Archive for October, 2011

Late Apple Co-Founder Knew the Value of Communication, Jesuit says

Like Pope Pius XI, who founded Vatican Radio and built the Vatican train station, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs recognized the importance of expanding communication, a Jesuit told Vatican Radio.

Jobs, 56, died Oct. 5 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, the new editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, told Vatican Radio that Jobs made technology part of the lives of millions and millions of people, not just technicians.

“Steve Jobs had something in common with Pius XI and that is that he understood that communication is the greatest value we have at our disposal today and we must make it bear fruit,” Fr. Spadaro told the radio Oct. 6.

Spadaro said Steve Jobs had a “great ability to believe in dreams, to see life not only in terms of little daily things, but to have a vision in front of him. Basically, Steve Jobs’ most important message was this, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’ — in other words, maintain the ability to see life in new ways.”

The “stay hungry” quote was from a commencement address Jobs gave at California’s Stanford University in 2005.

On his own blog — www.cyberteologia.it — Spadaro embedded a video of Jobs giving the Stanford commencement address and wrote about how some of his points echoed points made by the Jesuits’ founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Jobs told the new graduates, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

For Apple’s 1996 "What's On Your Powerbook?" ad campaign, Jesuit Father Don Doll appeared with musician Todd Rundgren to highlight the disparate ways Mac owners used their laptops.

Spadaro said that in his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius wrote that one way of making an important choice is to examine how one would go about making that decision if he knew he were about to die.

“In the cases of Ignatius and Steve, death isn’t a bogeyman,” but is present as a reminder that in the face of death, the only thing that remains is what is truly important for each person, he wrote.

“I don’t know if Jobs was a believer,” the Jesuit wrote. In the Stanford speech, he said, Jobs was “speaking simply about the interior disposition one must have when making important decisions in life, focusing on what counts. No one, believer or non-believer, can make choices in life if he thinks he’s immortal.”

[Catholic News Service]

A Jesuit Reflects on Taking Final Vows in the Society

Jesuit Father Ron Gonzales

Jesuit Father Ron Gonzales pronounces his final vows to Provincial Mark Lewis.

Jesuit Father Ron Gonzales share his thoughts on Final Vows:

Taking final vows in the Society of Jesus reminded me of something Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Well in some ways it was just that but a lot more, much more. Even though we Jesuits take first vows after two years in the novitiate, we still remain officially in formation up until the time we are invited to take final vows (sometime after ordination and tertianship). Although the process of formation can seem long and cumbersome to some observers, without a doubt each and every phase contributes to the overall spiritual formation of the Jesuit. Of course with a longer formation period also come the opportunities for self-awareness and hopefully experience and wisdom.

I explained final vows to my parishioners, some of whom thought I was being ordained as a priest! Think of it as the Society of Jesus saying to itself, “You know we’ve had this fellow, Ron Gonzales, with us for about 18 years. Why not keep him?” When I took my first vows back in 1994, my intention and hope was to continue in the formation process until such time when the Society would say, “We, too, fully accept you.” Being fully accepted as a Jesuit is truly a great feeling of belonging and completion, in spite of my human weakness.

There is also a keen sense of humility knowing that our superiors and our Jesuit companions are quite aware of both our strengths and weaknesses. I liken it to a marriage covenant between spouses in which each one feels a peace and acceptance knowing that there is a commitment as well as an acceptance of one another, no matter what happens. Perhaps some in academia would appreciate another analogy, namely that of tenure. We recognize the work and effort that precedes tenure, yet we know the hard work continues long after final vows and even after retirement age. It is not a time to “rest on our laurels” as there is much work to be done.

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Jesuit Sees Progress in Boston College Strategic Plan

Boston College’s Strategic Plan — a broad-based blueprint for the University’s academic, formational and faith initiatives — was the subject of the University Convocation in Robsham Theater on Sept. 7, as the BC leadership offered assessments of the plan on its five-year anniversary.

BC President, Jesuit Father William P. Leahy, pointed to numerous indicators of progress in fulfilling the seven key facets of the Strategic Plan since it was launched in the fall of 2006. He also outlined what he called “imperatives” for the University in continuing to pursue the objectives of the Strategic Plan, and in meeting other challenges as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2012-13.

Focusing on the student formation and Jesuit, Catholic aspects of the Strategic Plan, Fr. Leahy noted enhanced cooperation among faculty, deans, administrators and the Student Affairs and Mission and Ministry divisions, the reorganization of the Center for Student Formation and promotion of a positive campus culture — through introduction of late-night programs, student health initiatives and increased opportunities for student retreats, among other developments.

Similarly, while BC has seen success in its ambition to be the leading Catholic university and theological center — through its reaffiliation with the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, establishment of the Church in the 21st Century Center and publication of The Catholic Intellectual Tradition — its challenges include the need to recruit and educate faculty, administrators and staff supportive of the Jesuit-Catholic mission.

Fr. Leahy also urged that BC “remain true to our Jesuit, Catholic traditions and beliefs,” which differentiates the University from other institutions.The newly reopened Gasson Hall — regarded as BC’s most iconic building — and its distinctive lighted tower serves as a metaphor for the University’s mission, concluded Fr. Leahy: “We are to be beacons of faith and hope, a light to the world.”

Jesuit Share Insights about Life after Disability for Returning Veterans

The Richard A. McGarrity, SJ, lecture series hosted by the Wisconsin Province of Jesuits recently featured Jesuit Father Rick Curry, a noted author, actor, teacher and baker. The breakfast program focused on how the community can better support veterans who are returning to society and the workforce.

Known to many throughout the Jesuit world, Curry is the founder of the National Theater Workshop of the Handicapped (NTWH) and is the director of the Academy for Veterans at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 2003, NTWH offered a new program called the Wounded Warriors Writers Workshop, and his vocation took on yet another dimension.

“The program taught the dramatic monologue to recently returning disabled veterans from both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Working in small groups with talented young writing teachers, these valiant men and women struggled artistically to tell their stories in a format where they could later act them out on stage,” Curry said. “We were delighted that the arts could play such a significant role in the healing of these heroic Americans. The experience of writing and acting out their story opened the floodgates of emotions and this led many who participated in the writers program to seek further help and counseling.”

After more than 40 years as a Jesuit brother, Curry felt encouraged to seek priesthood whereby he could work “not only artistically with the wounded warriors but sacramentally as well.” Curry’s ability to become a priest took special permission from the Vatican because he was born with only one arm, and Canon Law requires two hands to celebrate Mass. It is a challenge he considers a gift, because it provides an automatic bond with disabled veterans.

With advances in modern medicine, soldiers are returning from war, but many are casualties just the same, whether in body, mind or both, Curry said.

“Imagine a young man whose body has been severed at the waist,” Curry said. “He’s lost so much, but he’s alive. Just 19, he needs to rethink what he will do with the rest of his life. We will lose many more men and women than the fatality charts show if we do not step up for them. I urge everyone to use his or her imagination to identify ways he or she can provide support to our veterans with disabilities and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. A lot of people can do much more than they think.”

Jesuits Celebrate 2,000 Combined Years of Service to the Church

The Society of Jesus of New England recently honored 36 Jesuits celebrating jubilees ranging from 25 to 75 years of service in the priesthood or in the Jesuit Order. At a Mass and reception held at Boston College High School, more than 400 Jesuits, family members and friends came to honor the Jubilarians.

Jesuit Father Myles N. Sheehan celebrated the Mass commemorating his Jesuit brothers who have dedicated their lives to serving the Lord.

“These special milestones offer each of us a graced opportunity to reflect on our calling, examine all that we have learned from our work, and renew our commitment to follow the example of Ignatius of Loyola in serving God’s people,” said Sheehan. “We thank the Jubilarians gathered with us today, as well as those who have gone home to God, for their faithful and generous service.”

The 34 priests and two brothers observing jubilees in 2011 have contributed to communities all over New England and have traveled the world to serve in a wide range of professional roles such as missionaries, professors and administrators in diverse locations including Iraq, Jamaica and Italy. Three Jesuits, Frs. Paul T. Lucey, Joseph H. Casey, and Fr. Louis L. Grenier celebrated 75 years in the Society and 10 Jesuits celebrated over 50 years in the priesthood. One of the Jubilarians who would be celebrating a Jubilee in 2011 has passed away.

To learn more about the 2011 Province Jubilarians, view photos and read Fr. Joseph O’Keefe’s homily from the Mass, please visit www.sjnen.org/Jubilee