Archive for June, 2010

New Video Series on Jesuits and Their Vocations

Jesuits Revealed Videos


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Where does a Jesuit come from?

Why does he join the Society of Jesus?

How does he know his calling?

The Jesuit Conference of the United States has launched a new video series interviewing Jesuits from across the country discussing their vocations, their various paths to becoming a Jesuit and what it has meant to them to answer God’s call. National Jesuit News will feature a new video interview each week. You can watch additional videos by going to the Jesuits Revealed channel on YouTube.

Today’s video features Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle speaking about his vocation as a Jesuit in the community of Los Angeles and what drew him to Jesuits. He is a Los Angeleno born to a third-generation Irish-American family. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1972 after graduating from Loyola High School and was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1984.

With a history of ministries to the poor in Los Angeles, Bolivia and Mexico, Fr. Boyle was missioned to Boyle Heights in 1986 where he served as pastor of Dolores Mission until 1992.

In 1988,  Boyle created the “Jobs for a Future” program as a way to address the problems of gang violence in Boyle Heights. This program would evolve into Homeboy Bakery, launched in 1992, which sought to find solutions to the civil unrest in Los Angeles. Bringing rival gang members together to build a business that could provide job-training and an environment for personal growth, Homeboy Bakery proved that many gang members were eager to leave street life for a legitimate chance at a constructive future.

In 2001,  Boyle launched Homeboy Industries which expanded the mission of the bakery enterprises including Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise, Homegirl Cafe and Homeboy Maintenance.

Now more than two decades old,  Boyle’s ministry is recognized as the largest gang-intervention program in the United States and a model for such ministry around the world. Unfortunately, the ministry has hit upon hard times with the economic crisis of the state of California impacting their funding. You can read additional stories about Father Greg Boyle and Homeboy industries in recent blog postings here on National Jesuit News.

In the Halls of Congress, Jesuits Are Going Door to Door for Immigration Reform

USA-IMMIGRATION/PROTEST
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Today, a letter signed by every Jesuit major superior in the United States was hand delivered to the White House and each individual Congressional office. Their canvassing effort seeks immediate and comprehensive immigration reform.  “With the new Arizona law, there is a real risk that life on our national borders will become subject to a patchwork of state responses; Congress is faced with both a constitutional and moral imperative to act,” said Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.  “Despite what some reactionary politicians would have us believe,” Smolich added, “we can secure our borders in a way that does not cost us our humanity.”

With important primary elections on Tuesday and Capitol Hill staffers working on the legislative agenda for the resumption of the Congressional session, the Jesuits took the rare step of issuing a joint letter from all ten of their Provincial major superiors across the country.  “In our language of religious life, we would refer to this as a kairos moment,” Smolich said.  “Or in the language of a baseball fan,” he continued, “now is the time for Congress to get in the game.”  John Kleiderer, director of social and international ministries at the Jesuit Conference, worries that if Congress does not act quickly, “the lives of thousands of people on both sides of the border will be hostage to the mid-term elections and neither side of the debate will see progress toward either security or justice.”   Referencing the Justice for Immigrants Campaign sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Smolich said “the Catholic Church has been a leading advocate of immigration reform.  We wanted to send a clear message to the President and Congress as well as invite all Jesuits and our many lay partners to join us in support of the Church, speak out for the least among us and ask your members of Congress to act now.”

The Jesuits are asking for legislation based on five core principals shared by the Justice for Immigrants Campaign.

1.    A path to legalization that ensures undocumented immigrants have access to full rights.
2.    A legal employment structure for future workers that protects both migrants and United States workers.
3.    Expedited family reunification and emphasis on family unity.
4.    The need for due process and humane enforcement of our immigration laws.
5.    Economic development assistance and fair market access for developing countries.

For the complete text of the letter, you can click here.

One Jesuit's Wisdom: 'Expect the Unexpected'

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There’s a sense of adventure deep in Jesuit Father Tom Lankenau.

The 51-year-old Jesuit priest grew up hunting and fishing. He taught riflery, hiked, climbed and rafted.

As a Jesuit, he has served on the Blackfeet Reservation of Montana, in Belize, Bolivia, Poland and Zambia.

He walks in the cowboy way, slightly bow-legged, and is not afraid to expectorate when outdoors.

But since 2007, Father Lankenau’s service to the Jesuits and to the church has been carried out in a plain office in Southeast Portland. He is the Oregon Province of Jesuits’ socius — an aide, adviser and consultant to the provincial superior. It’s a job of details and he’s taken it on joyfully.

Accepting the post was the continuation of a conversion that began decades ago. The defining characteristic of this priest’s metanoia is openness.

He is a natural administrator who processes data efficiently. On one recent day at the Jesuit offices, he spoke with clerical volunteer Joyceann Hagen clearly, crisply and kindly. He then ambled to an appointment where he gave absolute attention to an interlocutor for more than an hour. Following that, he gave a tour of the grounds, cheerful and unruffled all the while, despite pressing duties.

“It’s a job of service,” Father Lankenau says. “There is fulfillment in that. If I can help Jesuits in the field do their jobs more and more fully, I am a part of what they do.”

Read more about Lankenau’s varied career as a Jesuit in this Catholic Sentinel feature article.

One Jesuit’s Wisdom: ‘Expect the Unexpected’

Lankenau_Tom
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There’s a sense of adventure deep in Jesuit Father Tom Lankenau.

The 51-year-old Jesuit priest grew up hunting and fishing. He taught riflery, hiked, climbed and rafted.

As a Jesuit, he has served on the Blackfeet Reservation of Montana, in Belize, Bolivia, Poland and Zambia.

He walks in the cowboy way, slightly bow-legged, and is not afraid to expectorate when outdoors.

But since 2007, Father Lankenau’s service to the Jesuits and to the church has been carried out in a plain office in Southeast Portland. He is the Oregon Province of Jesuits’ socius — an aide, adviser and consultant to the provincial superior. It’s a job of details and he’s taken it on joyfully.

Accepting the post was the continuation of a conversion that began decades ago. The defining characteristic of this priest’s metanoia is openness.

He is a natural administrator who processes data efficiently. On one recent day at the Jesuit offices, he spoke with clerical volunteer Joyceann Hagen clearly, crisply and kindly. He then ambled to an appointment where he gave absolute attention to an interlocutor for more than an hour. Following that, he gave a tour of the grounds, cheerful and unruffled all the while, despite pressing duties.

“It’s a job of service,” Father Lankenau says. “There is fulfillment in that. If I can help Jesuits in the field do their jobs more and more fully, I am a part of what they do.”

Read more about Lankenau’s varied career as a Jesuit in this Catholic Sentinel feature article.

U.S. Jesuit Priest to take Reins of Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome

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For Jesuit Father James McCann, it all started with taking a course in the Russian language while in high school.

“They were offering different languages” to students, said Father McCann, 61, a Chicago native. “I probably put down Russian as my third choice. But what I think they did was that they took everyone who put Russian down as any choice at all and put them into the class.”

As providence would have it, McCann liked learning Russian. That led to an interest in almost anything having to do with the East.

That interest led to his current stop, a seven-year stint as head of the U.S. bishops’ Office to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.

It will play an important role in his next assignment, as rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.

Read more about McCann’s new appointment  here.