Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Jesuits in Formation Share Their Reactions to the Election of Pope Francis

Four young Jesuits in formation share their amazement and excitement about the election of the first Jesuit pope in a new Ignatian News Network video. The Jesuits featured in the video are all contributors to The Jesuit Post website, which tackles topics from politics and pop culture to Jesus and the Catholic Church in an attempt to make a case for God in a secular age.

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 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 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 “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 Comedian Fuses Faith with Humor

By Becky Sindelar
Jesuit Jake MartinHave you heard the one about the atheist comedian turned Jesuit? Meet Jake Martin, a Jesuit scholastic in theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, Calif., who spent several years as an improv comedian before joining the Society of Jesus. Now just a few years away from being ordained to the priesthood, his previous calling was to star on “Saturday Night Live.”

Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Martin studied theater in college, and after graduation he performed with improv and theater troupes in the city. He focused on being a successful comedian — with “SNL” as the ultimate goal — and religion was far from his mind.

But Martin says that when his beloved grandmother passed away in 2001, his priorities shifted. “I realized that when I got to “SNL” that wouldn’t be the end; there was always going to be something else I would want. It wasn’t going to fulfill me in the way that I thought it would,” he says of his comedy career.

As a younger boy, his grandmother had suggested the priesthood for Martin, and after her death, he started to consider it again. He went back to church but was still resistant to the idea of being a priest because he was a comedian. Martin says, “I thought, ‘I can’t do that, I’m not holy enough. I’m not what a priest is supposed to be.’ ”

When Martin went to a dinner for men interested in the seminary, he remembers being impressed with the seminarians. “The guys seemed really happy and at peace in a way that I wasn’t,” he says.

Martin wasn’t educated by the Jesuits, but he was familiar with them — from watching “The Exorcist,” he says, laughing. He met with several orders, but Martin says it was the Jesuits that felt right. “I felt very much at home when I met with them,” he says.

A Break from the (Comedy) Routine

He entered the novitiate in 2004 and says at that point, the Jesuits were more excited about him being a performer and comedian then he was. Burned out on comedy and busy with the novitiate, Martin took a break from writing and performing.

When he went to Fordham University in New York as a part of his Jesuit formation, he got involved with an improve troupe in the city.  Then while teaching at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., he took a trip with students to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, the world’s largest performing  arts festival. After experiencing it firsthand, Martin said he knew he wanted to be a part of it.

Practicing His Craft as a Jesuit

What’s So Funny About Faith coverLast August, Martin returned to the Edinburgh Festival, this time as a performer. His show ran for eight nights and was a take on American Idol — at the end audiences voted on whether he should become a priest or not. “The verdicts were all positive; eight shows and eight votes of yes that I should become a priest. That was kind of a relief,” Martin says.

At its core, Martin’s comedy is much the same before and after he joined the Society. But he says it has changed in that it’s more intentional and thoughtful. Another change is that as a Jesuit, Martin’s been more focused on writing rather than performing. He’s had opportunities to write for publications including America magazine, Busted Halo and the Huffington Post. And he counts America editor Jesuit Father Jim Martin — no relation — as a great mentor.

Martin also recently published his first book, “What’s So Funny About Faith?”, a memoir combined with critiques of contemporary films and TV shows.

Martin found that writing the book and working on his show at the Fringe Festival helped to fuse his comedic and Jesuit identities. “It required me to grow because I realized I had a view of piety that was ‘be good’ in the sense of third grade catechism,” Martin says. “Working on these projects helped me realize that humor is a wonderful way to recognize and celebrate our humanity.”

In the video below, Jesuit Father James Martin interviews Jake Martin:

World Youth Days Inspired Jesuit Scholastic to Join the Society

Jesuit Eric RamirezEric Ramirez, a Jesuit scholastic, says he discovered his vocation while in college and was further inspired by the World Youth Day celebrations in Denver and Toronto, where he decided he would become a priest.

His family was supportive when Ramirez told them he was joining the Society of Jesus, although his mother wanted to make sure it was for the right reasons.

“My mother was really clear. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing it for her, and that was never a problem, I was doing it for me,” Ramirez says.

Ramirez is now studying theology in Rome, giving him the opportunity to pray in the same room where St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society, worked for many years. Ramirez says he has learned the importance of the Spiritual Exercises as a way to develop a personal relationship with God.

“There’s a hunger among every human being in that search for God. And I think the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius really become a pathway to get to that hunger, to recognize that hunger for what it is, and then to be able to recognize that God responds to our hunger,” he says.

For more on Ramirez, watch the video from Rome Reports below.

‘God Didn’t Forget My Bucket List,’ Says Jesuit Chaplain of the House of Representatives

Jesuit Father Patrick ConroyThe 113th Congress recently convened and that means long, busy days ahead for Jesuit Father Patrick Conroy, who serves as the 60th Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The first Jesuit to serve as the chaplain to the House, Fr. Conroy says when he was young his plan was to be a U.S. senator. When Fr. Conroy’s provincial asked him to apply for the chaplain position, Fr. Conroy says, “God didn’t forget my bucket list.”

In this Ignatian News Network video, Fr. Conroy talks about his unique ministry.