Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit’
Jesuit Father Joseph Costantino has been appointed as the new president of Canisius High School, in Buffalo, N.Y., beginning July 1. Fr. Costantino is returning to the site of his first assignment as a Jesuit novice in 1978.
His appointment also marks a return to a Jesuit president for the 143-year-old school. He succeeds John Knight, the first lay president in the school’s history. Knight left Canisius in 2012 to lead St. Ignatius Preparatory School in San Francisco. In the interim, P. Joseph Koessler served as president while the Canisius High board searched for a permanent replacement.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to have a Jesuit back at the helm of Canisius. That was one of our key objectives we were seeking to fulfill,” said the chair of the school’s board of trustees David Kersten.
Fr. Costantino has been the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in New York City since September 2006.. A Brooklyn native, Fr. Costantino entered the Society of Jesus in 1977 and was ordained in 1987. Fr. Costantino is also a member of the board of trustees at Canisius College, where he spent three years teaching philosophy. He holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University, a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University and both a Master of Divinity and Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. (now the Boston College School of Theology).
He was executive director of St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset, N.Y., for seven years, and is a former board member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, which provides service opportunities for retirees with the poor. Fr. Costantino also served as director of vocations for the New York and Maryland Province Jesuits.
“Living in community with the Jesuits who served at the high school and working alongside a group of seasoned Canisius lay faculty members in the Higher Achievement Program, I experienced the joys of teaching and learned about the magnificent work of this special Jesuit apostolate in Buffalo,” said Fr. Costantino, recalling his time at Canisius High as a Jesuit novice. [Buffalo News, Business First]
Jesuits 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 Father Fred Enman became a Jesuit because of a calling within his calling. When he realized during college that he wanted to be a priest and practice poverty law, he says, “It became clear to me that the obvious thing to do was to join the Society of Jesus.”
On April 21, Fr. Enman was honored for his work with the poor when he received the Madonna Della Strada Award from the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) New England. As executive director and founder of Matthew 25, Fr. Enman and his volunteers rehabilitate abandoned houses in the Boston area to create affordable rental housing for low-income people. In addition, Fr. Enman serves as assistant dean and chaplain of Boston College Law School.
The idea for Matthew 25, which has rehabbed 11 houses since 1994, came to Fr. Enman while he was reading “The True Church and the Poor,” in which Jesuit Father Jon Sobrino wrote that Christians must make Gospel values real in the lives of the poor. The theologian singled out Matthew 25, which proclaims that people shall be judged on whether they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, cared for the sick, visited the imprisoned and welcomed the stranger in their midst.
“I was in my room and I was so moved by what I was reading that I put the book down and prayed about it,” recalled Fr. Enman. “Jesuits are encouraged from time to time to make a resolution at the end of a prayer, so what I resolved was that if I had a chance someday to make Matthew 25 concrete, I would do so.”
In 1988, Fr. Enman had that chance when he created a pastoral project for a class and proposed Matthew 25, with a mission to provide food and housing relief. Through yard sales, Fr. Enman raised money that went to food relief efforts here and abroad — and a small amount was set aside to start up Matthew 25. He continued to raise money while teaching at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and by 1994, Matthew 25 was able to buy and rehabilitate its first abandoned home in Worcester.
Since then, Matthew 25 has restored nine more houses in Worcester and one in Boston, renting them to the poor at affordable prices. Fr. Enman said that most of the work has been done by volunteers, including students from Holy Cross and Boston College, parish and youth groups from local churches and the IVC.
Fr. Enman said his work with Matthew 25 has enabled him to see a “great connection between a Jesuit vocation and the ethical values that are developed in Scripture.” He added, “It’s very practical what we are called to in taking care of the basic needs of human beings in terms of food, shelter and clothing. Everyone in the community has a responsibility.”
According to the Jesuit Constitutions, all Jesuit novices are required to complete a month-long pilgrimage “without money… begging from door to door … to grow accustomed to discomfort in food and lodging,” a lesson in complete trust in God. Jesuit Julio Minsal-Ruiz’s pilgrimage began when he and two other novices were dropped off in the town of Dajabon on the Haitian border and told to find their own way to Río Limpio in the Dominican Republic.
With no money or cell phones, only a few items of clothing, a water bottle, a prayer book and a letter of introduction from the novitiate, they were directed to put everything they had in the hands of God and surrender themselves to the experience. “That’s what pilgrimage is,” Ruiz said. “An experience of bare, almost nakedness of humanity without technology or big-city commercialism.”
The novices moved from village to village, relying on the kindness of strangers. “Many times the poorest people in the poorest towns were often the people who were the most generous,” Ruiz said. “They would move mountains to make things appear, like putting food on the table.”
In exchange, Ruiz approached each community with an offer to work. “Our experience was to work alongside them and experience the work of the rural farmer,” he said. “It was very humbling.”
On the last leg of the journey to Río Limpio, Ruiz and his fellow Jesuits were following a path through a forest in western Dominican Republic. When the path ended abruptly at the top of a mountain, the novices found themselves in the forest during a thunderstorm, at a loss for what to do.
Ruiz’s mind whirled with thoughts of hopelessness, even death, and the very real possibility that they would never be found. “When the path ended, we really kind of lost everything. We had no hope of anyone finding us. It was a very critical life-or-death situation.”
They decided to follow the river and eventually found a farmer who pointed out the way to their destination. The novices arrived three hours later, greeted with warm food, dry beds and the company of their Jesuit colleagues.
Ruiz realized that even though he had despaired, he’d been determined to complete the pilgrimage and had found hope in the process. “Even the path we first thought we had was taken from us. The clothes were lost, the food was gone, but somehow God was there leading us. All these things we thought were ours, but actually they’re things He has given to us. Everything we have is a gift, and that’s the main objective.”
Read the full story of Ruiz’s pilgrimage experience at Xavier Magazine.
Jesuit Father Hernán Paredes studied at Colegio Maximo San Jose in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a Jesuit in formation when Pope Francis, then Jesuit Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was the rector and spiritual director. Fr. Paredes, a native of Ecuador who currently teaches at Loyola School in New York City, shared his thoughts on the election of his friend in an interview that will be published in an upcoming issue of JESUITS magazine. Excerpts of the interview follow:
How did you learn of the election of Pope Francis?
I was attending a Broadway show with Loyola School freshmen. At intermission, a student told me there was a new pope but he couldn’t pronounce the name. He showed me the news story on his phone. I cried and prayed for my friend. It did not surprise me that he asked for prayers from the crowd when he first appeared on the balcony after his election. He always asked for prayers, even in his e-mails.
What can you tell us about his influence in your life and vocation?
I am very lucky to have had him as my superior and spiritual companion and to call him a friend. I’m a Jesuit some 30 years because of him. I learned from Jorge … to be humble, practical and available. He wants priests who are faithful to God and willing to serve.
It did not surprise me that his formal installation as pope took place on Saint Joseph’s Day, when we honor a humble and faithful servant of God. As his installation approached, I traveled to Belize with 10 Loyola faculty members and administrators to build homes for the needy. That is the way Pope Francis would have wanted me to celebrate his installation.
What are some of the characteristics and gifts that Pope Francis brings to the church?
Pope Francis is a man who stands for and with the poor. He knows the poor by name, and I have witnessed this many times. Last year, I visited him in his office in Buenos Aires. Later in the same week, I visited a friend’s home in a poor barrio. Our friend praised then Cardinal Bergoglio for giving what money he had to help. He is known for his humility and generosity. Jorge was the community’s superior but he served others in so many ways, including cooking on Sundays for the scholastics.
What does his election mean for Latin America and the church?
It’s overwhelming. We are the Catholic Church, and the word catholic means universal. I’ve received calls from people around the world, in the United States, Ecuador, Argentina and many other places, and they are so very happy. … Long life to Pope Francis, the pope of the poor!