Archive for February, 2012

Jesuit Talks Ash Wednesday, Humility and Repentance

Today, there’s a good chance you’ll see many of your co-workers, friends and neighbors with a smear of ash on their foreheads. If you’re not a Catholic, you might not know what it is. And you wouldn’t be alone. Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, appeared on Interfaith Voices radio program this week to explain the meaning of this very visible Christian ritual: a symbol of humility and repentance of sins.

To listen to Fr. Reese on Interfaith Voices, please click here.

Ignatian News Network Video Biography, Jesuit Father Scott Santarosa

A native of Sacramento, Jesuit Father Scott Santarosa, experienced the Jesuits at an early age, first as a high school student at Jesuit High School in Sacramento. Fr. Santarosa credits the care and attention of the Jesuits and lay faculty of Jesuit High in moving him to continue his Jesuit education at Santa Clara University, where he graduated in Civil Engineering in 1988.

Still not having enough of the “Jesuit thing,” he decided to do a year of volunteer work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, where he ran an after-school program for youth in Newark, New Jersey. Following his year as a Jesuit volunteer, he went one step further, and joined the Jesuits in the summer of 1989.

His Jesuit life has taken him to the Bronx, New York for philosophy studies; Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose for three years of teaching; Berkeley and Mexico City for theology studies and pastoral ministry. Currently, Santarosa is the pastor at Dolores Mission parish, a small but vibrant Jesuit parish in the lowest income section of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. He served there as a newly ordained priest back in 2000 where the good parishioners there taught him how to be a priest. His time there planted the seed of desire to do parish work, so he is happy to be there now full-time, doing pastoral work, much of it in Spanish. He feels humbled and grateful to see God in the people of that community.

Ignatian News Network met up with Fr. Santarosa to learn more about the man behind the collar.

Music is Instrumental in Jesuit’s Vocation Story

Jesuit Father Roc O’Connor has been a member of the Society of Jesus since 1967. For more than 25 years of those years, he has planned, performed and written liturgical music. Fr. O’Connor was a part of the St. Louis Jesuits, considered by many to be the fathers of contemporary American liturgical music. Along with the other members, he received four Grammy nominations in late 1970s. Today, O’Connor teaches theology at Creighton University and consults on liturgical matters for St. John’s parish in Omaha, Neb.

In this video piece below, O’Connor discusses his own vocation path and how music has become instrumental in his life as a Jesuit.

Jesuit Taking a Scientific Approach to Prayer

Jesuit Father Chris Rupert brings a systematic mind to prayer. // Photo by Michael Swan

Believers in every religion and through every century of human history have done something they can’t quite describe, justify or do without. They pray.

They may meditate, contemplate, recite, babble or immerse themselves in silence. They may seek solitude or seek company to pray with others. They may follow the rules of a liturgy, improvise or seek a simple, direct encounter with God.

Jesuit Father Chris Rupert brings a systematic mind to the subject. His PhD combined Scripture studies with statistical modelling and social sciences. For the last 30 years as a pastor, theologian and retreat leader, now at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre in Pickering, Ontario, Canada, Rupert has thought scientifically, systematically and precisely about what people are doing when they pray.

“When people get a sense of God in prayer, it depends on their social situation,” Rupert told Canada’s Catholic Register in a wide-ranging discussion of his research. “If my life situation changes, prayer will change.”

As Rupert taught people classic Ignatian prayer techniques he began to think about the way expectations and terminology were predetermining how people experience prayer.

“The question I ask myself in my examination of conscience determines often what I get out of it — or what I don’t get out of it,” he said.
Read the rest of this entry »

Get to Know the Chicago-Detroit Jesuits Who Took First Vows This Year

(L-R) Gregory Ostdiek, Kevin Embach, Kyle Shinseki, Matthew Lieser, Trevor Beach, and Joshua Peters

A Jesuit professes first vows after two years in the novitiate and before entering first studies. Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, the man promises to become poor, chaste, and obedient with God’s help. Each novice then receives a crucifix—a symbol of his dedication to following Christ on the way of the cross—which will remain with him throughout his life.

On August 13, 2011, six Jesuits from the Chicago-Detroit Province professed first vows at St. Thomas More Catholic Community, the Jesuit parish of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  Read on to learn more about them and why they love being Jesuits.

“During my time in the Navy, I realized that my vocation really was to be a priest. So I started looking around and discovered that the Jesuits were the best fit for me. . . . There are a lot of good guys in the Society. . . . There’s a lot of study, but it’s fun learning and training yourself to help other people.” — Gregory Ostdiek, Beavercreek, OH

Greg has a BA in English and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton, and an MA in English and an MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State. He served in the navy for 14 years, including several tours in the Middle East. Greg taught physics at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School & Academy before joining the Society.

Read the rest of this entry »