Archive for February, 2011

Jesuit’s Anti-Gang Program Debuts Snack Products at Supermarket Chain

Homeboy SalsaShare

Jesuit Father Greg Boyle’s Homeboy Industries, an outreach program for gang members in Los Angeles, recently partnered with Ralphs grocery store chain to sell Homeboy chips and salsa. The products were the hottest-selling snack item at the 256 Ralphs deli sections across Southern California in early February.

Fr. Boyle said he was inspired by the late actor Paul Newman, whose “Newman’s Own” products funded nonprofit organizations. The products launched at Ralphs last month as part of an effort to revive Homeboy’s hard-hit finances.

“The aim is to expand the brand so that Homeboy becomes a household name and then a household idea,” said Boyle.

Proceeds go to funding Homeboy services such as tattoo removal and counseling.

“If we can increase revenue, we could fundraise less,” Boyle said.

Last year, Homeboy laid off about 330 people and nearly shut its doors when it couldn’t raise the $5 million needed to operate. Because of donations, “things have stabilized. We’ve brought back senior staff, about 100 jobs,” he said.

Read the full story on Boyle’s latest Homeboy venture at the Los Angeles Times.

Jesuit Gives his Picks for Best Catholic iPhone Apps

Jesuit Father Jack McLainShare

Jesuit Father Jack McLain, an Oregon Province Jesuit who is currently rector of St. Ignatius College in Australia, recently offered up his picks for the best Catholic iPhone apps.

Fr. McLain wrote that during a recent discussion with a fellow Jesuit about the “inherent goodness or badness of smart phones,” he asserted that there were plenty of Catholic-centric uses for such devices.

“In the great Jesuit fashion, my confrere asked me to prove it. So I began combing through Apple’s App Store in order to find the best Catholic apps I could,” he wrote.

His list focuses on apps that are applicable to the non-tech person who’s looking to use their device to add to their faith life.

Some of the apps he recommends include: Divine Office (which brings up the readings for the day and audio files of the prayers); iCatholicRadio and Radio Vaticana (which stream audio from Catholic radio stations); and 3-Three Minute Retreat (which has a quick reflection for each day from Loyola Press).

McLain’s full list and reviews of his picks are at America magazine.

Jesuit Emphasizes Joy, Humor in One’s Spiritual Life

Jesuit Father Jim Martin at Loyola University ChicagoShare

Jesuit Father Jim Martin, author and cultural editor for America magazine, visited Loyola University Chicago earlier this month and gave a talk on “Laughing with the Saints: Joy, Humor and Laughter in the Spiritual Life.”

He said that people often approach their relationship with God with dead seriousness, but he said that “joy, humor and laughter share one’s faith in God.”

Fr. Martin said, “Humor sometimes seems to count as a strike against people in the church, when I think it should be seen as a requirement.

“I would bet that the man whose first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding feast understood the need for some high spirits in life,” he said.

“Live your own vocation joyfully,” he told his audience.

Jesuit Reflects on his Teaching Experience during Regency

Jesuit Chris RyanShare

For his regency period of formation, Jesuit Chris Ryan is teaching at Nativity Middle School in Worcester, Mass.

Now in his second year at the school, which serves underprivileged boys, he wrote that he is learning “the value of patience, the necessity of compassion amid the sternness of discipline and the humbling truth that the real flowering of these young boys is a process that far surpasses the contributions that I will make.”

He compares his daily efforts as a teacher to those of a serious gardener: “imposing the order of rows and furrows upon the chaos of an unmanaged field, in order that creative and fruitful growth may emerge from fertile ground.

“The experience of teaching during regency has also led me to meditate upon my developing identity as a Jesuit,” he wrote. “In the course of my discernment and formation, I have been blessed with the presence and friendship of many wonderful Jesuits who inspire me with their apostolic devotion, spiritual wisdom and variety of talents and life experiences. Regency has challenged me not only to discover and develop these talents within myself, but also to share them confidently, trusting that divine grace will guide my actions and growth each day.”

Read more of Ryan’s reflections.

Jesuit Astronomer Says Science, Religion Not Enemies

Rory O'Driscoll/Winona Daily News

Rory O'Driscoll/Winona Daily News


Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, seeks an understanding of God and the universe through prayer — and through his telescope.

Br. Consolmagno said one of the primary purposes of the observatory is to be an ongoing demonstration that the church is supportive of science and scientific research. Upon his appointment to the observatory in 1993, he said the first instruction he received was, “Guy, do good science.”

The supposed conflict between religion and science really doesn’t exist, Consolmagno said. “Science grew out of religion.”

Historically, the church has fostered science and the academic life, he pointed out, and churchmen have been in the forefront of scientific advancement.

“There is nothing in the Bible opposing evolution,” he said, “but there is something in the Bible against astrology.”

Biblical literalism is a recent development, not traditional Christianity, he said.

To apply a modern reading to a 2,000-year-old text “does violence to the text,” Consolmagno said, “and that’s not me saying it, it’s Augustine saying it.”

Read more about Consolmagno’s views on science and religion at the La Crosse Tribune.