Archive for October, 2012

Jesuit and His Gang Ministry Star in Documentary

G-DOG movie poster with Jesuit Father Greg Boyle and a homie“This is the story of a remarkable odd couple.” That’s the description of the new film “G-DOG” about Jesuit Father Greg Boyle and the former gang members, or homies, he’s served and befriended since 1992, when he founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Homeboy Industries helps former gang members learn skills to better their lives and provides jobs in its bakery, café and t-shirt store.

“G-DOG” was directed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Freida Mock and had its U.S. debut this past June at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Mock says she was inspired to make the film after seeing Fr. Boyle’s book “Tattoos on the Heart.” She remembers thinking, “A priest, kids, gangs and love? What’s this all about?”

The film, which is slated for theatrical release next year, introduces audiences to Fr. Boyle and the homies he helps. It also depicts a tough year for Homeboy Industries, with the possibility that the businesses will have to close because of challenging economic times.

Variety’s review said, “In an era with a paucity of real heroes, a genuine one emerges in “G-Dog”: the inexhaustible Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, whose Homeboy Industries has saved countless lives in Los Angeles’ gang-plagued neighborhoods.”

For more, visit the film’s website, www.gdogthemovie.com, where you can meet the cast and view clips.

Jesuits-In-Residence at Georgetown Bring Spiritual Element to Residence Halls

Jesuit Father David Collins

Jesuit Father David Collins

What do you get when you mix a dorm filled with undergraduate students and a Jesuit-in-residence? An opportunity for Ignatian spirituality. At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Jesuits-in-residence serve as mentors to students. For instance, Jesuit Father David Collins, one of the university’s Jesuits who lives in a student dorm, holds open houses every week so that students can stop by to talk.

“It’s an unstructured way for students to come up and, in fact, raise issues that they want to talk about,” Fr. Collins said. “The advantage of putting so much emphasis on an unstructured open house is that it allows themes to be set by students.”

Fr. Collins, a history professor, said the experience of living in a residence hall allows faculty to interact with students they might never otherwise meet.

Jesuit Father Dan Madigan

Jesuit Father Dan Madigan

Jesuit Father Dan Madigan, from Australia, is in his first year as a Jesuit-in-residence on campus, and for him the experience offers a chance to broaden his understanding of American college life.

“I was very interested to meet resident assistants — that was an eye-opener, because I didn’t go to a school like this,” Fr. Madigan said. “I went to undergrad in Australia, and we always go to state university as commuters, so we don’t have the sense of 24/7 residential contact.”

Like Fr. Collins, Fr. Madigan likes that he can meet a more diverse group of undergraduates — and give students the opportunity to get to know a Jesuit.

“We make a lot of the fact that this is a Jesuit university, but many students never get to meet a Jesuit,” Fr. Madigan said.

Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes

Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes

Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes is a chaplain-in-residence for the first time at Georgetown this year, but he has previously been a Jesuit-in-residence at Santa Clara University in California, and he has big plans.

“I’m going to lead a secret Jesuit tour,” Fr. Carnes said. “Essentially, at nine at night we go with flashlights to different historical sites, get keys to see secret places around campus and finish up with ice cream at my apartment.”

The Jesuits say that dorm life is no more chaotic than is typical for a college community.

“Other than when the Yankees won the World Series, I’ve never been kept up at night,” Fr. Collins said. Read more about the Jesuits-in-residence at The Hoya website.

After Almost a Half Century, Jesuit Retires from Marquette

Jesuit Father John NausWhen the new academic year started at Marquette University in Milwaukee last month, it was missing one of its most well-known Jesuits. Jesuit Father John Naus served the university for almost 50 years before he retired over the summer.

Known for his sly humor, former Marquette president Jesuit Father Robert Wild said Fr. Naus was perhaps the best known and most beloved Jesuit at Marquette for the past 49 years.

Ordained a priest in 1955, Fr. Naus served Marquette in academic, administrative and ministerial capacities for nearly five decades.

Smiling builds trust, Fr. Naus told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, so he tried to make others smile with silly antics on the first day of class.

In the 1970s, students at the residence hall where Fr. Naus lived and was chaplain for 28 years bought him a clown suit to wear and named him Tumbleweed. This prompted Fr. Naus to attend the Barnum & Bailey clown college in Venice, Fla. Fr. Naus went on to perform as Tumbleweed at children’s hospitals and nursing homes, and he spent the last class of his courses teaching students how to make balloon animals.

His philosophy classes were challenging but popular. “He was mesmerizing in the classroom,” said James South, chair of Marquette’s philosophy department. “The biggest thing we had to manage was the sheer demand for his classes,” which were the first to fill.

Fr. Naus is also famous at Marquette for his weekly 10 p.m. Tuesday Mass, which would attract more than 200 students. That was “the happiest hour of my week for 28 years,” Fr. Naus said.

Read the full profile of Fr. Naus at the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel website.

Kino Border Initiative Receives Binational Collaboration Award

 Fr. JBoy Gonzales, SJ, a Philippine Jesuit working at KBI

Jesuit Father Jboy Gonzales (right) passes a plate at KBI's Aid Center for Deported Migrants.

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a Jesuit, binational ministry in Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was recently honored for its work with migrants. “There’s a lot of negative press about the U.S.-Mexico border, and I think these awards draw attention to positive programs and efforts that are happening on the border and to the people who live and work there,” says Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, executive director of KBI. “It’s a real affirmation of our staff and the work we’re doing.”

The KBI was one of four organizations to receive an award for binational cooperation and innovation along the U.S.-Mexico border from the Border Research Partnership, comprised of Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies, the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center and Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana.

From left to right are Sean Carroll, S.J., Alma Delia Isais, M.E., Rosalba Avalos, M.E., Marla Conrad, Luis Parra and Pete Neeley, S.J. All are KBI staff members, except for Luis Parra, who is Chair of the KBI Board of Directors.

At the awards ceremony: from left to right are Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, Alma Delia Isais, M.E., Rosalba Avalos, M.E., Marla Conrad, Luis Parra and Jesuit Father Pete Neeley. All are KBI staff members, except for Parra, who is chair of the KBI Board of Directors.

The awards program honors “success stories” in local and state collaboration between the United States and Mexico. KBI, the only religious work among those honored, was founded in 2009 by six organizations: the California Province of the Society of Jesus, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Diocese of Tucson and the Archdiocese of Hermosillo.

Currently, there are four Jesuits working at KBI — two from the California Province and two from the Mexican Province. Jesuits are involved in other ways as well. For instance, this summer, a group of seven Jesuits spent five weeks traveling along the Migration Corridor in Central America to experience the route typically traveled by migrants seeking a better life in the United States. KBI was the last stop on their journey. Fr. Carroll says visiting KBI and meeting the migrants can be the most effective type of education.

“We can show photos, we can talk about it, we engage people on the issues — all that’s very helpful. At the same time, when a person or a group is able to dialogue with a group of migrants, that has the biggest impact,” says Fr. Carroll. “The group no longer has just a theoretical idea of the issue, but they think about it in terms of this person or this group of people that has been so affected by the current immigration policy, and I think it has a very significant impact.”

 A meal at KBI's Aid Center for Deported Migrants.

A meal at KBI's Aid Center for Deported Migrants.

In addition to education and advocacy, KBI also focuses on humanitarian assistance. Since its founding the group has provided thousands of migrants food, shelter, first aid and pastoral support. From the beginning of the year to the end of July, KBI served nearly 36,000 meals to migrants. Last year KBI provided over 450 women and children temporary shelter, and KBI’s clinic treats about 12 to 15 people a day.

“It’s a great blessing for us to offer those services,” Fr. Carroll says. “Our work is very transformative for us individually and as an organization because we serve them and we hear their stories and accompany them at a very difficult time.”

Visit the Kino Border Initiative website, where you can learn more about volunteer and educational opportunities. For more from Fr. Carroll, watch this Ignatian News Network video.

Pray for the Jesuit Tertians Beginning the Spiritual Exercises Today

 Spiritual Exercises of St. IgnatiusTen Jesuit tertians from around the world are starting the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius today in Portland, Ore. This four-week retreat is an important component of tertianship, a part of the Jesuit formation process.

Tertianship is usually made ten to fifteen years after the novitiate and at the end of a Jesuit’s professional training. St. Ignatius called it a “school of the heart” because it’s a time when the tertian deepens his own commitment to the Society of Jesus.

“The retreat of the Spiritual Exercises is perhaps the key moment of tertianship. After years of living his life as a Jesuit, the tertian once again engages in this month-long program of intense prayer and reflection and brings his lived experience as a Jesuit before our loving God,” explains Jesuit Father Dave Godleski, the delegate for formation and Jesuit life at the Jesuit Conference. The Jesuit Conference represents the nine U.S. provinces of the Society of Jesus, promoting common goals and overseeing international projects.

Because of the long retreat’s importance in the tertianship program, the Jesuit Conference is asking for prayers for the tertians and their directors:

  • Jesuit Father Mark Bandsuch (Chicago-Detroit Province)
  • Jesuit Father James Conway (British Province)
  • Jesuit Father Emerito Salustiano de la Rama (Philippines Province)
  • Jesuit Father  Jean-Alfred Dorvil (French Canada Province)
  • Jesuit Father Wieslaw Faron (South Poland Province)
  • Jesuit Father Ian Gibbons (Missouri Province)
  • Jesuit Father Edwin T. Gnanaprakasam (Madurai)
  • Jesuit Father Michael Harter (Missouri Province) – assistant tertian director
  • Jesuit Father Raymund Benedict Hizon (Philippines Province)
  • Jesuit Father Charlie Moutenot (New York Province) – tertian director
  • Jesuit Father Godwin Mulenga (Zambia-Milawi Province)
  • Jesuit Father John Murphy (California Province) – retreat director
  • Jesuit Father Ignatius Hadimulia Sasmita (Maryland Province)

After completing the Spiritual Exercises, the tertians will study Society documents, including the Jesuit Constitutions and decrees from recent General Congregations. After studies, they will do apostolic experiments, which often involve pastoral work with the poor. Once the tertianship period is completed, the Jesuit is called to pronounce his final vows in the Society.