Archive for November, 2011

Jesuit Provincial of East Africa to Address Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington

Over 1,000 students, teachers, parish members, and others passionate about faith-inspired social justice will gather in Washington, DC, from November 12-14, 2011, for the 14th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

The Teach-In is an opportunity for members of Jesuit institutions and partners to gather for learning, prayer, networking and legislative advocacy on Capitol Hill. Teach-In attendees represent twenty-eight Jesuit universities, over twenty-five Jesuit high schools, Jesuit parishes, Jesuit volunteer communities, and many other Catholic institutions and organizations.

Keynote speakers include Jesuit Father Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, Provincial of the East African Province of the Society of Jesus, among others.

Fr. Orobator is a lecturer at Hekima College Jesuit School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya, the author of Theology Brewed in an African Pot and often presents on ethical and theological issues in church, religion, and society in Africa.

The theme of IFTJ 2011 is “The Gritty Reality: Feel It, Think It, Engage It,” derived from a speech given by former Jesuit Superior General, Jesuit Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, in 2000 entitled, “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education.” Kolvenbach said, “Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively.”

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Jesuit Father James Gartland Named Rector of Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community

Jesuit Father James Gartland, the president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, has been named as the new rector of the Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He will succeed Jesuit Father Brad Schaeffer in August 2012.

A member of the team that founded Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in 1996, he taught theology at the school from 2000 until 2004, when he was appointed to his current role as president.

“I love being a Jesuit, so the thought of working with Jesuits in formation is a privilege and honor for me,” said Fr. Gartland. “I am looking forward to moving to Boston.”

Gartland will be responsible for the community’s Jesuits, who come from various parts of the United States and as far away as Europe and Africa.

Prior to his post at Cristo Rey, Gartland was pastor of St. Procopius Church, a Mexican immigrant parish in Chicago.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Xavier University, master’s degrees in philosophy and religious education from Loyola University Chicago, and a master’s in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

Father Ciszek Day Mass Includes Panachida Service

The 27th annual Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek Day Mass was concelebrated in October at St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church by nine priests, including three Byzantine Catholic Rite clerics.

For the first time in St. Casimir’s during the annual Mass, a Panachida service – a service to remember the deceased in Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches – was conducted at the conclusion of Mass, for Fr. Ciszek, a Shenandoah native whose cause for canonization is under investigation in the Catholic Church. Father Ciszek, baptized a Roman Catholic, served his priesthood in the Byzantine Rite.

The Panachida service was celebrated by the Jesuit Father Thomas Sable, co-postulator for the cause of canonization of Father Ciszek; Monsignor Nicholas I. Pukak, pastor of St. Mary Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church, Freeland, the oldest Ruthenian Byzantine church in America; and Monsignor John S. Mraz, guest homilist and pastor of St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, Emmaus, and the director of the Allentown Diocese Office of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue.

During his homily, Mraz said that he was honored to be the homilist, not for being an expert on Father Ciszek, but for his devotion to him and the cause for canonization.

“While I was in the seminary in the early 1970s, I learned about the heroic virtue and the saintly life of a native of Shenandoah, Father Walter Ciszek, who suffered for decades in the Stalinist gulags in Soviet Russia, and the strange spy swap that returned him to his family in Pennsylvania and the Society of Jesus,” he said.

“Once Father Walter was able to surrender his life to his vocation and his future in Christ, his stubbornness became determination in the face of the communist oppression,” said Mraz. “His pride became courage in the midst of religious oppression. His self-sufficiency became reliance upon Christ’s grace and the decades-long isolation from family, friends and the religious community.”

Father Ciszek was born Nov. 4, 1904, in Shenandoah and was a parishioner of St. Casimir’s, where he was baptized and attended the parochial school. He was ordained in 1937 as the first American Jesuit in the Byzantine Catholic Rite. He secretly entered the Soviet Union in 1939 as a missionary priest and was arrested in 1941 as a Vatican spy. After 23 years as a prisoner in the Soviet Union, he was released and returned to the United States. He died Dec. 8, 1984. His cause for canonization began in the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic and was later transferred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown. His cause is currently being reviewed at the Vatican.


Prayerful Reflection for Jesuit National Vocation Promotion Month

November 5th is the feast of All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus, and also the start of National Vocation Promotion Day Month, which is observed by Jesuits and their partners. Jesuits are blessed to continue to have prayerful men with generous hearts who desire to labor in and for the Kingdom.

Jesuits recognize the ongoing need to engage men who might be called to religious life. The Society of Jesus is a community of priests and brothers dedicated to the service of God and the Church for the betterment of the world around us. No matter what the work, from university to infirmary to barrio, it is for the glory of God and the help and salvation of souls.

Even within the Society of Jesus, there is a great variety of voices, an array of talents, but all are at the service of the call and the mission. Some are gifted at social analysis, others at immediate and effective working with people at the margins of life or society. Many are scholars, many are missionaries. Whether teaching, preaching, giving the sacraments or praying for the society, the voices are as varied as the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, but there must be one message: to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

If you or someone you know is discerning a vocation calling to join the Jesuits in service, we encourage you to visit for more information on the Society of Jesus. Today, National Jesuit News offers a prayer for vocations to the Society of Jesus.

in the name of Jesus,
and through the power of Your Holy Spirit,
we pray that You inflame the hearts of men
with courage and trust
and the desire to labor for Your kingdom
as Jesuits.
We ask You
through the intercession of Mary, our Mother,
St. Ignatius, and all Your saints,
to bless the Society of Jesus
with bountiful vocations
that it may continue to serve Your church
with passion and zeal.
May Your will be done.

Below, Jesuit Father Robert Ballecer, national director of vocation promotion for the Society of Jesus urges us to reflect on the feast of All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus and asks that you help us to continue the mission.

First Things Highlights Jesuit Intellectuals

In October, the publication First Things highlighted a poll performed by The Gregorian Blog which surveyed the top Catholic commentators, editors and scholars, asking:  “Who were America’s greatest Catholic intellectuals?”

Of the top 10 receiving the most nominations, three were Jesuits.

The Catholic Hall of Fame’s Greatest American Catholic intellectuals, in the order of their birth:

  1. Orestes Brownson (1803–1876)
  2. Jesuit Father John Courtney Murray (1904-1967)
  3. John Senior (1923-1999)
  4. Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ (1918-2008)
  5. Jesuit Father James Schall (1928-)
  6. Ralph McInerny (1929-2010)
  7. Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009)
  8. Mary Anne Glendon (1938-)
  9. George Weigel (1951-)
  10. Robert P. George (1955-)