Archive for November, 2011

Jesuit Named New President of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia

Jesuit Father C. Kevin Gillespie, the associate provost at Loyola University in Chicago, has been selected as the new president of St. Joseph’s University.

Fr. Gillespie, a native Philadelphian, graduated from St. Joseph’s in 1972, and will be the first St. Joe’s alumnus to serve as university president in over 100 years.  He will assume his new position on July 1, 2012.

“Kevin Gillespie is deeply respected by his Jesuit brothers as a man of integrity and deep spirituality,” said Jesuit Father Dan Joyce, assistant vice president for mission and identity, in an email.

Gillespie will succeed former president Timothy R. Lannon, who left St. Joseph’s this year to become president of Creighton University in Omaha.

Jesuit Father Thomas Brennan, associate professor of English, said he believes Gillespie’s background in pastoral counseling will influence how he conducts himself as university president: “I would think he’d be very interested in talking to people. He would bring a very pastoral perspective, which would be good. He would be very available to people who have concerns.”

“I think he understands Philadelphia and the Church here a lot better than other people,” said Brennan. “He’s someone who has a deep commitments to Philadelphia.”

Until Gillespie’s arrival next year, senior vice president John W. Smithson will continue as interim president, the university said.

In January, St. Joseph’s trustees elected Jesuit Father Joseph O’Keefe to replace Lannon, but O’Keefe withdrew in March, citing health problems. O’Keefe was dean of Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.

Gillespie earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Joseph’s in 1972. He earned master’s degrees in psychology from Duquesne University and in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. in pastoral psychology from Boston University.

Gillespie “is an accomplished and acclaimed scholar with a commitment to academic excellence and a fervent dedication to advancing his alma mater and Catholic, Jesuit education in the region,” Robert Falese, chairman of the board of trustees, said in a statement.


Jesuit Father Ted Arroyo Discusses Alabama’s Anti-Immigration Law in This Month’s NJN Podcast

In this month’s NJN podcast, we spoke to Jesuit Father Ted Arroyo from his office in Mobile about the immigration law recently put into place in Alabama that is considered one of the strictest in the U.S.

Fr. Arroyo currently serves as the Alabama Associate for the Jesuit Social Research Institute. Based out of New Orleans, the Jesuit Social Research Institute, JSRI, works throughout the Gulf South doing research, analysis, education, and advocacy on the issues of poverty, race, and migration.

You can listen to our podcast with Arroyo via the player below. You can also read his testimony in front of the Alabama’s state legislature by visiting the JSRI site here.

Keeping the Door Open: Residence at Boston College Allows Students to Discern Religious Life

Jesuit Father Terrence Devino will mark 25 years as a priest this coming spring, remembers the strong stirrings he felt for the priesthood back when he was a college student — feelings he wasn’t sure anyone else could understand.

“I was scared to death to talk about it,” he recalled.

Fr. Devino doesn’t want anyone at Boston College who may be mulling a vocation to the priesthood or religious life to feel scared or alone. To that end, he works diligently directing Manresa House, BC’s center for vocational discernment, where an abundance of warmth, hospitality and spiritual guidance awaits for anyone seeking to explore a religious calling.

Established by University President William P. Leahy, SJ, in 2007, Manresa House takes its name from the town in Spain where St. Ignatius of Loyola prayed for more than 11 months, leading to the ultimate creation of the Spiritual Exercises. The house originally was under the direction of then-Campus Minister Jesuit Father Jack Butler, who now serves as BC’s vice president for University Mission and Ministry.

“College students spend lots of time searching. This house offers a place where students are encouraged to look at how to serve the Church,” Devino said. Communication and economics major Christopher Knoth ’14 is grateful for Manresa House and its director.

“Fr. Devino is a man who is more than just someone to talk to because he talks back. I have never met a man who is as dedicated. He selflessly gives all his energy to anyone who enters the doors of the Manresa House,” said Knoth, an Ignatian Society member and graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland.

“He has given me so much direction in my life and I am beyond blessed to call him a friend. He has gotten me through my hardest times at school and I have celebrated some of my highest of highs with him as well. My college experience would not be nearly as personal and influential on my life if it were not for Fr. Devino.”

Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism Needs to be Priority for Society, Jesuit says

In September, Jesuits from around the World came together to Rome to meet with Father General Adolfo Nicolás about the ever evolving issue of interreligious dialogue and ecumenical outreach. Jesuit Father Thomas Rausch, the T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount University attended this meeting, and offered his reflections to National Jesuit News on the issues facing today’s Society and the future of interreligious dialogue.

In 1995, the Jesuits came together in their General Congregation to broaden the understanding of the Society’s mission, to include the proclamation of the Gospel and the evangelization of culture. Recognizing that that Jesuits today carry out their mission in a world of ecclesial and religious pluralism, this past September, Jesuits from around the globe came together in Rome, to discuss the future and expansion of this mission.

Mindful of this, Father General Adolfo Nicolás reorganized the Jesuit Curia’s one-man secretariat for ecumenical and interreligious affairs, appointing eight Jesuits from around the world who would meet with him every September for three years to advise him on shaping Jesuit mission in these areas. The most recent meeting included discussions that were wide-ranging, covering topics such as; new challenges to ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, how those from different religions might find ways to pray together or in each other’s company, how to encourage dialogue with indigenous and traditional religions, and how to prepare Jesuits for engagement with all these issues.

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Jesuit’s Play “Equivocation” Comes to Arena Stage in Washington, DC

Jesuit Father Henry Garnet was tried and hanged in 1606 for his knowledge of the previous year’s Gunpowder Plot, in which Robert Catesby and other influential English Catholics nearly blew up Parliament and King James I of England. Witnesses said spectators pulled the priest’s legs as he writhed in the air to give him a speedy death and spare him more prolonged attention from the executioner.

In Jesuit Father Bill Cain’s play “Equivocation,” the man pulling on Garnet’s legs is William Shakespeare, the playwright for the theatrical company The King’s Men. He is commissioned by Robert Cecil, a power-player behind King James I, to write a play declaring the government version of the events of the plot. The King himself wrote the first draft.

“We don’t do politics,” Shakespeare says. “We do histories. True histories of the past.”

The play revolves around the cost of a government lie and how politics can become personal. Presented in modern language and dress, Equivocation presents a dilemma: tell the truth and lose your head or write propaganda and lose your soul? This political thriller reveals the complexities of the truth, the perils of compromise, and the terrible consequences of equivocation.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of Equivocation will be playing at the Arena Stage in Washington DC starting on November 18, 2011. For tickets, visit the Arena Stage’s box office online.