Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Jesuit to Serve New Orleans on Civil Service Commission

JJesuit Father Kevin Wildesesuit Father Kevin Wildes, president of Loyola University New Orleans, will be serving the city of New Orleans as the newest member of the Civil Service Commission, after his nomination was approved in July.

This appointment continues Fr. Wildes’ long-time record of service for the city. Following Hurricane Katrina, he played a key role in establishing the city’s Ethics Review Board and in setting up an independent Office of the Inspector General. Wildes currently sits on the Public Belt Railroad Commission.

“While I believe public service is always important, the challenges for post-Katrina New Orleans make public service even more vital today,” said Wildes. “New Orleans citizens are demanding, and rightly so, to live within a city government that functions transparently, efficiently and justly. I am honored to be able to assist in this effort.”

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was supportive of Wildes’ nomination, explaining that reforming the civil service system is critical to improving the quality of service for the residents of New Orleans.

“Fr. Wildes has a distinguished record of service in the faith-based and academic communities and has taken on numerous positive reforms locally post-Katrina. I appreciate his willingness to help improve city government,” said Landrieu.

For more on Wildes’ new appointment, visit the Loyola University New Orleans website.

Jesuits Join With Other Religious Leaders to Protect Programs for Poor During the Debt Crisis Debate

Late last night, President Obama and the leaders of Congress hammered out a down-to-the-wire deal to raise the federal debt limit, finally breaking a partisan impasse that had driven the nation to the brink of a government default.The deal could clear Congress as soon as tonight — only 24 hours before Treasury officials said they would begin running short of cash to pay the nation’s bills.

Jesuit Father Thomas Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States, recently added his signature to an ecumenical and interfaith “Circle of Protection” Statement urging the Federal Government to protect programs for the poor. The statement was signed by more than 50 leaders of Christian denominations, organizations and religious orders across the country and marked the strongest and most unified Christian voice in the budget debate. In it, these leaders asked Congress and President Obama to remember that the most vulnerable who are served by government programs should not bear the brunt of the budget-cutting burden.

The Jesuits continue to urge people to reach out to their elected officials today to reiterate that Congress should give moral priority to programs that protect the life and dignity of poor and vulnerable people in these difficult economic times.


Jesuit Father Pat Conroy Confirmed as U.S. House Chaplain

Conroy_Mother_BoehnerJesuit Father Patrick Conroy was sworn in recently as the U.S. House chaplain, making him the first Jesuit to hold the position and only the second Catholic in House history.

“It’s clear this loyal servant of the faithful is uniquely suited to serve as chaplain of the people’s House,” Speaker John Boehner said, noting that the chaplain “is the anchor of the House.”

The duties are both ceremonial and practical, including opening each session with a prayer, presiding over memorials and other ceremonies and providing pastoral counseling.

“One does not aspire to become the chaplain to a chamber of Congress,” said Fr. Conroy. “This opportunity to serve is an extraordinary gift, and I hope to be worthy of the trust the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader are extending to me. I am also humbled by the confidence my Jesuit superiors are demonstrating in making me available to answer this call to serve the People’s House.”

“Leader Pelosi and I have gotten a chance to know Father Pat, and we’re honored that he has accepted our invitation to serve as chaplain,” Boehner said.

Jesuit Father Patrick Conroy Nominated for Chaplain of U.S. House of Representatives

pat_conroyHouse Speaker John Boehner says he will nominate Jesuit Father Patrick J. Conroy, who now teaches at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore., as the next U.S. House of Representatives chaplain.

“We are honored that Father Conroy has agreed to serve as House chaplain,” Speaker Boehner said. “His dedication to God’s work, commitment to serving others, and experience working with people of faith from all traditions will make him an asset to the House community. We look forward to having his counsel and guidance in the people’s House.”

Conroy would be the 60th House chaplain. The duties include opening each session with a prayer, presiding over memorials and other ceremonies and providing pastoral counseling to the House community. If formally elected, Conroy would become the second Roman Catholic priest to tend to the House flock.

Boehner said he consulted with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about Conroy’s appointment, which will be formally submitted to the House for consideration later this month.

Conroy entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1983. He has also served as a chaplain at Georgetown University.

[House Speaker John Boehner's website]

Jesuit Middle East Expert on Egypt’s Revolution

Jesuit Father Drew ChristiansenShare

Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, editor-in-chief of America magazine and former director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace, said that the success of a nonviolent revolution in Egypt is one of “multiple signs of spring in the North African winter.”

Fr. Christiansen, an expert on the Middle East, was keynote speaker at the Diocese of Arlington’s annual peace symposium on Feb. 12.

“I think it’s wonderful that Egypt was a nonviolent revolution. It was so unexpected. For 18 days in a country of 80 million people, how do you get that to happen?” Christiansen asked. “Those that preached that nonviolence wasn’t to be found in the Muslim world have been proved wrong again.”

As for what’s next for Egypt, he said it will be a waiting game, with the hope that the country will end up with a responsible democratic government.

Christiansen also focused his talk on religious freedom in other Middle Eastern countries and the role the United States is playing and has played. For more on Christiansen’s talk, visit Catholic News Service.