Archive for February, 2013

Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe’s “Falling in Love”

National Jesuit News is sharing the following quotation attributed to Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe (1907–1991) to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Fr. Arrupe served as the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983.

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, that is, than
Falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.


Jesuit Helps Guide Catholics Returning to the Confessional

Jesuit Father Jake EmpereurIf you can’t remember what comes after “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” but want to return to confession, don’t worry says Jesuit Father Jake Empereur.

Whether it’s been a few years — or even decades — parishes and dioceses are inviting inactive Catholics to return to church at Lent, with the sacrament of reconciliation as an incentive. Fr. Empereur, a priest since 1965 and a parochial vicar at St. Matthew Parish in San Antonio, said the motivations for wanting to go back to confession can be many.

“It could be because of health issues. It could be because their conscience moves them to finally be able to participate in the church and the liturgy and Communion,” said Fr. Empereur. “People get married. Sometimes it’s someone’s first Communion, sometimes it’s a wedding. It’s all sorts of different reasons.”

And what they have on their mind — and want to get off their chest — can vary as well, Fr. Empereur told Catholic News Service.

“Each case is really, truly different,” Fr. Empereur said, adding he tells penitents to focus on “what they came to say” because it “gives me further questioning on what I need to do [as a priest]: whether or not they’re married, personal relationships, issues in their life, whatever it might be.”

“They don’t talk about a lot of non-sins, small things and so forth,” Fr. Empereur continued. “They have a couple of major things: they got married outside the church, they had a bad experience with a priest, or so forth.”

Fr. Empereur said he asks penitents whether they pray. “Usually they’ll say something like their evening prayers before they go to bed, or they pray before meals. Usually they have not been going to Mass.

“Then you can talk about participation in the Eucharist. So you have to kind of instruct them, helping them along,” he explained. “Encourage them. ‘Are you going to be more involved in the church? Are you going to go to Mass? Are you going to go to confession once in a while?’”

Fr. Empereur said there’s usually something they have on their minds and that’s why they come back in the first place. “Usually I find my questions have to do with their relationships or their spiritual life. After all, that’s the purpose of all this. I can’t say I’ve had two identical confessions,” he said.

Read the full story at the U.S. Catholic website.

Father James Martin on the Papal Resignation in The New York Times, on The Colbert Report

Jesuit Father Jim Martin on The Colbert ReportJesuit Father James Martin, editor at large at America magazine, appeared on The Colbert Report last night where he and host Stephen Colbert discussed the pope’s resignation, the papal election process, ex-pope etiquette and the unlikelihood of choosing an American pope.

Fr. Martin also has an op-ed, “The Change Upon Christ’s Rock,” in The New York Times today on Pope Benedict XVI’s legacy:

“Paradoxically, Benedict might also be best remembered for how he left the papacy. In becoming the first pope to resign since 1415, he demonstrated immense spiritual freedom, putting the good of the institution, and of a billion Catholics, before power or status. This most traditional of popes — who in his role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had often been criticized for exercising too much power — has done one of the most nontraditional things imaginable.”

Read the op-ed at The New York Times website and watch Fr. Martin on The Colbert Show below:

Jesuits React to Pope Benedict XVI’s Resignation

Pope Benedict XVI waving“I didn’t see it coming,” said Jesuit Father Stephen Sundborg about Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, echoing the thoughts of many Catholics. Pope Benedict’s announcement that he will resign on Feb. 28 makes him the first pope to step down in over 600 years. Here are some reactions and commentary from U.S. Jesuits on the pope’s resignation:

Fr. Sundborg told KOMO News Radio he thinks it means that “this is a very thoughtful pope. He sees he doesn’t have the energy to carry on as pope beyond what his current age and strength is. I think people will respect this [decision].”

Fr. Sunborg went on to say that he thinks Benedict will be remembered as “the pope theologian.”

“He was an expert at the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago. He wrote very extensively about the Gospels. He tried to re-engage culture in a positive way.” Listen to all of Fr. Sundborg’s comments at the KOMO News Radio website.

Jesuit Father George Coyne, a former director of the Vatican Observatory who teaches at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., said Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to step down because of poor health is in keeping with the pope’s character.

“I think it was a very courageous move, a very good move,” said Fr. Coyne, who knew Benedict as a cardinal for many years. “I think he had a very personal conviction that he could not carry on the job because of general health conditions.”

Benedict “lived through the aging of John Paul II, and I think that very much influenced him,” Fr. Coyne said. “He didn’t want to see the church go through another period like that.” For more from Fr. Coyne, visit

Jesuit Father James Martin, of America magazine, tweeted, “The Holy Father’s resignation is a selfless and noble act done for the good of the Church he has loved and served for his entire life.”

On America’s website, Fr. Martin also wrote about the pope’s legacy: “His most lasting legacy, I would suggest, will not be in the various ‘newsworthy’ acts of his papacy that were highlighted in the media so often … but something far more personal: his books on Jesus. Far more people will most likely read those moving testaments to the person who is at the center of his life—Jesus of Nazareth—than may read all of his encyclicals combined.”

Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen also wrote about the pope’s legacy on America magazine’s website, noting some of the pope’s contributions during his tenure:

“His encyclical Caritas in Veritate, with its affirmation of structural reform as ‘political charity’ and his call for a global authority to regulate the financial sector, may be the most radical since John XXIII’s Pacem in terris 50 years ago. Though not a diplomat himself, he conducted extraordinary visits to Turkey, Britain and the Holy Land. His address to the British leadership in Westminster Hall was both a diplomatic and personal triumph.”

Jesuit Father John Fitzgibbons, president of Regis University in Denver, told the Denver Post that the news was shocking in its impact, but he believed there had been signs.

“I think the Holy Father, Benedict, has signaled in a number of ways he’ was very open to a more humane response to the human realities behind such offices,” Fr. Fitzgibbons said.

Fr. Fitzgibbons said Benedict will be remembered for carrying on John Paul II’s “glowing understanding that this is a worldwide church, and he moved further away from Euro-centrism by appointing cardinals that came from all over the world.”

As for what happens next, Jesuit Father Thomas Reese offers a helpful Q-and-A on the papal transition, conclave and election of new pope on America’s website.

World Youth Days Inspired Jesuit Scholastic to Join the Society

Jesuit Eric RamirezEric Ramirez, a Jesuit scholastic, says he discovered his vocation while in college and was further inspired by the World Youth Day celebrations in Denver and Toronto, where he decided he would become a priest.

His family was supportive when Ramirez told them he was joining the Society of Jesus, although his mother wanted to make sure it was for the right reasons.

“My mother was really clear. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing it for her, and that was never a problem, I was doing it for me,” Ramirez says.

Ramirez is now studying theology in Rome, giving him the opportunity to pray in the same room where St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society, worked for many years. Ramirez says he has learned the importance of the Spiritual Exercises as a way to develop a personal relationship with God.

“There’s a hunger among every human being in that search for God. And I think the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius really become a pathway to get to that hunger, to recognize that hunger for what it is, and then to be able to recognize that God responds to our hunger,” he says.

For more on Ramirez, watch the video from Rome Reports below.