Archive for September, 2011

Eight Enter the California and Oregon Provinces’ Novitiate for the Society of Jesus

Entrance Day into the Novitiate is a busy day, often filled with many emotions. Some Novices come by themselves, with just their luggage. Others bring their entire families to say goodbye. One thing is certain: all are welcomed with open arms. Eight new California and Oregon novices entered the joint Jesuit novitiate in Culver City, California in late August to begin their two year experience of prayer, community life, and service to God’s people in the Society of Jesus. Share their entrance day by checking out the video below.

Jesuits Mark 25th Anniversary of Pastoral Ministry in Charlotte

Photo by lumierefl from Flickr

St. Peter's Church, Charlotte, NC / Photo by lumierefl

2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Jesuits at St. Peter Church in Charlotte.

The parish celebrated with a series of events which concluded with a Jesuit-concelebrated Mass on June 26. St. Peter Church was built in 1851 in what was then the southern tip of Charlotte. It was later rebuilt after an explosion at a nearby factory damaged the building’s walls and foundation. As the city grew and more Catholic churches were built, the parish’s population diminished. In 1970, St. Peter Church ceased being a parish.

Then, in 1986, the church regained parish status and the pastorate was assumed by Jesuit priests of the Maryland Province. As the population in the urban area of Charlotte has swelled, the uptown parish has continued to grow as a community deeply concerned with outreach to those in need.

The pastor of St. Peter Church, Father Patrick Earl, was the principal celebrant at the anniversary Mass, celebrated on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Father Earl pointed out the appropriateness of the anniversary celebration being held together with the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ:

“We celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord, our nourishment in our lives as disciples of Jesus. And we remember the arrival of the Jesuits here at St. Peter’s in 1986. We remember those who have accompanied us on our journey as disciples of Jesus.”

The Jesuit concelebrants at the Mass were Jesuit Father Joseph Sobierajski, long-time pastor of St. Peter; Jesuit Father Thomas Gaunt, one of the first Jesuits to come to St. Peter; Jesuit Father Vincent Alagia and Jesuit Father Timothy Stephens.

[Catholic News Herald - Diocese of Charlotte]

60 Minutes Features the Work of Jesuit Father Rick Curry

Jesuit Father Rick Curry was born without a right forearm. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a professor, best-selling cookbook author, and founder of the country’s only known theater school for the physically disabled. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1962 as a Jesuit Brother, but in 2009, he decided to pursue priestly ordination. CBS’ 60 Minutes recently caught up with Father Curry, featuring his various and unique ministries.

Read more:

Looking Back at World Youth Day 2011: A Jesuit Reflects on What the Event Meant to Him

One month ago today, World Youth Day festivities in Madrid, Spain culminated with a Mass with Pope Benedict XVI. With over 1.5 million in attendance, the event marked an opportunity for young adults from across the globe to gather together in celebration of their faith. 

Before World Youth Day began, a group of 3,000 pilgrims gathered for Magis – a pastoral experience of Ignatian programs and events for students from Jesuit institutions. This year’s Magis initiative particularly resonated with Jesuits, their partners and those with an interest in Ignatian Spirituality as it took place in the birthplace, homeland and at the sites where St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, underwent his spiritual conversion which ultimately led to the formation of the Society of Jesus and his writings of The Spiritual Exercises.

Jesuit Father Joe Laramie, recently ordained a priest, was there as a chaperone with a group of pilgrims from Boston College. A graduate student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Fr. Laramie looks back at his experience at World Youth Day and what it meant to him personally and for the Church in this piece for National Jesuit News.

Also included below are three video pieces looking back at the experiences of the Magis pilgrims and their Jesuit chaperones at Loyola, Spain, during the Magis experiences and ultimately, World Youth Day itself. You can also take look back by watching all of our videos on YouTube with pilgrims and U.S. Jesuits who experienced this year’s Magis and World Youth Day celebrations.

Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, prepares for Mass along the camino while leading a group of pilgrims during Magis 2011 in Spain.

Every two or three years, on a wide plain outside a big city, the Church is transfigured. I saw it happen in Paris in 1997, in Toronto in 2002 and in Madrid last month. At Christ’s Transfiguration, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” [Matthew17:2]. This is why young people came to Madrid last month. To see a transfiguration, and to experience it themselves.

I stood up for the Eucharistic prayer at the final Mass in Madrid. I was so exhausted that I got light-headed as I stood. It was so bright, I could hardly see. I stood behind 14,000 priests. We were all wearing white chasuables and white hats. The pope was 100 yards away, in front of a giant white backdrop, with the sun climbing higher and higher. “El Señor es contigo.” “Y con tu espiritu,” I responded, with the priests, and 1.5 million young people. I was wearing sunglasses, but could almost see better with my eyes closed.

Christ “lead them up a high mountain” before the Transfiguration. I lived in Denver for a few years; it is hard to climb high mountains. You sweat, it’s hot, the air is thin, the rocks slide beneath your feet. Your back hurts. Your pack cuts into your shoulders. There is thunder and lightning. You need a Guide and friends. You can’t climb alone.

Three thousand young people were treated for dehydration, as we waited on the field, under the sun, the day before the Mass. Later, the crowd heard this announcement over the loudspeakers: “There are 23 lost children waiting at area E5. If you lost your child, or if you are a lost child, go to area E5.” Then, at night, a thunderstorm had pounded us. The pope was leading us in a night prayer; two acolytes held a quivering white umbrella over him as the rain blew sideways. The storm destroyed several large tents. These were 50 feet tall, 100 feet wide, with 4-inch steel supports, bolted into the ground. Picture one of those doing a backflip in 40 mph wind on a crowded field. It is a miracle that no one was injured or killed. The rain slowed, the wind stopped. It was quiet. The pope said, “Young people, thank you for your joy! Thank you for your resistance! Your strength is greater than the rain!” We smiled and cried. The 23 lost were soon found, the 3,000 thirsty were quenched. Gracias a Dios!

At the Mass, this was the Transfiguration of the Church. Singing, chanting, praying. Multilingual, multinational. With the flags and the World Youth Day shirts and hats, sunglasses, hiking boots, cameras, sweat, patience, water bottles, dirt, fatigue, chaperones, sleeping bags, and wrinkled maps.

Looking Back at Magis 2011: Part One – Gathering in Loyola Video

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Jesuit Finds God, Good News in Jesuit Community

Jesuit Tim O'BrienJesuit Tim O’Brien, currently in his second year of First Studies at Loyola University Chicago, spent his summer as an editorial intern at America Magazine, the weekly Jesuit review of religion, politics and culture.

O’Brien writes that he spent many of his days reading news and current events, “lost in a forest of headlines about debt ceilings and protests in Syria.”

He writes that in the midst of all the bad news, “it is easy to overlook that we, as Christians and as Jesuits, are a people of Good News…I am not saying that we should ignore bad news or the challenges that we face in the church and in the Society of Jesus. To the contrary, in fact. If ‘finding God in all things’ is more than just rhetoric, and I think it is, then even bad news can be a site of encounter with the Lord. And we can only find God in all things because God wishes to be found in all things.”

One place that O’Brien says he found God this summer was in his Jesuit community, America House in Manhattan, which he called a “dynamic cross-section of life in the Society.”

“This experience of community was a helpful reminder for me that, as a Jesuit in formation, I stand on the shoulders of the men who have come before me,” he writes.

“I have been helped by my Jesuit brothers to see the hand of God in places I’d never even look to find it. It is, for me, a great grace of our community life. My brothers help me see, time and again, the Good News amid the bad,” he writes.

Read more of O’Brien’s reflections on Jesuit community at the Maryland, New England and New York Province vocation website.