Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Father Joseph Laramie’

Looking Back at World Youth Day 2011: A Jesuit Reflects on What the Event Meant to Him

One month ago today, World Youth Day festivities in Madrid, Spain culminated with a Mass with Pope Benedict XVI. With over 1.5 million in attendance, the event marked an opportunity for young adults from across the globe to gather together in celebration of their faith. 

Before World Youth Day began, a group of 3,000 pilgrims gathered for Magis – a pastoral experience of Ignatian programs and events for students from Jesuit institutions. This year’s Magis initiative particularly resonated with Jesuits, their partners and those with an interest in Ignatian Spirituality as it took place in the birthplace, homeland and at the sites where St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, underwent his spiritual conversion which ultimately led to the formation of the Society of Jesus and his writings of The Spiritual Exercises.

Jesuit Father Joe Laramie, recently ordained a priest, was there as a chaperone with a group of pilgrims from Boston College. A graduate student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Fr. Laramie looks back at his experience at World Youth Day and what it meant to him personally and for the Church in this piece for National Jesuit News.

Also included below are three video pieces looking back at the experiences of the Magis pilgrims and their Jesuit chaperones at Loyola, Spain, during the Magis experiences and ultimately, World Youth Day itself. You can also take look back by watching all of our videos on YouTube with pilgrims and U.S. Jesuits who experienced this year’s Magis and World Youth Day celebrations.

Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, prepares for Mass along the camino while leading a group of pilgrims during Magis 2011 in Spain.

Every two or three years, on a wide plain outside a big city, the Church is transfigured. I saw it happen in Paris in 1997, in Toronto in 2002 and in Madrid last month. At Christ’s Transfiguration, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” [Matthew17:2]. This is why young people came to Madrid last month. To see a transfiguration, and to experience it themselves.

I stood up for the Eucharistic prayer at the final Mass in Madrid. I was so exhausted that I got light-headed as I stood. It was so bright, I could hardly see. I stood behind 14,000 priests. We were all wearing white chasuables and white hats. The pope was 100 yards away, in front of a giant white backdrop, with the sun climbing higher and higher. “El Señor es contigo.” “Y con tu espiritu,” I responded, with the priests, and 1.5 million young people. I was wearing sunglasses, but could almost see better with my eyes closed.

Christ “lead them up a high mountain” before the Transfiguration. I lived in Denver for a few years; it is hard to climb high mountains. You sweat, it’s hot, the air is thin, the rocks slide beneath your feet. Your back hurts. Your pack cuts into your shoulders. There is thunder and lightning. You need a Guide and friends. You can’t climb alone.

Three thousand young people were treated for dehydration, as we waited on the field, under the sun, the day before the Mass. Later, the crowd heard this announcement over the loudspeakers: “There are 23 lost children waiting at area E5. If you lost your child, or if you are a lost child, go to area E5.” Then, at night, a thunderstorm had pounded us. The pope was leading us in a night prayer; two acolytes held a quivering white umbrella over him as the rain blew sideways. The storm destroyed several large tents. These were 50 feet tall, 100 feet wide, with 4-inch steel supports, bolted into the ground. Picture one of those doing a backflip in 40 mph wind on a crowded field. It is a miracle that no one was injured or killed. The rain slowed, the wind stopped. It was quiet. The pope said, “Young people, thank you for your joy! Thank you for your resistance! Your strength is greater than the rain!” We smiled and cried. The 23 lost were soon found, the 3,000 thirsty were quenched. Gracias a Dios!

At the Mass, this was the Transfiguration of the Church. Singing, chanting, praying. Multilingual, multinational. With the flags and the World Youth Day shirts and hats, sunglasses, hiking boots, cameras, sweat, patience, water bottles, dirt, fatigue, chaperones, sleeping bags, and wrinkled maps.

Looking Back at Magis 2011: Part One – Gathering in Loyola Video

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2011 Ordinations

In 2011, the Society of Jesus in the United States ordained 11 men to the priesthood. Coming from all walks of life, the ordinandi class of 2011 includes an actor and a registered nurse. They will go on to serve around the country in various forms of ministry.

In the months leading up to the July ordinations of these Jesuits, National Jesuit News followed one man, Jesuit Radmar Jao, on his “Path to the Priesthood”. You can watch Jao’s ordination on our YouTube page here.

For more information about becoming a Jesuit, please contact one of our vocation directors.

Brown_Johnathan_hdFr. Johnathan L. Brown, S.J., 36, is originally from Eunice, La. Before entering the Society of Jesus in 2002, he studied visual communications at the Art Institute of Houston and worked as a graphics and web design artist. As a Jesuit novice, he worked at Hope House in the New Orleans St. Thomas housing project as well as a variety of communities in both Tampa, Fla. and Belize. While in philosophy studies at Saint Louis University, he was active in campus ministry and participated in service trips with students. These experiences prepared him for his next assignment at San José Parish in Villahermosa, Mexico, where he worked with youth groups at 52 satellite chapels. He returned to Tampa to teach at Jesuit High School and coached junior varsity football, served as linebacker trainer for the varsity team and was moderator of the hunting and fishing club. John completed both his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. While in Boston, he also spent time working within St. Columbkille Parish in Brighton, Mass. This summer, John will work at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Antonio, Texas before joining the pastoral staff at Sacred Heart Church in El Paso this fall. (New Orleans Province)
Fusco_Mark_hdFr. Mark P. Fusco, S.J., 46, was born in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Upon graduation from Monsignor Paul Dwyer High School, he attended St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, earning an honors Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and English Literature in 1989. He proceeded to earn a Master’s degree in Philosophical Theology from Yale University in 1991. Mark then worked on international health issues at the Vatican and as Director of Programs at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in Rome. Later he received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Moral Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University and worked for a number of years in the private sector and in secondary education. In 2005, he entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Andrews in Syracuse, N.Y. He studied philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago before beginning doctoral work at the University of Toronto in systematic theology. Ordained to the deaconate in April 2010, Mark served as a deacon at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Toronto, Canada. After working at a parish for the summer, Mark will be returning to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to finish his dissertation. (Maryland Province)
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