Archive for the ‘Pastoral Ministry’ Category
Jesuit Father Michael Barber will be installed as bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., on May 25 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. Before being named bishop earlier this month, he had served in a wide range of ministries, including as a missionary in Western Samoa, an assistant professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a tutor and chaplain at the University of Oxford and as a chaplain for the U.S. Navy.
Bishop-elect Barber’s time as a military chaplain included active duty in 2003 to serve the 6,000 troops in the 4th Marine Air Wing who participated in the invasion of Iraq.
Bishop-elect Barber joined the Chaplain Corps shortly after the first Gulf War, while he was studying at the Gregorian University. In 1991, U.S. Navy ships began arriving in Naples, and the call came for Catholic priests to say Mass aboard ships.
In Naples he learned that 30 percent of Marine officers are Catholic, and that there weren’t enough Catholic chaplains to minister to them. As a result, many were converting to other religions.
“All of this inspired me to sign up,” recalled Bishop-elect Barber. “I never knew much about the Navy, but I was inspired by the tremendous needs of these people and by their great generosity.”
Bishop-elect Barber said about ministering during wartime: “As a Catholic and a priest, I agree with the papal teachings regarding this war. And as a member of the military, I know what my duty is: to serve the Marines wherever they are. If they are put into combat, I want to be with them to give them the sacraments.
“When Marines see a priest going on marches with them and sleeping in the same tent, they show you tremendous gratitude. They are so happy I was there for them,” he said.
As a military chaplain, Bishop-elect Barber counseled soldiers of all denominations, with most soldiers wanting to discuss marital problems. “They would come to me with ‘Dear John’ e-mails,” said Fr. Barber. “This is the biggest issue, even in times of peace. The pressure is sometimes too much for spouses who worry about their partners dying.”
According to Bishop-elect Barber, ministering to the military was important because he was able to reach men and women with whom the Jesuits didn’t have contact with through Jesuit schools.
For more on Bishop-elect Barber’s time as a military chaplain, read the full story at the Saint Ignatius College Prep website.
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.’”
Yesterday, Jesuits washed the feet of young inmates at a juvenile detention facility in Los Angeles, as Pope Francis did for young Italian prisoners rather than for clerics as is the custom on Holy Thursday.
The decision to hold Holy Thursday services with young prisoners exemplified the particular Jesuit calling for “faith that does justice,” Jesuit Father Michael Kennedy told The Los Angeles Times. Fr. Kennedy ministers to inmates and their families for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles through the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative.
The Times reported that “the Jesuits in black shirts and clerical collars knelt before the youths in standard-issue gray sweats as they poured cool water over their feet and dried them, drawing both smiles and solemn looks.”
The young people also read letters to the pope, asking for healing and blessings. The inmates’ letters were then sent to Rome, where Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said in an email that Pope Francis would “surely read them with profound gratitude and he will pray for all the young people that are in the Juvenile Hall, and all that are in prisons.”
According to Fr. Kennedy, the pope’s visit to the Casal del Marmo juvenile jail for his first papal Holy Thursday service electrified social justice advocates across the globe.
“He’s going to places nobody wants to go to be with people who are forgotten,” Fr. Kennedy said of the pope. “It’s really shifting the paradigm of who we need to embrace and who is important in God’s eyes.”
Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times website.
The Jesuits of the New England and New York Provinces are offering a weekly Lenten podcast series, and in the second episode, Jesuit Father Steve Sanford talks about experiencing and overcoming darkness in one’s life through God.
“Sometimes in our life, God uses the experience of darkness to speak to us,” Fr. Sanford says.
Fr. Sanford shares a time of darkness from his own life, when he was assigned to go to Jamaica in 1988 for two years. “I was getting more and more anxious as the time drew close,” he recalls. “I was having trouble sleeping. I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to a country where I know nobody.’”
Fr. Sanford says talking to his friends and spiritual director didn’t help, but about two weeks before he was scheduled to leave, he was praying and asked God to help him.
“I heard a voice say to me: ‘Steve, don’t worry, no matter where you go, I will send you people to love.’”
Fr. Sanford says after he heard that in prayer, he relaxed and his fears about serving in Jamaica vanished.
“In that deep darkness of my life, that time of anxieties and fears, God spoke to me,” he says. “It’s a promise he made in 1988 and he keeps making each day.”
As he goes through this Lenten season, Fr. Sanford says he reminds himself that God is always going to send him people to love.
Listen to Fr. Sanford’s podcast at the New England Province website.
The New Year often brings about resolutions to exercise more, but one Jesuit is now offering personal spiritual training for those who want to “work out” a different part of their lives.
Jesuit Father Randy Roche is the director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Recently, Fr. Roche came up with the idea of adapting the personal training approach used for physical training to spirituality and added personal spiritual training to the center’s offerings.
“One day I thought, ‘What if we could be personal trainers for people looking for help with a particular problem or who want to learn how to bring more reflection into their lives?’” Fr. Roche said. “We could offer a less formal version of the Spiritual Exercises for people who know they have a hunger and are looking for someone to guide them.”
The exercises, which include meditating and contemplating, are “spirituality for busy people.” The personal training sessions are designed to meet immediate individual needs and take only the time necessary to help accomplish a goal.
Fr. Roche said most of the participants at the center are LMU faculty and staff members with questions about how to reflect and get in touch with feelings as they relate to making choices. Others need help with striking a balance between thinking and feeling. Once the goal is accomplished, things don’t stop there. Participants can return for maintenance sessions or an occasional spiritual tune-up.
Currently Fr. Roche shares training duties at the center with Jesuit Bishop Gordon Bennett and Anne Hennessy, CSJ. “My dream has always been that there will eventually be some faculty and staff who will do some of the training,” said Fr. Roche.
Fr. Roche has also started a blog for the center. “It lets people comment and add their own take on Ignatian spirituality and it’s open to anyone. We also are on Facebook and I’m writing a weekly spirituality essay for our website,” Fr. Roche said.
For more on Fr. Roche and the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at LMU, read the full story at AJCU Connections.