Archive for March, 2011

Jesuit’s Students Unveil Exhibit on Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke with items featured in the Boston College exhibit "Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings." (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

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Boston College Assistant Professor of History Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke helped his undgergrad students create an exhibit that opened on Mar. 21 titled “Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings.”

The exhibit, which highlights the history of East-West exchanges, has a number of multimedia resources to demonstrate Christian mission history in Asia.

In the 16th century, the Chinese were utilizing what at the time was advanced technology through their observatory in Beijing, Fr. Clarke said.

“In one display, we show the observatory and all the astronomical devices that they used during the time the Jesuits were there,” said student Alexander Gilman ’11.

Utilizing excerpts and outtakes from Clarke’s documentary, “Beyond Ricci: Celebrating 400 Years of the Chinese Catholic Church,” students were able to compile their own virtual history.

“One of the ways people learned about East-West cultural exchange was through six melody lines written down by a Jesuit in Beijing at that time,” said Clarke. Using these melodies as a creative point of departure, Clarke commissioned the composition of an aria that is played as people pass through the exhibit.

A number of rare books are also on display, including Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, the translations of the first three of the four canonical books of Confucianism. A group of Jesuits originally translated the philosophies of the Chinese to lead to greater understanding of Chinese thought and brought the culture to Europeans and beyond, Clarke said.

For more information, watch a video preview of the exhibit and visit the Boston College Chronicle.

Georgetown Names New Jesuit Rector

Jesuit Father Joseph LinganShare

Jesuit Father Joseph Lingan, the interim president of Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., has been named the new rector of Georgetown University’s Jesuit community. He will succeed Jesuit Father John Langan on July 31.

“I have always been aware of Georgetown’s prominence among Jesuit universities,” said Fr. Lingan. “I am humbled to be asked to serve at Georgetown and look forward to becoming an active member of the university community.”

Lingan will be responsible for the university’s 65 Jesuits, who come from various parts of the United States and as far away as Europe and Africa.

“A lot of the work calls for conversations with the individual Jesuits, acting as a religious superior within the community,” Fr. Langan said, reflecting on his time as rector, “and that brings responsibility for the well-being and spiritual growth of the members.”

Prior to his post at Gonzaga, Lingan served as novice master for the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces of the Society of Jesus from 2003 to 2010.

Jesuit Father Joseph Fennell at 100

Jesuit Father Joseph FennellShare

Jesuit Father Joseph Fennell is 100 years old today, the first New England Province Jesuit to be a centenarian. When asked what his wishes for 2011 were, Fr. Fennell joked, “I want to be on a fast train to heaven with no stops — after March 23.”

Fr. Fennell lives in Campion Health Center in Weston, Mass., where his daily routine includes listening to the bible on tape, tuning in to NPR and chatting with visitors. He attributed his longevity to “exercise, especially golf, no smoking and no drinking.”

His father had slated him to be a lawyer, but Fennell felt a strong calling to be a priest. While at St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vt., he was inspired by well-known missionary Jesuit Father Bernard Hubbard, who encouraged him to consider a religious vocation. In 1933, Fennell entered the Society of Jesus.

Fr. Fennell in 1960 in Baghdad with his chemistry students.

Fr. Fennell in 1960 in Baghdad with his chemistry students.

Fennell spent many years teaching at Baghdad College in Iraq, until the expulsion of the Jesuits from Baghdad in 1969; he then taught at the Jesuits’ Cranwell Prep (now closed) in Lenox, Mass., and served at a parish in Concord, Mass.

Fennell said he has “a wonderful duty” as a retired priest to pray daily for the church and the Society, and he is still inspired by a quote from his 5th grade teacher: “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

Jesuit Speaks to Vatican Radio on Pope's New Book

Jesuit Father Joseph FessioShare

The second volume of Pope Benedict XVI’s book series on Jesus was recently released, and Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio commented, “When he speaks to us in this book, as Joseph Ratzinger, he is not engaging the faith of the Church – it’s not a magisterial document.”

Fr. Fessio, who was a student of Ratzinger’s 40 years ago, is director of Ignatius Press, which published the English-language version of the pope’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth – Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection.”

Fessio said one interesting part of the book covers the passage in Matthew 27:25 (“And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children.”) that has led some to believe the Jewish people are cursed.

Fessio explained, “He [the pope] says the blood of Jesus is not like the blood of Cain that cries out for vengeance. The blood of Jesus is redemptive blood. It’s bloodshed for the life of the world. It’s not for punishment or vengeance, it’s for salvation and redemption. It’s a beautiful reflection on it – two or three pages – that really kind of changes your whole view on that part of the Gospel, which has been used in the past sometimes for anti-Semitic purposes.”

Listen to the Vatican Radio interview with Fessio.

Jesuit Speaks to Vatican Radio on Pope’s New Book

Jesuit Father Joseph FessioShare

The second volume of Pope Benedict XVI’s book series on Jesus was recently released, and Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio commented, “When he speaks to us in this book, as Joseph Ratzinger, he is not engaging the faith of the Church – it’s not a magisterial document.”

Fr. Fessio, who was a student of Ratzinger’s 40 years ago, is director of Ignatius Press, which published the English-language version of the pope’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth – Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection.”

Fessio said one interesting part of the book covers the passage in Matthew 27:25 (“And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children.”) that has led some to believe the Jewish people are cursed.

Fessio explained, “He [the pope] says the blood of Jesus is not like the blood of Cain that cries out for vengeance. The blood of Jesus is redemptive blood. It’s bloodshed for the life of the world. It’s not for punishment or vengeance, it’s for salvation and redemption. It’s a beautiful reflection on it – two or three pages – that really kind of changes your whole view on that part of the Gospel, which has been used in the past sometimes for anti-Semitic purposes.”

Listen to the Vatican Radio interview with Fessio.