Archive for July, 2011

A Jesuit Pastor in Jordan: Fr. Kevin O'Connell on Being a "Foreign Worker"

IMG_0933Jesuit Father Kevin O’Connell came to Amman, Jordan 13 years ago to minister at the Sacred Heart Parish. Through an agreement between the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, a “personal parish” was established for English-speaking Roman Catholics residing in or visiting Amman. Fr. O’Connell, a scripture scholar with archaeological experience in the Middle East and a former college president, was appointed its first pastor.

Today, O’Connell finds himself ministering to a congregation that is largely compromised of Filipinos who live in Jordan as domestic workers. He recognizes the challenge of being foreigners working in a land very different from their own, as he is doing the same, and he helps provide spiritual support to them while they are far away from their families and homeland. “Suddenly, I found myself, with my Asian population, as a missionary here,” explains O’Connell. “I’ve had to develop this more welcoming attitude and I think it’s been good for me as a person. And that’s a Jesuit thing – we have to learn to adapt to the needs of the local community.”

In the video piece below, Fr. O’Connell discusses his ministry in Jordan:

A Jesuit Pastor in Jordan: Fr. Kevin O’Connell on Being a “Foreign Worker”

IMG_0933Jesuit Father Kevin O’Connell came to Amman, Jordan 13 years ago to minister at the Sacred Heart Parish. Through an agreement between the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, a “personal parish” was established for English-speaking Roman Catholics residing in or visiting Amman. Fr. O’Connell, a scripture scholar with archaeological experience in the Middle East and a former college president, was appointed its first pastor.

Today, O’Connell finds himself ministering to a congregation that is largely compromised of Filipinos who live in Jordan as domestic workers. He recognizes the challenge of being foreigners working in a land very different from their own, as he is doing the same, and he helps provide spiritual support to them while they are far away from their families and homeland. “Suddenly, I found myself, with my Asian population, as a missionary here,” explains O’Connell. “I’ve had to develop this more welcoming attitude and I think it’s been good for me as a person. And that’s a Jesuit thing – we have to learn to adapt to the needs of the local community.”

In the video piece below, Fr. O’Connell discusses his ministry in Jordan:

Jesuit North American Martyr Featured on Tonight's EWTN Miniseries

In the mid-1600s, a small band of Jesuit missionaries set out from Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, a settlement in Ontario, Canada, to work among the Indian tribes of the Huron in upstate New York and the territories in Canada. The Jesuits’ goal was to bring Christianity to the Huron but they found themselves in the precarious position of not being trusted by them as there was conflict and wars between the Huron and the neighboring Iroquois. It was this mistrust that resulted in eight of them being killed between 1642 – 1649. Today, in Auriesville, New York, the Shrine of the North American Martyrs is dedicated to the Jesuits who sacrificed their lives and remain the only canonized martyrs of the United States.

Tonight on EWTN, the four part “Footprints in the Wilderness” miniseries highlights one of these Jesuit martyrs, Saint Rene Goupil, a Jesuit brother who was captured and killed by the Iroquois as they believed he was a spy for the French. With interviews with Jesuit author and artist Father William Breault, the series was filmed in three countries on two continents with insights from French, Canadian and American experts, and delves into the experience of Goupil in this new land.

The series starts tonight at 6:30pm Eastern Time. Check your local listings to find ETWN on your television and check out the promo for “Footprints in the Wilderness” below.

Jesuit North American Martyr Featured on Tonight’s EWTN Miniseries

In the mid-1600s, a small band of Jesuit missionaries set out from Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, a settlement in Ontario, Canada, to work among the Indian tribes of the Huron in upstate New York and the territories in Canada. The Jesuits’ goal was to bring Christianity to the Huron but they found themselves in the precarious position of not being trusted by them as there was conflict and wars between the Huron and the neighboring Iroquois. It was this mistrust that resulted in eight of them being killed between 1642 – 1649. Today, in Auriesville, New York, the Shrine of the North American Martyrs is dedicated to the Jesuits who sacrificed their lives and remain the only canonized martyrs of the United States.

Tonight on EWTN, the four part “Footprints in the Wilderness” miniseries highlights one of these Jesuit martyrs, Saint Rene Goupil, a Jesuit brother who was captured and killed by the Iroquois as they believed he was a spy for the French. With interviews with Jesuit author and artist Father William Breault, the series was filmed in three countries on two continents with insights from French, Canadian and American experts, and delves into the experience of Goupil in this new land.

The series starts tonight at 6:30pm Eastern Time. Check your local listings to find ETWN on your television and check out the promo for “Footprints in the Wilderness” below.

African Jesuits Gathering in Baltimore Explores Future Opportunities to Partner with American Jesuits

In May, the Jesuit Conference of the United States sponsored a gathering at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore of African Jesuits currently studying in the U.S. and Canada. The gathering was a means of solidarity, support and collaboration with the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) with its president, Jesuit Father Michael Lewis also present at the meeting.

During the meeting, the members of the U.S. Assistancy and JESAM in attendance considered strategies for the various ways the U.S. and the African provinces might have opportunities to work more closely together, such as in the arenas of potential exchange programs between the U.S. and Africa’s apostolic works, in creating partnerships between apostolates, and by identifying tertianship experiences in Africa for U.S. Jesuits.

The African Jesuits also shared with their U.S. brothers the challenges the Society of Jesus faces in Africa around educational opportunities; with ethnic and political tensions; in health care, especially for HIV/AIDs and malaria treatments; and also the environmental and ecological concerns facing the continent.

“It bodes well for the future of the Society of Jesus that there will be well trained men in various disciplines to continue and develop the work of the Jesuits in Africa and Madagascar. It goes without saying that the Jesuits of North America have been extremely generous to us in providing the wherewithal for African and Malagasy Jesuits to specialize in these many and varied subjects. The Church and the Society are very grateful for this often unsung and open-handed support for the apostolates of the Society in our continent,” said Jesuit Father Michael Lewis, president of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar. “There are men studying everything from engineering, informatics, administration, to pedagogy and the like which will help the Church and the Jesuits of the future to continue offering the work we do for the people of Africa and Madagascar.”

Thirty-seven African Jesuits participated in the gathering (there are approximately 60 African Jesuits currently in the U.S. and Canada), representing seven African provinces and regions, and 16 different countries. The participants came from various places throughout the U.S. and Canada where they are studying, ministering or on sabbatical.

In addition, five people from the U.S. Assistancy participated: three from the Jesuit Conference, including Jesuit Father Tom Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States; a provincial assistant from the New York province; and a provincial assistant from the Wisconsin province.

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