Posts Tagged ‘Jesuits’
The Society of Jesus has a rich history of serving the Detroit area since the arrival of the first Jesuits in 1701, according to Jesuit Father Patrick Peppard. Today, the Society continues to serve the people of the city through Saints Peter & Paul Jesuit Church in downtown Detroit, which runs a warming center that is supported by over 700 donors across the nation.
Fr. Peppard recently spoke with the Ignatian News Network about his parish and this special service to the homeless. “I think a lot of people don’t realize the impact that the church and this ministry can have on a city,” he said.
The warming center helps the homeless get out of the cold during the winter, providing them a place to rest, get a cup of coffee, wash their clothes and take a shower. The church is the only place that offers these services in Detroit. “They’ve been phenomenal,” said one man who lost his home in a fire. “[They] gave me support and now I have a place to stay, but I still come give donations to them.”
Fr. Peppard described how the Jesuits in Detroit have reached out to the marginalized in the area since 1701, from the Native Americans to various immigrant groups to those struggling with race issues during the 1960 riots. “We have stayed here over a lot of changes, and we intend to stay for a long time into the future,” he said.
“Jesus said that the whole of the law can be summed up in ‘Love God and love your neighbor as yourself,’” added Fr. Peppard. “Some people say that that should actually be translated as ‘Love God, whom you cannot see, by loving and caring for the neighbor that you can.’”
Jesuit Father Michael Linden, superior of the Jesuits in Jordan, has a challenging job. Living at the Jesuit Center in Jordan, he is responsible for exploring ways for the “restoration” of the Society of Jesus in Iraq.
The Jesuits arrived in Bagdad in 1932 to establish and run Baghdad College, which was staffed entirely by the New England Province Jesuits. In 1959, the Jesuits founded a second school there, Al Hikma University.
However, Fr. Linden explains that “American Jesuits were given short notice to leave, in two separate waves, in 1968 and 1969. Both schools eventually were wrapped into the state system of schools, and the U.S. Jesuits and the few Iraqi Jesuits filtered to other parts of the Near East or repatriated to the U.S.”
Fr. Linden says that many in Iraq remember the schools fondly and favorably. “There are good and supportive persons, Christians and Muslims, secularists and devout, who express hope and welcome to the Jesuits,” he says.
If the Jesuits return to Iraq, Fr. Linden says it’s hard to predict the nature of the Jesuit presence. “Some would like the U.S. Jesuits to parachute with a full Jesuit staff and system from the 1950’s back to Baghdad College. Some believe this is possible!”
According to Fr. Linden, Jesuits in Amman have learned that faith formation and service to migrant workers is important, as is close collaboration on the pastoral goals of the local bishops. “This can probably be replicated in Iraq,” he says.
Fr. Linden also believes Iraq has vocation potential. “Iraqi Christians are a giving people, and there will be Jesuit vocations from Iraq. These Iraqi Jesuits will eventually make the major discernment about their identity and work; perhaps it will include schools, perhaps not.”
Read the full interview with Fr. Linden in the April 2013 issue of JIVAN: News and Views of Jesuits in India and learn more at the New England Province Jesuits website. In the video below, Fr. Linden explains the ministries of the Jesuits in Jordan as well as their elation at the recent election of a Jesuit to the papacy.
Pope Francis has named Jesuit Father Michael Barber, 58, a member of the California Province Jesuits and director of spiritual formation at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, as bishop of Oakland, California.
The appointment was announced by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
“I offer my congratulations and prayers to Bishop-elect Barber. As fellow Sacramentans, we have known one another for many years,” said Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States. “ I know him to be a man of prayer and discernment who will be a fine pastor for the people of Oakland.”
Bishop-elect Barber is the first Jesuit named to the U.S. hierarchy by Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope.
“I’m keeping my eyes on Pope Francis and seeing what he did in his first days as pope,” said Bishop-elect Barber at an introductory news conference in Oakland on May 3. ”I think he wants servant leaders … who look to the needs of the people. Listen first, speak second.”
Bishop-elect Barber was born July 13, 1954, in Salt Lake City. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest for the Society in 1985. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history/philosophy from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington; a Master of Divinity and bachelor of sacred theology degrees from Regis College of the University of Toronto; and a licentiate and doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
His assignments after ordination included: missionary in Apia, Western Samoa (1985-1987); student at Gregorian University and assistant professor of theology there (1987-1992); researcher and tutor at Oxford University (1992-1998); director, School of Pastoral Leadership, Archdiocese of San Francisco (1998-2001); assistant professor of systematic and moral theology and spiritual director, St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, California (2002-2010); and director of spiritual formation, St. John’s Seminary (2010-present).
Bishop-elect Barber said he would like “from time to time to get into the classroom” because education is a priority of the Jesuits. He added he also wants to “visit city jails and county jails as the pope has” and to visit Catholic Charities facilities, “getting my hands dirty in soup kitchen by washing dishes, pots and pans.”
He also spoke of jail ministry: “It’s one of those ministries expressly commended by Christ for us to do. ‘When I was in prison you visited me.’ You can’t get more explicit than that.”
Bishop-elect Barber succeeds Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who was named head of the San Francisco Archdiocese on July 27, 2012. The Oakland Diocese includes 1,467 square miles and two counties, Alameda and Contra Costa, in California. The diocese has 2,586,396 people, with 399,546, or 15 percent of them, Catholic.
“From its origin, the Society of Jesus was formed to be an instrument of Christ by serving the Church. Though Jesuits promise not to seek high office in the Church, when asked by the Holy Father, we respond to the call and serve as bishops. We promise our brother Jesuit Father Michael Barber our full support and continued affection as he continues to minister to the people of God in this new mission,” said Jesuit Father Michael F. Weiler, Provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus. [America Magazine, Catholic News Service]
Serving in the Peace Corps led Jesuit Jason Welle to the certainty that he was being called to the priesthood. What he wasn’t so sure of was what sort of priest he wanted to be.
To begin his vocational discernment process, Welle took to the Internet. The more research he did online, the clearer it became that he belonged with the Jesuits.
“I knew the Jesuits by reputation only, mainly for their commitment to social justice,” says Welle, who currently serves as program coordinator for Seattle University’s Education Abroad Office. “And I knew I wanted to do something that combined my interest in international development with a deep spirituality and service as a priest. I could see myself fulfilling both of those desires as a Jesuit.”
Entering the priesthood was not a foreign concept for Welle. He attended a high school seminary, but left to enroll at the University of California, Santa Cruz. After earning a degree in community studies, Welle worked as a travel agent and as a flight attendant. He loved traveling for work, but it soon became mundane. He decided to engage the world in a deeper way by joining the Peace Corps, where he was placed in Malawi.
“The Peace Corps is really where I discovered my vocation to enter the Society,” says Welle, who joined the Jesuits in 2006. “Getting out of the U.S. fish bowl gave me a new perspective on the world and America’s place in it.”
Welle was in Malawi for 9/11, an experience that he says completely reshaped his view of the world. “I was living in a country where 3,000 people died every week from HIV and AIDS — that’s about what the death toll was in the towers. People there were living at a level of poverty that we just don’t know in the same way here in the U.S. They had hardly even seen a two- or three-story building, much less a 150-story tower. It was just beyond their worldview. 9/11 just sort of awakened me out of a slumber or a complacency about America’s role and my own place in the world.”
The Peace Corps was transformative for Welle in other important ways. “There’s a lot of downtime, especially in Malawi, where there’s 12 hours of night, without a television and not much radio. I became very introspective. I think, without realizing it, I was praying, really yearning to understand who I was.”
Read more about Welle at the Seattle University website.
Jesuit Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, a prominent figure in the Chinese Catholic Church, died April 27 of pancreatic cancer. He was 96.
“Bishop Jin was a towering figure in the history of the church in China. Always gracious, ever perceptive, he will be missed by the people of China,” said Jesuit Father Thomas Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.
In the early 1980s, the bishop, who spent almost three decades in a Chinese prison and a labor camp, made the decision to cooperate with the Chinese government, which strove to exercise control over the church through organs such as “patriotic associations,” including one for Catholics.
Jesuit Father Michael Kelly, executive director of the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News, said of his fellow Jesuit: “From the 1980s, much to the suspicion of some, the condemnation of others but the amazement of most, Jin walked the thin line between recognizing the authority of the government while sticking to what he believed was most basic and important to Catholicism in China.”
Jesuit Father Thomas Lucas, a professor of art and architecture at the University of San Francisco, had the opportunity in 2002 to collaborate with Bishop Jin on a five-year project to install 56 stained glass panels in the windows of St. Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai.
“Bishop Aloysius Jin was a remarkable man and a great Jesuit,” said Fr. Lucas. “He returned to his native Shanghai in 1951 after studies in Europe, knowing that imprisonment was the likely outcome. Incarcerated for 28 years, five years of which he spent in solitary confinement, he emerged unbroken in his faith and optimism.”
Bishop Jin, who was born in 1916 in Shanghai, was ordained a Jesuit in 1945. Two years later, he left for studies in France, Germany and Italy and earned a doctorate in theology. He returned to Shanghai and served for four years as rector of what was then known as the Xuhui Regional Seminary, later Sheshan Seminary.
He was arrested in 1955 because, he has said, he “opposed several laws of the state.” During his time in prison, he prayed and taught himself Russian. After his release, Bishop Jin was sent to northern China for almost 10 years, where he spent his time working the land and working on translations for the Chinese government.
He returned to Shanghai in 1982 to serve as rector of the Sheshan Seminary at the request of the Shanghai Diocese.
“I don’t regret coming back,” he said. “Now I can educate seminarians as previously. I can publish books. … It is important for Catholics. Now I am also in charge of church contact with foreign visitors. I can promote the mutual respect and confidence between the Chinese church and the church abroad. These things are contributions for the whole church.”
Bishop Jin was elected auxiliary of Shanghai in December 1984 and was ordained the next month, without the approval of the Vatican. He became bishop of Shanghai in 1989 but did not reconcile his status with the Vatican until early in the 21st century.
Bishop Jin also became a figure at the national level. He persuaded the authorities to allow inclusion of prayer for the pope in the Eucharistic prayers during Masses and helped to develop the liturgy in Chinese.
According to Fr. Lucas, Bishop Jin’s decision to preach the Gospel and bring the sacraments back to the people of Shanghai after the Cultural Revolution was controversial, as it meant working with — rather than against — the regime.
“Yet the decision bore great fruits for the re-evangelization of his native city,” said Fr. Lucas. “He built 15 new parishes, restored St. Ignatius Cathedral and became the beloved shepherd of a diverse community. Fully reconciled with the Holy See and the Jesuit Superior General a decade ago, Jin’s legacy of patience, endurance and practical wisdom was an inspiration to all who called him Father and friend.”
More than 1,000 people attended a funeral Mass for Bishop Jin on April 29. A government-organized memorial service is scheduled for May 2, after which his body will be cremated, according to UCA News. [Catholic News Service]