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Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J., to Head U.S. Office for Society of Jesus, Largest Order of Priests and Brothers in Roman Catholic Church
(WASHINGTON, D.C., May 10, 2013)—The Society of Jesus in the United States announces that Father Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J., has been named the next president of the Jesuit Conference. Fr. Kesicki, who was appointed by Father Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, will assume his new position August 1, 2014. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Jesuit Conference is the liaison office that coordinates the national work of the Society of Jesus, the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church.
Fr. Kesicki, currently serving as the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus, says, “This assignment comes at a very exciting time for the Church and the Society of Jesus here in the U.S. and around the world. Clearly, the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope in history, has highlighted the Jesuit vocation. Going back to St. Ignatius himself, we Jesuits have always put ourselves in service of the Church to minister where the needs are the greatest. I look forward to helping the Society continue its mission with a renewed zeal, strategic use of our resources, and commitment to serving in Christ’s name here and around the world.”
Fr. Kesicki first met the Jesuits when he was an undergraduate at John Carroll University in Ohio, where he studied political science. During his Jesuit formation he studied at Loyola University Chicago and the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Ca. After being ordained in 1994, his first mission was with Jesuit Refugee Service in Adjumani, Uganda.
Most of his apostolic work has been in secondary education, including teaching theology at Loyola High School in Detroit (1988–1991) and serving as president of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland (2000–2008). In 2008, he was appointed provincial of the Detroit Province and a year later provincial of the Chicago Province; the two provinces came together under his leadership in 2010. A native of Erie, Pa., he enjoys skiing, cycling, and playing the piano.
Fr. Kesicki will succeed Father Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., who has served as president of the Jesuit Conference since 2006. Fr. Smolich says, “Fr. Kesicki is a dynamic leader whose wide range of experience—with Jesuit Refugee Service in Africa, as a high school president, and as a provincial—will serve him well. I’m grateful to Fr. Kesicki for his generosity in making himself available to serve the Society of Jesus in this important capacity.”
Fr. Kesicki adds, “When Fr. Smolich became president of the Jesuit Conference, the Jesuits in the U.S. were beginning a process of strategic planning. He has done a tremendous job in helping not only to redraw our geographic boundaries, but to ensure the effectiveness of our mission. I look forward to continuing this work as we leverage and maximize the expertise, resources, and talent of the provinces to find common apostolic approaches to the challenges of the world today.”
About the Society of Jesus in the United States
Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries on six continents and in 127 nations, practicing a faith that promotes justice. For nearly 500 years, Jesuit education has made its mark on the world. In the United States, there are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities, 59 Jesuit high schools and 16 middle schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society. Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. For more information on the Society of Jesus, visit http://www.jesuit.org.
Jesuit Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, a prominent figure in the Chinese Catholic Church, died April 27 of pancreatic cancer. He was 96.
“Bishop Jin was a towering figure in the history of the church in China. Always gracious, ever perceptive, he will be missed by the people of China,” said Jesuit Father Thomas Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.
In the early 1980s, the bishop, who spent almost three decades in a Chinese prison and a labor camp, made the decision to cooperate with the Chinese government, which strove to exercise control over the church through organs such as “patriotic associations,” including one for Catholics.
Jesuit Father Michael Kelly, executive director of the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News, said of his fellow Jesuit: “From the 1980s, much to the suspicion of some, the condemnation of others but the amazement of most, Jin walked the thin line between recognizing the authority of the government while sticking to what he believed was most basic and important to Catholicism in China.”
Jesuit Father Thomas Lucas, a professor of art and architecture at the University of San Francisco, had the opportunity in 2002 to collaborate with Bishop Jin on a five-year project to install 56 stained glass panels in the windows of St. Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai.
“Bishop Aloysius Jin was a remarkable man and a great Jesuit,” said Fr. Lucas. “He returned to his native Shanghai in 1951 after studies in Europe, knowing that imprisonment was the likely outcome. Incarcerated for 28 years, five years of which he spent in solitary confinement, he emerged unbroken in his faith and optimism.”
Bishop Jin, who was born in 1916 in Shanghai, was ordained a Jesuit in 1945. Two years later, he left for studies in France, Germany and Italy and earned a doctorate in theology. He returned to Shanghai and served for four years as rector of what was then known as the Xuhui Regional Seminary, later Sheshan Seminary.
He was arrested in 1955 because, he has said, he “opposed several laws of the state.” During his time in prison, he prayed and taught himself Russian. After his release, Bishop Jin was sent to northern China for almost 10 years, where he spent his time working the land and working on translations for the Chinese government.
He returned to Shanghai in 1982 to serve as rector of the Sheshan Seminary at the request of the Shanghai Diocese.
“I don’t regret coming back,” he said. “Now I can educate seminarians as previously. I can publish books. … It is important for Catholics. Now I am also in charge of church contact with foreign visitors. I can promote the mutual respect and confidence between the Chinese church and the church abroad. These things are contributions for the whole church.”
Bishop Jin was elected auxiliary of Shanghai in December 1984 and was ordained the next month, without the approval of the Vatican. He became bishop of Shanghai in 1989 but did not reconcile his status with the Vatican until early in the 21st century.
Bishop Jin also became a figure at the national level. He persuaded the authorities to allow inclusion of prayer for the pope in the Eucharistic prayers during Masses and helped to develop the liturgy in Chinese.
According to Fr. Lucas, Bishop Jin’s decision to preach the Gospel and bring the sacraments back to the people of Shanghai after the Cultural Revolution was controversial, as it meant working with — rather than against — the regime.
“Yet the decision bore great fruits for the re-evangelization of his native city,” said Fr. Lucas. “He built 15 new parishes, restored St. Ignatius Cathedral and became the beloved shepherd of a diverse community. Fully reconciled with the Holy See and the Jesuit Superior General a decade ago, Jin’s legacy of patience, endurance and practical wisdom was an inspiration to all who called him Father and friend.”
More than 1,000 people attended a funeral Mass for Bishop Jin on April 29. A government-organized memorial service is scheduled for May 2, after which his body will be cremated, according to UCA News. [Catholic News Service]
Ryan Duns, SJ is a Jesuit scholastic studying at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and has been playing traditional Irish music on a tin whistle for over 25 years. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
“The season of Lent is a powerful time in all of our lives, for each year we are invited deeper into our relationship with God,” says Jesuit Father Terry Devino in the third Lenten podcast from the New England and New York Province Jesuits. “We hear in the Scriptures on Ash Wednesday, ‘Come back to me with all your heart.’ So we strive to do this by leaning into this invitation.”
Fr. Devino says he sees Lent’s many signs, symbols and invitations all around him on Boston College’s campus, where he serves as vice president and university secretary.
One of those signs included the 120 Boston College students who recently spent their vacation days helping the poor in countries that included Belize, Mexico and El Salvador. Fr. Devino says these students weren’t going to bring God to these places, but allowing God to find them.
“They offer hope — yes to those they visit — but more to those of us left behind at home. They are hope,” says Fr. Devino.
“We are the gardeners, and we’re called to be gardeners of hope. We too must cultivate the ground on which we stand. In my ministry I’m so blessed to be part of the mission of cultivating ground for young men and young women as we assist in forming them to be men and women for others.”
Listen to the full podcast at the New England Province website.
|All eyes were on Rome this week as the Holy Father offered his final blessing to the faithful, and cardinals from around the world gathered in advance of the Papal Conclave. Through it all, Jesuit scholastic Mike Rogers, who is studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, has had a front-row seat for a week he will never forget.
Rogers, a New England Province Jesuit, was missioned to study in Rome in 2010. As all of his classes are taught in Italian, he studied the language for three months before beginning theology classes. On June 8, he will be ordained at Fordham University in New York. He has been enthusiastically sharing his impressions of the Pope’s final week in Rome with friends and family around the world and spoke today with National Jesuit News.
Click below for the audio interview with Mike Rogers.