Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category
By Doris Yu
Against the backdrop of MAGIS and World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, National Jesuit News sat down with Jesuit scholastics Eric Sundrup and Sam Sawyer, associate editors of The Jesuit Post, to talk about their experience interviewing Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás. Sundrup and Sawyer took the opportunity to interview Fr. Nicolás during his appearance at MAGIS at Colégio Antônio Vieira, the Jesuit high school in Salvador, Brazil.
Speaking about his impressions of Fr. Nicolás, Sundrup said, “It’s very clear Fr. General speaks profoundly and in great depth. … When he talks to Pope Francis, he talks to him like he talks to any other Jesuit. I think he did the same thing with me and all of us that were present for the interview. He just talks to us like he would talk to any other Jesuit. ”
Sawyer said, “I think what strikes me about him is, more than some particular program or strategy for the Society, what he has is a very clear sense of what we need to pay attention to, and he keeps calling us to pay attention to it.”
Sawyer added about Fr. General’s dry sense of humor, “We laughed a lot when we got to talk to him off-camera and we got to interact with him that way.”
Click the audio player below to listen to NJN’s interview with The Jesuit Post.
Sixteen U.S. Jesuits were ordained to the priesthood this June, and since then, these men have been busy celebrating Masses and starting their first assignments as priests. Their hometowns, proud to be a part of their lives, were eager to acknowledge the priests’ roots and highlight their individual stories.
The Hawaii Catholic Herald reported that it was a “joyful ‘local style’ homecoming” for newly ordained Jesuit Father Phillip Ganir who returned to the Hawaiian Islands for a visit in June to celebrate a special thanksgiving Mass for his family, friends and fellow religious. Fr. Ganir left Hawaii in 1999 to join the Society and has since been traveling abroad for ministry and studies.
“The consolation overflows,” Fr. Ganir told the Hawaii Catholic Herald at the June 23 Mass, which 500 people attended. “Gratitude only deepens. The shape of gratitude really takes on the faces of the people in the parish.”
After his visit, Fr. Ganir headed to California to serve as associate pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Sacramento.
Jesuit Father Peter Folan spoke with his hometown newspaper in Massapequa Park, N.Y., about his new life as a Jesuit priest: “My job is to live a life about the Gospel. Preaching the Gospel, but only using words when necessary. I’m not going around knocking on doors selling Bibles. It’s about knowing the poor, the marginalized, the voiceless, and acting on behalf of people who can’t act for themselves.”
Of his vocation Fr. Folan explained, “The longer I stayed there and the more I invested myself in the Jesuits, the more I knew I wanted this life.
“If there is no real sacrifice, then there is no real love,” Fr. Folan said. “Not being married is a sort of sacrifice, but it makes sense to me. It is one that I find bears great fruit.”
Fr. Folan’s first priestly assignment is serving as an associate pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, D.C.
Jesuit Father Michael Rogers told the Westerly Sun in Rhode Island on the eve of his ordination that the Jesuits “are at home wherever we are sent — ultimately, our home is where Christ is.”
Fr. Rogers considers one of his many homes to be Westerly, where he spent summers growing up. He returned there to celebrate his first Mass as an ordained priest in June at St. Pius X.
Fr. Rogers said his family’s summer parish played a role in his decision to become a Jesuit priest. He recalled the weekend during his sophomore year of high school when his mother said the family was going to pay a quick visit to their summer house — and dropped him off at St. Pius instead.
“We pulled into the lot, where there was this coach bus waiting,” he said. His mother had signed him up for a youth trip to Steubenville, Ohio, which turned out to be life-changing.
“I think that at some point in everybody’s faith life, there’s a moment where God becomes real,” Fr. Rogers said. “All of a sudden, you find yourself talking to God, and you find yourself listening to what God has to say.”
After his ordination, Fr. Rogers traveled to Brazil, where he served as the national coordinator for MAGIS, the Jesuit-sponsored program cultivating Ignatian spirituality for young adults that preceded World Youth Day in July.
Fifteen years ago, Jesuit Father Bill Creed cofounded the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) in Chicago to offer retreats to an often-overlooked group: the homeless. Fr. Creed and Ed Shurna, director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, have been helping homeless people build community, find hope and transform their lives through ISP ever since.
“Many outreach programs for the homeless try to address basic attributes such as food, clothing, shelter and employment,” said Fr. Creed. “However, when addiction is in play – and it often is for the homeless – there can be no real transition from poverty until the individual person has the inner resources to make different choices … Ignatian Spirituality believes that facing our brokenness begins with facing our truth and encountering the unconditional love of our God who actively labors with us and desires for us ever greater freedom.”
Fr. Creed recently shared about his own spiritual journey while conducting the retreats. Fr. Creed recalled that a man from Canada once showed up two days early at a workshop for which he had not registered, demanding free housing, a free workshop and a special diet. Fr. Creed became very angry with the man in front of the staff.
In response to Fr. Creed’s reaction, one of his colleagues commented on his lack of hospitality for a man who was “poor not only materially but psychologically and socially” and suggested Fr. Creed was “not only angry but also fearful” and out of touch with his own internal poverty.
Looking back, Fr. Creed said, “It was that event which began to lead me to listen inwardly, to my own brokenness, my vulnerability, to what was below my anger and fear. I am poor and that is a gift … We are invited to follow Christ’s poor, either in spiritual poverty or actual poverty.”
Since it began in 1998, ISP has grown into a national network of more than 400 lay volunteers who help homeless men and women through retreats and spiritual companionship, and a new survey shows that the project is helping. The ISP Outcomes Survey, a two-year study conducted in collaboration with a number of organizations and professionals, has confirmed that people who participate in ISP programs experience long-term internal and external change. According to the results, participants experienced a statistically significant decrease in loneliness and improvement in housing and employment six months after a retreat.
Fr. Creed said that feeling as though one is listened to, believed in, respected and trusted can be transformative in a homeless person’s life, and ISP can provide such listening presences. “We are all called to do this wherever we are,” he said.
By Doris Yu
In an exclusive five-part interview for The Jesuit Post, Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, expressed his desire for further emphasis on youth ministry, which took on special pertinence in light of his presence at MAGIS 2013 in Salvador, Brazil, where the interview took place.
After celebrating Mass and engaging with the 2,000 young pilgrims in attendance at MAGIS 2013, Fr. Nicolás spoke with Jesuit scholastic Eric Sundrup, associate editor of The Jesuit Post, discussing topics including youth ministry, inner peace and silence, vocations, social media and his interactions with Pope Francis.
Fr. Nicolás described working with the youth as a “de facto priority” and pointed to the fact that the 160 Jesuits who traveled to MAGIS 2013, a two-week Jesuit-sponsored youth immersion experience preceding World Youth Day, indicated the significance of youth ministry for the Society of Jesus.
He drew connections between working with the youth and an increase in vocations. “It is also clear that the provinces that have dedicated more resources to the youth are getting more vocations, which is an interesting point,” said Fr. Nicolás. Further elaborating on the topic, he stressed the need for vocations to the Society from those with a sense of humor and an open mind.
Fr. Nicolás called for Ignatian discernment on approaching the frontier of new media for the Society, a special point of interest for The Jesuit Post and closely linked to the topic of youth ministry. “I think that there we might have one of the biggest challenges: how to present Jesuit spirituality, which is a spirituality of reflection, of Examen, of meditation, of consultation, prayers, et cetera, to a generation that is used to instant information and instant response,” said Fr. Nicolás.
In the midst of the digital media revolution Fr. General drew attention to silence and advised the cultivation of “the chapel we carry within ourselves” at all times, in order to tap into the inner peace necessary to hear the Spirit.
On Pope Francis, Fr. Nicolás said, “I have to confess I find it very easy to communicate with him. I speak with him like I would speak with any other Jesuit, knowing that he is not going to misunderstand me. I don’t have to measure my words. I can speak totally freely.”
Concluding the interviews, Fr. Nicolás carried the conversation back to finding God in all things, especially the youth. “So in the Jesuit vision of reality there is a high esteem for God’s creation, and there is no situation, no human situation, no social situation, that is alien to us. So our challenge is … how to find God in the hearts of the young, even those who don’t come to Church, and even those who don’t even believe in Christ … This is the challenge that we carry with us, and I think that I like very much that the pope calls us to go out and find God.”
View the first video, containing links to the remainder of the interviews, below.
Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás’ Homily to MAGIS Pilgrims: There is Nothing Complicated About Faith
By Doris Yu
Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, said a Mass in Spanish, English and Portuguese for all 2,000 attendees of MAGIS 2013 on the last day of the pilgrims’ stay in Salvador, Brazil, before the delegations headed out for immersion experiences throughout the country.
The Mass, a missioning Mass for blessing the pilgrims before embarking on their service trips, was held on July 15 at Colégio Antônio Vieira, the Jesuit high school in Salvador named for the Portuguese Jesuit philosopher and writer. Fr. Nicolás advised the audience to listen to the voice of God in their hearts during the homily, which he preached in Spanish and English.
The Gospel story of the good Samaritan “contains one of the secrets our faith,” said Father General, which is that “God says to us that there is nothing complicated about the faith … faith is mostly in the heart. It is not far.”
“[Jesus] told us God is mercy and compassion. We don’t need to complicate that, we don’t need thick books of theology to prove that; we need a heart, a heart that can reach in the line of the compassion of God.”
Watch the English portions of Fr. Nicolás’ homily in the video below.