Archive for the ‘NJN Video’ Category

Jesuit Father Mike Kennedy Brings Ignatian Spirituality to Those Behind Bars

When Jesuit Father Mike Kennedy was pastor of Dolores Mission, located in the barrio of East Los Angeles, he witnessed firsthand the impact to the community of having so many of its youth facing life without parole. After serving as pastor from 1994 to 2007, Fr. Kennedy left Dolores Mission to start the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI) to provide support and hope to juveniles with life sentences.

Through the Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a series of meditative prayers helping people find God in their everyday experiences, the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative provides tools that allow prisoners to find healing and forgiveness and to recognize their lives have meaning and purpose. As JRJI’s Executive Director, Fr. Kennedy also reaches out to victims and their families to provide support and healing. The group’s advocacy outreach from its headquarters in Culver City, Calif., includes mobilizing communities to transform the justice system from one that is solely punitive to one that is restorative.  Fr. Kennedy has been recognized for JRJI’s efforts to transform the lives of incarcerated youth, their families and communities by the California Chief of Probation Officers and the City of Los Angeles.

In this Ignatian News Network video piece below, you can find out more about Fr. Kennedy and the work of the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative to bring hope to Los Angeles’ incarcerated juveniles:

Jesuit Father Richard Ryscavage on India’s Growing Gender Imbalance

A new study conducted by Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life has dug deeper into India’s gender ratio imbalance crisis to find that it is being fueled by complex family pressures, including the belief that boys will be better wage earners, and that men will more likely take better care of their aging parents. The study also indicates that elders in the family and often husbands prefer a male child, while many wives pointed out that their voices were not being heard and had little choice in the matter.

Fairfield University’s innovative survey examined how gender dynamics and family pressures in India lead to the birth of a significantly greater number of boys than girls. The study suggests that male child preference is quite prevalent and the gender ratio imbalance – which is on the increase and was evident in the 2011 Indian National Census – is likely to be a major impediment to the future development of India.

Jesuit Father Richard Ryscavage, professor of sociology and director of The Center for Faith and Public Life, conducted the study and recently sat down for an interview with National Jesuit News.

According to the 2011 National Census of India, there were 914 girls born for every 1,000 boys; in some regions reaching as low as 824 girls. These figures are alarming in comparison to the United Nation’s 2010 Population Sex Ratio norm of 101.7 males to 100 females. The Indian census numbers therefore show a severe gender ratio imbalance in the nation. The Indian government, numerous global agencies, NGOs and researchers contend that as women become a minority in the population, there is bound to be a detrimental effect on both India’s economic development and social stability.

Undertaken in partnership with two Jesuit schools in India – St. Xavier College in Mumbai and Loyola College in Chennai – the research also found that girls are being systematically devalued in society. Yet, the findings also revealed many wives responding that daughters would be better caregivers than sons.

Fairfield’s researchers surveyed the upper layer of the lower class and the lower layer of the middle class. The assumption was that those families could be the part of the population that can make changes in their attitudes towards the son preference practice, a change that could be discernible by the next census, in 2021.

For more information on the “Impact India” study, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/cfpl/cfpl_gsri.html.

Painting is a Passion for Jesuit Brother Jim Small

In 1969, Jesuit Brother Jim Small came to Loyola Academy in Chicago’s northern suburb of Wilmette, Ill. to work as its resident carpenter, but it’s been a different kind of work and use of his talents that has benefited the Jesuit college preparatory high school the most.

After serving in the Navy during World War II followed by a stint as a Chicago police officer, Br. Small entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1952 at Milford, Ohio. When he came to Loyola Academy, Br. Small picked up a paintbrush and returned to a hobby he’d enjoyed since his childhood – painting. During the school’s first fundraiser in 1970, Br. Small included 36 of his original pieces, all of which were quickly purchased. Since then, he contributes between 60 to 100 paintings each year to Loyola Academy’s fundraiser and raises upwards of $45,000 annually for the school. The funds from the sale of his artwork are used to endow a scholarship fund for students in need.

While Br. Small’s work as a carpenter and an artist has done much for Loyola Academy, few would say those are his most important contributions. He’s known by students, alumni, staff, parents and coaches as a true man for others – someone with a generous spirit who humbly attributes his abilities to God’s grace.  It is his generosity that most would say is his great contribution to Loyola Academy.

Find out more about Br. Jim Small and his artistic talents in the Ignatian News Network video below:

Jesuit Ministry Helping Reform Gang Members Featured in The Economist

With the motto, “nothing stops a bullet like a job,” Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles works to help gang members leave their lives formed on the streets and in prisons and instead learn skills to improve their lives. Offering tattoo removal, counseling former “homies” in drug rehabilitation and mental health, and even providing jobs in its bakery, café and t-shirt store, Homeboy Industries is a haven for former gang members looking to turn their lives around. The ministry helps approximately 12,000 individuals each year learn life skills to lead them away from the streets.

Founded in 1992 by charismatic Jesuit Father Greg Boyle during the height of the city’s gang wars, Homeboy Industries has become a model program that other cities, like Chattanooga, are trying to replicate.

Fr. Boyle’s innovative program was featured recently in a piece by The Economist. An excerpt appears below and you can read the full story on The Economist’s website.

It can take between three and 40 treatments to remove a prison tattoo, says Troy, a volunteer doctor at Homeboy Industries in central Los Angeles, as another former gang member takes a seat. Troy zaps the tattoos with a laser, breaking up the ink so that the immune system can destroy it. This is painful, and the laser’s sharp cracking sound reminds some patients of shooting or of the prison yard, explains Andre, who is 27, spent seven years in prison, and got his first tattoo when he was 11. But it is still good to get rid of tattoos. “We focus on the visible ones,” says Troy, “the ones that make you a target when you’re walking decades later with your son and somebody shoots you, or the ones that prevent you from getting a job.”

“We’re a trauma-informed family here,” says Jesuit Father Greg Boyle. Eventually, they experience an unfamiliar feeling that he calls the “no-matter-whatness”. They realize that the staff do not judge their past but are ready to help them build a better future.

Homeboy Industries also recently opened a new diner in Los Angeles’ City Hall. You can find out more about Homeboy Diner in this Ignatian News Network video:

Ignatian News Network Video Biography, Jesuit Father Scott Santarosa

A native of Sacramento, Jesuit Father Scott Santarosa, experienced the Jesuits at an early age, first as a high school student at Jesuit High School in Sacramento. Fr. Santarosa credits the care and attention of the Jesuits and lay faculty of Jesuit High in moving him to continue his Jesuit education at Santa Clara University, where he graduated in Civil Engineering in 1988.

Still not having enough of the “Jesuit thing,” he decided to do a year of volunteer work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, where he ran an after-school program for youth in Newark, New Jersey. Following his year as a Jesuit volunteer, he went one step further, and joined the Jesuits in the summer of 1989.

His Jesuit life has taken him to the Bronx, New York for philosophy studies; Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose for three years of teaching; Berkeley and Mexico City for theology studies and pastoral ministry. Currently, Santarosa is the pastor at Dolores Mission parish, a small but vibrant Jesuit parish in the lowest income section of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. He served there as a newly ordained priest back in 2000 where the good parishioners there taught him how to be a priest. His time there planted the seed of desire to do parish work, so he is happy to be there now full-time, doing pastoral work, much of it in Spanish. He feels humbled and grateful to see God in the people of that community.

Ignatian News Network met up with Fr. Santarosa to learn more about the man behind the collar.