Archive for October, 2010

Jesuit Named Executive Director of CARA

gauntThe Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University announced this week that Jesuit Father Thomas P. Gaunt has been named its new executive director.

“Father Gaunt brings to CARA a wealth of experience in administration and marketing and public relations as well as research experience, which will further CARA’s mission in service to the Church,” said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, Chair of the CARA Board of Directors.

Father Gaunt most recently served as Socius/Executive Secretary for the Jesuit Conference in Washington, DC from 2001 to 2010. He has also served previously as a pastor, Director of Planning and Research for the Diocese of Charlotte, and as the Assistant Provincial for Formation and Studies for the Maryland Jesuit Province.

“I am excited at this opportunity to join CARA and be part of its long service to the Church. In particular,  I look forward to CARA’s responding to the need for practical social science research on current issues,” said Father Gaunt.

Father Gaunt has conducted research for the Jesuit Conference; the Jesuit Volunteer Corps; the Daughters of Charity; the Immaculate Conception Province, O.F.M. Conventual; the Society of the Divine Word, Chicago Province; the Archdiocese of Atlanta; and the dioceses of Charleston, Charlotte, Palm Beach, and Raleigh.

Online Retreat Marks 30 Years of Jesuit Refugee Service

0001a Chapel window NairobiOn Tuesday, Jesuit Father Michael Evans, executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, announced a special online retreat coinciding with the 30th anniversary of  Jesuit Refugee Service’s founding on November 14th.  In a press release highlighting the upcoming anniversary, JRS/USA is featuring the online retreat to reinforce the connection of Ignatian Spirituality with the plight of refugees and forced migrants.

“Each day of this online retreat will offer the opportunity to reflect prayerfully on the situation of refugees via the lens of The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. By linking the Spiritual Exercises to the plight of refugees and vulnerable migrants, we believe that the retreat will provide an easy way for people to fuse spirituality and social justice into their daily life. During the next four weeks we invite you — day by day — into an experience of “prayerful storytelling” as we share with you the grace-filled stories of God’s powerful love for all of us.

As you progress through this retreat, God will direct you and touch your soul with love and challenge in a truly personal way. We trust that the graces of this retreat will renew us and transform us into the heart of Jesus, deepening our commitment to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people.”

For more information about the retreat, or for a direct link so you may participate in the online retreat, please visit:

Jesuits Urge their Partners to Join Them in Immigration Reform Letter Sign-On Effort


This summer, the Jesuits in the United States took the rare step of sending a joint letter from all ten of their Provincial major superiors across the country to the president and to each member of Congress seeking immediate and comprehensive immigration reform.  Understanding that in order for such reform to be enacted there must be a national demonstration of support; they are urging Jesuit communities, ministries, institutions and Ignatian-affiliated groups to join them in speaking out for the least among us by asking their members of Congress to act now in enacting comprehensive immigration reform for the nation.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that ten provincials have come together and signed a letter requesting legislative action on a particular issue. This speaks volumes about the current state of U.S. immigration policy and the critical need for reform. It also shows that this is a nation-wide issue and not limited to certain states. The system is broken and the provincials’ letter recognizes this,” said Jesuit Father Thomas Greene, secretary of social and international ministries at the Jesuit Conference of the United States in Washington, D.C.  “Today, 180 schools, parishes, retreat houses, Jesuit communities and other institutions have signed on to the provincials’ letter. Their response has been very encouraging and it is clear to me that people are tired of immigrant bashing and want to stand up for the immigrants they live in community with – the people with whom they live, work and study.”

Across the country, Jesuit-affiliated groups and institutions are adding their signatures in support of comprehensive immigration reform that is fair, just and humane. At Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas, in addition to endorsing the institutional sign-on letter, students and faculty were asked to add their names to a large four foot by six foot poster of the Jesuit provincials’ letter to Congress. With over 100 signatures, the letter is being mailed to the White House this Monday. This Sunday, members of Jesuit-sponsored works in Southern California and Arizona are joining together in prayer at Dolores Mission parish in Los Angeles to add their voices to those wanting immigration reform enacted immediately. During the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice being held November 13 – 15 in Washington, D.C., participating schools, universities, colleges and parishes will be asked to add their signatures of support during the group’s Advocacy Day.

With the goal of having 200 institutional signatories signed-on by All Saints Day on November 1, Jesuit groups are being asked to join in the effort and add their voices to the call for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform for the nation today.

Jesuits Play Important Role in Seattle University Basketball

A couple of years ago, Jesuit Father Dave Anderson, alumni chaplain for Seattle University, was walking back to his office after visiting an alumnus near campus when the spirit moved him to take a detour to the school athletic complex, the Connolly Center. There he sought out the men’s basketball coach and asked if the team would be interested in having a Jesuit as team chaplain.

The idea had actually been on Fr. Anderson’s mind for awhile. As an undergraduate at Gonzaga University, he’d observed Jesuit Father Tony Lehman taking a seat as chaplain alongside the players and coaches at men’s basketball games. “What it said to me,” says Anderson, “was that the Jesuits are involved in all aspects of students’ lives.”

At Seattle University, Anderson was welcomed onto the basketball team. Later in that first season, when the Redhawks played the University of Washington, Anderson had occasion to meet Cameron Dollar, then assistant coach for the Huskies. Dollar would be introduced as SU’s new head coach a month later, and one of his very first orders of business was to ask Anderson to continue on as chaplain. The Jesuit enthusiastically re-upped.

A similar arrangement would soon be made on the women’s side. Not long after Joan Bonvicini was hired as SU’s head coach of women’s basketball in 2009, she found herself at a staff meeting, sitting next to Jesuit Father Natch Ohno, assistant to the vice president for Student Development. Fr. Ohno asked Bonvicini if there was anything the Jesuit community could do for the team. “Without missing a beat, she said, ‘Well, I want a Jesuit on the bench,’” Ohno recalls. He checked with his rector, and it was decided he would join the team.

What exactly does it mean to be team chaplain? Read more at Seattle University’s online magazine.

Jesuit Discusses the New Jesuit Community in Boston

The Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community, a space dedicated to the formation of Jesuit priests, recently opened on Boston College’s campus.

The five buildings that make up the grounds are now home to an international group of 75 Jesuits, whose main apostolate is theological reflection, scholarship and research. Formerly the Weston Jesuit Community, the group includes many students and teachers from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Last month, the Jesuits — some of them having lived in Harvard Square for 40 years ‑ moved into their new residence.

Jesuit Father Richard Roos, minister of the Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community, said the new community — built in less than a year and under budget — allows for relationships to develop more organically among the Jesuits. Prior to the move, the community was scattered throughout Harvard Square, he said, making it difficult to make connections.

Fr. Roos said the design of the property is a gentle reminder of what brings the very diverse group together. In the middle of the ring of five buildings stands a chapel, a space large enough that all in the community may celebrate Mass together.

“That is quite appropriate,” said Roos, “because the heart of our community is Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”

To hear more about the new Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community and to see what the new space looks like, please watch the video below: