Jesuit Father William P. Leahy, president of Boston College, recently gave a keynote address at a vocations summit, where he declared, “I remain convinced; there are vocations to be had in our Church — especially in the United States.”
At the June 20-21 “Summit on Vocations: Exploring Ways to Promote Vocations to the Priesthood,” archbishops, bishops, priests, vocation directors, Catholic educators, and Catholic college and university presidents discussed the results of a recent research study commissioned by Boston College and the Jesuit Conference to assess the impact of higher education on the vocational discernment of men entering the seminary and religious life in the United States.
Fr. Leahy said the key to tapping into potential vocations is an example of living “in hope and with faith” demonstrated by priests and religious engaged interpersonally with students.
“There is nothing as powerful as happy, fulfilled priests and religious. That is contagious. That attracts. So, one of the things I think is incumbent upon us is that we guard against pessimism, and that we take on those who may say, ‘I wouldn’t enter today’ or ‘I wouldn’t be a priest or a religious.’ We need to challenge that,” Fr. Leahy said.
Fr. Leahy also said the infrastructure of Catholic education still exists as a network to spur vocations.
“We have in the United States — at least in the higher-ed world — huge opportunities on our college campuses, and so do we also have possibilities in our high schools. We have a great network,” Fr. Leahy said.
Fr. Leahy said recruitment for vocations should take a page out of how major league baseball teams rebuild. He compared owners in that model to bishops, planning a way forward to bring in the right people to nurture progress.
“We have owners. So, you need an owner that will give time and commitment. …We need a general manager, could be the provincial, could be some superior. We need a field manager, who could be the vocation director — promoters. And then, we need scouts. We need people who will identify individuals who have talent, inclination, desire — who can be pointed in the direction of priesthood and religious life,” Fr. Leahy said.
“If we would do that as sincerely and as ardently as we do many other things, I believe we would have more and more vocations. The vocations are there. God has not left us orphans. We are not alone,” he said.
Read more of Fr. Leahy’s keynote remarks at The Boston Pilot’s website.
By Doris Yu
In an exclusive five-part interview for The Jesuit Post, Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, expressed his desire for further emphasis on youth ministry, which took on special pertinence in light of his presence at MAGIS 2013 in Salvador, Brazil, where the interview took place.
After celebrating Mass and engaging with the 2,000 young pilgrims in attendance at MAGIS 2013, Fr. Nicolás spoke with Jesuit scholastic Eric Sundrup, associate editor of The Jesuit Post, discussing topics including youth ministry, inner peace and silence, vocations, social media and his interactions with Pope Francis.
Fr. Nicolás described working with the youth as a “de facto priority” and pointed to the fact that the 160 Jesuits who traveled to MAGIS 2013, a two-week Jesuit-sponsored youth immersion experience preceding World Youth Day, indicated the significance of youth ministry for the Society of Jesus.
He drew connections between working with the youth and an increase in vocations. “It is also clear that the provinces that have dedicated more resources to the youth are getting more vocations, which is an interesting point,” said Fr. Nicolás. Further elaborating on the topic, he stressed the need for vocations to the Society from those with a sense of humor and an open mind.
Fr. Nicolás called for Ignatian discernment on approaching the frontier of new media for the Society, a special point of interest for The Jesuit Post and closely linked to the topic of youth ministry. “I think that there we might have one of the biggest challenges: how to present Jesuit spirituality, which is a spirituality of reflection, of Examen, of meditation, of consultation, prayers, et cetera, to a generation that is used to instant information and instant response,” said Fr. Nicolás.
In the midst of the digital media revolution Fr. General drew attention to silence and advised the cultivation of “the chapel we carry within ourselves” at all times, in order to tap into the inner peace necessary to hear the Spirit.
On Pope Francis, Fr. Nicolás said, “I have to confess I find it very easy to communicate with him. I speak with him like I would speak with any other Jesuit, knowing that he is not going to misunderstand me. I don’t have to measure my words. I can speak totally freely.”
Concluding the interviews, Fr. Nicolás carried the conversation back to finding God in all things, especially the youth. “So in the Jesuit vision of reality there is a high esteem for God’s creation, and there is no situation, no human situation, no social situation, that is alien to us. So our challenge is … how to find God in the hearts of the young, even those who don’t come to Church, and even those who don’t even believe in Christ … This is the challenge that we carry with us, and I think that I like very much that the pope calls us to go out and find God.”
View the first video, containing links to the remainder of the interviews, below.
By Doris Yu
The National Jesuit Brothers Committee (NJBC) recently sponsored its 2013 institute, titled “Jesuit Spirituality and the New Media.” Held at Loyola University New Orleans, the institute featured an array of speakers and activities focusing on how Jesuits might more effectively utilize new media – including social media, email, websites and other Internet-based communications – in various ministries.
The NJBC represents U.S. Jesuit Brothers, vowed members of the Society of Jesus who share fully in the apostolic vocation, mission, work, and community life of the Society as laymen rather than as ordained priests. The institute was open to all Jesuits, and presentations covered a range of communications topics, from how the Apostleship of Prayer moved into the digital age and how Creighton University’s online ministries developed to frontiers and new media. Presenters included province communications staff members and editors from The Jesuit Post website and America magazine.
Many of the brothers expressed willingness to embrace the theme of the institute in their daily lives. “You don’t have to stop being who you are as a Jesuit. Be who you are as a Jesuit, use the media as a tool to help get out your message of who you are or the ministry you’re doing,” said Jesuit Brother Patrick Douglas.
“Something very interesting that I heard in this conference is that social media and the new media is a frontier,” said Jesuit scholastic Juan Pablo Marrufo del Toro. “And Father General asked us to go to the frontiers.”
In addition to the talks, the brothers enjoyed evening socials, a tour of Jesuit High School in New Orleans and a trip to the National WWII Museum. “I learned some things, I reconnected socially with men I know, I met some new people … it invigorates you, it reenergizes you. I came away with new knowledge and a sense of excitement and energy,” said Jesuit Brother James Siwicki.
Learn more about the National Jesuit Brothers Committee at njbc.com.
Dr. Thomas Bausch, who led a life committed to his family, Catholic faith, community and the Jesuit mission, passed away on July 17 at age 75. A graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland (B.S. 1960) and Indiana University (Ph.D. 1969), he had a distinguished career centered on working with Jesuit universities and the Society of Jesus throughout the world.
Bausch, a proponent of Catholic social teaching in business and management, held positions at John Carroll University and Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., prior to becoming dean of the Business School at Marquette University in Milwaukee from 1978 to 1993. He continued to teach at Marquette until 2010.
Bausch was particularly interested in the connection between Ignatian spirituality and business leadership. He was co-founder of the International Association of Jesuit Schools of Business and served as its executive director for 10 years.
His global commitment to the Jesuit mission included working with universities and organizations throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Throughout his career Bausch held many leadership positions, which included serving as president of the World Union of Jesuit Alumni, national president of Christian Life Community and president of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. He also served as dean of business at the Jesuits’ Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya.
Bausch is survived by his wife of 50 years, Bernadine, and their eight children and 17 grandchildren.
Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás’ Homily to MAGIS Pilgrims: There is Nothing Complicated About Faith
By Doris Yu
Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, said a Mass in Spanish, English and Portuguese for all 2,000 attendees of MAGIS 2013 on the last day of the pilgrims’ stay in Salvador, Brazil, before the delegations headed out for immersion experiences throughout the country.
The Mass, a missioning Mass for blessing the pilgrims before embarking on their service trips, was held on July 15 at Colégio Antônio Vieira, the Jesuit high school in Salvador named for the Portuguese Jesuit philosopher and writer. Fr. Nicolás advised the audience to listen to the voice of God in their hearts during the homily, which he preached in Spanish and English.
The Gospel story of the good Samaritan “contains one of the secrets our faith,” said Father General, which is that “God says to us that there is nothing complicated about the faith … faith is mostly in the heart. It is not far.”
“[Jesus] told us God is mercy and compassion. We don’t need to complicate that, we don’t need thick books of theology to prove that; we need a heart, a heart that can reach in the line of the compassion of God.”
Watch the English portions of Fr. Nicolás’ homily in the video below.