Archive for January, 2012

Pope Benedict Advances Sainthood Causes with Jesuit Connections

Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood causes of three Blesseds, all with Jesuit connections; Blessed Jacques Berthieu, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Peter Calungsod.

Before a date is set for the canonization ceremonies, there must be an “ordinary public consistory,” a formal ceremony opened and closed with prayer, during which cardinals present in Rome express their support for the pope’s decision to create new saints.

Pope Benedict recognized the miracles attributed to their intercessions, which paves the way for them to be declared saints. They are:

Blessed Jacques Berthieu, a French Jesuit priest who was martyred in Madagascar in 1896. Berthieu was a diocesan priest for nine years before he decided to enter the Society of Jesus at age 35. He was appointed to the Madagascar mission even before he finished novitiate. He died while he was accompanying refugees who were trying to avoid attacks from another tribe. His attackers stripped him of his cassock and beat him with clubs before forcing him to walk in the cold rain to the village where their chief lived. Berthieu refused to accept that man’s offer of becoming a counselor to his tribe, promising to spare his life if he would renounce his faith. Berthieu replied that he would rather die than abandon his religion. Several men attacked him with clubs; a blow to the head killed him. His attackers then dumped his body into the river from which it was never recovered.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, known as the Lily of the Mohawks, was born to a Christian Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father in 1656 in upstate New York along the Hudson River. She was baptized by a Jesuit missionary in 1676 when she was 20, and she died in Canada four years later. In June 1980, she became the first Native American to be beatified.

Blessed Peter Calungsod, a lay Catholic from Cebu, Philippines, who accompanied Jesuit missionaries to Guam as a catechist and was martyred there in 1672 while he was in his late teens.

Le Moyne College Welcomes Acclaimed Jesuit Scientist as Their Inaugural Religious Philosophy Chair

An astronomer by training, Jesuit Father George Coyne has devoted much of his life to researching the surfaces of the moon and Mercury, interstellar matter, binary stars and distant galaxies in order to gain a greater understanding of them. He has taught astronomy at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and has served as both director of the Vatican Observatory and president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. Now, he joins the faculty of Le Moyne College in Syracuse as their first Religious Philosophy chairman.

Coyne’s arrival comes at a time of exceptional student interest in the natural sciences and allied health fields at Le Moyne. Opening this month, its new science complex will house the physical, life and health sciences. This addition is a 50,000-square-foot building that will adjoin the reconfigured Coyne Science Center for a total of 105,000 square feet of academic space. The complex includes teaching facilities to accommodate large introductory-level classes and small upper-level classes, as well as cutting-edge facilities for faculty research and faculty-mentored student research.

German Jesuit Named to the College of Cardinals

“The world, with all its resources, is incapable of providing humanity with the light to guide it on its path”, said Pope Benedict XVI Friday marking the Feast of the Epiphany with pilgrims present in St Peter’s Square for the midday Angelus, during which he also announced a consistory for the creation of new cardinals. The Holy Father announced a consistory for February 18th, during which he will create 22 new Cardinals. 18 of them will be cardinal-electors, which means they are eligible to vote in conclave.

Pope Benedict also announced that one bishop and four priests who have distinguished themselves in their commitment to the Church, will be made cardinals in the February consistory although they will not be eligible to vote in conclave having passed the age limit of 80 years. Among these Jesuit Father Karl Becker, Professor Emeritus of Dogmatic Theology of the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Jesuit Father James Martin recently wrote about Cardinal-designate Becker’s elevation, especially in light of him being a Jesuit:

“Normally the pope names (or, technically, “creates”) cardinals from the ranks of bishops and archbishops (as with Archbishop Dolan) and these men are often heads of the larger archdioceses.  But occasionally the pope names a priest, to honor the man for his life’s work.  (Normally they are over 80, not named a bishop so as to spare them from the sacramental duties of a bishop, and are ineligible to vote in a papal conclave.) Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, the American Jesuit theologian, was a recent example.  (An interview with Cardinal Dulles a few months before the consistory, including his thoughts on becoming a cardinal, is here.)

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Jesuits Launch YouTube Channel Featuring Ignatian News

Loyola Productions, a Jesuit-sponsored film production house in Los Angeles, has recently launched a YouTube channel dedicated to promoting the works and mission of the Society of Jesus.

Ignatian News Network (INN) will tell the stories that inspire, inform and spread the word about the people in and around Jesuit ministries and institutions. These short videos, many featuring biographical profiles of Jesuits, will give a distinctive Ignatian lens to news and happenings across the U.S.

National Jesuit News will be featuring upcoming INN videos right here. You can also subscribe to the INN YouTube channel and check out this promo piece below:

Jesuit Suffering from Alzheimer’s Works to Preserve his Memories

Jesuit Father Armand Nigro, a priest for more than 50 years, is losing his memories.

He’s open about it. Eloquent, in fact.

“When I was told that I was in dementia, and it was the Alzheimer’s kind, well gee, of all the diseases this is the one I would have feared the most, because you die before you die. And before you die, you’re a burden on everyone else,” Fr. Nigro says.

Nigro is letting each day unfold. He’s always been fairly mellow, earning him the nickname “The Mister Rogers of the Jesuits,” after the gentle-spirited pastor who hosted the public television children’s show.

Nigro is calm, but others are eager to capture his wisdom before it’s too late.

Catherine Reimer, who met Nigro at Seattle University in the early 1960s, and her husband, John, will soon complete five hourlong video interviews with Nigro about his life and ministry.

They are collecting written memories and photos of Nigro for The Ministry Institute, which Nigro cofounded in 1981 as Mater Dei, a seminary for men called to the priesthood later in life.

One such memory? The happiest day of his life: Nigro was ordained a Jesuit in 1956 at St. Aloysius Church. Nigro, who suffered with health problems in the seminary, said he had a premonition he would never live to be ordained.

Even at the altar, he thought: “I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this.”

He did. “I knelt down a layman and stood up a priest,” he said.

[The Spokesman-Review]