Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Jesuit Photographer Featured in The New York Times

Jesuit Father Don DollJesuit Father Don Doll has been a photographer — his second calling — for 50 years. The New York Times Lens blog recently examined the connection between Fr. Doll’s first calling to the priesthood and his calling to photography.

Fr. Doll began taking photos while working on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota in 1962. He said that after taking photos for over two years, he became discouraged because he “still hadn’t taken a decent picture.”

He considered giving up photography and went for a walk in the South Dakota prairie to think about what his mission as a Jesuit should be. “I heard a loud voice saying: ‘Stay with photography. It’s the first thing you really loved doing. Stay with it. Don’t worry if it takes 10 years,’ ” he recalls.

Fr. Doll stuck with photography, and his work has been published in National Geographic magazine and three books. His newest publication is an autobiographical book “A Call to Vision: A Jesuit’s Perspective on the World.”

Fr. Doll photo: Grandmother Therchik with her grandchildren

Grandmother Therchik, a Yupik Eskimo, enjoyed a moment with her grandchildren. The bonds of kinship are powerful in Eskimo society. Courtesy Don Doll, SJ.

Fr. Doll has used photography to promote Native American culture. “I learned to respect another culture, because we were immersed in it,” Fr. Doll said. “And I really learned about the values that the Native Americans have of sharing and their sense of generosity with one another, and how they honor you.”

In 1974, Fr. Doll returned to the Rosebud Reservation as a documentary photographer. He said he often prayed before releasing the shutter. “I used to pray that I could really make photographs that portrayed how special they are and something of the empathy they had and that God has for them,” he explained.

During a 30-day retreat, Fr. Doll discovered a link between prayer and photography. “I said: ‘Oh my god! Prayer is just like photography, where you have to let go of what you want to happen or what you think’s going to happen. You have to let go of your preconceptions and I think that same thing applies to photographing. You have to let go of your suppositions of what the picture is or should be and just be present in the moment.’ ”

Read the full story about Fr. Doll on the New York Times website and watch the Creighton University video that celebrates the photography of Fr. Doll below.

Newly Ordained Jesuit Writes About His Vocation for the Huffington Post

Jesuit Father Paul LickteigJesuit Father Paul Lickteig, who was ordained to the priesthood this past June, has written about his vocation for the Huffington Post. Fr. Lickteig, who also contributes to The Jesuit Post, explains how his vocation emerged in a piece titled “How I Became A Jesuit Priest.”

Fr. Lickteig writes that vocation is a strange thing:

“It is the idea that people can be drawn towards a particular way of life. Vocation is partially about the job, but more about the way a person’s choice of work allows something deeper to develop in his or her heart. For many, ‘the call’ comes at the expense of other aspirations. It is a trade-off. We let go of certain impulses and choose to follow other desires, in an oftentimes circuitous route, that we hope will lead towards a deeper awareness of how we might better love and serve humanity.”

For Fr. Lickteig, his desire to love and serve led him to “explore a single mystery in a deeper way: GOD.” When he found the Society of Jesus, he writes, “I found a group of people that were responding to this same mystery in a profound way.”

In the piece, Fr. Lickteig describes the wide variety of work he did during his eleven years of Jesuit training, which included working with addicts in the Bronx, gutting houses in New Orleans, taking classes in counseling, teaching religion at a prep school and building affordable housing in Omaha.

“I moved from community to community, never staying in one place for more than nine months at a time. In each new home I was asked to interact with the best and worst that humanity has to offer, and somehow find the grace of God thread through it all,” Fr. Lickteig writes. “Ultimately, this is the purpose of Jesuit training: to find Christ in all things.”

Fr. Lickteig concludes, “Eleven years ago I gave a commitment to continue exploring this great mystery in a faith that stretches back thousands of years. It is a yes I will continue to follow as this life unfolds mercifully before me.”

Read Fr. Lickteig’s full article at the Huffington Post.

Jesuit Welcomes the Silence of Annual 8-Day Retreat

Jesuit Brendan BusseEvery Jesuit makes an annual 8-day silent retreat, and Jesuit Brendan Busse, a scholastic, welcomes this time away.

“I need this time. I long for it. Of course I do what I can to nurture silence in my heart on a daily basis, but these annual retreats are privileged moments, graced times. They are, in a word, a gift,” Busse wrote in a blog entry for The Jesuit Post, before leaving for his yearly retreat.

“It’s not that I can’t find the joy of love and the presence of God immersed in our world,” Busse wrote. “It’s simply that I need time to be with God. Or really: it’s simply that I need God. I immerse myself in silence so that I can clear the air, the desk, the mind, the heart, and make room again for God.”

Busse compares daily life to a game of basketball, with moments of rest and re-collection occurring when there are pauses in the game. For Busse, the silent retreats are like those moments:

I’ve stepped away from the game to retrieve something lost, to catch my breath, to find the one thing necessary for the game to continue. The Compassionate Stranger bends over and takes the ball in hand and then performs a simple, perhaps thoughtless, act of generosity, an act of random kindness. Given the opportunity to be of ‘a little help’ they toss the ball back to me, and I jog back to join the players on the court so the game can continue.

Read Busse’s full entry at The Jesuit Post.

Jesuit Says Gun Control Is a Religious Issue

Jesuit Father James MartinOn Friday, July 20, after the shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead, Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor at America magazine, posted the following on Facebook:

“Gun control is a pro-life issue. Pray for the families of the victims in Colorado, and for an end to the taking of life by violence.”

That post sparked a debate on Fr. Martin’s Facebook page that USA Today’s Faith & Reason blog reported on later that day, in a post titled “Would Jesus pack heat? Is gun control a God issue?”

On July 22, Fr. Martin expanded on his views in a post on America magazine’s blog. Fr. Martin stated that he is a religious person, not a political person, and that he believes gun control is a religious issue:

“It is as much of a ‘life issue’ or a ‘pro-life issue,’ as some religious people say, as is abortion, euthanasia or the death penalty (all of which I am against), and programs that provide the poor with the same access to basic human needs as the wealthy (which I am for). There is a ‘consistent ethic of life’ that views all these issues as linked, because they are.”

Fr. Martin wrote that he prays for the victims, but suggested that “our revulsion over these crimes, and our sympathy for victims, may be more than an invitation to prayer. Such deep emotions may be one way that God encourages us to act.”

Fr. Martin said religious people should meditate on “the connection between the more traditional ‘life issues’ and the overdue need for stricter gun control.”

Jesuit Astronomer on Science and Religion in The Washington Post

Jesuit Brother Guy ConsolmagnoJesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a researcher and spokesman at the Vatican Observatory, recently shared his thoughts on science and religion on The Washington Post’s blog.

With news about the Higgs boson particle, the so-called “God Particle,” that’s helping scientists understand how the universe was built, Br. Consolmagno says he’s explained multiple times that “No, the God Particle has nothing to do with God…”

Although not a particle physicist, Br. Consolmagno is often interviewed because of his role as a Vatican astronomer. He says some are surprised to hear that the Vatican supports an astronomical observatory, but that science and religion complement each other:

But the real reason we do science is in fact related to the reason why so many people ask us about things like the God Particle. The disciplines of science and religion complement each other in practical ways. For example, both are involved in describing things that are beyond human language and so must speak in metaphors. Not only is the ‘God Particle’ not a piece of God, it is also not really a ‘particle’ in the sense that a speck of dust is a particle. In both cases we use familiar images to try to illustrate an entity of great importance but whose reality is beyond our power to describe literally.

Read more of Br. Consolmagno’s commentary on the Higgs boson discovery on Catholic News Service and Catholic News Agency.