Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’

Beatification Cause Opened for Young Jesuit Killed by Nazis

The beatification cause for Jesuit novice Tomas Munk and his father, Frantisek Munk, was opened on Sept. 27 in the Slovakian city of Bratislava.

The city’s Archbishop Stanislav Zvolensky presided at the ceremony accompanied by various bishops.

A tribunal will now examine evidence of Tomas and Frantisek’s martyrdom. Father Ondrej Gabris, the vice postulator of the cause, has submitted a list of 14 testimonies.

Born in Budapest on January 29, 1924, In the mid-1930s, Tomas began having an interest in the Catholic faith.  He was baptized in 1939 in the city of Ruzomberok, Slovakia.

In 1943, Tomas entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, studying in Bratislava and Ruzomberok.  In the autumn of 1944, Nazi soldiers came in Ruzomberok. After several months the whole family was arrested and the Nazi eventually came to the Novitiate and took him away as a Jewish convert. According to a fellow novice, now a respected Jesuit, Tomas confided to him having prayed all night in the Novitiate chapel: “I have sacrificed my life for my nation, for its conversion and for the Church.”

Frantisek and his wife Gizela, together with their sons Tomas and Juraj, were sent to a concentration camp. They were later separated and sent on three different trains to Germany.  Tomas and his father were shot during a “death march” near Sachsenhausen on April 22, 1945.

The Catholic television station “Tv Lux” aired a special documentary on Tomas and his father to mark the opening of their cause for beatification.

 

 

NJN Exclusive: Jesuit Shares his Experience of Pope John Paul II’s Beatification

P1090777-aCurrently studying theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Jesuit Scholastic Michael Rogers recently had the opportunity to be in the Eternal City during the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

In an exclusive to National Jesuit News, Rogers shares his experience of the late pontiff’s beatification…

In the past few days it has always been crowded around the simplest tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is not the tomb of St. Peter, with its grand Bernini Baldacchino, nor is it the one of the tombs of a pope surrounded by grand sculptures. This is a simple marble slab with the name of the pope buried there, engraved in red. The word around Rome is that the waiting list to offer a Mass at the altar of this tomb is already weeks long. Michelangelo’s Pietà, usually the main attraction in this section of the basilica, garners only a few visitors now. The crush of people has made it difficult to keep the Blessed Sacrament Chapel open lately, and so the tabernacle has shifted to the front of the church from where it usually resides. There, wedged between the chapels of the Pietà and the Blessed Sacrament, the resting place of Blessed John Paul II is simple, and yet there is a profound sense of the importance of this space to so many people.IMG_0636

When word broke back in January that John Paul II would be beatified last Sunday, I was among the first in my Jesuit community to say that I would be leaving Rome. Citing my desire to flee ahead of the crowds, I had planned to go south into the mountains of Calabria, or north to Tuscany. One thing, however, was sure. I was going to get out. Over the course of a couple of months my thoughts on this changed, though. The truth is that as the beatification day approached I wanted to be here more and more. When the invitation to distribute communion for the beatification arrived, all of my ideas about fleeing the city were cancelled, and I responded that I would be there.

It was 5:30am on the morning of May 1, 2011 and although tired, I headed off to a church event here in Rome. Wearing an old borrowed cassock, I crossed the Tiber not far from the General Curia of the Society and waited for the police escort to take us to where we would be distributing communion. In the crowd of over a million people, all around us you could hear languages from all over the world. There were groups of people singing and dancing. There was a sense of joy, and even among the many police who were clearly working overtime, there seemed to be a sense of relief that, for once, there was a gathering of people here in Rome that wasn’t a protest. The moment of this celebration was a moment to celebrate that one of us, someone whom we knew, had almost assuredly gone before us into the place where we all hope to go. Read the rest of this entry »

NJN Exclusive: Jesuit Shares his Experience of Pope John Paul II's Beatification

P1090777-aCurrently studying theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Jesuit Scholastic Michael Rogers recently had the opportunity to be in the Eternal City during the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

In an exclusive to National Jesuit News, Rogers shares his experience of the late pontiff’s beatification…

In the past few days it has always been crowded around the simplest tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is not the tomb of St. Peter, with its grand Bernini Baldacchino, nor is it the one of the tombs of a pope surrounded by grand sculptures. This is a simple marble slab with the name of the pope buried there, engraved in red. The word around Rome is that the waiting list to offer a Mass at the altar of this tomb is already weeks long. Michelangelo’s Pietà, usually the main attraction in this section of the basilica, garners only a few visitors now. The crush of people has made it difficult to keep the Blessed Sacrament Chapel open lately, and so the tabernacle has shifted to the front of the church from where it usually resides. There, wedged between the chapels of the Pietà and the Blessed Sacrament, the resting place of Blessed John Paul II is simple, and yet there is a profound sense of the importance of this space to so many people.IMG_0636

When word broke back in January that John Paul II would be beatified last Sunday, I was among the first in my Jesuit community to say that I would be leaving Rome. Citing my desire to flee ahead of the crowds, I had planned to go south into the mountains of Calabria, or north to Tuscany. One thing, however, was sure. I was going to get out. Over the course of a couple of months my thoughts on this changed, though. The truth is that as the beatification day approached I wanted to be here more and more. When the invitation to distribute communion for the beatification arrived, all of my ideas about fleeing the city were cancelled, and I responded that I would be there.

It was 5:30am on the morning of May 1, 2011 and although tired, I headed off to a church event here in Rome. Wearing an old borrowed cassock, I crossed the Tiber not far from the General Curia of the Society and waited for the police escort to take us to where we would be distributing communion. In the crowd of over a million people, all around us you could hear languages from all over the world. There were groups of people singing and dancing. There was a sense of joy, and even among the many police who were clearly working overtime, there seemed to be a sense of relief that, for once, there was a gathering of people here in Rome that wasn’t a protest. The moment of this celebration was a moment to celebrate that one of us, someone whom we knew, had almost assuredly gone before us into the place where we all hope to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Jesuit Named to Boston College Mission and Ministry Position

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Jesuit Father Jack Butler, the current director of vocations for the New England Province of the Society of Jesus and the director of Manresa House at Boston College has been named vice president for university mission and ministry at BC.

“Prior to coming to BC, I had worked in prison ministry with violent offenders and I never thought of higher education as a career option, but I have fallen in love with BC and the higher education apostolate,” said Fr. Butler.  “I believe in this ministry, in our faith and our commitment to Jesuit, Catholic education. To help articulate and proclaim that belief is exciting to me.”

Fr. Butler, who has worked at Boston College since becoming a campus minister in 2002, succeeds Jesuit Father Joseph Appleyard, who has been named assistant and advisor to the New England provincial, Very Rev. Myles Sheehan, SJ.

“I believe that Mission and Ministry can be a department that helps to set the tone for the larger University, where people are challenged to be caring, to be excited and to be free to be the people God has chosen them to be,” said Fr. Butler. “Ultimately, the goal is to become a University where, through our academics, service programs and personal reflection, men and women can find their deepest desire, which is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality.”

For more on this story, please click here.

Reaching Out to Today’s Young Catholics

by Ed Schmidt, SJ
In 2000, I had some work to do in northern Italy, and my best option was to fly to Milan and travel onward by train. I had never visited Milan, so before heading home I spent two nights with the Jesuits in the center of the city. Close by lies the Duomo, the venerable cathedral with its massive piazza in front. This is the heart of Milan.
When I climbed up from the metro at the Duomo stop, I found the streets barricaded to accommodate a bicycle race. Later, a political rally filled the great space. I walked out after dinner, expecting to find the piazza back to normal. It was about 8:30 at night and it was dark.
This time, the low barricades had been moved to isolate the piazza. Thousands of excited young people milled around beyond the barricades, laughing and talking. A few minutes later the huge bronze doors of the cathedral swung open and light flooded out into the piazza. The police opened the barricades and the crowd rushed through. Quickly 10, 12, perhaps 15,000 young people were running towards the open doors of the church. Quite a sight!
The occasion was a special liturgy, the traditio symboli, handing over the Creed to the catechumens who would be baptized a week later at Easter Vigil. Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, archbishop of Milan, had turned this liturgy into a faith testimonial for young people, for whom he had particular concern. Solemn and professorial, Martini had a draw on young adults of Milan, generating energy like a rock star. They listened to him. They cheered for him. They loved him.
Martini took young adults seriously. Early in his time as bishop, he sat on the steps of the cathedral to talk with them and learn their world. When some asked him how to pray with the bible, he scheduled sessions in the cathedral that grew quickly from 200 to 2,000 a month later and, in a couple of years, to 25 churches linked by radio.
He appreciated their struggles. He told a Jesuit retreat group recently that as the archbishop he met a lot of young people during parish visitations. But there were many more he never met, those for whom Church is not a part of life. Martini said, “I wrote to them, and I asked for an answer. And I received thousands of answers of young people not going to church or having left the church, telling their reason. And what impressed me very much was that some said, ‘When I am in the company of my friends, I am joyful. I am the one who proposes things, initiatives, play and so on. But when I come to my room, I am profoundly alone and sorry for my life. I see no sense in my life.’” Church does not offer them the life that they find with their friends. It is more like being alone.
I returned to Milan the following year, hoping to understand better where Martini’s appeal came from. After the liturgy, I approached a small group from a suburban parish and asked them what they found so attractive in him. They tossed the question around for a while in Italian and English until a young woman answered, “He’s authentic.” When Cardinal Martini spoke, they knew that he believed, and they believed with him.
This year the traditio focused on St. Paul. A lector imagines Paul looking around in Corinth, a vibrant, noisy port. People from many lands pass through Corinth, mixing languages and religions, all pushing for a better life. Everyone is in a hurry. Paul wonders: “Every instant of this hurry can be a threat or an opportunity. How can I proclaim the Gospel here? Where do I start?”
We have a lot in common with Paul’s Corinth, another commentator notes. Our cities grow larger, but we lack a sense of place. So many people meet but fail to communicate. “We need certainties,” he says, “but we don’t know where to look for them. How much searching and how much fear do we encounter in our streets?”
Many of us might feel more at home in Corinth, a proto-postmodern metropolis abounding in diversity, than in the rational Athens, where Paul earlier tried to proclaim Christ. We live in Paul’s experience. Young adults today are very much citizens of Corinth.
How do we minister to these young Catholics? We have resources. Even without Cardinal Martini’s scholarship and depth, we have Sacred Scripture as a powerful starting point. We have our own insights into its power. We have our own prayer.
Cardinal Martini is also profoundly experienced in the Spiritual Exercises. He has led a great variety of retreats, always tailored to the group he was with. He never gave the same retreat twice! Each was unique. And each was rich and memorable. We, too, have the Exercises as a particular gift of St. Ignatius that speaks clearly to our world, which finds God in the world as it is and that challenges us to hear the voice that calls to our better selves.
These two resources can have profound impact on young Catholics. They give us a lead into how to revivify young Catholic participation in Church life. Young Catholics tell us they long for spirituality. They long to connect. They want to know themselves, their tradition and the possibilities their tradition offers. All of our ministry, I believe, must work towards this connection. Other things matter a lot, excellent schools for example, but without this connection everything else is diminished.
We also have our credibility. A vast network of graduates brags that they are “Jesuit educated.” They know our name and recognize our mission. And they have friends who are also seeking to be Catholics in modern life and asking how to make this happen.
We also have our Jesuit vocations, our response to the God we meet in Scripture and in the Exercises, and we have our collective living of that vocation. Our first companions changed Catholic Europe with that vocation. We can reshape our world. Young Catholics want that and are ready for it. We need to accept their challenge.
Ed Schmidt, SJ (CHG) is the former Provincial for the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus.

njn_milan_duomoby Ed Schmidt, SJ

In 2000, I had some work to do in northern Italy, and my best option was to fly to Milan and travel onward by train. I had never visited Milan, so before heading home I spent two nights with the Jesuits in the center of the city. Close by lies the Duomo, the venerable cathedral with its massive piazza in front. This is the heart of Milan.

When I climbed up from the metro at the Duomo stop, I found the streets barricaded to accommodate a bicycle race. Later, a political rally filled the great space. I walked out after dinner, expecting to find the piazza back to normal. It was about 8:30 at night and it was dark.

This time, the low barricades had been moved to isolate the piazza. Thousands of excited young people milled around beyond the barricades, laughing and talking. A few minutes later the huge bronze doors of the cathedral swung open and light flooded out into the piazza. The police opened the barricades and the crowd rushed through. Quickly 10, 12, perhaps 15,000 young people were running towards the open doors of the church. Quite a sight!

Read the rest of this entry »