Archive for April, 2013

Jesuit Reflects on His Friend, Pope Francis

Jesuit Father Hernán ParedesJesuit Father Hernán Paredes studied at Colegio Maximo San Jose in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a Jesuit in formation when Pope Francis, then Jesuit Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was the rector and spiritual director. Fr. Paredes, a native of Ecuador who currently teaches at Loyola School in New York City, shared his thoughts on the election of his friend in an interview that will be published in an upcoming issue of JESUITS magazine. Excerpts of the interview follow:

How did you learn of the election of Pope Francis?
I was attending a Broadway show with Loyola School freshmen. At intermission, a student told me there was a new pope but he couldn’t pronounce the name. He showed me the news story on his phone. I cried and prayed for my friend. It did not surprise me that he asked for prayers from the crowd when he first appeared on the balcony after his election. He always asked for prayers, even in his e-mails.

What can you tell us about his influence in your life and vocation?
I am very lucky to have had him as my superior and spiritual companion and to call him a friend. I’m a Jesuit some 30 years because of him. I learned from Jorge … to be humble, practical and available. He wants priests who are faithful to God and willing to serve.

It did not surprise me that his formal installation as pope took place on Saint Joseph’s Day, when we honor a humble and faithful servant of God. As his installation approached, I traveled to Belize with 10 Loyola faculty members and administrators to build homes for the needy. That is the way Pope Francis would have wanted me to celebrate his installation.

What are some of the characteristics and gifts that Pope Francis brings to the church?
Pope Francis is a man who stands for and with the poor. He knows the poor by name, and I have witnessed this many times. Last year, I visited him in his office in Buenos Aires. Later in the same week, I visited a friend’s home in a poor barrio. Our friend praised then Cardinal Bergoglio for giving what money he had to help. He is known for his humility and generosity. Jorge was the community’s superior but he served others in so many ways, including cooking on Sundays for the scholastics.

What does his election mean for Latin America and the church?
It’s overwhelming. We are the Catholic Church, and the word catholic means universal. I’ve received calls from people around the world, in the United States, Ecuador, Argentina and many other places, and they are so very happy. … Long life to Pope Francis, the pope of the poor!

America’s Editor Jesuit Father Matt Malone Profiled in The New York Times

Jesuit Father Matt MaloneJesuit Father Matt Malone, the youngest-ever editor-in-chief at America magazine, was recently profiled in The New York Times. Fr. Malone sat down with columnist Clyde Haberman to discuss the 104-year-old Jesuit magazine, the first Jesuit pontiff and his Jesuit vocation.

When asked if the new pope is good for the Jesuits, Fr. Malone said “It’s uncharted territory. It’s hard to know how it affects us other than to say we’re very proud.”

What’s indisputable is that Pope Francis’ election has been good for America magazine. “We had a huge number of hits on the Web site [during the papal conclave]. In fact, it crashed after he was announced, because of the demand,” said Fr. Malone, who reported from Rome during the conclave.

According to Fr. Malone, Pope Francis has most likely seen America magazine. “It’s sent to every Jesuit community in the world,” he pointed out.

He also discussed his Jesuit vocation. When Fr. Malone was in his late 20s working in Boston, he moved next door to a Jesuit parish. He became captivated by the Jesuits’ “spirituality and way of praying.”

Fr. Malone, whose early passion was politics, said, “I came to feel that change, real change, only happens through the action of grace, a radical movement of the heart.

“It wasn’t so much that I thought, ‘I’m disillusioned — I’ll go off and be a priest.’ It was very much thinking that I was moving closer to the source of real change.”

Read the whole profile on Fr. Malone at The New York Times’ website.

Jesuit Father Sean Carroll Calls For Immigration Reform at Congressional Hearing

At a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday, Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), testified about a new report that’s shedding light on disturbing cases of family separation caused by current U.S. immigration policy.

The report, “Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” commissioned by the Jesuit Conference of the United States, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and KBI examines the experiences of migrant women, men and children deported from the United States to cities along Mexico’s northern border.

As the executive director of KBI, a bi-national humanitarian ministry of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Carroll works to aid deported migrants who pass through the KBI’s Aid Center and through Nazareth House, KBI’s shelter for migrant women and children.

At an ad hoc hearing convened by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, U.S. representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, Fr. Carroll testified, “At the U.S./Mexico border, we are witnesses to what many don’t see or refuse to acknowledge: the physical, psychological and emotional destruction caused by current U.S. immigration policies in the lives of Mexican and Central American men, women and children looking to be reunited with their family members who live in the United States.

“This report, supported by our experience and service on the border, confirms the disastrous effects of current U.S. immigration policies on families, whether through the process of deportation or because of mixed immigration status. We can and must do better.”

Following the hearing, Fr. Carroll attended the Rally for Citizenship on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol with thousands of immigrants and activists seeking to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Fr. Carroll said that he thinks this is an incredibly hopeful time for immigration reform as “we are doing our best to ensure that this reform is just and humane.”

‘Spiritual Practices’ Art Exhibit Showcases Works of Four Jesuit Artists

Spiritual Practices: Meditations on Faith art showThe diverse works of four contemporary Jesuit artists are currently being showcased at an exhibit at the University of San Francisco’s Manresa Gallery. “Spiritual Practices: Meditations on Faith” is an exploration of the visual art practices of Jesuit Fathers Arturo Araujo, Thomas Lucas, Trung Pham and Josef Venker.

The exhibition features a range of mediums — including prints, stained glass, paintings and sculptures — that explore and reveal contemporary issues through art. According to Jesuit Father James Hanvey, the Lo Schiavo Chair in Catholic Social Thought at the University of San Francisco who specializes in Ignatian spirituality, “Whatever their professional training as artists, their ‘eyes’ and their ‘hands’ have come to see and touch with the senses of the [Spiritual] Exercises.

“Each one of the artists in this exhibition has his own unique voice but each, in his own way, illuminates some aspect of our lives and our souls,” writes Fr. Hanvey in an essay on the exhibit.

Fr. Araujo, a Colombian Jesuit, currently serves as an assistant professor of fine arts at the University of San Francisco. His works in the exhibit focus on the landscape of “Cienega Grande,” a network of salt-water lagoons on Colombia’s northern coast. The landscape became a battlefield when violence erupted and left 60 dead by the paramilitary in 2000. “The same landscape serves me as a mythical place to seek reconciliation,” Fr. Araujo writes.

Fr. Lucas, a professor of art and architecture at the University of San Francisco, says that during his 35-year career as a liturgical artist, designer, curator and Jesuit, his work has been shaped by the symbol, myth and ritual of the Catholic tradition.

He uses everything from ancient materials to modern techniques. “The pieces reach back to traditions of the gothic glassmaker, the byzantine iconographer and Latin American baroque craftsfolk, but also are touched by the contemporary realms of found objects, electricity and computer-aided design,” Fr. Lucas writes.

A professor of fine arts at Seattle University, Fr. Pham’s paintings explore the intimate relationship between mother and child. When his father was sent to a re-education camp after the Vietnam War, his grandmother and mother’s love became even more intense for Fr. Pham. “These two women not only loved me unselfishly but were also immeasurably strong, wonderfully intelligent and unbelievably hard working,” he recalls.

Fr. Venker, an assistant professor of fine arts at Seattle University, worked with found objects to find spiritual and religious meaning through ordinary and discarded things. “This search for God has become a key pursuit of the Jesuits to this day,” he explains.

Information about the exhibit, which runs through May 12, is available at the Manresa Gallery website. View art from the exhibit below.


Jesuit Father James Van Dyke Named Principal of New Cristo Rey School in Atlanta

Jesuit Father James R. Van DykeJesuit Father James R. Van Dyke has been named founding principal of the new Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, opening in fall 2014. Fr. Van Dyke, who currently teaches English and religion at Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx, N.Y., has worked in Jesuit secondary education for 24 years.

Cristo Rey Atlanta is a newly sponsored ministry of the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces of the Society of Jesus. The 500-student school will be part of the Cristo Rey network, which provides low-income students with a rigorous college prep curriculum. Students also participate in a corporate work-study program, which defers tuition costs.

Fr. Van Dyke, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Virginia; a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from the Weston School of Theology (now the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry); and a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md.

After entering the Jesuits in 1981, Fr. Van Dyke was ordained in 1993 and professed final vows in 2004. Before teaching at Fordham Prep, he was a teacher and faculty chaplain at Xavier High, chaplain of Regis High School in New York City and an English teacher at Canisius High School in Buffalo and at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, N.Y. In addition to his teaching duties, he has also served as student chaplain, retreat director, yearbook moderator and coach of swimming, crew and mock trial.

Fr. Van Dyke has volunteered extensively as a Sunday assistant at parishes, most recently at the Church of St. Thomas More in New York City, and served on the boards of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo, Regis High School and Fordham Prep. [Xavier High School, Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School]