Archive for the ‘Parishes’ Category

20/20 Profiles Pine Ridge Reservation, Features Red Cloud Indian School

Thanksgiving is often spent in the company of family and friends, giving thanks for what we have and appreciating the littlest gifts. But on this day of thanks, we should also remember and pray for those who are struggling, be it physically, spiritually, financially or emotionally.

One such group are the Lakota Indians of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. On the reservation, which covers a 5,000 square foot swath of land in the southwestern corner of South Dakota, staggering poverty and an unemployment rate that hovers around 80% leave the children of the Pine Ridge facing an uphill struggle as they learn and grown up on the reservation. The Jesuits have been ministering to the Lakota of the Pine Ridge since the late 1800s, when they founded the Red Cloud Indian School.

20/20 recently profiled the Pine Ridge, and some of the young people who live on the reservation, including a few students from the Jesuit’s Red Cloud Indian School.

 

How to Help: Organizations Working to Improve Life at Pine Ridge

Jesuits Mark 25th Anniversary of Pastoral Ministry in Charlotte

Photo by lumierefl from Flickr

St. Peter's Church, Charlotte, NC / Photo by lumierefl

2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Jesuits at St. Peter Church in Charlotte.

The parish celebrated with a series of events which concluded with a Jesuit-concelebrated Mass on June 26. St. Peter Church was built in 1851 in what was then the southern tip of Charlotte. It was later rebuilt after an explosion at a nearby factory damaged the building’s walls and foundation. As the city grew and more Catholic churches were built, the parish’s population diminished. In 1970, St. Peter Church ceased being a parish.

Then, in 1986, the church regained parish status and the pastorate was assumed by Jesuit priests of the Maryland Province. As the population in the urban area of Charlotte has swelled, the uptown parish has continued to grow as a community deeply concerned with outreach to those in need.

The pastor of St. Peter Church, Father Patrick Earl, was the principal celebrant at the anniversary Mass, celebrated on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Father Earl pointed out the appropriateness of the anniversary celebration being held together with the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ:

“We celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord, our nourishment in our lives as disciples of Jesus. And we remember the arrival of the Jesuits here at St. Peter’s in 1986. We remember those who have accompanied us on our journey as disciples of Jesus.”

The Jesuit concelebrants at the Mass were Jesuit Father Joseph Sobierajski, long-time pastor of St. Peter; Jesuit Father Thomas Gaunt, one of the first Jesuits to come to St. Peter; Jesuit Father Vincent Alagia and Jesuit Father Timothy Stephens.

[Catholic News Herald - Diocese of Charlotte]

Filipino Jesuit Learns Through Service to Missouri Towns

Jesuit Father Rene TacastacasFor six years, Filipino Jesuit Father Rene Tacastacas juggled his time as a student and a priest in the United States.

“The experience was very enriching,” Fr. Tacastacas said of the years he spent working on a doctorate degree in rural sociology and at the same time organizing Catholic communities in remote Missouri villages, where he became well-loved. In May, he received the Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award upon his graduation from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Tacastacas was parish priest of the remote town of Titay in the Philippines, but after being named vocation director, his Jesuit superiors sent him to the United States in 2005 to pursue further studies.

“I needed the know-how to pursue rural development, especially involving work with small farmers in the countryside,” said Tacastacas.

When he flew to Missouri in August 2005, his mission was clear: study hard so he could help in the Jesuits’ mission to assist Filipino farmers. Tacastacas specialized in food and agriculture.

In his first few weeks in the U.S., Tacastacas felt lonely, so he volunteered to substitute for any priest who was not available.

Soon, he was being sent to remote towns in Missouri, and he found his purest joys as a priest and as a student in the far-flung communities.

In these towns, he would visit the farms, where he gained first-hand experience in American farming that helped him put into shape his doctoral research’s focus on small vegetable farming.

“Getting to know the farmer-parishioners allowed me to view my studies as primarily directed towards helping small farmers back home,” he said.

“There was no disconnect between my priesthood and my being a student,” said Tacastacas.

Read more about Tacastacas’ time in Missouri at Inquirer News.

A Jesuit Pastor in Jordan: Fr. Kevin O’Connell on Being a “Foreign Worker”

IMG_0933Jesuit Father Kevin O’Connell came to Amman, Jordan 13 years ago to minister at the Sacred Heart Parish. Through an agreement between the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, a “personal parish” was established for English-speaking Roman Catholics residing in or visiting Amman. Fr. O’Connell, a scripture scholar with archaeological experience in the Middle East and a former college president, was appointed its first pastor.

Today, O’Connell finds himself ministering to a congregation that is largely compromised of Filipinos who live in Jordan as domestic workers. He recognizes the challenge of being foreigners working in a land very different from their own, as he is doing the same, and he helps provide spiritual support to them while they are far away from their families and homeland. “Suddenly, I found myself, with my Asian population, as a missionary here,” explains O’Connell. “I’ve had to develop this more welcoming attitude and I think it’s been good for me as a person. And that’s a Jesuit thing – we have to learn to adapt to the needs of the local community.”

In the video piece below, Fr. O’Connell discusses his ministry in Jordan:

A Jesuit Pastor in Jordan: Fr. Kevin O'Connell on Being a "Foreign Worker"

IMG_0933Jesuit Father Kevin O’Connell came to Amman, Jordan 13 years ago to minister at the Sacred Heart Parish. Through an agreement between the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, a “personal parish” was established for English-speaking Roman Catholics residing in or visiting Amman. Fr. O’Connell, a scripture scholar with archaeological experience in the Middle East and a former college president, was appointed its first pastor.

Today, O’Connell finds himself ministering to a congregation that is largely compromised of Filipinos who live in Jordan as domestic workers. He recognizes the challenge of being foreigners working in a land very different from their own, as he is doing the same, and he helps provide spiritual support to them while they are far away from their families and homeland. “Suddenly, I found myself, with my Asian population, as a missionary here,” explains O’Connell. “I’ve had to develop this more welcoming attitude and I think it’s been good for me as a person. And that’s a Jesuit thing – we have to learn to adapt to the needs of the local community.”

In the video piece below, Fr. O’Connell discusses his ministry in Jordan: