Archive for June, 2012

Take the Jesuits with you via your iPhone or iPad: New App allows Users to Find Nearby Jesuit Institutions, Latest News and Jesuit Prayers

Across the United States, the Society of Jesus, the U.S.’s largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, runs universities, high schools and middle schools, parishes and retreat houses.  And today, the 450-year-old religious order has an app.

Available for free at the iTunes App Store, the Jesuit app operates on any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad; a similar app will soon be available at the Android Marketplace for use on devices such as the Droid, Evo and HTC Touch.

The new app allows users to locate Jesuit retreat centers, schools and parishes across the U.S., read the latest news and information about the Jesuits, and access Jesuit prayers and spirituality documents.

The app’s three sections include:

Here users can find Jesuit apostolates – parishes, retreat centers, colleges and universities. It includes easy-to-use directions and contact information for any Jesuit institution in the U.S. and is searchable by apostolate name, by the user’s current location or through any address the user enters.

All the latest news stories from National Jesuit News are displayed here.  Users can tap on any headline to view the full story, share the link with friends or open the story in their browser.

In this section, users can view prayers, spirituality documents and background information on the Society of Jesus.

The video below explains in more detail how the app operates. Visit the app information page here to find out more.

Jesuits Follow in the Footsteps of Migrants

For many of us, summer is a time to journey.  A time to travel, hit the road and explore. Whatever the locale, these summer excursions often have one common denominator:  a restful, relaxing, restorative destination.

Sometimes, the journey is anything but. On June 14, 2012, a group of Jesuits began a five-week journey along the “migration corridor” from Central America to the United States. Along the way, they have been visiting shelters, human rights organizations and parishes that assist migrants as they move through the migration corridor.

On a blog site they’ve established to chronicle their journey,, the Jesuits say they hope to attain “a better understanding of the reality of migration and the difficulties encountered by migrants on their journey to the U.S.”  The blog, called Journey Moments: The Migrant Corridor, includes photos and a map of the journey and is presented in English and Spanish.

In Honduras, the Jesuits met up with a group of deportees recently returned to their country.

“With little governmental support, the human mobility ministry of the Catholic Church, along with other initiatives, has established an attention center to receive these migrants. Here, the migrants are given some food, medical attention (if needed), and a personal care kit. As we ourselves saw, this return contrasted wildly with the festive ambiance of more familiar airport reunions. Thursday, in the back of San Pedro Sula´s airport, there were no hugs, no smiles, no balloons, no joy. Instead, the travel-weary migrants exuded only sadness, disappointment, and apprehension.”

Several days later in Honduras, the group visited a community in the countryside, about 30 minutes outside of El Progreso, where they spent time visiting with families whose lives have been tragically affected by migration.

“Victoria told us her story through grief and tears. Her husband is counted among the ‘desaparecidos’, those migrants who are never heard from again after beginning the long, dangerous journey to the States. Victoria recounted how her husband left their home in order to provide a better life for their daughters. She has not heard from him in eight years and clings desperately to the hope that she will find out what happened to him.”

At another stop in Honduras, the Jesuits visited those who have suffered devastating injuries attempting to migrate to the United States.

“Many hoping to migrate to the United States ride on top of cargo trains.  The train reaches high speeds, with occasional sudden stops, easily causing people to fall. Sometimes, these falls are fatal. Other times, they injure people so badly that it takes years to recover. Meanwhile, their dreams of providing a better life for their families disappear. This is the case of Jose Luis Hernandez.  On the train up North, he suffered a terrible accident, losing one leg, one arm, and four of the fingers from his remaining arm. It has taken him years to recover, not only from the physical wounds, but also from the emotional wounds: the stigma of now being disabled, the shame of returning home with nothing, the sense of being a burden for his family.”

We invite and encourage you to follow this blog during the coming weeks as the Jesuits travel through El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico before entering the United States and stopping in El Paso, Texas and Nogales, Ariz.

In addition, thanks to the magic of Skype, internet cafes and file-sharing, The Jesuit Post,  will also be following the journey.   Founded in February of this year, The Jesuit Post was launched by a group of young Jesuits who hope to draw the connection between contemporary culture and spirituality using a language and tone to which young adults can relate.

What would Los Angeles look like without Jesuit-Founded Homeboys Industries?

In a recent Op-ed piece in the LA Times, columnist Jim Newton reflected on what the city might look like if Homeboy Industries, the Jesuit-founded ministry that provides on-the-job training and counseling to former gang members, was no longer a fixture in the urban area.

“Life without Homeboy would be bleaker, meaner and more expensive in a society already too bleak, too mean and strapped for cash,” says Newton in his column.

Founded at the height of the gang violence that was ripping the city apart in 1992, Jesuit Father Greg Boyle, himself now an icon in the city, started Homeboy Industries  to help gang members leave their lives formed on the streets and in prisons and instead learn skills to improve their lives. Offering tattoo removal, counseling former “homies” in drug rehabilitation and mental health, and even providing jobs in its bakery, café and t-shirt store, Homeboy Industries is a haven for former gang members looking to turn their lives around. The ministry helps approximately 12,000 individuals each year learn life skills to lead them away from the streets.

With the economic downturn pulling back donations a few years ago, the concept of a Los Angeles without Homeboy Industries almost became a reality and Fr. Boyle had to canvas all of his contacts and benefactors to help stave off insolvency. Jobs for the homeboys and homegirls are still scare but the program does help keep these former gang members off the streets. “You want people to make the connection between public safety…and giving these people a chance,” Boyle says.

Read more about Homeboy Industries and what it and Fr. Boyle provide to Los Angeles in this column from the LA Times.

Jesuit Explains the Priestly Ordination Ceremony

This month, 12 men from various walks of life and who entered the Society of Jesus over a decade ago were ordained as priests. Following ordination, these new priests will serve in parishes and teach in Jesuit universities, among other assignments.

Last year, we followed Jesuit Father Radmar Jao on his own journey to ordination. Now, Fr. Jao walks us through an ordination ceremony for three of his fellow Jesuits—Jesuit Fathers Christopher Duffy, Richard Magner and Trung Pham—which took place June 9 at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

This short video gives a unique glimpse into an ordination Mass with Fr. Jao explaining the actual process of the ordination ceremony step-by-step.

Jesuit Scientists Lead Catholics in New Parish on University of British Columbia Campus

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has assigned two Jesuit scientists —both of whom have been described as having an ‘earthy spirituality’—to head its new parish on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus.

Jesuit Father Robert Allore, pastor and chaplain, and Jesuit Father John McCarthy, assistant pastor and chaplain, hope the new St. Mark’s Parish will grow and become an integral part of the faith and service life of UBC.

Fr. Allore said, “We actively support efforts that promote dialogue between the traditions of science and religion.”

Fr. McCarthy said, “At the same time, we hope to build bridges between sometimes separated communities that, we believe, need to work together for the benefit of all.”

St. Mark’s Parish, formed at the beginning of the year to serve students, faculty, staff and local residents, brings together the former worshiping communities of St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish and St. Mark’s College. In partnership with student support provided by the campus ministry team at St. Mark’s College, the new Parish of St. Mark will also deliver services to the UBC hospital system.

As befits a parish in an institution of higher education, Frs. Allore and McCarthy arrive at UBC well-qualified in their respective fields of science.

Fr. Allore is a geneticist who conducts research on gene therapy strategies for the nervous system, while Fr. McCarthy is an ecologist who specializes in boreal forest ecology and the biology of lichens.

While pursuing his training as a Jesuit, Father Allore worked at Montreal General Hospital’s division of Neurosurgery where he conducted research on gene therapy strategies for the nervous system. Before moving to Vancouver, he worked for several years at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital, investigating the genetics of nervous system development. While serving at St. Mark’s Parish, he will continue his genetics research in the UBC Department of Zoology.

Fr. McCarthy is a specialist in boreal forest ecology and the biology of lichens, important biological indicators of environmental conditions.  He has conducted extensive studies on the ecology of old growth forests in northern Newfoundland.  He served for years as the Co-Chair of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council for the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. His work in boreal forest conservation earned him the Canadian Environment Award, Gold Prize, from the Royal Geographical Society of Canada.

Aside from his parish duties, Fr. McCarthy continues his ecological research activities on the biodiversity of lichens in Newfoundland and Labrador.  His field work takes him to all parts of Canada and Europe to collect samples and meet with research collaborators.

You can read the original story on Frs. Allore and McCarthy’s newest assignments in this The Campus Resident article written by its editor, John Tompkins.