Archive for November, 2011

A Special Vision: Jesuit Father Larry Gillick

When Jesuit Father Larry Gillick joined the Jesuits in 1960, it would not have been possible for him to have become a priest. It wasn’t until 1972, after Vatican II, that changed. Because of childhood accident. Fr. Gillick is blind, and it was not until Vatican II that those with such disabilities would be able to be ordained.

Today, Gillick is a retreat master, leading retreats throughout the country. He currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska and in involved in the Jesuit community at Creighton University. He is loved by many students and is always ready to listen to them and provide counsel. At Creighton, he serves as a student mentor and presides at regular mass at Creighton’s catholic church, St. John’s.

In this video, Fr. Gillick shares the story of his vocation.


Jesuit Writes Mass Setting for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Jesuit Father Bob Fabing, an internationally known liturgical music composer and author, has written a Mass setting for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, known by many as Mother Teresa. The setting, complies with changes to the Roman Missal, and is now available exclusively online.

“The inspiration for this Mass came from my 70 meetings with Mother Teresa and my many, many, many meetings with her Sisters. I wanted a melody that all of those who Mother Teresa reached out to—the poor: physically, emotionally, and spiritually—could relate to and which would bring them all to Christ at his Eucharistic Liturgy,” said Fr. Fabing. “I wanted a melody that all of those who Mother Teresa reached out to—the poor: physically, emotionally, and spiritually—could relate to and which would bring them all to Christ at his Eucharistic Liturgy.”

Father Fabing is the founder of the Jesuit Institute for Family Life Network, which includes 44 marriage counseling and family therapy centers in California and Oregon. He is the director of the 36-Day Program in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius at the Jesuit Retreat House in Los Altos, California, where he lives. The deep spirituality of his music is the fruit of his many years directing these counseling and spirituality centers.

He has also ministered in China for many years, teaching, promoting liturgical music and spreading the Good News of the Gospel.

For more information about the Mass of Teresa of Calcutta, please visit the Oregon Catholic Press website.

Where Faith and Science Meet: Anticipating the Future

Jesuit Father Kevin FitzGerald is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology and the Dr. David P. Lauler Chair for Catholic Health Care Ethics at Georgetown University.

His research interests have included the investigation of abnormal gene regulation in cancer and ethical issues in human genetics, including the ethical and social ramifications of molecular genetics research. He is an expert on ethical issues in personalized medicine, pharmacogenomics, human cloning research, stem cell research, and genetic testing.

Fr. FitzGerald recently sat down with National Jesuit News to discuss how being a priest and a scientist go hand-in-hand, and how the Church should learn to anticipate upcoming ethical questions.

Cincinnati NAACP Honors Jesuit for Years of Service

Jesuit Father Ben Urmston has stood up for just about every social justice cause in 46 years as a Catholic priest. And, in recognition of his efforts over the years, the NAACP of Cincinnati honored the Jesuit with its Fair and Courageous Award at its 56th annual Freedom Fund Dinner.

The award is one of the chapter’s highest honors and, as the name suggests, recognizes “public servants who perform fairly, impartially and courageously.”

“I do feel honored. The NAACP is a pioneering civil rights group,” Urmston said. “Sometimes we over-emphasize the individual and don’t recognize the contribution everyone makes to the common good. Even if they think they are only doing something insignificant, we’re all in this together.”

Urmston is a Cincinnati native who left for the service at age 17 and taught and worked briefly in Detroit before returning.

“We live in two Cincinnatis,” Urmston said. “One is in the basement. The other is on the top floor, and if it’s not on the top floor, it’s not in the basement.”

Urmston sees the differences between the two as a schism emblematic of  issues around the country.

“It’s counter-productive,” said Urmston, professor emeritus of Peace and Justice at Xavier, where he founded programs such as the campus shantytown in solidarity with the homeless. “We need to learn compassionate listening with people we disagree with.”

Urmston is a World War II veteran who served in Patton’s Third Army, fighting in three major European battles – the Rhine, Ruhr and Bavaria – before serving a year in the Philippines.

“With God’s help, I was able to draw good from evil,” Urmston said. “Despite many years of repressed memories, instinctively I got my passion for peace and justice. I value freedom.”


Nicaraguan Jesuit, Political Activist Captivates Boston College Audience

“I have to leave, but I want to leave you with something from me: an oath before God. From today until the day I die, I dedicate my life to the liberation of the poor in the struggle for justice, and you are my inspiration.” Jesuit Father Fernando Cardenal declared these to his friends and neighbors in Medellin, Colombia, over 40 years ago after completing his final course for becoming a member of the Society of Jesus.

With the assistance of a translator, Fr. Cardenal explained to a packed audience at Boston College that his time spent living in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Colombian city informed his entire life’s work as a Jesuit and political leader in his native Nicaragua.

Among his neighbors was a family with seven children, whom Cardenal referred to as his “little bodyguards” because they were always following him around. One time, when he returned to his Jesuit residence, Cardenal walked in to find the children eating the Jesuits’ garbage. He described the emotional impact this moment had on him. Cardenal said, “That was a big hit for me. I loved them. You can’t imagine what that did for me.”

He continued, “Many times, the only thing these children had to eat was a roll made from corn and hot water with brown sugar added to it. My neighborhood was like a big lake, and we were all under the water of suffering. Often, I didn’t want to leave the house. The people were always suffering and without hope. When I walked down the street, I kept repeating to myself, ‘Unbearable. Unbearable. Unbearable.’”

Cardenal realized, “I cannot accept that people live this way. As a human being and as a Christian, I cannot accept it. It has to change.”

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