Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

Assistant International Director of JRS Reflects Upon Serving Where Needs Are Greatest

Jesuit Father Ken Gavin, Assistant International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), reflects on the many ways the Jesuits are serving where the need is greatest around the globe.

Interviewed by Jeremy Langford, Director of Communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits, Fr. Gavin also shares some of his own journey as a Jesuit and Pope Francis’ call to solidarity with the poor.

This interview took place at JRS headquarters in Rome on April 23, 2013. For more information on Jesuit Refugee Service, please visit www.jrsusa.org.

Jesuit Named by Pope Benedict to Pontifical Council for Culture

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro,  the editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, U.S. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, a Portuguese poet, a Spanish architect, two astrophysicists, a Belgian journalist and a curator at the Vatican Museums were named by Pope Benedict XVI to help advise the Pontifical Council for Culture.

For the first time since 1993, religious and laymen — not just cardinals and bishops — were named full members of the council.

The new lay members are French philosopher and writer Jean-Luc Marion and Estonian classical composer Arvo Part. Eleven new consultors or advisers were named to the council, including Bruno Coppi, a professor of plasma physics and astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Others include: Father Jose Tolentino De Mendonca, a Portuguese theologian and poet; Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect; Piero Benvenuti, an Italian astrophysicist; Wolf Joachim Singer, a professor of neurology and head of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Germany; Marguerite Peeters, a Belgian journalist; and Micol Forti, the curator of the Vatican Museums’ collection of contemporary art.

Blessed John Paul II created the Pontifical Council for Culture in 1982 with the aim of helping the world’s cultures encounter the message of the Gospel. In 1993, the late pope united the council with the council for dialogue with nonbelievers thus paving the way for using culture as a bridge for dialogue between people of faith and those who profess no religious beliefs.

NJN Monthly Podcast: University Founded by the Jesuits 450 Years Ago Continues Its Service to the Church Today

Pontifical Gregorian UniversityIn 1551, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, established established a “School of Grammar, Humanity and Christian Doctrine” in Rome. Initially called the “Roman College”, it soon became the Gregorian University and was the first university founded by the Jesuits. Containing faculties and institutes of various disciplines of the humanities, the Gregorian, also known as “The Greg” has one of the largest theology departments in the world, with over 1,600 students from over 130 countries. St. Ignatius envisioned a “university of all nations, for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the training of wise and qualified leaders of the Church and society.”

Today, the Gregorian is part of a larger consortium consisting of three schools serving more than 3,800 students: The Pontifical Gregorian University, The Pontifical Biblical Institute and The Pontifical Oriental Institute for Eastern Christian Studies.

In the United States, the Gregorian University Foundation was established in 1972 to raise the needed funds for scholarships, academic chairs, libraries and capital improvements for the Pontifical Gregorian University Consortium.

In this month’s National Jesuit News podcast, we talk with the foundation’s vice president, Geoff Loftus, on what the Gregorian University provides to the Church and the legacy and impact of its scholars and students.

NJN Exclusive: Jesuit Shares his Experience of Pope John Paul II’s Beatification

P1090777-aCurrently studying theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Jesuit Scholastic Michael Rogers recently had the opportunity to be in the Eternal City during the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

In an exclusive to National Jesuit News, Rogers shares his experience of the late pontiff’s beatification…

In the past few days it has always been crowded around the simplest tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is not the tomb of St. Peter, with its grand Bernini Baldacchino, nor is it the one of the tombs of a pope surrounded by grand sculptures. This is a simple marble slab with the name of the pope buried there, engraved in red. The word around Rome is that the waiting list to offer a Mass at the altar of this tomb is already weeks long. Michelangelo’s Pietà, usually the main attraction in this section of the basilica, garners only a few visitors now. The crush of people has made it difficult to keep the Blessed Sacrament Chapel open lately, and so the tabernacle has shifted to the front of the church from where it usually resides. There, wedged between the chapels of the Pietà and the Blessed Sacrament, the resting place of Blessed John Paul II is simple, and yet there is a profound sense of the importance of this space to so many people.IMG_0636

When word broke back in January that John Paul II would be beatified last Sunday, I was among the first in my Jesuit community to say that I would be leaving Rome. Citing my desire to flee ahead of the crowds, I had planned to go south into the mountains of Calabria, or north to Tuscany. One thing, however, was sure. I was going to get out. Over the course of a couple of months my thoughts on this changed, though. The truth is that as the beatification day approached I wanted to be here more and more. When the invitation to distribute communion for the beatification arrived, all of my ideas about fleeing the city were cancelled, and I responded that I would be there.

It was 5:30am on the morning of May 1, 2011 and although tired, I headed off to a church event here in Rome. Wearing an old borrowed cassock, I crossed the Tiber not far from the General Curia of the Society and waited for the police escort to take us to where we would be distributing communion. In the crowd of over a million people, all around us you could hear languages from all over the world. There were groups of people singing and dancing. There was a sense of joy, and even among the many police who were clearly working overtime, there seemed to be a sense of relief that, for once, there was a gathering of people here in Rome that wasn’t a protest. The moment of this celebration was a moment to celebrate that one of us, someone whom we knew, had almost assuredly gone before us into the place where we all hope to go. Read the rest of this entry »

NJN Exclusive: Jesuit Shares his Experience of Pope John Paul II's Beatification

P1090777-aCurrently studying theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Jesuit Scholastic Michael Rogers recently had the opportunity to be in the Eternal City during the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

In an exclusive to National Jesuit News, Rogers shares his experience of the late pontiff’s beatification…

In the past few days it has always been crowded around the simplest tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is not the tomb of St. Peter, with its grand Bernini Baldacchino, nor is it the one of the tombs of a pope surrounded by grand sculptures. This is a simple marble slab with the name of the pope buried there, engraved in red. The word around Rome is that the waiting list to offer a Mass at the altar of this tomb is already weeks long. Michelangelo’s Pietà, usually the main attraction in this section of the basilica, garners only a few visitors now. The crush of people has made it difficult to keep the Blessed Sacrament Chapel open lately, and so the tabernacle has shifted to the front of the church from where it usually resides. There, wedged between the chapels of the Pietà and the Blessed Sacrament, the resting place of Blessed John Paul II is simple, and yet there is a profound sense of the importance of this space to so many people.IMG_0636

When word broke back in January that John Paul II would be beatified last Sunday, I was among the first in my Jesuit community to say that I would be leaving Rome. Citing my desire to flee ahead of the crowds, I had planned to go south into the mountains of Calabria, or north to Tuscany. One thing, however, was sure. I was going to get out. Over the course of a couple of months my thoughts on this changed, though. The truth is that as the beatification day approached I wanted to be here more and more. When the invitation to distribute communion for the beatification arrived, all of my ideas about fleeing the city were cancelled, and I responded that I would be there.

It was 5:30am on the morning of May 1, 2011 and although tired, I headed off to a church event here in Rome. Wearing an old borrowed cassock, I crossed the Tiber not far from the General Curia of the Society and waited for the police escort to take us to where we would be distributing communion. In the crowd of over a million people, all around us you could hear languages from all over the world. There were groups of people singing and dancing. There was a sense of joy, and even among the many police who were clearly working overtime, there seemed to be a sense of relief that, for once, there was a gathering of people here in Rome that wasn’t a protest. The moment of this celebration was a moment to celebrate that one of us, someone whom we knew, had almost assuredly gone before us into the place where we all hope to go. Read the rest of this entry »