Garcia – Professor of Philosophy
  4. Peter Kreeft – Professor of Philosophy
  5. Paul Mariani – University Professor of English
  6. Francis McLaughlin – Associate Professor of Economics
  7. Rev. Patrick Ryan, SJ – Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology
  8. Margaret Schatkin – Associate Professor of Theology
  9. Rev. Ronald Tacelli, SJ – Associate Professor of Philosophy
Students & Alumni:
  1. Patrick Angiolillo – A&S ‘14
  2. Margo Borders – A&S ‘16
  3. Most Rev. Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for Military Services USA – A&S ‘73
  4. Dave Campo – A&S ’14
  5. Dana Cassidy – CSON ‘16
  6. Jay Chin – A&S ‘15
  7. Katelyn Conroy – A&S ‘14
  8. Gael T. Daly – NCSH ‘61
  9. Timothy B. Daly – A&S ‘60; Law ‘64
  10. Michael Emala – GA&S ‘13
  11. Gjergji Evangjeli – A&S ‘14
  12. Tim Gavin – A&S ‘98
  13. Mark Hertenstein – A&S ‘14
  14. Paul Hillen – CSOM ‘15
  15. Donato Infante III – A&S ‘09; GA&S ‘11
  16. Gabriella Karina – A&S ‘13
  17. Chris Klotsche – CSOM ‘16
  18. Alex Marsland – A&S ‘14
  19. Katie Martin – A&S ‘15
  20. Patrick McGervey – A&S ‘15
  21. John O’Shea – A&S ‘13
  22. Jonathan Petersen – CSOM ‘12
  23. David Raminski – A&S ‘13
  24. Katie Rich – A&S ‘15
  25. Nathaniel Sanders – A&S ‘13
  26. Peter Sheridan – A&S ‘16
  27. Christy Tran – CSON ’12
  28. Peter Vadala – MBA ‘14
Link (here)

To Seek And Find The Divine Will

Grace: To ask for the courage and generosity to draw closer to God.
Text for Prayer: Psalm 130
Reflection: Why exercise? The simplest answer might be to say that one exercises in order “to be healthy,” and regular exercise can certainly be a good thing when directed towards physical and mental health. There are many ways that people today strive to achieve what they call their fitness or wellness goals and a plethora of training manuals to go with these many exercise routines.
But focusing on physical exercise only as the sole means to wellness can lead us to forget that it is equally important to focus on our interior lives. St. Ignatius, in the Spiritual Exercises, offers a training manual for a health that is just as important as physical and mental health, if not even more so, our spiritual health and the care of our souls. \
 The Exercises, as the Saint writes himself, are about “disposing the soul to rid itself of all the disordered tendencies, and after it is rid, to seek and find the Divine Will” (Annotation 1). In other words, the Exercises are about detaching ourselves from all that might hold us from knowing and seeking God’s Will in our own lives, and then helping us to learn how to make better choices that will lead us to God and genuine happiness.
One might be intimidated by the thought of performing spiritual exercises—that is contemplative prayer—as St. Ignatius proposes. The use of the term exercises may be off-putting to the person unfamiliar with contemplative prayer. But we must remember to trust in the work of God, that can at times appear to be rather slow, and that God is always ready to meet us where we are, provided we first acknowledge where it is that God needs to meet us. Sometimes getting to this starting point, asking the challenging questions about where we are with respect to our relationship with God, can take a great deal of courage. We don’t always want to be generous with our time or feel that it might be too difficult to simply allow ourselves to enter into God’s presence with trust. But the one who immerses himself in the Exercises, Ignatius writes, “will come to feel and understand what is best in this life so that he can benefit himself and to gather fruit to help and benefit many others” (Letter to Dr. E. de Miona, November 16, 1536).
To begin to pray according to the method of the exercises, one should prepare a quiet spot, free from any distractions. Preparation here involves more than just finding a chair or arranging a seat cushion, but actually gazing upon the spot as a place where one might encounter the living God by sitting, kneeling, standing, or lying down. Then, one should place himself in this spot, ask for the grace that one is seeking, and then bring to mind the various points for prayer, which might take the form of a passage from scripture followed by some questions for consideration. The prayer period is comprised of the careful consideration of these points. There is no set time limit as it may vary from person to person, depending on how God wishes to move one during prayer and how the person wishes to respond. Of course, one wants to avoid praying too much or too little, and during the course of the exercises, one is able to get a better sense when is the right moment to continue with or walk away from prayer.
Before immersing oneself in the Exercises and the various contemplations contained therein, however, it is often best then to begin by first evaluating one’s relationship with God. The start of Lent is a good time to begin to ask challenging questions and the following questions can serve as a guide.
Questions: How much time do I devote to God on a daily basis? How do I spend this time? Am I easily distracted? If so, by what? Am I willing to give a little more time to God or is something standing in the way? Why do I want to spend this time with God?
Link (here) to The Spiritual Exercises Blog, the post is by  Mr. Marc Valadao, S.J.
Irapuato: Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. and Mark Brumley discuss the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI at GloriaTV (here)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J. On The Camauro

Was it not Sigmund Freud who said that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”? Ms. Randy Engel is naively American in her political faith and just too untraditional in her statement that the camauro is merely “camp.”
For all we knew, the pope’s personal physician may have ordered the elderly Benedict to wear a hat outdoors, and for a pope, there is no real choice except the historic camauro which is simply the pontifical biretta. John Allen (online National Catholic Reporter, 21 November 2010) wrote that in December 2005, Benedict XVI once sported the camauro, a thick woolen cap last worn by Pope John XXIII. Several commentators touted it as an example of Benedict’s traditionalism. But in the Peter Seewald interview, the pope says the reality was far more prosaic: It was a cold day, Benedict has a cold-sensitive head, the camauro was lying around, and he simply put it on. Benedict said he’s never done so since, “in order to forestall over-interpretation.” It remains to be seen whether the new pope elected in 2013 will do as Pope Benedict did in reviving the limited use of the camauro.
Camauro Etymology
Latin: camelaucum, from the Greek kamelauchion = camel skin hat. A cap traditionally worn by the pope. Camauros are red with white ermine trim, and are worn in place of the biretta of lower orders of clergy. The camauro is thought to represent the headgear of the “armor of God.” It has been part of the papal wardrobe since the 12th century. For a while, it was worn by cardinals, though without the ermine trim, but in 1464 it was restricted to the pope with cardinals wearing the scarlet zucchetto instead. The papal camauro fell into disuse after the death of Pope John XXIII in 1963, but Pope Benedict XVI wore one in December 2005.
Link (here) to Homiletic And Pastoral Review to the piece by Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J.

Pope James Martin, S.J..

Here are 12 reasons why you should elect me pope, which I'm calling: 
Twelve Reasons Why You Should Elect Me Pope.
1. I'm a man. That's half the battle, right?
2. I'm baptized. And I've got the papers to prove it. No birther controversy here.
3. I speak several languages. Not well, but you know, who does really? I speak English, as you can see from this little essay. And guess what: Bonjour! That's right: French! I started studying français when I was in seventh grade. (Notice I used the little thingy under the "c.") That means I can talk to pretty much all of West Africa and France: that's a lot of Catholics. Unfortunately, if I have to use the subjunctive or the pluperfect we're out of luck, but all I have to do is avoid saying, "If I were" in any of my encyclicals and we're golden.
But there's more: Hola! That's right: I speak Spanish. More or less. Or, "Mas o menos," as we say in the biz. Now, in this case, I can't really handle the past or future tenses, but that's OK, because that means I'll be speaking all about the present -- which will make me sound forceful and confident. You know, "Now is the time!" Or "Ahora es la ... well, ora, I guess." Anyway, there are lots and lots of Spanish-speaking Catholics and once they hear my rendition of "De Colores," they'll be sold on the Servant of the Servants of God muy rapido.
4. I'm half Italian. I almost forgot: Ciao! I'm half Italian. On my mom's side. So once I'm the Bishop of Rome I'll easily be able to deal with any problems in the curia, because all the Italian curial officials will instantly recognize me as a paesan. Scandals? Finito! Mismanagement? Basta! (That's Italian for "done" and "over," in case yours is rustissimo.) My election will also satisfy anyone looking for an Italian pope: i.e., all the Italian cardinals, who you definitely want on your side. The other half of me, by the way, is Irish, which goes a long way in the States, believe you me.
5. I worked in Africa. I almost forgot my other language. Jambo! That's right! I speak Swahili. Or Kiswahili. (That's Swahili for Swahili.) Well, at least I used to. I worked in Kenya for two years. So for all those people who want a pope from the developing world, well, I'm not exactly from there, but there are three babies who were named after me while I was working in Kenya. (They're not mine, if that's a worry.) That's got to count for something.
Now that you know that I speak English and Spanish and French and Swahili, you're probably thinking, "Gee, why not Jim as the Pontifex Maximus?" Why not share that thought with the guy in red sitting next to you?
6. Books. You probably want a pope who is literate but maybe not someone who spends so much time writing books, what with all the stuff he has to deal with. I know that this was sometimes a criticism of Pope Benedict XVI -- not that I'm casting any stones! But I've already written my books, so when I'm in the Vatican I'll be 100 percent on the job. Nine to five. Weekends too, if things ever get really busy. Sundays, of course, I'll be available for Masses.
7. Business experience! Speaking of jobs -- guess what? -- I've got a degree from the Wharton School. That's one of the big business schools here in the States. Plus I worked at General Electric for six years. So here's some good news: say arrivederci to any managerial problems in the curia. Ever heard of Management by Objectives? The marginal propensity to consume? The "Four Ps" of marketing? You will after I'm Supreme Pontiff. That place will run like a top. A top that makes money, too.
8. I'm ordained. I almost forgot: I'm already an ordained priest. That means that, since I meet all the other requirements, the only thing that left is for me to be willing to be ordained a bishop. And guess what: I'm willing. Now let me anticipate a minor objection. I'll bet that you know that I took a vow as a Jesuit not to "strive for or ambition" any high office in the church, but I've got a nice, easy, canonically doable way around that roadblock. Once you elect me pope, I'll be my own superior! After I put on those white robes, I can just call up the Jesuit superior general and say, "Hey, how about letting me accept that ordination as bishop and my election as pope?" And I figure he'll have to say yes because he takes orders from me. Problem solved. Besides I'm not striving or ambitioning anyway. I'm campaigning.
9. Educated. The Jesuit training process is really, really, really long. I can't even remember how many years I was in studies. That means that I studied philosophy (good to know), theology (really good to know) and a whole lot of other stuff like church history, which I think would be pretty helpful as pope. And guess what? I know Ancient Greek, too. That really impresses the scholarly types in the church. E.g., when scholars ask me, "What translation of the New Testament are you using?" I'll say, "My translation." They love that kind of thing. Plus, that appeals to the Ancient-Greek-speaking demographic that the church may have given up on.
10. Willing to travel. OK, I admit it. I'm not all crazy about air travel, what with all the delays and having to take your shoes off and sitting next to someone who keeps coughing up a lung, but it just dawned on me that this won't be a problem at all. The Pontiff has his own airplane: Shepherd One. So once you install free movies in my gold-and-white plane I'm golden. I'll go wherever you want me to go. To the ends of the earth, if need be. As long as I get an extra bag of peanuts.
11. Humility. I can already predict what your last objection is: My campaigning for pope may make me seem a tad less humble than you might hope for. But isn't the fact that I'm willing to campaign a sign of my humility? A less humble guy would assume that everyone already knows that he'd be a good candidate and so wouldn't say anything out of his pride. Kind of counterintuitive, huh? Ergo: Since I'm campaigning, I'm No. 1 when it comes to humility.
12. Cool Name. Everyone knows that the first big decision the pope makes is his choice of name. Plus, I know everyone's always worried about continuity. With that in mind (I like to think ahead, which is a good trait) I've already picked my name. As you know, Pope Paul VI's successor chose the name "John Paul I," to show his continuity with Pope John XXIII and Paul VI. Everyone was pretty impressed with that. Next you had John Paul II. More continuity. And of course next we had (or have, depending on when you're reading this) Benedict XVI. If you elect me, and I hope you will, after I say "Accepto" (see I speak a little Latin too), I would choose my name: John Paul Benedict I. That takes care of everyone from John XXIII to Benedict. Continuity plus. Of course saying "JPB1" might take some getting used to but Catholics are pretty flexible, and I'll bet before long there will be lots of babies baptized John Paul Benedict.
Link (here) to the full post Fr. James Martin, S.J. at the Huffington Post

Fr. Alan Fogarty, S.J. New Mission

Pontifical Biblical Institute
Jesuit Father Alan Fogarty has been appointed the next president of the Gregorian University Foundation, which oversees the fundraising operations of the consortium of three Jesuit institutes of higher education in Rome: the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute. “Serving the universal church as president of the Gregorian University Foundation is a great opportunity to give myself to the mission of the Society of Jesus in ways previously unimagined. I very much look forward to building relationships in support of the three consortium institutes,” Fr. Fogarty said.
Link (here) to

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., "He Offered A Very Personal, Meditative Reflection. As People Now Recognize, He Was Articulate, Organized And Coherent"

Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. has known Pope Benedict XVI since 1972, when the American priest began doctoral studies at the University of Regensburg, where then-Father Joseph Ratzinger had a strong following among graduate students. Father Ratzinger was just 45 years old when the young American Jesuit from San Francisco arrived at the university, but the German-born academic had already earned a reputation for explaining difficult theological concepts in clear, incisive language. “He was different, and people came to listen to him. He offered a very personal, meditative reflection. As people now recognize, he was articulate, organized and coherent,” recalled Father Fessio, during an interview that shared recollections of Ratzinger’s role as a teacher and offered an appreciation of his gifts as an author. But Father Ratzinger’s intellectual gifts were even more striking during the graduate seminars, “where there would be five or six of us. In each session, one person would make a presentation, and others would respond,” Father Fessio remembered. “Father Ratzinger would listen, and then, in the discussion, he would make sure that others also spoke. My German was not good, and I couldn’t say very much.” During the seminars, Father Ratzinger “would sit back, and then, at the end of the seminar, in two or three sentence, he would summarize all that was said. He pulled the discussion together into an organic whole in a way that was always illuminating.” 
Link (here) to Catholic World Report

Former Carmichael Jesuit Football Coach Linked To Double Murder

Patrick Streater
“We’re talking about overkill, passion killing-type, what I would consider a passion killing,” investigators said in 1996. Tiffany Campbell and Melissa Chilton, both just 18 years old, were found brutally stabbed inside Exotic Tan for Men, a Nashville adult business. All along, investigators believed the murders were personal, and now think Patrick Streater was Campbell’s ex-boyfriend. Late Nashville Det. Grady Eleam thought he was close to solving the case in 2002. “We do have a suspect. We’re concentrating on him and have been concentrating on for six months now,” Eleam said. Around the same time in early 2002, Streater was arrested in a series of violent home invasion robberies in the Sacramento area. At the time, he was a football coach at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, known to the players simply as Coach Streater. Serving time in state prison for those robberies, detectives believe he is responsible for two murders that went unsolved for nearly two decades. Police say scientific evidence and interviews conducted over the years links Streater to the killings. He will soon be transported to Nashville to face his new charges.
Link (here) to

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jesuits At The Los Angeles Religious Education Conference

Jesuit Speakers at the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference

Fr. Gregory J. Boyle, SJ
Jesuit priest Fr. Greg Boyle has been an advocate for at-risk and gang-involved youth in Los Angeles for over 25 years. He is founder and Director of Jobs For A Future/Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention and employment referral program for gang-involved youth in the United States. As an expert on gangs and intervention approaches, Fr. Boyle is a nationally renowned speaker and consultant and serves as a member of local and national gang advisory boards. His latest book is entitled “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.”

Rev. Richard Leonard, SJ
Some people are wary of the cinema because of the worst movies that are on the screens. There are, however, films – and sometimes not overtly religious ones – that can move us to a deeper communication with God. This workshop will look at the media context within which our people explore their faith and offer movie suggestions for the classroom, retreats, reflection days, rites of initiation (RCIA), and formation nights.
James Martin, SJ
Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is Contributing Editor of America Magazine. He is the author of several award-winning books including, most recently, “Between Heaven and Mirth,” “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything” and “My Life with the Saints.” A popular speaker, Fr. Martin is a frequent speaker at national conferences, retreats and parish groups, and has given presentations at the Religious Education Congress each year for the past several years.

Jesuit Exibitors at the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference

America Magazine - (212) 581-4640 -
        New York, NY - Category: Religious Publication
         Booth(s): 584

Boston College School of Theology and Ministry - (617) 552-6535 -
        Chestnut Hill, MA - Category: Educational Institution
         Booth(s): 110, 112

California Province Jesuits and Lay Partners - (408) 884-1630 -
        Los Gatos, CA - Category: Religious Life
         Booth(s): 260, 262, 264, 266

Creighton University Master of Arts in Ministry Program - (402) 280-2424 -
        Omaha, NE - Category: Educational Institution
         Booth(s): 567

 Fordham University Graduate School of Religious Education - (718) 817-4800 -
        New York, NY - Category: Educational Institution
         Booth(s): 668

Homeboy Industries - (323) 526-1254 -
        Los Angeles, CA - Category: Faith & Justice
         Booth(s): 281, 283

 Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University at Berkeley - (510) 549-5013 -
        Berkeley, CA - Category: Educational Programs
         Booth(s): 688

Loyola Institute for Ministry - (504) 865-3399 -
        New Orleans, LA - Category: Educational Institution
         Booth(s): 671 

Loyola Marymount University - (800) 568-4636 -
        Los Angeles, CA - Category: Educational Institution
         Booth(s): 357, 359, 361, 456, 458, 460 

Loyola Press - (800) 621-1008 -
        Chicago, IL - Category: Educational Programs
         Booth(s): 137, 139, 141, 143, 145, 236, 238, 240, 242, 244 

Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Pastoral Studies - (800) 424-1238 -
        Chicago, IL - Category: Educational Institution
         Booth(s): 160

Santa Clara University/Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries & The Jesuit School of Theology - (408) 554-4831 -
        Santa Clara, CA - Category: Educational Institution
         Booth(s): 690

Link (here)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Woodstock Closing

The Jesuit research institute run by the brother of Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) is closing after 40 years. In a recent letter to supporters, Woodstock Theological Center Director Gasper LoBiondo writes that a decision has been made “to bring an end to Woodstock’s ministry as an independent center.” The center, which is housed at Georgetown University, will close its doors in June.LoBiondo, a Jesuit priest  and economist, writes, “We are deeply grateful to all whose generosity and hard work have sustained the ministry of Woodstock.”
Link (here)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fr. Hugh Kelly, S.J., " The Most Widespread And Sustained Missionary Effort In The History Of Christianity"

St. Francis Xavier, S.J.
For centuries, in the late middle ages, the spread of Christianity in Asia had been held up by the wide-spread conquests of the Moslem power. The followers of Mahomet were the fanatical enemies of Christianity, in the long wars of the Crusades; and for centuries, they lay across all the land routes to the east. But in the last decade of the fifteenth century two events occurred which allowed the current of Christian missions to flow again. In 1492, Columbus discovered America and in 1497, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and thus opened up the sea approaches to the east. These two discoveries threw open to Christian zeal vast fields, white to the harvest, and resulted in a wonderful outburst of missionary activity. The ships which Spain and Portugal sent out to the west and to the east, in addition to their complements of sailors, soldiers, merchants, and adventurers, carried zealous and intrepid missionaries. Francis Xavier is the acknowledged leader of that army. He was the spearhead in the most widespread and sustained missionary effort in the history of Christianity. By his heroic example and his burning letters, he drew the attention of Catholic Europe to the vast multitudes so suddenly revealed as waiting for the good news of the gospel. His courage, zeal and enterprise, have made him the symbol and inspiration of all foreign missionaries. The Holy See created him the patron of foreign missions. His heroic achievement, and his devotion to a high ideal, have been generously recognised even by historians who do not share his faith. His career has been called one of the most heroic efforts of human history.
Link (here) to SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, S.J. Jesuit and Missionary by Fr. Hugh Kelly, S.J.

University Of San Francisco Promotes Anti-Catholic To Theology Chair

Vincent Pizzuto of the University of San Francisco was still using the term “we” to describe same-sex attracted Catholics. While the “we” indicates Pizzuto considered himself a Catholic at that time, it is questionable how deeply that identification was felt: four months later, in July of 2006, Pizzuto was ordained a priest in the Celtic Christian Church, a church not in communion with the Rome.  At the time the “Alienated Catholics” presentation was given, the pastor of St. Agnes parish was Father Cameron Ayers, SJ.  Ayers, like Pizzuto, has since left the Church, and is now an assisting priest at San Francisco’s Holy Innocents Episcopal Church. At the time of his ordination, Father Pizzuto was serving as an assistant professor in the department of theology and religious studies  at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, a nominally Catholic university. Sometime between February 2011 and October 2012 (according to the department webpage), despite his public alienation from the Catholic Church, 
Pizzuto has been promoted and he now serves as the chair of the theology department. Pizzuto’s faculty webpage at USF links directly to the webpage of the New Skellig Community  Church, where he is the presider. New Skellig is a member community of the Celtic Christian Church, the body into which Pizzuto was ordained. 
The Church Statements listed on the Celtic Christian Church’s webpage are only three: Homosexuality and Same-Sex Relationship; Supporting Document on the Question of Homosexuality and Same-Sex Relationships; and Church Statement Concerning Abortion. From the Homosexuality and Same-Sex Relationships  page: “If a homosexual couple wishes to make a public commitment to each other, the Church blesses such a desire and celebrates it by means of a marriage ceremony presided over by one of its clergypersons.” Pizzuto himself writes on the New Skellig Community Weddings page: “Because the Celtic Christian Church is a canonically independent catholic church whose governing principles prioritize the ‘Law of Love’ above rules and regulations, we are especially sensitive to couples who have been alienated from their church of origin, or who find that their marriage is unjustly prohibited in some Christian institutions. This is often the case, for example, among couples who are: Previously divorced; Same-gendered;  Inter-religious… In all cases, Father Vincent works personally with each couple to guide them in creating a dignified ceremony that genuinely expresses the couple’s relationship, commitment and spirituality.”
Link (here) to Cal-Cath

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fr. Daniel Lord, S.J., On Being A Happy Jesuit

Fr. Daniel A. Lord, S.J.
Yet I, as a Jesuit, out of a pleasant experience of nearly twenty years, venture to speak of the Society that shelters me. I have been very happy in the Society, and I think it has done and is doing astonishingly fine work. I’m past the first youthful period of enthusiasm, for forty years are about to fall on my graying head, and almost twenty years of life in the Society lie behind me. Each year of my life has made me love the Society a little more, and has bound me just a little closer to my fellow Jesuits. I am uninteresting, for the simple fact that I am content; only the turbulent and rebellious are really interesting, it seems. I am truly and honestly happy in my life, and I can fancy no other life that would give me half the mental contentment I find in the Society. I have been offered opportunities at which men in other professions would jump; I prefer what I have to anything anyone could offer me.

So why should not I who am happy speak my happiness as freely as the discontented speak their discontent? Why should not I speak of the satisfaction I find in the Society, when some few who have left it speak so loudly of their dissatisfaction? Happiness need not be silent because unhappiness is so vocal. If the thousands of happy, contented Jesuits do not speak when a former associate tells of the not surprising causes that led him to take off his cassock, it is perhaps because a “happy country has no history,” and a normal Jesuit takes his happiness so much for granted that he never thinks that it might make interesting news. He is a little afraid that it is not quite decent to parade before the world what he considers to be God’s best gift.

Everywhere, if you come to think of it, the discontented man is the one with the loud voice and the strident complaint. The happily married do not find their way into the newspapers, nor does the successful banker protest that he has a good bank. The happy and the successful are usually too busy enjoying their happiness to talk much about it.
Link (here) to read the full article by Fr. Daniel Lord, S.J. entitled, These Terrible Jesuits!

St. Francis Xavier, S.J., ' The Japanese Are Best Disposed Towards Our Christian Way Of Life.”

“Among all the nations of the Far East that I know, the Japanese are best 
                                             disposed towards our Christian way of life.”

Three hundred years of cruel persecution could not completely destroy the seeds Xavier had planted. All the early Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries were killed, every known Christian was martyred. But seven generations later, when missionaries were able to return to Japan, they found over 60,000 Catholics hidden in the mountains or in small fishing villages. They still sang the Ave Maria in Latin! They still practiced the daily recitation of the Rosary
Link (here) to Shrine of St. Jude

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fr. Stephen J. Brown, S.J., " For A Protestant The Universal Church Is Not A Visible Society At All"

The word “church” (or its equivalent in various languages) is used of a public place of worship where Mass is regularly said, while a “chapel” is a more or less private place of worship, belonging, say, to a convent, or else a portion of a church containing a separate side-altar. 
It is desirable that the incorrect use of “church” and “chapel” should be given up, first, because it is out of harmony with universal Catholic usage, but still more because it gives the word “ church “ an indefinable Protestant flavour which is apt to chill the feeling of affection which that word ought to arouse in us. But, even where the word “church” is quite correctly used, children, for a time at least, are puzzled by uses of the word, which clearly cannot apply to the object which they first learned to call church, namely, the building to which they used to be taken to hear Mass or go to Confession. 
They hear it said, for instance, that the Church teaches this or that, and they wonder how it can. Of course, they sooner or later come to the chapter in the Catechism about the Church, and to the question, “What is the Church?” They find that the answer says nothing at all about a building, still less about the particular building, which they have always called “the church.” It says that the Church is “the congregation of all the faithful,” et cetera. Of course, all depends on how the teacher explains this answer to them. Left to themselves they might puzzle over the word “congregation,” which for them had hitherto meant the people hearing Mass or listening to a sermon. Perhaps the teacher does not always tell them the very important fact that the Church is a society, a visible society, and explain to them the significance of that fact. A society is an organised body of human beings with definite membership and somebody in authority over it — in other words, a body of members and a head. Thus a club, an association, a league, a trades union, a religious Order, a kingdom, a republic — all these are societies, though of different kinds. All consist of a recognised authority — a president, a governor, a king, a parliament, an executive council, according to the case, and a number of people who are members of the body in question. So it is with the Church. Its members are men and women, baptised in infancy (or later) as Catholics, as long as they do not by their own act deliberately give up their membership of the Church. And its head on earth is our Holy Father the Pope. For a Protestant the universal Church is not a visible society at all, and has no head on earth.
Link (here) to read the full piece at The CTS by Fr. Stephen J. Brown, S.J.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fr. Robert Nash, S.J., "Persona Sacra"

In the heart of every right-minded Catholic there is firmly implanted an instinctive reverence for the priesthood. It is no matter of surprise to him to read of the tributes of respect paid to priests, even by those in high places. He can understand quite well that the Emperor Constantine would never himself sit down to table until the last priest was seated. It does not seem to him any extravagant veneration to find St. Catherine of Siena kneeling on the dusty roadside and kissing the footprints of a priest. He gives unhesitating approval to the sentiment of St. Francis of Assisi who writes that if he met a priest and an angel he would salute first the priest, and only after the priest, the angel. And he is inclined to believe or at least countenance, the anecdote which relates that before a certain priest’s ordination his angel guardian was seen walking before him, but after ordination the angel followed behind. All this and much more, indicative of a deep reverence for the priesthood, seems to a Catholic the most natural thing in the world.
In much the same way does he regard the attacks of Christ’s enemies on the priesthood. He expects the priest, as a matter of course, to be made a target for special venom in time of persecution. Our Lord promised His priests as much. “If the world hates you, know you all that it has hated Me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember My word which I said to you: ‘The servant is not greater than his Master’. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”
Passionate devotion to the priesthood on the one hand and violent hatred on the other — both are fully accounted for when we recall Our Lord’s words to the effect that His priests are “chosen out of the world.” They are His in quite a peculiar sense. Indeed so close is the bond of friendship between Christ and His priest that the glories of the priesthood are most easily summed up by saying that the priest stands before the world as “another Christ.” At Our Lord’s Baptism the heavenly Father pointed to Christ, standing there in the waters of the Jordan, and declared to the world: “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.” That same wonderful declaration the Father makes in favour of His priest. The Sacrament of Holy Orders imprints on the priest a “character” or mark by virtue of which he is set apart as being, in quite an especial manner, the property of God. It is of course most true that every creature belongs absolutely to God, and that sanctifying grace elevates the creature to the wondrous dignity of Son of God. But in addition to this the priest is the well-beloved son; he is the Benjamin in God’s great family, for his soul is enriched with exceptional graces. Theologians call him a “persona sacra" — a sacred person. A church is “sacred” because it is set apart exclusively for the service of God. A vessel is “sacred” when it is used only at Mass or to hold the Blessed Sacrament. In the same way a priest is “sacred” because he has entered into a contract with God to spend himself exclusively on what has to do with the service of God, and on His side God has accepted this offering and has sealed the priest as His well-beloved son. Just as the image stamped on the coin shows it to be true, or as the signature at the foot of a document proves it to be genuine, so this “character” or mark set upon the priest by God entitles him to a place of special honour in the ranks of God’s friends. That is why the priest, for the very reason that he is “another Christ,” must expect love from those who love Christ, and bitter opposition from those who hate Christ. 
Link (here) to to read the full article at TCTS by Fr. RobertNash, S.J.

Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J., "He Gave A Brilliant Talk Which Took Many Of Us By Surprise Because Of Its Openness"

As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith got in the way. It was so opposite to who Pope Benedict really is. Whoever has worked with him, whoever has encountered him personally, as we did two weeks ago when we presented the proceedings of the symposium to him, knows that he’s the most humble, most sensitive person. He’s very much aware of who’s in front of him, so he really takes the individual into account. That’s so contrary to the public image of the “panzer cardinal” and so on … a very rigid, conservative person. He has his convictions, but he’s much more open-minded.
He encountered the Jesuit professors here at the Gregorian in 2006, and he made a statement that was so profoundly encouraging to develop theology. I was there in 2008 when he addressed the Jesuit General Congregation members, made up of 220 Jesuits, and some of them were fairly apprehensive. 
He gave a brilliant talk which took many of us by surprise because of its openness, and its deep understanding of the needs of the church today. He praised Fr. [Pedro] Arrupe, he praised our work for social justice, he gave credit to the Jesuit Refugee Service, he singled out the pioneering work of dialogue with culture of Matteo Ricci, and he called us to go to the frontiers, acknowledging that going there means being at the edge, in difficulties, and not always having the right answer. It was both deeply consoling and challenging. The public image and the reality are just so different. For instance, bishops with a story of scandals, most of them personal, have been asked to step down. That’s happened in Europe, in Latin America, in Africa, and in other places.
Link (here) to National Catholic Fishwrap to read the full interview of Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J.

Fr. Domenico Grasso, S.J., "Chrestians"

Tacitus, a great Latin historian, writing around the year 116, devotes a whole page of his Annals to Jesus. In speaking of the burning of Rome, which was presumably the work of Nero himself, he attempts to recapture the drama of the destruction of Troy. Tacitus claims that the emperor, in order to quell the voices accusing him of having been the cause of the disaster, accused those people who were called "Chrestians". He goes on to say that the founder of this sect,
Christ (Chrestus), had been put to death by the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius. This 'dangerous superstition' which, for a time was successfully controlled, began to spread from Judea, where it first originated, to the City (of Rome), where all the most common and shameful things seem to congregate and win applause. (Annals, XV, 44) 
This brief description, which Tacitus probably found in the Senate archives, fully supports what we knew of Jesus from the Gospels. He is a Jew who was put to death, under the reign of Tiberius, by the procurator Pontius Pilate; he was the initiator of a religious movement whose followers are called Christians. For the Latin historian, Jesus is an historical personality, living at a precisely determined moment in history, a few decades prior to Tacitus' writing. Tacitus' witness is confirmed by the writings of Suetonius around the year 120. In his Life of Claudius, he tells us that this Emperor expelled the Jews from Rome because of their constant agitations "over Chrestus". (Vita Claudii, XXV) The word which he uses, "Chrestus", obviously stands for Christ, the Greek translation of the Hebrew term "Messiah" (anointed). Suetonius alludes to the frequent heated debates between Christians and Jews on the nature and teachings of Christ. Still, as Abbot Giuseppe Ricciotti, C.R.L observes, "since he was only poorly informed on the subject of Christianity, Suetonius seems to believe that this Chrestus was personally present in Rome at the time and had provoked the rioting himself". (Ricciotti, Life of Christ, 2nd ed., Milan, 1941, p.107) But even for Suetonius, Christ is a real person and not a myth. Before Tacitus and Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia (in modern Northern Turkey), in his correspondence with the Emperor Trajan (A.D. 112) speaks of Christians and their presence throughout the territory under his administration.
Describing their religious practices, he says that they used to congregate at dawn on a given day to sing hymns to Christ whom they regarded as their God. (Pliny, Letters, X, 96) 
From this testimony, written less than 100 years after the death of Jesus, we have exact information regarding the place and time in which Christ lived. These sources speak of him as an historical personage, and not a myth, as would be expected from the Orient. 
Link (here) to the piece by Fr. Domenico Grasso, S.J. entitled, The Gospels: Historical and True

Sunday, February 17, 2013

John Brennan, President Obama’s Nominee For CIA Director Graduated From Fordham University

As a college student in the 1970s, John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee for CIA director, traveled in Indonesia where – he recalled in a speech in New York in 2010 – “despite my long hair, my earring and my obvious American appearance, I was welcomed throughout that country, in a way that is a reflection of the tremendous warmth of Islamic cultures and societies.” Brennan’s Feb. 13, 2010 address to a meeting at the Islamic Center at New York University, facilitated by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), provided an insight into his views on Islam, a faith which he said during the speech had “helped to shape my own world view.”  Travels around the world over more than three decades had taught him about “the goodness and beauty of Islam,” said Brennan, whose 25-year career at the CIA until 2005 included a stint as station chief in Riyadh. “Like the president during his childhood years in Jakarta, I came to see Islam not how it is often misrepresented, but for what it is – how it is practiced every day, by well over a billion Muslims worldwide, a faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity.” In the speech, during which he drew applause after speaking in Arabic for more than a minute, Brennan used terms evidently designed to appeal to his audience, such as “Al-Quds” for Jerusalem, “Palestine” and “as the Qur’an reveals” – in keeping with the Muslim belief that the Qur’an was “revealed” directly by Allah to Mohammed through the angel Jibril (Gabriel). He condemned what he said were negative stereotypes in the U.S. about Muslims and hostility towards Islam, adding that government actions and policies had contributed to the problem but saying this would change under Obama.... 
As Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, Brennan – a Jesuit-educated Catholic with a degree from Fordham University – has played a prominent role in the administration’s outreach to Muslims, American Muslims especially. He has also been a leading proponent of the effort to stop using terms many Muslims find offensive, such as “jihadist” as a descriptor for terrorists acting in the name of Islam.
“They are not jihadists,” he told the NYU audience in 2010, “for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify, for a legitimate purpose. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.” Brennan had made similar comments the previous August, telling a Center for Strategic and International Studies event that “describing terrorists in this way, using the legitimate term ‘jihad’ – which means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal – risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve.
Link (here) to read more at Jihad Watch

Fr. Nicholas Walsh, S.J., "Supernatural And Conducive To Eternal Salvation"

It is a divine truth that Grace, the Grace of God, is the only power or means by which man’s soul is sanctified and saved. With it we can do all things, and without it nothing; nothing, in itself, supernatural and conducive to eternal salvation. It is also the teaching of the Church that Prayer and the Sacraments are the great channels of Grace instituted by Jesus Christ. He says to all:  “Ask and you shall receive.” After His resurrection, He instituted the Sacrament of Penance, or Confession, as it is commonly called, when “He breathed on the Apostles and said: Receive, all you, the Holy Ghost, whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain they are retained.” The Apostles, in whom He founded His Church, were a moral body, to last to the end of time, in the exercise of the ordinary powers He gave them, and amongst these was the power of forgiving. Lastly, in the sixth chapter of Saint John, when promising to institute the Blessed Sacrament, 
He said: “Amen, Amen, I say unto you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has everlasting life, and I will raise him upon the Last Day. For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him.” 
Prayer, and the Sacraments of Penance (or Reconciliation) and the Eucharist, are the great ordinary channels of grace between God and the soul of adult man. Of these three, however, Prayer and the Sacrament of Penance are more important, for the following reason. The Eucharist, it is true, has in itself the power of producing grace, but the amount of grace it imparts to the soul depends on the dispositions of the soul when receiving it. A soul very perfectly disposed will receive overflowing grace, whilst to a soul, not in mortal sin, but lukewarm, tepid, in a word, poorly disposed, probably but little grace is given; and of such a Communion the best and worst thing which can be said is that it is not a sacrilege. Now, Prayer and Confession are the great means for preparing and disposing a soul for a worthy and fruitful communion; therefore, in this sense, at least, the former are of more importance than the latter. It is true that a person who receives well the Blessed Sacrament is likely to pray devoutly and to make good Confessions, but still it may be safely said that the Eucharist is not the means towards Prayer and Confession being made well, as these are towards a worthy Communion. 
Link (here) to the Catholic Truth Society to read the full piece by Fr. NicholasWalsh, S.J. entitled Prayer Made Easy

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Birth Place Of St. Francis Xavier, S.J..

Castillo de Javier / Javier Castle - Navarra, Spain

Xavier ranked very low in the hierarchy of Spanish castles, a mere unblooded corporal among magnificent battle-scarred generals and field marshals. But in renown the little sentinel of Navarre has outstripped all the hoary giants of the Spanish hills. Very few people except Spaniards or inveterate travelers in Spain will have heard of the cloud-capped Penafiel or tremendous Coca, but everybody has heard of Xavier. It would hardly be an exaggeration to say the name has has become a household word the world over, a magic evocative name, conjuring up visions of galleons, catamarans and brown junks tossing on tropical seas, of hot Indian plains and stifling Malayan jungles, of explosive, sun-drenched Indonesian islands of a China and Japan as unmapped and mysterious as the dark side of the moon. A child born within the gloomy battlements of Xavier on April 7, the Tuesday of Holy Week in the year 1506, was to make all the difference. He was christened Francis, a name before unused in his family of habitual Michaels, Jeromes, Matins, Peters and Johns, perhaps because of his arrival in Holy Week reminded his devout mother of the saint who had borne the wounds of Christ in his living flesh.
An excerpt from the book entitled, "Saint Francis Xavier" by Fr. James Brodrick, S.J.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fr. Gary Smith, S.J. In The Missions

Fr. Gary Smith, S.J.
Father Smith, who spent the past decade working in refugee camps in Uganda, South Africa and Kenya, shared reflections of his work to a standing-room only crowd on Feb. 4. He was the first speaker of a “Jesuit Ministries Around the World” lecture and discussion series, sharing stories and photos of his years working with the Jesuit Refugee Services.

After a moment of thought, he answered the question.

“There were moments when I was very lonely and discouraged,” the priest said. “But even in my darkest moments, it felt like God was very near.”

He also experience joy like he’d never known; when you’re so deprived of creature comforts, he said, love and laughter become more pronounced.

During the lecture, Father Smith shared slides of photos of friends and people he met during his time in the refugee camps.  During his time in Africa, he trained catechists and celebrated Masses under the trees in areas without chapels. He ran small Christian groups, where people could discuss passages of the scripture.

He offered counseling and training to the people who would run the refugee camps. In 2009, Father Gary Smith celebrated 50 years as a Jesuit, serving the poor. He ministered for eight years in the Old Town section of Portland. During Father Smith’s work in Africa there were scary times, such as encounters with the Lord’s Resistance Army. The violent rebel group led by Joseph Kony abducts Ugandan children and has brutally attacked thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. 
At times, bouts of malaria wreaked havoc on Father Smith’s body and mind. He also spoke of remarkable encounters — witnessing the birth of a baby girl. The priest (the only one in the village with a vehicle) and midwife couldn’t get the mother to the far-away clinic in time, so the baby was delivered on the side of the road.  The mother, Mary, cradled her newborn, and asked Father Gary: “What’s the name of your mother?” “Eunice,” he said. That would be the baby’s name, too.    

There was an 11-year-old girl who had lived her entire life with a face deformed by a cleft lip, a birth defect common with malnourished mothers. Father Smith arranged the simple surgery for the girl, and afterward the mother was so overjoyed she repeated, over and over, “It’s a miracle.” He gave the little girl a mirror and watched as she gazed at her new face during the long drive back to their village. “When we got back to the village, it was like we were astronauts coming back from the moon,” he said. 
Link (here) to The Catholic Sentential to read the full story

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Jesuit's New Work On The Eucharist

Fr. Mitch Pacwa,S.J. offers a new scripture study on the Catholic Church’s ‘source and summit,’ 
A timely resource for faith-study as well as Lenten reflection (beginning Wednesday, February 13), Pacwa’s new book clarifies the full meaning of the Eucharist and its critical bond to a healthy faith, its essential connection with Scripture, and explanation on such issues as:
  • How does receiving Christ’s Real Presence heal or restore someone?
  • How should the faithful really ‘meet’ Jesus in Holy Communion?
  • Where are symbols of the Eucharist in the Old Testament?
  • How do Old Testament sacrifices prefigure Christ’s – and why?
  • What did Jesus mean when he asked his disciples to ‘Do this in remembrance of Me’?
  • Why did Christ confect the sacrament of the Eucharist before his death?
  • Why is Jesus called the Lamb of God?
“Since Vatican II, the Eucharist has been the touchstone experience of the changes initiated by that Council – changes in language, at least three English translations, and many experiments (both licit and some illicit) on how to celebrate Mass. So there is a need to better understand the Mass,” says Pacwa.  “The Mass, like the rest of our faith, is rooted in God’s revelation. Not only can Catholics gain a better grasp of the Mass through seeing its scriptural roots, but this perspective is crucial for dialogue with other Christians,” he adds. “Finally, a scriptural perspective on the Mass helps balance tensions about the Eucharist that are found even among Catholics.”
Link (here) to RNS for the full piece

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Each Of Us Is The Result Of A Thought Of God."

When did God think of you?  Was it nine months and a day before you were born?  Or ten months before your birth?  In the first reading (Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19) we hear God say, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you...." So God had us in mind before we were conceived and began to develop in our mothers' wombs.  But when did God first think of you?
In a homily he gave shortly after being elected to lead the Church, Pope Benedict XVI said that "each of us is the result of a thought of God."  The thoughts of God are eternal. God had you in mind from all eternity, not just at some moment in time preceding your conception and birth.  The Holy Father went on to say, "Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." 
Me?! Necessary?! Yes! We have a tendency to think along the lines of the people of Nazareth whom we see in today's Gospel (Luke 4:21-30). They had an agenda and expectations about what the Messiah would be like. They thought he would be a great religious leader, a great military leader. Jesus, the hometown boy and son of a carpenter, didn't meet those expectations. They saw Him as insignificant. We too have expectations. We too judge according to worldly standards of greatness. Paul confronts that in our second reading (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13). He writes that what's important is not prophecy or speaking in all sorts of human or heavenly tongues. What's important is not the miraculous moving of a mountain or being able to "comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge."  What's important is not giving up everything and living a life of poverty like that of St. Francis of Assisi.  What's important is not even undergoing great sufferings for the faith or undergoing martyrdom.  All of these can become the source of pride, that which first separated the devil and the first humans from God.  What matters is love.  We and what we do are nothing without love. Why?  Because God is love and we're made in the image and likeness of love. We are here on earth for one reason--to learn to love. We exist to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. Loving God totally, we will love what God loves--our neighbor, those others whom God also had in mind from all eternity.
Link (here) read the full text of Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., his post is at Offer It Up