Posts Tagged ‘Georgetown University’

Jesuits Weigh In on Millennial Generation Vocations for The Atlantic

Jesuit Danny Gustafson, center, with fellow Jesuits of the 2013 vow class of the New England, Maryland and New York Provinces

Several Jesuits recently spoke about vocations for The Atlantic, including Jesuit Father John O’Malley, Jesuit Brother Jim Siwicki, Jesuit Danny Gustafson, and entering Jesuit novice Matt Ippel. The four Jesuits were interviewed for an online article written by Emma Green, a 2012 graduate of Georgetown University, about those in the millennial generation entering religious life.

Regarding the effect of Pope Francis’ election on vocations in millennials, Jesuit Father John O’Malley said he was unsure of any long-term effects at the moment. “I must say, however, that I am a little optimistic,” he added.

Jesuit Danny Gustafson, 24, recently completed first vows at the Jesuit novitiate in Syracuse, N.Y., and offered some insight from a millennial’s point of view. “It’s been a great feeling of connection with the hierarchy, if for no other reason than because there’s a shared formation that Pope Francis has that I’m going through right now. Knowing that the same spirituality that speaks to me speaks to the pope — I find [it] very humbling, but also very encouraging,” Gustafson said.

“The majority of my family on my father’s side are not Catholic,” said 22-year-old Matt Ippel, one of the newest members of the Society of Jesus after entering the novitiate at St. Paul, Minn., this month. “Sharing my upcoming plans, they’ve all been very excited and shown an immense amount of support, but they’ve also talked a lot about Pope Francis — the way [he] has conducted himself in his conversations, his addresses, his homilies.”

According to CARA, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, 12 percent of male and 10 percent of female non-married Catholic survey respondents over the age of 14 considered becoming a priest, nun or religious brother or sister “at least a little seriously.” Jesuit Brother Jim Siwicki, vocation director for the California Province of the Society of Jesus, commented on the novices’ motivations. “There’s a strong desire for a sense of community, both local and global,” he said. But “the thing that’s difficult that I see with millennials is that they want to keep all options open. It’s not a lack of interest — it’s that fear of making a commitment.”

Twenty-two-year-old Ryan Muldoon, a recent Georgetown graduate who is entering the seminary of the Archdiocese of New York, described the concept of discernment. “This isn’t really a decision that anybody makes of their own volition. This really does stem from a deeper calling — a call by God and a response by an individual,” he said. [The Atlantic]

Jesuit Professor: ‘Inequality is the Issue of the Next Century’

Photo by Kuna Malik Hamad, via Georgetown University.

Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes, assistant professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., untangles the politics that underlie labor policy, social welfare and inequality issues in his research and in the classroom. “I’m convinced that inequality is the issue of the next century,” he said.

“We have 1 in 5 children in the United States growing up in poverty and 16 percent of the population living below the poverty line. It’s not something that happens naturally; it’s something we actually choose,” Fr. Carnes explained.

According to Fr. Carnes, many political choices affect the levels of inequality — from how much we tax individuals and corporations to how much we fund public education or how we defund welfare programs. “At the end of the day, society gets to make that choice. We are a democratic system, which gives us mechanisms for choosing. But I think we need to recognize it as a choice and talk about those mechanisms.”

Students in his courses study the variation of political behavior over time, across the United States and among different countries. “There are lots of other ways the world can be, [which shows students] we can create the world we want to live in,” said Fr. Carnes, who received Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service Faculty of the Year Award this May.

Fr. Carnes said that while inequality raises complicated and contentious issues, he also sees that his students are eager to tackle them. “I push them to be constantly thinking and rethinking and challenging ideas,” he said.

By showing students how political choices have created the world we live in, Fr. Carnes hopes they understand that their actions can also change it. “Students have this real enthusiasm with trying to make a difference. I point to the fact that there are differences and those differences are human made, so if they want to make a difference they can.”

Read the full interview with Fr. Carnes at the Georgetown University website.

Jesuits-in-Residence Tradition Highlighted in Ignatian News Network Video

Jesuits-in-Residence videoJesuits living among students in college residence halls as “Jesuits-in-Residence” is a tradition the Society of Jesus has embraced across the United States since its earliest schools were founded. Today the tradition continues at many Jesuit colleges and universities, including Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Seattle University and Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

In a new video, the Ignatian News Network visited students and Jesuits-in-Residence living in community at Georgetown University. Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes explained his role as a Jesuit-in-Residence:

“It’s [about] being mentors, friends and colleagues [with students]. Being gentle correctors at times, but also being those people that can inspire and draw people into living as their better selves.”

According to Jesuit Father Christopher Steck, Jesuits-in-Residence serve their campus community in a unique way. “We’re there both as a witness to the academic enterprise, and we’re also there to say we care about your lives as social people, your lives as people trying to make hard decisions.”

Jesuit Explores God, Religion and Science in Ignatian Seminar

Jesuit Father David Collins Jesuit Father David Collins has always been “fascinated by God and religion.”  At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he explores the relationship between religion and science in an Ignatius Seminar course he created two years ago.

Fr.  Collins says that he’s always had a theological curiosity, and as an undergraduate he began to investigate his own relationship with God. As a senior, he applied to join the Society of Jesus.

“Even during a highly skeptical phase in my life, I found the big questions that theology poses intriguing and important as in no other discipline,” Fr.  Collins says. “But the decision to enter religious life and pursue the priesthood had much more to do with an awareness of God in my heart than with any theological proposition or school of thought.”

In the classroom, Fr. Collins channels his interests into his popular seminar, “Science and Religion in the West: Historical Perspectives.” The course begins with Latin theologian St. Augustine and the dominant question of his time — should Christians study science, as the pagan Greeks do? — and ends with modern American debates about evolution.

For Fr. Collins, the most rewarding aspect of his Ignatius Seminar is that it goes against the popular Western narrative that science and religion are enemies. History, he says, shows that these two institutions work well together and that their cooperation often leads to good things for civilization.

“America’s religiously inspired hostility to evolution is the exception, not the rule, in the history of the West. It’s enjoyable to watch students’ jaws hit the floor when they see that, despite some newspaper polemic, Western scientific discovery has recurrently advanced thanks to religious insights and religious commitment of resources,” Fr. Collins says.

“The actual history of the relationship between science and religion in the West is so much more interesting than the sound bites of culture warriors on the left or the right.”

Read the full story at the Georgetown University website.

A Tribute to Jesuit James Schall as He Retires from Georgetown after 35 Years

Jesuit Father James Schall

Jesuit Father James Schall

Jesuit Father James Schall recently gave his last lecture at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., after teaching there for 35 years. Fr. Schall, who has written over 40 books and taught thousands of students, will retire to California, where he first joined the Society of Jesus in 1948. “The gratitude of many will carry him westward,” writes Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University.

Fr. O’Brien recalls taking “Elements of Political Theory” with Fr. Schall in 1986, when Fr. O’Brien was a junior at Georgetown. “He introduced me, and by now thousands of other Georgetown students, to Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. In his classroom, I became captivated by the idea of virtue as the measure of human character.”

Fr. O’Brien writes that Fr. Schall’s retirement has prompted him to reflect on the Jesuits who inspired him to join their ranks and who have sustained him in his commitment. “More than ever, I realize that I stand on very broad shoulders and rest in even larger hearts. One of the reasons I am a Jesuit is because of men like Fr. Schall, whom I have had the privilege of calling a brother,” Fr. O’Brien writes.

Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien

Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien

Fr. O’Brien says, “Fr. Schall is a humble man, reticent about accolades and attention. In his goodbyes, he will undoubtedly point to others — to God first, of course, through whom all things are possible. But he can also point to fellow Jesuits, colleagues, students and alumni with whom he has shared his life here. He too can recognize the very broad shoulders on which he has stood — some of whom are buried down the hill at the Jesuit cemetery.”

Fr. O’Brien says there is a certain humility that comes with taking leave:

“All that we are asked to do is leave a place better than when we found it and invite others into the ongoing project of giving glory to God and serving others. Fr. Schall has done that and more. In his retirement from teaching, he can relish all the good that continues to be done through the people he has influenced along the way.”

Read Fr. O’Brien’s full tribute to Fr. Schall at The Hoya.