Archive for the ‘Parishes’ Category

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.’”

Deaf Jesuit Priest Hears a Special Call

Jesuit Father Joseph BruceJesuit Father Joseph Bruce is one of the few priests in the world who has been deaf since childhood and the first deaf Jesuit priest. This hasn’t stopped him from ministering to both the hearing and the deaf. Fr. Bruce reads lips, knows many variations of sign language and speaks clearly — despite never having heard a spoken word in his whole life.

Currently Fr. Bruce ministers to a predominately deaf congregation in Landover, Md. He is one of eight deaf priests in the United States today, and when he was ordained to the priesthood in 1981, there was only one other deaf priest in the country.

Fr. Bruce said he first thought of becoming a priest while attending the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., when Jesuit Father Joseph LaBran suggested he become a Jesuit priest. “I responded by saying that the church did not allow deaf men to be ordained priests,” Fr. Bruce recalls. “Then Fr. LaBran said, ‘God is full of surprises. He can change things whenever he wants to.’ After that I began to think about it.”

Fr. Bruce says the greatest challenge in serving people is being able to lip-read. “Every person moves his or her lips differently when they speak,” he says. “Lipreading is very tiring. Lipreading every day is like running the Boston Marathon every day!”

He also recalls challenges as an undergrad. He wanted to be a Spanish major, but the modern language department wouldn’t allow it because he couldn’t “hear Spanish.” So Fr. Bruce asked if he could major in English, and he was given permission. “I remember keeping my fingers crossed, hoping that no one realized that I can’t hear English either!”

He also prevailed, after setbacks, to become a priest. Fr. Bruce applied to the diocese and the Franciscans, but both told him no. The Dominicans didn’t reply. Finally, the Society of Jesus said yes.

Today Fr. Bruce does pastoral ministry for the deaf community in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Marlana Portolano attends St. Francis of Assisi, the predominantly deaf parish where Fr. Bruce ministers and where her daughter attends catechism classes in sign language.

Portolano writes in America magazine, “In order to embrace the Catholic faith, my daughter needed to receive direct communication in a language she could see and understand. In signing the Mass, Father Joe, as he is known, opened my daughter’s eyes to essential practices of Catholicism. Every week Father Joe is able to hold the rapt attention of the entire congregation, even when he does not speak at all.”

To read more about Fr. Bruce, visit America magazine, The B.C. Catholic and the Rhode Island Catholic.

Jesuits Renew Presence in Miami with Renovated Gesu Church

Gesu Church in MiamiThe Jesuits’ Gesu Church in downtown Miami, the city’s oldest Catholic church, was recently renovated, and the pastor says the aesthetic improvement is only half the story. “We have always wanted to revive our presence in the heart of downtown because the area itself has been developed and the Catholic Church was not going to fall behind,” says Jesuit Father Eddy Alvarez, Gesu’s pastor.

The iconic downtown church dates to 1922, and in the last few months the building has gone through a transformation that’s included restoring the bell tower, painting the facade with new colors, revitalizing the interior and adding the emblem of the Society of Jesus. “We needed to modernize and attract new Catholics who have moved to the area,” says Fr. Alvarez.

Because the church is so close to the ocean, the salt residue and humidity had taken a toll on the building’s frame with cracks and other forms of dangerous deterioration, according to Jesuit Father Eduardo Barrios.

Today, there are three Jesuit priests working at the parish, which has seen growth and diversification of its parishioners, particularly following an influx of young professionals to the area.

“It now has a fresher look while maintaining its original beauty,” says parishioner Alberto Carrillo of the renovated church. “It’s very inviting if you are Catholic.”

To reaffirm the Gesu’s Jesuit identity, the IHS emblem — derived from the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus and featured in the Society’s crest — has been emphasized throughout the church. IHS is welded to the bars on doors and windows and is also painted on the panels containing the Creed along the Stations of the Cross.

Read the full article and see more images at the Miami Herald website.

Jesuits Return to Serve at Their Alma Maters

Jesuit Father Daniel Hendrickson

Jesuit Father Daniel Hendrickson

Two Jesuits recently returned to their respective alma maters in roles much different from their previous ones as students. Jesuit Father Daniel Hendrickson (’93) has returned to Marquette University in Milwaukee as associate vice president in the Office of the Executive Vice President, and Jesuit Father Dan White (’90) is back at Saint Louis University as pastor of St. Francis Xavier College Church, where he was ordained in 2001.

For Fr. Hendrickson one difference is he’s living at the Jesuit Residence this time. However, he wouldn’t mind returning to a dorm. He said that if the opportunity presents itself, he would like to serve as a residence hall chaplain.

“Being a resident back in McCormick (his freshman dorm) — my college buddies would love it. If that happens, they have to come visit,” Fr. Hendrickson said.

Fr. Hendrickson’s new job includes participating in the university’s reaffirmation of the accreditation process by the Higher Learning Commission. His previous job at Marquette? A lifeguard at the rec center while he was a student.

Before returning to Marquette, Fr. Hendrickson taught at two high schools and three universities, including Creighton University in Omaha and Fordham University in New York.

“I hope I can be as encouraging, supportive and inspirational as the faculty, staff and Jesuits were during my time,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “It would be terrific to be able to impact the lives of students the way I was impacted. Marquette has always been filled with tremendous mentors in its faculty and the Jesuit community. So if someday, somehow I could be someone like that to someone else — that would be a great honor and privilege.”

Jesuit Father Dan White

Jesuit Father Dan White

Fr. Dan White is back in St. Louis after spending time working in Louisiana, Belize and Australia, and he’s excited about his new job as pastor. “I love that the parish and the university are so well integrated,” he said.

“The College Church is a unique blend of so many ministries and people,” said Fr. White. “It’s a chapel and parish rooted in a university campus. The masses draw SLU students, faculty and staff along with members of the religious community, the neighborhood and beyond. Our members come from about 70 different zip codes.”

Fr. White has found it can be a challenge to engage the post-undergraduate demographic of young people.

“Culture has changed a lot,” said Fr. White.  “We need to see how to bring faith into a culture that is not as committed to institutions and is suspicious of authority.”

While the campus has expanded since he was a student, Fr. White appreciates that some things haven’t changed. “I love that it is still an urban campus, connected to the city. It is a very civically engaged place. The Jesuits have always been that way,” he said.

Fr. White also appreciates the changes he has noticed. “I have found that the university is much more intentional about being a Jesuit university. The mission of the school is more prominent,” he said.

For more on Fr. Hendrickson visit the Marquette Tribune; for more on Fr. White visit The University News.

Take the Jesuits with you via your iPhone or iPad: New App allows Users to Find Nearby Jesuit Institutions, Latest News and Jesuit Prayers

Across the United States, the Society of Jesus, the U.S.’s largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, runs universities, high schools and middle schools, parishes and retreat houses.  And today, the 450-year-old religious order has an app.

Available for free at the iTunes App Store, the Jesuit app operates on any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad; a similar app will soon be available at the Android Marketplace for use on devices such as the Droid, Evo and HTC Touch.

The new app allows users to locate Jesuit retreat centers, schools and parishes across the U.S., read the latest news and information about the Jesuits, and access Jesuit prayers and spirituality documents.

The app’s three sections include:

Here users can find Jesuit apostolates – parishes, retreat centers, colleges and universities. It includes easy-to-use directions and contact information for any Jesuit institution in the U.S. and is searchable by apostolate name, by the user’s current location or through any address the user enters.

All the latest news stories from National Jesuit News are displayed here.  Users can tap on any headline to view the full story, share the link with friends or open the story in their browser.

In this section, users can view prayers, spirituality documents and background information on the Society of Jesus.

The video below explains in more detail how the app operates. Visit the app information page here to find out more.