Posts Tagged ‘Creighton University’

A Jesuit’s Tips for a More Meaningful Advent

Advent wreathJesuit Father Larry Gillick, director of the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., says that “Advent is a joyful time, if you enjoy longing.”

In our culture, “we don’t like waiting, we like instantaneous gratification,” Fr. Gillick says. So he offers several tips in the video below on how we can have an Advent that will make Christmas special.

One suggestion Fr. Gillick has is to wait to decorate the tree. “Put the Christmas tree up during Advent but don’t decorate it, indicating that there’s going to be life coming. It’s coming, but it’s not here yet,” he says.

According to Fr. Gillick, “All the scriptures of Advent are not about having, but about wanting and longing, hungering and thirsting.”

He suggests using symbols of “emptiness” such as a putting out an empty bowl or waiting to place Jesus in the Nativity scene.

“If you enjoy not having, then you’ll know what Advent is and you’ll have a full Christmas that will last longer than Christmas day,” Fr. Gillick says.

Jesuit Photographer’s Work Aims to Give Voice to the Voiceless

For 50 years Jesuit Father Don Doll has seen the world through the lens of who he is and the life he’s lived.

Fr. Doll, a renowned photographer whose work was featured in National Geographic magazine in 1984 and 1990, has traveled the globe “to tell the stories of people who have no voice.” His ministry began on the plains of South Dakota in the early 1960s while working with the Lakota people on the Rosebud Reservation. He had joined the Jesuit order after graduating from high school in 1955.

“The first week I was there they said, ‘Would you like to learn photography?’

“I said, ‘Sounds like fun.’”

After two years of training and experience in photography, he questioned that choice.

“I went for a walk on the prairie (wondering) ‘What the heck am I going to do as a Jesuit?” the 75-year-old priest reminisced. “I’m not brilliant like some of these guys.”

Feeling he hadn’t taken “a single decent picture after two-and-a-half years,” he suddenly heard a voice inside him say: ‘Stay with the photography, it’s the first thing you love doing, don’t worry if it takes 10 years.’

“It did!” he added with a laugh.

“I see how the Holy Spirit speaks to us in the depths of our hearts and I trust that,” he said. “I don’t hear voices a lot (but) when I have a hunch, I really trust that’s how the Holy Spirit speaks to me. It’s true of every project I’ve taken on.”

Since 1969, Father Doll has worked at Creighton University in Omaha, where he is a professor of journalism. For the last 20 years, he has documented the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service in some 50 countries including India, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Sudan and Rwanda. These assignments, he said, working with “the poorest of the poor” have been close to his heart.

“Jesuits have a mission: Faith doing justice,” he shared, quoting his personal artist statement. “I photograph to tell the stories of people who have no voice. Hopefully, I can help others understand and work to change unjust social structures.”

He often finds himself praying that he can look at people and photograph them “with something of the empathy and understanding that God has for them.”

“Often I’m asked if being a priest affects my photography,” he shared, reflecting on nearly 44 years in the priesthood. “My answer is always: ‘Yes, it has everything to do with it.’”

“For me, it’s hard to separate the creative process of ‘seeing’ from prayer. Both can be contemplative acts.”

To commemorate a half-century in photography, Fr. Doll is working on a book and considering an art exhibit to be on display at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. For more about Father Doll and to view his work, visit You can read more about him in this Denver Catholic Register, the newspaper of the Denver diocese, article.

Music is Instrumental in Jesuit’s Vocation Story

Jesuit Father Roc O’Connor has been a member of the Society of Jesus since 1967. For more than 25 years of those years, he has planned, performed and written liturgical music. Fr. O’Connor was a part of the St. Louis Jesuits, considered by many to be the fathers of contemporary American liturgical music. Along with the other members, he received four Grammy nominations in late 1970s. Today, O’Connor teaches theology at Creighton University and consults on liturgical matters for St. John’s parish in Omaha, Neb.

In this video piece below, O’Connor discusses his own vocation path and how music has become instrumental in his life as a Jesuit.

A Special Vision: Jesuit Father Larry Gillick

When Jesuit Father Larry Gillick joined the Jesuits in 1960, it would not have been possible for him to have become a priest. It wasn’t until 1972, after Vatican II, that changed. Because of childhood accident. Fr. Gillick is blind, and it was not until Vatican II that those with such disabilities would be able to be ordained.

Today, Gillick is a retreat master, leading retreats throughout the country. He currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska and in involved in the Jesuit community at Creighton University. He is loved by many students and is always ready to listen to them and provide counsel. At Creighton, he serves as a student mentor and presides at regular mass at Creighton’s catholic church, St. John’s.

In this video, Fr. Gillick shares the story of his vocation.


Jesuit Returns to His Alma Mater as President

Jesuit Father Timothy Lannon

Matt Miller/The World-Herald

Jesuit Father Timothy Lannon, who began his first official day as the 24th president of Creighton University on August 1, is the university’s first alumnus to serve as president. He is happy to return to his roots.

“I have a sense of this place,” said Fr. Lannon, who credits previous president Jesuit Father John Schlegel with being instrumental in his decision to become a Jesuit priest. “It’s been a long time since I was here. But one thing that has not changed is that students’ lives are changed here,” he said.

Lannon said he plans to take the next few months to “listen and learn” before announcing any changes or plans for the university.

“I want to get a better feel and build upon those dreams for the university,” he said.

One plan Lannon does have is to try to encourage more young men to join the Jesuit priesthood, something he actively pursued in his previous position as president of Saint Joseph’s University.

Lannon said that as a kid, the priests at his home parish in Iowa “seemed almost too holy” while the Jesuits at Creighton appealed to him. “I am a Jesuit priest first,” he said, “and a university president second.”

Read more about Lannon in the Omaha World-Herald.