Posts Tagged ‘Soceity of Jesus’

What would Los Angeles look like without Jesuit-Founded Homeboys Industries?

In a recent Op-ed piece in the LA Times, columnist Jim Newton reflected on what the city might look like if Homeboy Industries, the Jesuit-founded ministry that provides on-the-job training and counseling to former gang members, was no longer a fixture in the urban area.

“Life without Homeboy would be bleaker, meaner and more expensive in a society already too bleak, too mean and strapped for cash,” says Newton in his column.

Founded at the height of the gang violence that was ripping the city apart in 1992, Jesuit Father Greg Boyle, himself now an icon in the city, started Homeboy Industries  to help gang members leave their lives formed on the streets and in prisons and instead learn skills to improve their lives. Offering tattoo removal, counseling former “homies” in drug rehabilitation and mental health, and even providing jobs in its bakery, café and t-shirt store, Homeboy Industries is a haven for former gang members looking to turn their lives around. The ministry helps approximately 12,000 individuals each year learn life skills to lead them away from the streets.

With the economic downturn pulling back donations a few years ago, the concept of a Los Angeles without Homeboy Industries almost became a reality and Fr. Boyle had to canvas all of his contacts and benefactors to help stave off insolvency. Jobs for the homeboys and homegirls are still scare but the program does help keep these former gang members off the streets. “You want people to make the connection between public safety…and giving these people a chance,” Boyle says.

Read more about Homeboy Industries and what it and Fr. Boyle provide to Los Angeles in this column from the LA Times.

Canadian Jesuits ready for Contact

Jesuits are taught to see God in all things. This makes Jesuit photography a little more intense than family snapshots.

This year four Canadian Jesuits will show their photographs as part of the 17th annual Contact festival. With more than 1,000 venues spread around Toronto and as many as 1.8 million sets of eyeballs taking in the work of an international lineup of photographers through the month of May, Contact is the largest photography event in the world.

The Jesuit show at Regis College on the campus of the University of Toronto is called “In All Things.” It runs May 10 to 26.

Second-year theologian Marc Aristotle de Asis loves the process of discovery inherent in photography. The Contact show will be the first time the 29-year-old Jesuit will see his photographs hung for a gallery crowd.

“I let myself be amazed by what the camera captures,” said de Asis of the fireworks photos he will show.

His photos will hang along with nature and abstract photography by Jesuit Fathers Gilles Mongeau and Teo Ugaban, and Jesuit Trevor Scott.

De Asis has been playing around with cameras since he was very young. Growing up in the Philippines, de Asis’s father had a darkroom. Though he claims to have been a haphazard photographer and printmaker in those days, he loved seeing what would come out of the trays of chemicals.

Photography wasn’t part of his spiritual life until his novice master, Fr. Philip Shano, urged him to channel some of his energy into photography. In the context of the initial two years of Jesuit life photography took on new dimensions.

“It’s all contemplation,” he said. “It’s a way to enter into the whole experience.”

To capture a moment requires the kind of attentiveness that is at the very heart of Ignatian spirituality, according to de Asis.

Find out more about the Contact photography exhibit and the works by the Jesuits which will be on display in this article from The Catholic Register.

New Dean Chosen for Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Jesuit Father Thomas MassaroA distinguished moral theologian and ethicist will become the new dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University on July 1, 2012.

Jesuit Father Thomas J. Massaro is currently Professor of Moral Theology at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry.

“We are delighted that Fr. Massaro will be leading the Jesuit School of Theology as a premier national and international center of graduate theological teaching, research, and ministerial formation,” said Santa Clara University Provost Dennis Jacobs. “As a teacher, scholar and Jesuit priest, Fr. Massaro brings great passion and a commitment to excellence in all that he does.”

Fr. Massaro’s teaching interests include Catholic social ethics, theories of economic justice, sociology of religion and the history of Christian political thought. His scholarly pursuits also flow from his deep commitment to hands-on social activism, particularly in labor justice and the promotion of peace.

“I am very eager to start my work as dean of Jesuit School of Theology,” said Fr. Massaro. “The extraordinary reputation of the school as a leader in theological education is well deserved. For decades, it has been preparing men and women for learned ministry in a distinctive way, one that is culturally aware and intellectually rigorous. What a privilege it is to help prepare Catholic lay and religious leaders for tomorrow’s church.”

The Jesuit School of Theology (JST) of Santa Clara University, located in Berkeley, Calif., is a preeminent international center for the culturally contextualized study of theology. Its mission is to inspire and prepare men and women to become leaders in the Church, academy and society, serving others through a faith that does justice. Rooted in Ignatian Spirituality, JST educates and trains Jesuits, religious, ordained and lay students from across the United States and from 40 other countries for lives dedicated to ministry and scholarship.

Fr. Massaro is the author or editor of five books, including American Catholic Social Teaching (Liturgical Press, 2002); Catholic Perspectives on Peace and War, (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); U.S. Welfare Policy: A Catholic Response (Georgetown University Press, 2007) and Living Justice: Catholic Social Teaching in Action, Second Classroom Edition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012).

A regular columnist for America magazine and sought-after public intellectual, Fr. Massaro lectures frequently on the moral evaluation of public policies regarding domestic and international issues such as foreign policy, anti-poverty efforts and globalization.

A Time to Build: Maryland Province Provides a New Spiritual and Nurturing Home for Its Senior Jesuits

The Jesuits of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus recently completed a breathtakingly modern new building on their northern Baltimore campus. This new residential community is designed to offer senior Jesuits assisted-living services while also enabling them to continue their ministries in and around Baltimore and throughout the Maryland province.

The new, light-filled steel and concrete St. Claude la Colombiere Jesuit Community Residence, designed by the architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, replaces the previous residence on the property which was built in 1961. Designed around a stone entry courtyard, the two-story chapel is the central design feature and the heart of this Jesuit community home. The facility provides rooms for the 38 members of the community along with a dining hall, commercial grade kitchen, living room, library, office and work space as well as recreational facilities.

“The new building, built in harmony with the beautiful site, will promote better spiritual and psychological health for our men,” notes Jesuit Father William Rickle, superior for the Colombiere Jesuit community.

As the need for assisted living had grown more pressing for the Maryland province, with more than 60 percent of the 349 Jesuits in the Maryland province 60 or older, officials began looking at their options to provide for its senior men in the Society.

Dedicated in the fall of 2011, the new structure is located on the highest point of the property, set among mature trees and open space. Since the need for assisted living is predicted to decrease in future years, the design of the building is flexible so that it can in the future serve as a community for Jesuits in active ministry, allowing the continuation of a dynamic Jesuit presence in Baltimore for decades to come.

In the video piece below, created by Halkin Photography, Jesuit Fathers Rickle and James Casciotti, socius for the Maryland province, discuss how the building ties in with the spiritual elements of Jesuit community life and, in turn, how the building fits into the landscape of the property.

Jesuit Ministry Helping Reform Gang Members Featured in The Economist

With the motto, “nothing stops a bullet like a job,” Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles works to help gang members leave their lives formed on the streets and in prisons and instead learn skills to improve their lives. Offering tattoo removal, counseling former “homies” in drug rehabilitation and mental health, and even providing jobs in its bakery, café and t-shirt store, Homeboy Industries is a haven for former gang members looking to turn their lives around. The ministry helps approximately 12,000 individuals each year learn life skills to lead them away from the streets.

Founded in 1992 by charismatic Jesuit Father Greg Boyle during the height of the city’s gang wars, Homeboy Industries has become a model program that other cities, like Chattanooga, are trying to replicate.

Fr. Boyle’s innovative program was featured recently in a piece by The Economist. An excerpt appears below and you can read the full story on The Economist’s website.

It can take between three and 40 treatments to remove a prison tattoo, says Troy, a volunteer doctor at Homeboy Industries in central Los Angeles, as another former gang member takes a seat. Troy zaps the tattoos with a laser, breaking up the ink so that the immune system can destroy it. This is painful, and the laser’s sharp cracking sound reminds some patients of shooting or of the prison yard, explains Andre, who is 27, spent seven years in prison, and got his first tattoo when he was 11. But it is still good to get rid of tattoos. “We focus on the visible ones,” says Troy, “the ones that make you a target when you’re walking decades later with your son and somebody shoots you, or the ones that prevent you from getting a job.”

“We’re a trauma-informed family here,” says Jesuit Father Greg Boyle. Eventually, they experience an unfamiliar feeling that he calls the “no-matter-whatness”. They realize that the staff do not judge their past but are ready to help them build a better future.

Homeboy Industries also recently opened a new diner in Los Angeles’ City Hall. You can find out more about Homeboy Diner in this Ignatian News Network video: