Archive for September, 2012
Regis University in Denver, Colo., inaugurated a new president, Jesuit Father John P. Fitzgibbons, on September 24. Fr. Fitzgibbons began his term on June 1, succeeding Jesuit Father Michael Sheeran. Previously, Fr. Fitzgibbons served as associate provost for faculty development at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
“We’re doing for students what works in today’s world,” Fr. Fitzgibbons told the North Denver Tribune before his inauguration. “Building on the excellent work done by Fr. Sheeran, I look forward to ensuring that the enrollment, retention and promised academic excellence of Regis University continue in upward trajectories.”
In line with the university’s Jesuit heritage, Regis has a long tradition of service, and students participate in more than 50,000 hours of service- and community-based training each year, according to Fr. Fitzgibbons. He said that these campus ministry programs help students during their formative college years to realize their role as men and women doing for others.
“We continue to keep our Catholic emphasis while inviting diversity of other cultures and faiths,” said Fr. Fitzgibbons.
Fr. Fitzgibbons also talked about the need for a well-rounded education. “A liberal arts curriculum is important because we believe that the professionals need this kind of education to think critically, write extremely well and make good discernments,” he said.
“We try mightily on integrating the two [humanities and hard sciences],” said Fr. Fitzgibbons, adding that Regis focuses on drawing out the God-given talents of students and building on them.
The university is also focused on financial assistance. In past years, Regis has worked to fund education for first-generation college students, especially graduates from Arrupe Jesuit High School. “We doggedly work to make Regis affordable to students from all socio-economical backgrounds,” Fr. Fitzgibbons said.
Read the full story at the North Denver Tribune.
When Jesuit Father David Shields returned to his native Milwaukee in 1996 after teaching and ministering on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for 22 years, he had an idea to create an affordable, accessible place where the Latino community could gather to pray, talk and learn.
His idea resulted in Casa Romero, an urban, bilingual spiritual renewal center he founded in Milwaukee 11 years ago. Since then hundreds of families and young people have flocked to the center on their own journeys of self-reflection and discovery, reports the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
The purpose of the center is to form and renew individuals and to strengthen families, thereby building community, according to Fr. Shields. One family program aims to deepen the bond between parents and teens through various activities that include sharing cultural and faith values. Another program is a bilingual retreat for teen girls and their moms.
The center has also expanded its programs to serve beyond the Latino community. There’s an “Urban Plunge” community service retreat for suburbanites and those from rural areas who want an urban experience.
Fr. Shields says the “Plunge” is becoming increasingly popular. “It’s an educational hands-on mission trip where individuals serve at the Saturday meal program at Gesu Church, visit with the homeless at Repairers of the Breach, or go to a homeless shelter,” he said.
“I think there’s a real concern in the heart of people,” Fr. Shields said. “They’re surprised when they meet homeless people and learn they’re ‘just like me’ and realize that they could be a couple of paychecks from that situation,” he said.
Casa Romero is housed in a former convent that had been vacant. The building was purchased for $100, and gifts and donations helped renovate it.
“There was no big plan,” Fr. Shields said. “We have no reason to exist, except by the grace of God.”
To read more about Fr. Shields and Casa Romero, visit the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel website.
For more than seventy years, the Jesuits of the New York Province have served the people of Micronesia. And thanks to a new video series, their incredible, faith-filled ministry throughout the Pacific islands is being shared.
In the first episode, on faith and spirituality in action, three New York Province Jesuits explain what they love about serving in the Pacific.
Jesuit Father John Mulreany does pastoral ministry and teaches at Yap Catholic High School, which opened last year. He’s happy with how the Catholic community pulled together to support the new school.
“People are really passionate about deepening their faith … and having more opportunities for prayer and worship,” Fr. Mulreany says.
Jesuit Father Richard McAuliff is director of Xavier High in Chuuk. He says that one of the best aspects of serving there for the past 20 years is that everything is about relationships.
“We might not have the technology, we might not have the modern conveniences, but what I’ve been taught by the people out here is that the most important thing is relationships — whether it’s with God, each other or yourself,” says Fr. McAuliff.
Jesuit Father Marc Roselli, who also serves at Xavier High, says it’s been one of his most gratifying teaching experiences because the students are filled with life, receptive and faith-filled.
Watch the first episode below and visit the New York Province website to view the other episodes in the series.
Jesuit Father Paul Lickteig, who was ordained to the priesthood this past June, has written about his vocation for the Huffington Post. Fr. Lickteig, who also contributes to The Jesuit Post, explains how his vocation emerged in a piece titled “How I Became A Jesuit Priest.”
Fr. Lickteig writes that vocation is a strange thing:
“It is the idea that people can be drawn towards a particular way of life. Vocation is partially about the job, but more about the way a person’s choice of work allows something deeper to develop in his or her heart. For many, ‘the call’ comes at the expense of other aspirations. It is a trade-off. We let go of certain impulses and choose to follow other desires, in an oftentimes circuitous route, that we hope will lead towards a deeper awareness of how we might better love and serve humanity.”
For Fr. Lickteig, his desire to love and serve led him to “explore a single mystery in a deeper way: GOD.” When he found the Society of Jesus, he writes, “I found a group of people that were responding to this same mystery in a profound way.”
In the piece, Fr. Lickteig describes the wide variety of work he did during his eleven years of Jesuit training, which included working with addicts in the Bronx, gutting houses in New Orleans, taking classes in counseling, teaching religion at a prep school and building affordable housing in Omaha.
“I moved from community to community, never staying in one place for more than nine months at a time. In each new home I was asked to interact with the best and worst that humanity has to offer, and somehow find the grace of God thread through it all,” Fr. Lickteig writes. “Ultimately, this is the purpose of Jesuit training: to find Christ in all things.”
Fr. Lickteig concludes, “Eleven years ago I gave a commitment to continue exploring this great mystery in a faith that stretches back thousands of years. It is a yes I will continue to follow as this life unfolds mercifully before me.”
Jesuit Father Jack Morris is 84 years old and can no longer walk. But thirty years ago he led a group that walked across the U.S. as part of the Bethlehem Peace Pilgrimage to raise awareness about the nuclear arms race. Later that year the group flew to Ireland to continue the pilgrimage, ending in Bethlehem.
Now Fr. Morris, who is celebrating his 50th year as a priest, is working on his memoirs in the infirmary at the Jesuit House at Gonzaga University. He sees a country as dedicated to war as ever.
“I think we’re making progress toward doing ourselves in,” Fr. Morris told The Spokesman-Review.
Fr. Morris’ driving question is: “How do we put peace into the center of church thinking?”
“If the church spent as much time on peace issues as it does on birth control and abortion, we could have peace,” he said.
In the 1970s, Fr. Morris became drawn to the peace protesters who had gathered around the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Wash. He developed the idea of a pilgrimage and found about a dozen others who were willing to give it a try.
The group set off on April 9, 1982, with walkers ranging in age from 20 to 67. They walked about 20 miles a day, slept where they could, ate simple food and gave presentations on peace. They walked to Washington, D.C., and then flew to Ireland to conclude the walk.
They arrived in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, 1983, and everyone who started the pilgrimage finished.
“I was glad we were there and we were done,” Fr. Morris said. “I was tired of walking.”
Read more about Fr. Morris at The Spokesman-Review.