Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

Jesuits Weigh In on Millennial Generation Vocations for The Atlantic

Jesuit Danny Gustafson, center, with fellow Jesuits of the 2013 vow class of the New England, Maryland and New York Provinces

Several Jesuits recently spoke about vocations for The Atlantic, including Jesuit Father John O’Malley, Jesuit Brother Jim Siwicki, Jesuit Danny Gustafson, and entering Jesuit novice Matt Ippel. The four Jesuits were interviewed for an online article written by Emma Green, a 2012 graduate of Georgetown University, about those in the millennial generation entering religious life.

Regarding the effect of Pope Francis’ election on vocations in millennials, Jesuit Father John O’Malley said he was unsure of any long-term effects at the moment. “I must say, however, that I am a little optimistic,” he added.

Jesuit Danny Gustafson, 24, recently completed first vows at the Jesuit novitiate in Syracuse, N.Y., and offered some insight from a millennial’s point of view. “It’s been a great feeling of connection with the hierarchy, if for no other reason than because there’s a shared formation that Pope Francis has that I’m going through right now. Knowing that the same spirituality that speaks to me speaks to the pope — I find [it] very humbling, but also very encouraging,” Gustafson said.

“The majority of my family on my father’s side are not Catholic,” said 22-year-old Matt Ippel, one of the newest members of the Society of Jesus after entering the novitiate at St. Paul, Minn., this month. “Sharing my upcoming plans, they’ve all been very excited and shown an immense amount of support, but they’ve also talked a lot about Pope Francis — the way [he] has conducted himself in his conversations, his addresses, his homilies.”

According to CARA, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, 12 percent of male and 10 percent of female non-married Catholic survey respondents over the age of 14 considered becoming a priest, nun or religious brother or sister “at least a little seriously.” Jesuit Brother Jim Siwicki, vocation director for the California Province of the Society of Jesus, commented on the novices’ motivations. “There’s a strong desire for a sense of community, both local and global,” he said. But “the thing that’s difficult that I see with millennials is that they want to keep all options open. It’s not a lack of interest — it’s that fear of making a commitment.”

Twenty-two-year-old Ryan Muldoon, a recent Georgetown graduate who is entering the seminary of the Archdiocese of New York, described the concept of discernment. “This isn’t really a decision that anybody makes of their own volition. This really does stem from a deeper calling — a call by God and a response by an individual,” he said. [The Atlantic]

Behind the Scenes: Catching Up with The Jesuit Post on Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás

Left to right: Sam Sawyer, SJ; Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás; and Eric Sundrup, SJ

By Doris Yu

Against the backdrop of MAGIS and World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, National Jesuit News sat down with Jesuit scholastics Eric Sundrup and Sam Sawyer, associate editors of The Jesuit Post, to talk about their experience interviewing Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás. Sundrup and Sawyer took the opportunity to interview Fr. Nicolás during his appearance at MAGIS at Colégio Antônio Vieira, the Jesuit high school in Salvador, Brazil.

Speaking about his impressions of Fr. Nicolás, Sundrup said, “It’s very clear Fr. General speaks profoundly and in great depth. … When he talks to Pope Francis, he talks to him like he talks to any other Jesuit. I think he did the same thing with me and all of us that were present for the interview. He just talks to us like he would talk to any other Jesuit. ”

Sawyer said, “I think what strikes me about him is, more than some particular program or strategy for the Society, what he has is a very clear sense of what we need to pay attention to, and he keeps calling us to pay attention to it.”

Sawyer added about Fr. General’s dry sense of humor, “We laughed a lot when we got to talk to him off-camera and we got to interact with him that way.”

Click the audio player below to listen to NJN’s interview with The Jesuit Post.

Pope Celebrates Mass at Rome’s Church of the Gesù with Fellow Jesuits on Ignatius’ Feast Day

Photos by Father Roy Sebastian, S.J., Jesuit Curia

Pope Francis at Church of the GesùPope Francis celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius on July 31 with more than 200 of his fellow Jesuits at Mass in Rome’s Church of the Gesù, where St. Ignatius is buried. The pope prayed that he and his fellow Jesuits would receive “the grace of shame” for their failures and the humility to recognize that whatever good they accomplish is really done by the Lord.

During his homily, Pope Francis said that Jesus told his disciples never to be ashamed of following him, but Jesuits are taught to look upon the crucifix and “feel that very human and very noble sentiment which is shame for not measuring up.”

Pope Francis at Church of the GesùJesuit Father James E. Grummer, assistant for the USA Assistancy and General Counselor at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, was one of the U.S. Jesuits in attendance and said one of the most moving parts of the Mass was during the homily when Pope Francis mentioned two images about the end of life that “sum up our vocation for him: Francis Xavier and Pedro Arrupe. Francis was within reach of his dream but unable to reach it; Pedro was slowly stripped of everything the world holds important as he found himself entirely in the hands of God.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the Mass was “very beautiful and very familial.”

In his spirituality and spiritual tradition, Fr. Lombardi said the pope sees himself as a “son of St. Ignatius” and feels “very close to the Society of Jesus.”

Pope Francis at Church of the GesùThe pope’s homily was filled with references to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, meditations and instructions for a 30-day retreat that form the basis of Ignatian spirituality.

The exercises, Pope Francis said, are designed to remind Jesuits that Christ and the church must be at the center of all they do; that they must allow themselves to be conquered by Christ in order to serve; and that they must feel shame in order to be humble before God and other people.

Father General Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, prayed for “Francis our brother, the bishop of Rome” during the Eucharistic Prayer.

Pope Francis at Church of the Gesù“The phrase articulated the way the liturgy felt,” said Fr. Grummer. “Francis may be Supreme Pontiff, but he thinks of himself as our brother and wants us to think of him that way too.”

At the end of the Mass, the pope prayed at the tomb of St. Ignatius, before a relic of St. Francis Xavier and at the tomb of Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe, superior of the Society from 1965 to 1983.

“The pope placed a bouquet of flowers in front of the memorial plaque [where Arrupe is buried], prayed there and reverently touched the plaque before making the sign of the cross,” said Fr. Grummer.

Other U.S. Jesuits in attendance included Fathers Anthony Sholander, vice rector, minister and treasurer of Collegio Internazionale del Gesù in Rome, and Kenneth Gavin, assistant international director of Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome — who both helped distribute communion — and scholastic Eric Ramirez, who served as an acolyte. [Catholic News Service]

Tour Explores South America’s Jesuit Heritage, Pope’s Homeland

Jesuit Reductions

Photo by Jorge E. Taracido

By Becky Sindelar

A Jesuit heritage tour of Argentina and Paraguay will follow the footsteps of Jesuits from the early 1600s through the present day — including the first Jesuit pope in his hometown. Sponsored by the California Province Jesuits, participants have the chance to immerse themselves in South America’s rich Jesuit history.

Jesuit Father John Mossi, from the California Province, and Argentinian Jesuit Father Michael Petty will lead pilgrims on the cultural and spiritual journey from February 17 to March 1, 2014. The tour will begin in Córdoba, Argentina, where a group of Jesuits missioned from Spain arrived in 1599 and created a center of learning.

From there, the journey continues to the Jesuit Reductions in Posadas, on the border of Paraguay. The Jesuits in the 17th century built the famous Jesuit Reductions, indigenous cities of culture, education, food production and religious evangelization in the jungle areas of today’s Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil and Uruguay. These thriving cities were one of the most ambitious creations of Catholic missionary activity, according to Fr. Mossi.

“They were renowned for their architecture, systems of government and flourishing community life that empowered the indigenous peoples,” explains Fr. Mossi. “As European governments saw the slave trade as a means of profit and commerce, the Reductions became sources of exploitations. The Jesuits kept moving the Reductions deeper into the jungles in order to protect them. Eventually, the creation of the Reductions and protection of native people was interpreted as subversive action instigated by the Jesuits and became another element of the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773.”

The tour will end in Buenos Aires, and while it was planned before Pope Francis was elected, the schedule is being updated to explore his connections to his native city.

“Fr. Petty, our local Jesuit guide, is an Argentinian who knows Pope Francis. He’s working to include sites and churches Pope Francis frequented in Buenos Aires,” says Fr. Mossi.

Fr. Mossi believes participants will come away with a sense of Jesuit missionary spirituality, history and culture in South America. He expects a group of about 25 people, including many who have participated in previous Jesuit pilgrimages sponsored by the California Province.

Photo by Jorge E. Taracido

Joe Naylor, assistant for advancement and communications for the California Province, has been on Jesuit pilgrimages to Europe and China and says that the groups bond from their Jesuit connections. He’s already looking forward to next year’s trip.

“A highlight of the pilgrimage will be visiting the religious sites where our new Jesuit pope celebrated the Mass. These pilgrimages provide not only an insight to the rich legacy of St. Ignatius and the traditions of the Jesuits, but also a more global view of our Jesuit ministries,” Naylor said.

To learn more about the Jesuit Reductions Tour, visit www.jesuitscalifornia.org/argentina.

Pope Tells Jesuits Their Place is on the Frontiers

Pope FrancisWhen Pope Francis met with the writers of the Jesuit journal “La Civilta Cattolica” at the Vatican in June, he had a clear message for Jesuits: “Your proper place is on the frontiers. This is the place of Jesuits.”

But he warned against trying to tame the frontiers. “You must go to the frontiers and not bring the frontiers home to varnish them a bit and tame them. In today’s world, subject to rapid changes and agitated by questions of great relevance for the life of the faith, a courageous commitment is urgent to educate to a faith of conviction and maturity, capable of giving meaning to life and of offering convincing answers to all those seeking God.”

The pope also spoke about the Jesuits’ charism, which he said includes looking for God in all things.

“One treasure of the Jesuits is spiritual discernment that seeks to recognize the presence of God’s spirit in human and cultural experiences,” said the Jesuit pope.

Pope Francis also said that his fellow Jesuits can help heal the rift between the Gospel and today’s cultures.

“This ministry is typical of the mission of the Society of Jesus,” he said, urging the editors and staff of the journal to continue offering the world “your reflections and your in-depth analyses” of cultural and social trends and transformations, including hot button topics.

Pope Francis said the magazine’s main task is to build bridges, not walls, and engage in dialogue with all people, even those who are not Christian but share the same values, as well as those who are antagonistic to the church.

To read his full address, visit Zenit.org. [Catholic News Service, Jesuit Curia]