Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Pope’s Letter to Jesuit Is Affirmation to Those on the Margins

Jesuit Father Michael Kennedy

Photo via The Tidings.

This past Holy Thursday, Jesuit Father Michael Kennedy, executive director of the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, organized Jesuit novices to wash the feet of minors at a Los Angeles juvenile hall, following the lead of Pope Francis, who washed the feet of detainees at a juvenile detention center in Rome. The young people at the center in Los Angeles also wrote letters to the pope, and — much to his surprise — Fr. Kennedy received a response from the pope.

In the letter, Pope Francis wrote: “I was very moved to read the letters you sent to me from the young people of Juvenile Hall and to know that we were close to one another in spirit during the washing of feet on Holy Thursday evening.”

Photo of Pope Francis' letter to Jesuit Father Michael Kennedy.

Photo via The Tidings.

“When I read the letter from the pope, many feelings flowed through me,” Fr. Kennedy wrote in a reflection in The Tidings. “I thought of what Dorothy Day said when working at the margins: ‘To work with the poor is a harsh and dreadful love.’ Most of the time it feels like you are losing. Being at the margins brings its own isolation.”

Fr. Kennedy noted that in a simple letter, Pope Francis “affirmed that the choice to kneel down with a population that society has neglected is where we find God’s presence. With his gesture, he points to where we should serve. Rather than running away from those who are not healthy, we should run toward those who need healing.”

Fr. Kennedy said he realizes a letter will not change the day-to-day workings of being in marginalized places, but “it is a small sign of affirmation from the man at the head of our church. It embodies the Gospel’s message of forgiveness and healing, and it affirms that this is where God truly is.”

Read Fr. Kennedy’s full reflection at The Tidings website and watch the Ignatian News Network video on the letter below.

Jesuit Becomes Fifth Bishop of Oakland, Says He’s Inspired by Pope’s Vision of Church

Bishop Michael Barber

(CNS photo/Jose Luis Aguirre, The Catholic Voice)

Jesuit Father Michael Barber, 59, was installed as bishop of the Oakland Diocese on May 25 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Calif.  Appointed by Pope Francis, Bishop Barber is the fifth bishop in the history of the diocese and the first Jesuit.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone was the ordaining bishop of Bishop Barber, who succeeds him in Oakland. Bishop Barber was installed with his brother, Jesuit Father Stephen Barber, at his side. Another brother, Kevin Barber, served as a reader.

“People have asked me, ‘what is your vision as bishop?’ I would like to do for Oakland what Pope Francis is doing for the whole church,” Bishop Barber said.

“My vision is this: The priests take care of the people. The bishop takes care of the priests. And we all take care of the poor, and the sick and the suffering.”

Bishop Michael Barber

(CNS photo/Jose Luis Aguirre, The Catholic Voice)

He offered greetings to Gov. Jerry Brown, who had trained three and a half years as a Jesuit, before becoming governor of California, twice, and mayor of Oakland.

“Governor, I’m honored that you are here today, because on this day, only here in Oakland, in the state of California, in the United States of America, do you have a Jesuit bishop, to go with a Jesuit pope and a Jesuit governor.”

Bishop Barber’s career as a priest focused on education, with assignments including assistant professor of theology at Gregorian University in Rome; researcher and tutor at Oxford University in England; director of the School of Pastoral Leadership in the Archdiocese of San Francisco; assistant professor of systematic and moral theology and spiritual director at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, Calif.; and director of spiritual formation at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass.

Bishop Barber said that until three weeks ago it never entered his mind that he would be bishop of Oakland.

Bishop Michael Barber

(CNS photo/Jose Luis Aguirre, The Catholic Voice)

In his initial nervousness, he said he recalled that Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the previous apostolic nuncio, had told a priest who was nervous about being made a bishop: The Lord himself is going to be bishop of your diocese. You’re only going to help him.

“That’s what I’d like to do,” he said. “I’m helping our Lord here be the bishop of this diocese. I know I’m unworthy, but I do know one other thing: That for all eternity, in the mind of God, to be bishop of Oakland has been my vocation. With God’s help, and your prayers, and the love of Mother Mary, I intend to fulfill it.” [Catholic San Francisco]

Below is video of Bishop Barber’s remarks at the end of his episcopal ordination Mass in Oakland.

Jesuit Father Tom Greene on Immigration Reform and the Role of the “Pesky Priest”

On Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee finished wading through more than 300 amendments to the 800+ page proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill yesterday, approving an overhaul of the country’s immigration laws with a 13 to 5 vote. As the bill now moves to the Senate floor, there’s new and renewed enthusiasm for immigration reform.

Last week, the nine U.S. provincials of the Society of Jesus in the United States sent letters to Congress and the Obama Administration calling for “fair, just and humane” immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the 11 million. The provincials made a similar appeal in 2011.  Currently, the provincials are attending a Jesuit Conference board meeting in El Salvador, where they will explore this complicated issue in greater depth.

In a wide-ranging interview with National Jesuit News, Jesuit Father Tom Greene, Secretary for Social and International Ministries for the Jesuit Conference, discussed his hopefulness regarding immigration reform, the provincials’ commitment to the 11 million and the role of the “pesky priest” in the ongoing debate.

To get involved in the Jesuit Conference’s advocacy efforts to build a more just, fair and humane immigration system sign up for our advocacy alerts by clicking here.

Jesuit Highlights Society of Jesus’ 300-Year-Old Tradition of Service to Detroit

The Society of Jesus has a rich history of serving the Detroit area since the arrival of the first Jesuits in 1701, according to Jesuit Father Patrick Peppard. Today, the Society continues to serve the people of the city through Saints Peter & Paul Jesuit Church in downtown Detroit, which runs a warming center that is supported by over 700 donors across the nation.

Fr. Peppard recently spoke with the Ignatian News Network about his parish and this special service to the homeless. “I think a lot of people don’t realize the impact that the church and this ministry can have on a city,” he said.

The warming center helps the homeless get out of the cold during the winter, providing them a place to rest, get a cup of coffee, wash their clothes and take a shower. The church is the only place that offers these services in Detroit. “They’ve been phenomenal,” said one man who lost his home in a fire. “[They] gave me support and now I have a place to stay, but I still come give donations to them.”

Fr. Peppard described how the Jesuits in Detroit have reached out to the marginalized in the area since 1701, from the Native Americans to various immigrant groups to those struggling with race issues during the 1960 riots. “We have stayed here over a lot of changes, and we intend to stay for a long time into the future,” he said.

“Jesus said that the whole of the law can be summed up in ‘Love God and love your neighbor as yourself,’” added Fr. Peppard. “Some people say that that should actually be translated as ‘Love God, whom you cannot see, by loving and caring for the neighbor that you can.’”

Jesuit Has Hopes for the Society of Jesus’ Future in Iraq

Jesuit Father Michael LindenJesuit Father Michael Linden, superior of the Jesuits in Jordan, has a challenging job. Living at the Jesuit Center in Jordan, he is responsible for exploring ways for the “restoration” of the Society of Jesus in Iraq.

The Jesuits arrived in Bagdad in 1932 to establish and run Baghdad College, which was staffed entirely by the New England Province Jesuits. In 1959, the Jesuits founded a second school there, Al Hikma University.

However, Fr. Linden explains that “American Jesuits were given short notice to leave, in two separate waves, in 1968 and 1969. Both schools eventually were wrapped into the state system of schools, and the U.S. Jesuits and the few Iraqi Jesuits filtered to other parts of the Near East or repatriated to the U.S.”

Fr. Linden says that many in Iraq remember the schools fondly and favorably. “There are good and supportive persons, Christians and Muslims, secularists and devout, who express hope and welcome to the Jesuits,” he says.

If the Jesuits return to Iraq, Fr. Linden says it’s hard to predict the nature of the Jesuit presence. “Some would like the U.S. Jesuits to parachute with a full Jesuit staff and system from the 1950’s back to Baghdad College. Some believe this is possible!”

According to Fr. Linden, Jesuits in Amman have learned that faith formation and service to migrant workers is important, as is close collaboration on the pastoral goals of the local bishops. “This can probably be replicated in Iraq,” he says.

Fr. Linden also believes Iraq has vocation potential. “Iraqi Christians are a giving people, and there will be Jesuit vocations from Iraq. These Iraqi Jesuits will eventually make the major discernment about their identity and work; perhaps it will include schools, perhaps not.”

Read the full interview with Fr. Linden in the April 2013 issue of JIVAN: News and Views of Jesuits in India and learn more at the New England Province Jesuits website. In the video below, Fr. Linden explains the ministries of the Jesuits in Jordan as well as their elation at the recent election of a Jesuit to the papacy.