Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
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 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.
A new Cristo Rey Network school has been approved to open in San Jose in 2014, and Jesuit Father Peter Pabst has been named its first president. Endorsed by the California Province of the Society of Jesus, the new Cristo Rey San Jose High School will be supported by the Diocese of San Jose and Five Wounds Portuguese National Parish.
Fr. Pabst is the founder and current president of two middle schools in San Jose: Sacred Heart Nativity School for boys, opened in 2001, and Our Lady of Grace Nativity School for girls, opened in 2006. Both schools provide Catholic education to low-income students and prepare them for college preparatory high school programs.
“Serving at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools has been a great joy,” said Fr. Pabst. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to launch another school for members of our community who find themselves underserved. I look forward to helping these young people come to know their dreams and to help realize them. To graduate 125 students a year who are college-ready is a blessing for their families and for our community.”
Cristo Rey schools provide a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to young people living in poverty in urban communities. Cristo Rey students also participate in an innovative Corporate Work Study Program that provides them with real-world work experience, which helps fund the majority of their education and provides on-the-job training.
Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Diocese of San Jose is supportive of the new high school: “The Society of Jesus has a long history and commitment to Catholic education nationwide and particularly in the Diocese of San Jose. I am excited about the launch of Cristo Rey San Jose as an opportunity to bring education to those most in need on the east side of San Jose.”
Learn more at the Cristo Rey San Jose High School website.
Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx, N.Y., has appointed Jesuit Father Christopher Devron as its 35th president, effective July 1, 2013. Fr. Devron will succeed Jesuit Father Kenneth Boller, who has served in the position for nine years.
For the past six years, as the founding president of Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, Fr. Devron helped to bring quality, affordable secondary education to low-income students on Chicago’s West Side.
Previous to his work at Christ the King, Fr. Devron served at Regis High School in New York City as the founding director of REACH (Recruiting Excellence in Academics for Catholic High Schools), designed to make Jesuit secondary education accessible to academically gifted middle school students of modest means. In the mid-1990s, Fr. Devron served as Executive Director of the Inner-City Teaching Corps in Chicago.
Fr. Devron joined the Society of Jesus in 1991, after graduating from the University of Notre Dame and working as a volunteer teacher in the Bronx at Cardinal Spellman High School.
“I am grateful and encouraged by the Fordham Prep Board’s confidence in me and excited to help lead one of the premiere Jesuit secondary schools in the country — especially one that exemplifies such high academic standards and has an outstanding record of developing students who become men for others, dedicated to God’s greater glory,” Fr. Devron said after being selected. [Fordham Prep]
Jesuit Father James Schall recently gave his last lecture at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., after teaching there for 35 years. Fr. Schall, who has written over 40 books and taught thousands of students, will retire to California, where he first joined the Society of Jesus in 1948. “The gratitude of many will carry him westward,” writes Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University.
Fr. O’Brien recalls taking “Elements of Political Theory” with Fr. Schall in 1986, when Fr. O’Brien was a junior at Georgetown. “He introduced me, and by now thousands of other Georgetown students, to Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. In his classroom, I became captivated by the idea of virtue as the measure of human character.”
Fr. O’Brien writes that Fr. Schall’s retirement has prompted him to reflect on the Jesuits who inspired him to join their ranks and who have sustained him in his commitment. “More than ever, I realize that I stand on very broad shoulders and rest in even larger hearts. One of the reasons I am a Jesuit is because of men like Fr. Schall, whom I have had the privilege of calling a brother,” Fr. O’Brien writes.
Fr. O’Brien says, “Fr. Schall is a humble man, reticent about accolades and attention. In his goodbyes, he will undoubtedly point to others — to God first, of course, through whom all things are possible. But he can also point to fellow Jesuits, colleagues, students and alumni with whom he has shared his life here. He too can recognize the very broad shoulders on which he has stood — some of whom are buried down the hill at the Jesuit cemetery.”
Fr. O’Brien says there is a certain humility that comes with taking leave:
“All that we are asked to do is leave a place better than when we found it and invite others into the ongoing project of giving glory to God and serving others. Fr. Schall has done that and more. In his retirement from teaching, he can relish all the good that continues to be done through the people he has influenced along the way.”
Read Fr. O’Brien’s full tribute to Fr. Schall at The Hoya.