Archive for the ‘Colleges and Universities’ Category

Prayer Life Out of Shape? Jesuit Offers Personal Spiritual Training

Jesuit Father Randy RocheThe New Year often brings about resolutions to exercise more, but one Jesuit is now offering personal spiritual training for those who want to “work out” a different part of their lives.

Jesuit Father Randy Roche is the director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  Recently, Fr. Roche came up with the idea of adapting the personal training approach used for physical training to spirituality and added personal spiritual training to the center’s offerings.

“One day I thought, ‘What if we could be personal trainers for people looking for help with a particular problem or who want to learn how to bring more reflection into their lives?’” Fr. Roche said. “We could offer a less formal version of the Spiritual Exercises for people who know they have a hunger and are looking for someone to guide them.”

The exercises, which include meditating and contemplating, are “spirituality for busy people.” The personal training sessions are designed to meet immediate individual needs and take only the time necessary to help accomplish a goal.

Fr. Roche said most of the participants at the center are LMU faculty and staff members with questions about how to reflect and get in touch with feelings as they relate to making choices. Others need help with striking a balance between thinking and feeling. Once the goal is accomplished, things don’t stop there. Participants can return for maintenance sessions or an occasional spiritual tune-up.

Currently Fr. Roche shares training duties at the center with Jesuit Bishop Gordon Bennett and Anne Hennessy, CSJ. “My dream has always been that there will eventually be some faculty and staff who will do some of the training,” said Fr. Roche.

Fr. Roche has also started a blog for the center. “It lets people comment and add their own take on Ignatian spirituality and it’s open to anyone. We also are on Facebook and I’m writing a weekly spirituality essay for our website,” Fr. Roche said.

For more on Fr. Roche and the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at LMU, read the full story at AJCU Connections.


Jesuit Appointed Next President of the Gregorian University Foundation

Jesuit Father Alan FogartyJesuit Father Alan Fogarty has been appointed the next president of the Gregorian University Foundation, which oversees the fundraising operations of the consortium of three Jesuit institutes of higher education in Rome: the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

“Serving the universal church as president of the Gregorian University Foundation is a great opportunity to give myself to the mission of the Society of Jesus in ways previously unimagined. I very much look forward to building relationships in support of the three consortium institutes,” Fr. Fogarty said.

The Society of Jesus’ recent 35th General Congregation declared that the interprovincial institutions in Rome are among the five global apostolic preferences of the Society requiring “special or privileged attention” as “a special mission received directly from the Holy Father.”

Jesuit Father Alan Fogarty

Jesuit Father Alan Fogarty, with Joyce Bateman, a member of Canada’s Parliament, and St. Paul's students, after receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Photo by CiJae Filipchuck.

Fr. Fogarty will succeed Jesuit Father Robert O’Toole, who has held the position for the past nine years. With this appointment, Fr. Fogarty becomes a member of the Roman Delegation, which is comprised of Jesuits from around the world who make up the international houses, apostolates and colleges associated with the General Curia and Father General Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

“My sincere hope is to build on the fine work of my predecessors and further strengthen the bonds among the alumni and friends of these long-standing pontifical centers of higher learning,” said Fr. Fogarty. “I am also excited about generating bonds with new benefactors and collaborators.”

Fr. Fogarty currently serves as president of St. Paul’s High School in Winnipeg, Canada. He was recently recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service in Winnipeg. Fr. Fogarty will complete his six-year term as president of St. Paul’s on July 31 and, after a sabbatical, begin his new appointment at the foundation in New York City in January 2014. [St. Paul’s High School]

Jesuit Explores God, Religion and Science in Ignatian Seminar

Jesuit Father David Collins Jesuit Father David Collins has always been “fascinated by God and religion.”  At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he explores the relationship between religion and science in an Ignatius Seminar course he created two years ago.

Fr.  Collins says that he’s always had a theological curiosity, and as an undergraduate he began to investigate his own relationship with God. As a senior, he applied to join the Society of Jesus.

“Even during a highly skeptical phase in my life, I found the big questions that theology poses intriguing and important as in no other discipline,” Fr.  Collins says. “But the decision to enter religious life and pursue the priesthood had much more to do with an awareness of God in my heart than with any theological proposition or school of thought.”

In the classroom, Fr. Collins channels his interests into his popular seminar, “Science and Religion in the West: Historical Perspectives.” The course begins with Latin theologian St. Augustine and the dominant question of his time — should Christians study science, as the pagan Greeks do? — and ends with modern American debates about evolution.

For Fr. Collins, the most rewarding aspect of his Ignatius Seminar is that it goes against the popular Western narrative that science and religion are enemies. History, he says, shows that these two institutions work well together and that their cooperation often leads to good things for civilization.

“America’s religiously inspired hostility to evolution is the exception, not the rule, in the history of the West. It’s enjoyable to watch students’ jaws hit the floor when they see that, despite some newspaper polemic, Western scientific discovery has recurrently advanced thanks to religious insights and religious commitment of resources,” Fr. Collins says.

“The actual history of the relationship between science and religion in the West is so much more interesting than the sound bites of culture warriors on the left or the right.”

Read the full story at the Georgetown University website.

Jesuit Shares Ministry and Vocation Stories on The Busted Halo Show

Jesuit Father Rocco Danzi,Jesuit Father Rocco Danzi, director of campus ministry at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J., was a guest on The Busted Halo Show with Fr. Dave Dwyer last fall, where he discussed vocations, spirituality, pastoral ministry and what inspired him to join the Society of Jesus. “The movie that fired me up for the Jesuits was ‘The Mission,’ Fr. Danzi recalls. “I began to say to myself, what if I joined this group and found myself going over a waterfall? Well you have to watch what you ask for!”

Fr. Danzi first encountered real-life Jesuits when he attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. After college he was working as a teacher when he began to discern his vocation to the priesthood. Fr. Danzi says he felt a calling to the Society but was resistant because he was not sure he fit in. “I was selling myself short because the Jesuits I knew had doctorates and were professors at St. Joe’s,” he explains.

With encouragement he met with the Jesuits and entered the Society in 1989. “My own ministry as a Jesuit has been very pastoral. As a Jesuit you can do all sorts of things, with or without a doctorate,” says Fr. Danzi. “It’s not the degree, it’s the heart. It’s the call within the call and discerning what kind of ministry excites you the most.”

As a campus minister, Fr. Danzi has enjoyed going on service trips with the students and says that many young adults are not sure about the prayer portion of the trip before they go. Fr. Danzi says that often changes. “Service seems to trigger and bring forth a lot of personal and spiritual things that come to the surface,” he says.

Fr. Danzi has been inspired by his own service trips to Haiti while he was a Jesuit novice. “It’s a place where I really encountered God and found that strength to keep going on that journey toward Jesuit priesthood and Jesuit ministry,” says Fr. Danzi.

Listen to the entire interview with Fr. Danzi at the New York Province website.

Jesuit Honored for Years of Work in Peace and Justice

Jesuit Father Benjamin UrmstonJesuit Father Benjamin Urmston, founder of Peace and Justice Programs and professor emeritus at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is being honored for his lifelong efforts on justice issues. He will receive the “Keeping the Dream Alive” award from the Church of the Resurrection in Cincinnati at the church’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 21.

Fr. Urmston, 87, is a veteran of World War II, and he participated in three major battles — the Rhine, the Ruhr and Bavaria — with General Patton’s Third Army in Europe. The horrors of his war experiences inspired him to make a difference in the world. He decided he could do that by entering the priesthood.

“I was not in the worst part of the war,” Fr. Urmston said, “but what I had was not a picnic. And I came out of that thinking, ‘There has to be a better way for us to solve disputes. There has to be a way to peace.’ I wanted a better world. I felt being a priest would be one way to pursue that — at least a good way for me. And that has proven to be true.”

When Fr. Urmston joined the Xavier faculty in 1971, he saw the need for student involvement in issues of peace and justice, so he founded the Peace and Justice Programs. “The notion of peace and justice is deeply engrained in Ignatian spirituality and applies to all people whether you like them or not,” Fr. Urmston said.

“I think it’s good to have ideas. I think it’s good to have ideals,” Fr. Urmston said. “I think it’s good to have a vision of the future. The purpose is never to judge individuals but to analyze structures. There are times when we need to change our structures, and that’s not easy. That’s part of the reason why there’s opposition: We don’t like to change basic things.

“I don’t have in mind heaven. But I have in mind the beginnings of a civilized earth.”

Read more about Fr. Urmston at the Xavier University website.