Archive for the ‘Radio’ Category

American Jesuits React to News of Historic Announcement of Their Brother Jesuit’s Election as Pope

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Jesuit brethren of the new Pope Francis I were as surprised as anyone when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was announced March 13 as the first Jesuit to be elected pope. Jesuit Father Gerard Stockhausen, executive secretary of the Jesuit Conference USA, told Catholic News Service that when Cardinal Bergoglio’s name was announced from the Vatican balcony, he didn’t realize immediately that it was a fellow member of the Society of Jesus, the religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola in 1534. Jesuits generally don’t seek higher offices in the church, Father Stockhausen said. “There are relatively few who are bishops even. We don’t ordinarily take on those posts.” Even the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters: “Personally, I’m a bit shocked to have a Jesuit pope. Jesuits think of themselves as servants, not authorities in church.” “Jesuits resist being named bishop or cardinal. To be named pope — wow,” Father Lombardi said. “Must have been result of strong call.” In Dajabon, Dominican Republic, Jesuit Father Regino Martinez, called it “a moment of great hope and opportunity for the church.” He said Pope Francis as the first Latin American pope also offers “an opportunity to support the work being done in the Latin American church and a show of support for Latin Americans.” Father Stockhausen said that even those Jesuits who do become cardinals “tend not to move in ‘cardinal circles,’ where they get to know each other. That’s not our world.” He acknowledged that Jesuits are generally thought of as highly educated, and “men of the world.” There’s a saying that goes “‘Francis (of Assisi) loved the countryside, Dominic loved the countryside and Ignatius loved the cities,’ we’re ‘worldly’ in the good sense of the word,” he said. Jesuits also have a reputation for being careful decision-makers, particularly if they follow the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, said Father Stockhausen. The exercises lead one to make decisions not out of personal interests or attachments, he said, but out of where the Spirit is leading through prayer.

Pope Francis I appears for the first time on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 13. (CNS/Paul Haring)

As Jesuits across the United States watched in wonder as one of their own was elected to the papacy for the first time in history yesterday, it wasn’t long before the phones started ringing as news outlets called upon American Jesuits to comment on the significance of the unexpected and momentous news. From “CBS This Morning” and USA Today to NBCNews.com and The Boston Globe to daily newspapers and local news affiliates across the country, Jesuits were asked to reflect on the significance of the election of Pope Francis.

Jesuit Father Matt Malone, editor of America magazine, and Jesuit Father Tom Reese were barraged with media requests in Rome, and Jesuit Father James Martin appeared on many outlets, including CNN.com and NPR. Many Jesuits expressed shock, saying they never thought they’d see a Jesuit pope.

Jesuit Father Scott Pilarz, president of Marquette University in Milwaukee, appeared on “CBS This Morning” where he said friends had recently asked him if there would ever be a Jesuit pope and he responded, “Absolutely not.”

But, Fr. Pilarz continued, “In extraordinary moments and times, the church has looked to members of the Society of Jesus to play these leadership roles. I think it’s recognition that the church is at one of those moments.”

Jesuit Father Gerard Stockhausen, executive secretary of the Jesuit Conference USA, told Catholic News Service that when Cardinal Bergoglio’s name was announced from the Vatican balcony, he didn’t realize immediately that it was a fellow member of the Society of Jesus.

“Jesuits generally don’t seek higher offices in the church,” Fr. Stockhausen said. “There are relatively few who are bishops, even. We don’t ordinarily take on those posts.”

Jesuit Father Robert Ballecer of the Jesuit Conference explained to NPR why so many were surprised — but why it wasn’t impossible for a Jesuit to be elected. “We have a vow that we will not seek out office. But there have been cases where offices seek us out,” Fr. Ballecer said.

Jesuit Father Michael Sheeran, president-elect of the American Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, described the new pope and his Jesuit principles to NBCNews.com. “Pope Francis took the bus to work every day. He sold the cardinal’s residence and lived in a small apartment where he cooked for himself.”

“That simplicity hides a steely determination to advance Jesuit principles, especially on the importance of traditional Catholic teachings and protection of the poor and the oppressed,” Fr. Sheeran said.

Jesuit Father Michael Garanzini, president of Loyola University Chicago, told The Chicago Tribune that he could envision Francis championing the poor from his position as pontiff.

“Coming out of Latin America, he is very familiar with the plight of the disadvantaged where the divide between rich and poor is very striking,” he said.

Jesuit Father Jack Butler, vice president for mission and ministry at Boston College, told The Boston Globe he was both shocked and excited. “I was flabbergasted, because Jesuits aren’t supposed to be popes, and Jesuits aren’t supposed to be bishops, and yet I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say as a Jesuit it gave me a great sense of joy and pride.”

Jesuit Father Douglas Marcouiller, provincial for the Missouri Province Jesuits, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the Jesuits “don’t generally serve as bishops unless the circumstances are rather unusual. I think that that there is a tradition of not seeking roles that require a good deal of power, in order to serve the poor.”

Fr. Marcouiller added, “I think it is quite clear that Pope Francis has the gift of humility that will allow him to use that power and to exercise that ministry in a very effective way.”

He admitted that seeing a Jesuit in the robes of a pope would take some getting used to. “I think it will be a shock for the entire order,” Fr. Marcouiller said with a laugh.

Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien, vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., helped explain the Society of Jesus to several major news outlets, including Time magazine and USA Today. “Most people will know of Jesuits because of their schools,” Fr. O’Brien said.

“To be a Jesuit today is to serve the church and the world,” Fr. O’Brien told USA Today. “The church has been sidetracked by sexual and financial scandals. Now, it’s about getting back to the basics. It’s about preaching the gospel and helping the poor.”

Jesuit Father Myles Sheehan, provincial of the New England Province Jesuits, told the West Hartford News, “Although we are, of course, excited about the Holy Father’s Jesuit roots, we are more excited about his ministry to the Universal Church and pray for courage and wisdom for him as he begins this journey of faith.”

Below is video of Fr. Pilarz’s appearance on “CBS This Morning”.

Jesuit Shares Ministry and Vocation Stories on The Busted Halo Show

Jesuit Father Rocco Danzi,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.

Vocation Director Shares His Own Vocation Story on Busted Halo Show

Jesuit  Father Chuck FredericoJesuit  Father Chuck Frederico, vocation director for the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces of the Society of Jesus, was a recent guest on “The Busted Halo Show with  Fr. Dave Dwyer” on Sirius Radio.

In addition to discussing the Jesuit formation process, Fr. Frederico shared his own vocation story.

Fr. Frederico explained that after high school he went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, which had previously been a Jesuit novitiate, St. Andrew-on-Hudson.

Before attending, one of Fr. Frederico’s high school teachers, a diocesan priest, told him to do three things when he arrived. One, to take notice of the “AMDG” — which stands for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (“For the greater glory of God”),  the motto of the Society of Jesus — written on the front door. Fr. Frederico recognized this from his grade school days. “I’d been writing that on the top of my loose leaf since first grade because the nuns I had, the sisters of St. Joseph, were founded by the Jesuits.”

His teacher also said in the small chapel there would be a window of St. Aloysius Gonzaga receiving first communion from St. Charles Borromeo. Fr. Frederico recognized this from his grammar school days as well, as he attended St. Charles Borrmeo.

Third, his teacher asked Fr. Frederico to read a book on Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Fr. Frederico was fascinated by his life.

After culinary school, he went to Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia to study food marketing. “I  met the Jesuits in spirit at the Culinary Institute and in the flesh at Saint Joe’s,” Fr.  Frederico said.

Fr. Frederico was planning to have his own restaurant, but God had different plans.

“I was fascinated by these guys [the Jesuits]. I had six different Jesuits in the classroom, and each of them taught with such passion,” he said.

By his senior year, Fr. Frederico was applying to the Jesuits. Listen to the whole segment with Fr. Frederico online.

Jesuit Reports for Vatican Radio from Cuba for Papal Visit

Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed to the island nation of Cuba yesterday, by President Raul Castro who met the pontiff at the airport in Havana.

The director of Vatican Radio’s German Program, Jesuit Father Bernt Hagenkord, has been in Havana for a few days, preparing for the Pope’s arrival. He’s been walking the streets and talking to the people there, to find out what their expectations are, and how they intend to greet him.

“A lot of preparation went into this visit, organizationally as well as diplomatically, although it is not really visible in the streets. However, all people I could talk to agree, it will, like its predecessor, leave a changed Church and as many hope, a changed country.”

To listen to the full report from Fr. Hagenkord, please press play: 

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Jesuit Speaks to Vatican Radio on Pope’s New Book

Jesuit Father Joseph FessioShare

The second volume of Pope Benedict XVI’s book series on Jesus was recently released, and Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio commented, “When he speaks to us in this book, as Joseph Ratzinger, he is not engaging the faith of the Church – it’s not a magisterial document.”

Fr. Fessio, who was a student of Ratzinger’s 40 years ago, is director of Ignatius Press, which published the English-language version of the pope’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth – Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection.”

Fessio said one interesting part of the book covers the passage in Matthew 27:25 (“And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children.”) that has led some to believe the Jewish people are cursed.

Fessio explained, “He [the pope] says the blood of Jesus is not like the blood of Cain that cries out for vengeance. The blood of Jesus is redemptive blood. It’s bloodshed for the life of the world. It’s not for punishment or vengeance, it’s for salvation and redemption. It’s a beautiful reflection on it – two or three pages – that really kind of changes your whole view on that part of the Gospel, which has been used in the past sometimes for anti-Semitic purposes.”

Listen to the Vatican Radio interview with Fessio.