Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Conference’

Society of Jesus Names New President of Jesuit Conference

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.

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Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam

Jesuit Father Sean Carroll Calls For Immigration Reform at Congressional Hearing

At a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday, Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), testified about a new report that’s shedding light on disturbing cases of family separation caused by current U.S. immigration policy.

The report, “Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” commissioned by the Jesuit Conference of the United States, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and KBI examines the experiences of migrant women, men and children deported from the United States to cities along Mexico’s northern border.

As the executive director of KBI, a bi-national humanitarian ministry of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Carroll works to aid deported migrants who pass through the KBI’s Aid Center and through Nazareth House, KBI’s shelter for migrant women and children.

At an ad hoc hearing convened by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, U.S. representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, Fr. Carroll testified, “At the U.S./Mexico border, we are witnesses to what many don’t see or refuse to acknowledge: the physical, psychological and emotional destruction caused by current U.S. immigration policies in the lives of Mexican and Central American men, women and children looking to be reunited with their family members who live in the United States.

“This report, supported by our experience and service on the border, confirms the disastrous effects of current U.S. immigration policies on families, whether through the process of deportation or because of mixed immigration status. We can and must do better.”

Following the hearing, Fr. Carroll attended the Rally for Citizenship on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol with thousands of immigrants and activists seeking to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Fr. Carroll said that he thinks this is an incredibly hopeful time for immigration reform as “we are doing our best to ensure that this reform is just and humane.”

And You Welcomed Me: Migration and Catholic Social Teaching

AndYouWelcomedMeVideoAs men of faith, Jesuits believe in the inherent dignity of all human life. Informed by this belief, the Jesuit Conference of the United States has a duty to work for comprehensive immigration reform, keeping the plight of migrants in our country at the forefront of the nation’s conscience.

Thought leaders in the Catholic community recently came together to create a new book with the aim of reframing the migration discussion by focusing on the human beings at the heart of it. Edited by Jill Marie Gerschutz, Migration Policy Director of the Jesuit Conference and Donald Kerwin, Vice President for Programs at the Migration Policy Institute, the book, “And You Welcomed Me” provides a crucial underpinning to the complex phenomenon of migration from the perspectives of law, sociology, economics, international relations and theology. The book highlights the values of the common good, human dignity and authentic development.

Below is a video recently produced by the Jesuit Conference that discusses the book’s themes and issues:

Jesuit Conference President Tom Smolich Sees Further Collaboration with Indian

SmolichJesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich, president of Jesuit Conference of the United States, ended his 10-day visit to India on Oct. 27.  He told the Union of Catholic Asian News he was “energized” to see the Indian Jesuits’ works in the fields of education and social development.

“Many of the educational institutions managed by the Jesuits in India are top-notch,” he said after visiting Jesuit works in Delhi, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

The Jesuit institutions and the infrastructure facilities available in India are designed to change society, he said and added possibility of collaboration between Jesuit Conference of South Asia and its US counterpart.

Read more of Fr. Smolich’s interview with UCAN here.

Middle Jesuits Share Challenges, Create Connections at Keepers of the Fire Conference in California

For four days in June, Santa Clara University experienced a rather unique kind of Jesuit presence. About 200 “middle generation” Jesuits braved the near perfect weather for an experience of fraternity and looking toward the future. These “keepers of the fire,” invoking the words of the recent General Congregation, gathered from all the U.S. provinces, and a few others, to reflect on the call of Christ as experienced individually, and as brothers in the Society of Jesus.
The attendees represented various apostolates and generations within the Society. The youngest in religious life, although not always the youngest in age, were the most recently formed brothers, and those who had been ordained only a year. Others brought the wisdom of having been Jesuits for more than thirty years. All brought their experience of having spent a significant portion of their adult life as Jesuits, no matter their ages.
Jesuit Conference President Fr. Tom Smolich (CFN) kicked things off with a keynote address on Wednesday night, sharing the unexpected turns, and resulting consolations, of his Jesuit life up to now. He surprised some by stating his belief that, based on his experience, being Provincial is “the best job in the Society.” He emphasized the privilege of getting to know so many Jesuits, knowing them from the inside out. And he expressed his hope that these days at Santa Clara might provide a similar experience for us all.
To that end, the next day provided a mixture of talks by Jesuits reflecting on their life in the Society, and faith-sharing in small groups of diverse ages and apostolic experiences. The candor of hardened veterans mixed with the enthusiasm of those recently ordained, and parish priests compared their experiences with high school teachers. In a short time, observed Fr. Provincial Mark Lewis (NOR), “We moved from not knowing each other to sharing at a very deep level.”
Conversation was spurred by excellent presentations. The first was by Fr. Jim Gartland (CHG), who shared the many unanticipated turns of his Jesuit career, as well as his realization, at 41, that “I was never going to get it all together.” Fr. Jerry Cobb (ORE) led a multimedia guided meditation, inviting the group to meditate on the various graced moments in Ignatius’ life depicted by Dora Bittau’s panels in the chapel at Seattle University. The Jesuits were asked to reflect on the question, “Which grace most speaks to you at this moment in your Jesuit life?” Fr. Dan Lahart (MAR) shared with the group his experience of skydiving, describing his leap from a plane just before being challenged to take the greater leap at Strake Jesuit of accommodating and educating an additional 400 students from New Orleans just after hurricane Katrina.
The days also provided an opportunity for proposed future province groupings to share about their respective province “cultures.” Some groups divided into subgroups representing common apostolates. Others focused more on the opportunities for mission, which their combined resources might afford. Each reported back to the larger group some of the priorities which emerged from their discussions, attending especially to which of the General Congregation 35′s “frontiers” they seemed most called.
As illuminating as such lists were, attendees touted the meeting’s less quantifiable aspects. U.S. Assistant to the Curia Fr. Jim Grummer (WIS) explained that he found the meeting to be very much in concert with Father General’s recent emphasis on the universal vocation of the Jesuit. Fr. Kevin Ballard (CFN) expressed his thanks for the gift of a gathering in which the participants were not divided into pre and post-Vatican II groups. Smolich observed, “It has been very moving to me just to see us hanging out with each other, and what that speaks of.” Similarly, Fr. Provincial Tom Krettek (WIS) shared that compared with other meetings, “What I’ve been noticing here is the laughter.”
Still, some were concerned what would come of it. “What does it mean that we continually elicit these desires, yet somehow feel stuck?” asked Fr. Roc O’Connor (WIS). Others had questions about current challenges, like province bankruptcy and vocation promotion.
Yet, as notable as the laughter and fraternity was the fact that such questions did not unleash a wave of negativity. “What I experienced was moving beyond the critical,” commented Lewis. Krettek added, “These questions have been around as long as the Society has been around,” and stressed the importance of these desires being nurtured by the two kinds of laughter he noticed—”knowing laughter,” and “the laughter of sheer enjoyment.”
None sought to downplay the challenges the Society faces. Fr. Provincial Pat Lee (ORE) pointed out that in a time of so much change, when we also face the consequences of past failures; we have to ask, “What are we supposed to be doing with all this?” “The Spirit is leading us into a new wilderness,” said Lewis, striking a similar note, a wilderness “with a single criterion—what is God’s will in this?” These are the questions the men were charged with bringing back to their apostolates and provinces, along with Lee’s reminder that “Hope is what we are about, and we can’t keep that being an elusive word.”
Fr. Mark Mossa (NOR) is a student of theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He also writes a blog entitled “Diary of a Rookie Priest” at frmarkmossasj.blogspot.com.

by Mark Mossa, SJ

For four days in June, Santa Clara University experienced a rather unique kind of Jesuit presence. About 200 “middle generation” Jesuits braved the near perfect weather for an experience of fraternity and looking toward the future. These “keepers of the fire,” invoking the words of the recent General Congregation, gathered from all the U.S. provinces, and a few others, to reflect on the call of Christ as experienced individually, and as brothers in the Society of Jesus.

The attendees represented various apostolates and generations within the Society. The youngest in religious life, although not always the youngest in age, were the most recently formed brothers, and those who had been ordained only a year. Others brought the wisdom of having been Jesuits for more than thirty years. All brought their experience of having spent a significant portion of their adult life as Jesuits, no matter their ages.

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