Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Jesuit President of Spring Hill College Talks Southern Culture, Vocations with Local News

Jesuit Father Richard SalmiJesuit Father Richard Salmi, president of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.,  had spent very little time in the south before his appointment in 2009. He recently spoke with the local Fox news station, where he said that at first he felt like a stranger in a strange land.

“I never saw grits until I moved here, but then I discovered shrimp and grits, which I have to say has converted me,” says Fr. Salmi, who came to Spring Hill from Loyola University Chicago. “One of the things I love about the south is just how warm and friendly people are. The city has been so welcoming.”

Fr. Salmi, originally from Cleveland, first became interested in the Jesuits at Ohio University.

“My freshman year in college was the year of the Kent State killings and the Vietnam War protests, and so it was a turbulent time for America. I had a Jesuit as an instructor at this big state school. I looked at the Jesuits and saw all the good works they were doing all over the place. I was going to save the world and certainly the Jesuits were going to help me do it,” he recalls.

Fr. Salmi made a weeklong retreat with the Jesuits to discern whether he should become a priest or join the Peace Corps. He chose the Jesuits. “ I like the idea that as a Jesuit you could be a doctor or a lawyer. You could have a profession in addition to being a priest,” Fr. Salmi says.

“Social justice has always been at the core of what we are about, and we’ve always been on the cutting edge in the cusp of justice issues,” says Fr. Salmi.

Looking toward the future for Spring Hill, Fr. Salmi says the institution needs to look at “what we are doing to enable Hispanics to come to Spring Hill and how are we going to speak out for the undocumented folks and how do we stand for the Dream Act.”

Watch the full feature on Fr. Salmi below.

The Interview: Fr. Richard Salmi

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.

“Mr. and Mrs. Jesus Christ?” on New York Times’ Editorial Page

Jesuit Father James MartinThe recent discovery of an ancient Coptic papyrus by Harvard church historian Karen L. King that mentions Jesus’ wife has some questioning its authenticity. But Jesuit Father James Martin wrote in a recent op-ed for The New York Times that even if it is found to be authentic, “Will this fascinating new discovery make this Jesuit priest want to rush out and get married? No.”

In his article titled “Mr. and Mrs. Jesus Christ?”, Fr. Martin wrote that it is more likely that Jesus was celibate since the papyrus is said to date from the fourth century — roughly 350 years after Jesus’ life and death.

Fr. Martin said there are several reasons Jesus might have remained unmarried: “Jesus, who knew the fate of other prophets, may have intuited that his public life would prove dangerous and end violently, a burden for a wife. He may have foreseen the difficulty of caring for a family while being an itinerant preacher. Or perhaps he was trying to demonstrate a kind of single-hearted commitment to God.”

Fr. Martin wrote that even if evidence of a married Jesus is found from an earlier date, he won’t stop believing in Jesus or abandon his vow of chastity.

It wouldn’t upset me if it turned out that Jesus was married. His life, death and, most important, resurrection would still be valid. Nor would I abandon my life of chastity, which is the way I’ve found to love many people freely and deeply. If I make it to heaven and Jesus introduces me to his wife, I’ll be happy for him (and her). But then I’ll track down Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who wrote so soon after the time of Jesus, and ask them why they left out something so important.

Read Fr. Martin’s full op-ed at The New York Times website. For a lighthearted take on the topic, check out The Jesuit Post’s suggestions for the best wedding gifts for “Mr. & Mrs. Jesus Christ.”

Jesuit Historian on the Legacy of Vatican II 50 Years Later

Jesuit Father John W. O’MalleyYesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and Jesuit Father John W. O’Malley, a historian, theologian and professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., gave his thoughts on the legacy of Vatican II in both an interview with the Vatican Insider and an op-ed piece in The New York Times.

Fr. O’Malley says that one of the council’s legacies is that it gave the church “a new role as reconciler in a world torn apart by hatred and threats of violence.”

Reconciliation was one of the great themes running through the council, according to Fr. O’Malley. “The document of the liturgy, for instance, promoted a reconciliation of the church with non-Western cultures by inviting symbols and rituals from those cultures into the liturgy itself. The church thus distanced itself from the Western ‘cultural imperialism’ that affected even Catholic missionaries,” he says.

“Related to that reconciliation but perhaps even more pertinent for today’s world, was the reconciliation with Jews and Muslims, as expressed in the document Nostra Aetate. This meant putting behind us a tradition of belittling and denigrating those faiths, a tradition that had contributed to the horror of the Holocaust,” says Fr. O’Malley. “Pope John Paul II set a marvelous example by his many meetings with Jewish groups, as it is well known. Less well known, but in today’s tense international situation even more important, were his many meetings with Muslims.”

Fr. O’Malley says that Vatican II has already passed from experience and memory to history. Future generations, he says, “will experience what the council did not as a change but as ‘the way things are’ and maybe assume that is the way things have always been.”

In his op-ed piece, Fr. O’Malley concludes: “The post-Vatican II church was not a different church. But if you take the long view, it seems to me incontestable that the turn was big, even if failures in implementation have made it less big in certain areas than the council intended.”

Read the full interview with Fr. O’Malley at the Vatican Insider website and read his op-ed at The New York Times website.

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.