Archive for the ‘Curia’ Category

Pope Celebrates Mass at Rome’s Church of the Gesù with Fellow Jesuits on Ignatius’ Feast Day

Photos by Father Roy Sebastian, S.J., Jesuit Curia

Pope Francis at Church of the GesùPope Francis celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius on July 31 with more than 200 of his fellow Jesuits at Mass in Rome’s Church of the Gesù, where St. Ignatius is buried. The pope prayed that he and his fellow Jesuits would receive “the grace of shame” for their failures and the humility to recognize that whatever good they accomplish is really done by the Lord.

During his homily, Pope Francis said that Jesus told his disciples never to be ashamed of following him, but Jesuits are taught to look upon the crucifix and “feel that very human and very noble sentiment which is shame for not measuring up.”

Pope Francis at Church of the GesùJesuit Father James E. Grummer, assistant for the USA Assistancy and General Counselor at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, was one of the U.S. Jesuits in attendance and said one of the most moving parts of the Mass was during the homily when Pope Francis mentioned two images about the end of life that “sum up our vocation for him: Francis Xavier and Pedro Arrupe. Francis was within reach of his dream but unable to reach it; Pedro was slowly stripped of everything the world holds important as he found himself entirely in the hands of God.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the Mass was “very beautiful and very familial.”

In his spirituality and spiritual tradition, Fr. Lombardi said the pope sees himself as a “son of St. Ignatius” and feels “very close to the Society of Jesus.”

Pope Francis at Church of the GesùThe pope’s homily was filled with references to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, meditations and instructions for a 30-day retreat that form the basis of Ignatian spirituality.

The exercises, Pope Francis said, are designed to remind Jesuits that Christ and the church must be at the center of all they do; that they must allow themselves to be conquered by Christ in order to serve; and that they must feel shame in order to be humble before God and other people.

Father General Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, prayed for “Francis our brother, the bishop of Rome” during the Eucharistic Prayer.

Pope Francis at Church of the Gesù“The phrase articulated the way the liturgy felt,” said Fr. Grummer. “Francis may be Supreme Pontiff, but he thinks of himself as our brother and wants us to think of him that way too.”

At the end of the Mass, the pope prayed at the tomb of St. Ignatius, before a relic of St. Francis Xavier and at the tomb of Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe, superior of the Society from 1965 to 1983.

“The pope placed a bouquet of flowers in front of the memorial plaque [where Arrupe is buried], prayed there and reverently touched the plaque before making the sign of the cross,” said Fr. Grummer.

Other U.S. Jesuits in attendance included Fathers Anthony Sholander, vice rector, minister and treasurer of Collegio Internazionale del Gesù in Rome, and Kenneth Gavin, assistant international director of Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome — who both helped distribute communion — and scholastic Eric Ramirez, who served as an acolyte. [Catholic News Service]

Jesuit Superior General Says Pope’s Style is 100 Percent Jesuit

Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás,Pope Francis is 100 percent Jesuit and his style shows it off, said the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás, in a recent interview with Rome Reports.

“I think we’re already seeing signs. … On Holy Thursday, he told priests that a shepherd should smell of sheep. It’s a great image which speaks to the pastoral mission of clergy, be it bishops or priests,” Fr. Nicolás said.

Fr. Nicolás also said he believes that the election of a Jesuit pope won’t have any repercussions on the Society’s members:

“It’s very clear to us, nothing has changed, nothing. The pope is the person the cardinals chose among themselves because they think he can lead the church. So we obey and work with him with the same intensity as we had with other popes.”

Even though the vow of poverty has always been a basic tenet for Jesuits, Fr. Nicolás believes this idea has gained importance within the church.

“That Cardinal Hummes told the pope the same thing [“Don't forget the poor”], means that it’s part of the church now. And that’s a good thing. It’s good because St. Paul mentioned it in one of his letters: we have to move with freedom because we are free with Christ, but we must never forget about the poor. He said this was one of the signs of being a Christian,” said Fr. Nicolás.

Watch the Rome Reports video with Fr. Nicolás below.

Jesuit Superior General Appointed Head of International Organization of Religious Orders

Jesuit Father General Adolfo NicolásJesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás, superior general of the Society of Jesus, has been appointed president of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), which represents the superior generals of more than 200 male religious orders. Fr. Nicolás will serve a three-year term and succeeds Franciscan Father José Rodriguez Carballo.

Founded by the Congregation for Religious, UISG’s purpose is to promote the life and mission of individual institutes that work in service of the church in order to make their collaboration more efficient and contact with the Holy See and the hierarchy more fruitful.

All superiors general of religious institutes or societies are members of the UISG. As superior general of the Jesuits, Fr. Nicolás is the leader of the largest religious order in the world. His long experience in Asia and his ability to govern are qualities the Society of Jesus sought in January 2008 when Fr. Nicolás was appointed superior general.

Fr. Nicolás was born in Palencia, Spain, in 1936. He has a degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and he completed a Master of Sacred Theology in 1971 at Sophia University in Tokyo, where he went on to become a professor of Systematic Theology. He was director of the Pastoral Institute in Manila from 1978 to 1984, and from 1991 to 1993 he was rector of theologate in Tokyo. He served as provincial of the Jesuit Province of Tokyo between 1993 and 1999. From 2004 to 2007, he was president of the Jesuit Conference of Provincials for Eastern Asia and Oceania. [Vatican Insider]

After Nearly Two Decades in Rome, U.S. Jesuit Has Unique Global Perspective on the Society

Jesuit Father Frank Case

Photo via Gonzaga Magazine

Father Frank Case is an American Jesuit with a vision of the international whole of the Society of Jesus. He spent 18 years in Rome, where he received an education in the Society’s global works.

In 1990, Fr. Case became regional assistant representing U.S. Jesuits to Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. In 2005, he was named general secretary, the Society’s No. 2 position. Six days a week, he and other advisers met with the Father General for briefings on Jesuit matters from all over the world.

Fr. Case, who now serves as vice president for Mission and Identity at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., shared some of his insights on the global Society of Jesus.

“Africa was marvelous to watch. With our Oregon Province twinned with Zambia, we still have about five men from our province in Zambia,” he said. “There are a lot of young provincials in Africa … It’s neat to see them take ownership of their society and of the African Church, which is burgeoning, full of life and vitality.”

As for Asia, India has the largest population of Jesuits in the world – more than 4,000 of 18,000 Jesuits worldwide, according to Fr. Case. Vietnam sees healthy Jesuit growth, he says, with 20 to 40 vocations per year.

China has two often-polarized strands of the Catholic Church, the government-run Catholic Patriotic Association and the underground Church, explained Fr. Case. In a sign of its trust of the Jesuits, Fr. Case said, the Chinese government asked American Jesuit universities to collaborate in creating a U.S.-style MBA program in Beijing. The program began in 1998 and thrived until publicity of its successes upset the unusual arrangement. Yet China continues to tolerate a Jesuit presence, Fr. Case said.

When Fr. Case arrived in Rome, the fall of the Iron Curtain was still reverberating.

“When the Berlin Wall collapsed,” he said, “we had [Jesuits] coming out of the woodwork. In one case, two blood brothers were Jesuits, and neither knew about the other. That was the level of secrecy needed all through Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Lithuania. One Jesuit was a nuclear physicist in Lithuania. He sat on the equivalent of the Russian atomic energy commission, and certainly no one knew that he was a Jesuit.”

Read more of Fr. Case’s insights in the story by Marny Lombard at Gonzaga University Magazine’s website.

Pope Francis Begins Ministry with Inaugural Mass; Jesuit Father General Among 180 Clergymen who Concelebrated

Pope Francis greets crowd before celebrating inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis officially inaugurated his ministry as pope and bishop of Rome in a liturgy filled with biblical symbolism and signs of the universality of his mission on March 19.

The Mass was concelebrated by about 180 clergymen, including Father General Adolfo Nicolás, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Father General Nicolás visited with the pope on Mach 17.

But before the solemn rites began, Pope Francis — known for choosing public transport over chauffeur-driven limousines — took his first spin in the popemobile, blessing the tens of thousands of people who arrived in St. Peter’s Square as early as 4 a.m. to pray with him. He waved and, at one point, gave a thumbs up to the faithful. He also kissed three babies held up to him by the chief of Vatican security, Domenico Gianni, and other officers.

But he climbed out of the open jeep used as a popemobile to kiss a severely disabled man.

Before entering St. Peter’s Square, he addressed by satellite thousands of his fellow Argentines gathered in Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, where he had been archbishop before his election as pope. He thanked the people for their prayers and told them: “I have a favor to ask. I want to ask that we all walk together, caring for one another … caring for life. Care for the family, care for nature, care for children, care for the aged. Let there be no hatred, no fighting, put aside envy and don’t gossip about anyone.”

As the Mass began, tens of thousands of pilgrims, faithful and tourists continued to arrive, filling St. Peter’s Square and crowding around the large video screens placed along the boulevard leading to the square. By the time of Communion, the Vatican said there were between 150,000 and 200,000 people present.

In his homily, which can be read in English here, Pope Francis asked prayers that he would be able to protect the church like St. Joseph protected Mary and Jesus, “discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand.”

He said in the Gospels, St. Joseph “can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions.”

But more than anything, he said, the church’s patron saint teaches Christians that the core concern of their lives must be Christ.

“Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation,” Pope Francis said.

He called for special efforts to protect “God’s plan inscribed in nature” and to protect one another, especially children, the aged, the poor and the sick.

Although according to church law he officially became pope the minute he accepted his election in the Sistine Chapel March 13, Pope Francis received important symbols of his office just before the inauguration Mass — the Book of the Gospels, the ring of the fisherman, St. Peter, and the pallium, a woolen band worn around the shoulders to evoke a shepherd carrying a sheep.

With members of the College of Cardinals dressed in gold gathered before the main altar in St. Peter’s Basilica and brass players sounding a fanfare, the rites began at the tomb of St. Peter. Pope Francis venerated the mortal remains of his predecessor as head of the church and was joined there by the heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Processing behind the Eastern church leaders and the cardinals, Pope Francis — wearing a simple, mostly white chasuble and his black shoes — came out into St. Peter’s Square while the choir chanted a special litany to Christ the King.

French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who had announced Pope Francis’ election to the world six days earlier, placed the pallium, which had been worn by Pope Benedict XVI, around the new pope’s neck. The retired pope did not attend the Mass.

“The Good Shepherd charged Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep; today you succeed him as the bishop of this church to which he and the Apostle Paul were fathers in faith,” Cardinal Tauran said.

Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, presented Pope Francis with the fisherman’s ring, a gold-plated silver band featuring St. Peter holding keys, a reminder that Jesus told St. Peter: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Giving the pope “the ring, the seal of Peter the fisherman,” Cardinal Sodano told the pope he was called, as bishop of Rome, to preside over the church with charity. He prayed the pope would have “the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship.”

Six cardinals, representing the entire College of Cardinals, publicly pledged obedience to the pope.

While many Christians acknowledge the special role of the bishop of Rome as the one who presides over the entire Christian community in love, the way the papacy has been exercised over the centuries is one of the key factors in the ongoing division of Christians.

For the first time since the Great Schism of 1054 split the main Christian community into East and West, the ecumenical patriarch attended the installation Mass. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, first among equals of the Eastern Orthodox, sat in a place of honor near the papal altar.

Catholicos Karekin II of Etchmiadzin, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, also attended the Mass along with delegations from 12 other Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, 10 Anglican and Protestant communities and three international Christian organizations, including the World Council of Churches.

After the Lord’s prayer, Pope Francis exchanged a sign of peace with Patriarch Bartholomew and with Catholicos Karekin.

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Jewish community of Rome and several international Jewish organizations sent representatives to the ceremony, as did Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and Hindu communities and organizations.

Also present were representatives of 132 governments, led by the presidents of Italy and Argentina, the reigning royals of six countries — including Belgium’s king and queen — and 31 heads of state. Vice President Joe Biden led the U.S. delegation, which included Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia.