Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Father William Leahy’
Jesuit Father William P. Leahy, president of Boston College, recently gave a keynote address at a vocations summit, where he declared, “I remain convinced; there are vocations to be had in our Church — especially in the United States.”
At the June 20-21 “Summit on Vocations: Exploring Ways to Promote Vocations to the Priesthood,” archbishops, bishops, priests, vocation directors, Catholic educators, and Catholic college and university presidents discussed the results of a recent research study commissioned by Boston College and the Jesuit Conference to assess the impact of higher education on the vocational discernment of men entering the seminary and religious life in the United States.
Fr. Leahy said the key to tapping into potential vocations is an example of living “in hope and with faith” demonstrated by priests and religious engaged interpersonally with students.
“There is nothing as powerful as happy, fulfilled priests and religious. That is contagious. That attracts. So, one of the things I think is incumbent upon us is that we guard against pessimism, and that we take on those who may say, ‘I wouldn’t enter today’ or ‘I wouldn’t be a priest or a religious.’ We need to challenge that,” Fr. Leahy said.
Fr. Leahy also said the infrastructure of Catholic education still exists as a network to spur vocations.
“We have in the United States — at least in the higher-ed world — huge opportunities on our college campuses, and so do we also have possibilities in our high schools. We have a great network,” Fr. Leahy said.
Fr. Leahy said recruitment for vocations should take a page out of how major league baseball teams rebuild. He compared owners in that model to bishops, planning a way forward to bring in the right people to nurture progress.
“We have owners. So, you need an owner that will give time and commitment. …We need a general manager, could be the provincial, could be some superior. We need a field manager, who could be the vocation director — promoters. And then, we need scouts. We need people who will identify individuals who have talent, inclination, desire — who can be pointed in the direction of priesthood and religious life,” Fr. Leahy said.
“If we would do that as sincerely and as ardently as we do many other things, I believe we would have more and more vocations. The vocations are there. God has not left us orphans. We are not alone,” he said.
Read more of Fr. Leahy’s keynote remarks at The Boston Pilot’s website.
Boston College’s Strategic Plan — a broad-based blueprint for the University’s academic, formational and faith initiatives — was the subject of the University Convocation in Robsham Theater on Sept. 7, as the BC leadership offered assessments of the plan on its five-year anniversary.
BC President, Jesuit Father William P. Leahy, pointed to numerous indicators of progress in fulfilling the seven key facets of the Strategic Plan since it was launched in the fall of 2006. He also outlined what he called “imperatives” for the University in continuing to pursue the objectives of the Strategic Plan, and in meeting other challenges as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2012-13.
Focusing on the student formation and Jesuit, Catholic aspects of the Strategic Plan, Fr. Leahy noted enhanced cooperation among faculty, deans, administrators and the Student Affairs and Mission and Ministry divisions, the reorganization of the Center for Student Formation and promotion of a positive campus culture — through introduction of late-night programs, student health initiatives and increased opportunities for student retreats, among other developments.
Similarly, while BC has seen success in its ambition to be the leading Catholic university and theological center — through its reaffiliation with the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, establishment of the Church in the 21st Century Center and publication of The Catholic Intellectual Tradition — its challenges include the need to recruit and educate faculty, administrators and staff supportive of the Jesuit-Catholic mission.
Fr. Leahy also urged that BC “remain true to our Jesuit, Catholic traditions and beliefs,” which differentiates the University from other institutions.The newly reopened Gasson Hall — regarded as BC’s most iconic building — and its distinctive lighted tower serves as a metaphor for the University’s mission, concluded Fr. Leahy: “We are to be beacons of faith and hope, a light to the world.”
Three members of the Boston College Jesuit Community opened their hearts and memories to an overflow audience of more than 200 to discuss their vocations as members of the Society of Jesus.
The discussion held at BC, was entitled “Three Jesuits: Who Do They Say They Are? Personal Perspectives,” and featured Boston College President Jesuit Father William Leahy, Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Jesuit Father Jack Butler, and Jesuit Scholastic Jeremy Zipple, a student in Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry.
The Jesuit panelists spoke on how their individual journeys to the order began, whether by answering a life-long call to serve God, searching for the right opportunity to share a family’s love and concern for others — or, in one case, through a chance meeting with a BC Jesuit priest.
Father Butler described his time working with the marginalized in society, especially the incarcerated and the elderly, and the courage of such groups in the face of difficulties through faith as formative in his decision to enter the Jesuit Order.
“I fell in love first with a concept – how I saw God working in peoples’ lives,” Butler said. “Jesuits have a way of meeting people where they are, starting a conversation, and letting God do the rest of the work,” he said, calling the work of a Jesuit a process of “together finding God through one another.”
To read the full story on the panel, please visit the Boston College Chronicle.