Can it happen?
Feb. 25, 2015
Two years ago this month Pope Benedict shocked the world with the news that he was resigning, making him the first pope to step down since 1415. The following month the College of Cardinals did something perhaps even more unexpected when they elected the first Jesuit pope. Since then Pope Francis has surprised and captured the imagination of many.
On Thursday, March 5 at 3 p.m. in Wyckoff Auditorium, Patrick Howell, S.J., Distinguished Professor in Residence in the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, will examine the future of the papacy in light of Pope Francis's expressed attitudes toward the Catholic hierarchy.
The event flyer reads, in part: "Pope Francis continues to surprise his own Catholic Church as well as the rest of the world. People warm to his frank openness and his embrace of a simple lifestyle. He says that the Church has been too narcissistic, too self-referential and concerned about itself. He has set about a comprehensive reform of the Church. Can it happen? Will it last?"
Father Howell (left) has been a close Francis observer since the beginning of his papacy, delivering the first of many lectures on the pope literally the day after his historic election. Two summers ago while on sabbatical, Fr. Howell assisted in translating of the pope's highly read interview, "A Big Heart Open to God," which appeared in the Sept. 30, 2013 issue of
Click here for more information on this and other upcoming events sponsored by the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture.
Weighing in on immigration
The Jesuits of Canada and the United States have written a letter to members of the U.S. Congress and Senate, urging them to reject amendments to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that will hurt immigrants,
"The Jesuits of the United States call upon the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to pass a Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill free of harmful immigration amendments that seek to block or undermine the recent Executive Action on immigration.
"Jesuit organizations throughout our country have long advocated for comprehensive, humane, and much needed solutions to our current broken immigration system. In the absence of comprehensive legislative reform, we support the President's use of his legal and constitutional authority to relieve families of the constant fear of deportation."
The letter concludes: "Together with Pope Francis, 'we pray for a heart which will embrace immigrants,' because in his words, 'God will judge us on how we have treated the most needy.' We urge you to remember the humanity of our migrant brothers and sisters as you consider these important immigration related issues. Going forward, rest assured that we will continue to challenge you to support immigration policies that treat our undocumented neighbors with the dignity and respect that all people deserve."
The full letter can be read
Also, Seattle University students have joined students at 10 other Catholic universities in urging members of Congress who graduated from Catholic colleges and universities to not cut off funding for the president's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA, as one of the amendments of the bill would do. Read more at Catholic Sentinel.
Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus, has convoked the 36th General Congregation. About 200 Jesuit delegates will be in Rome for the congregation, which is scheduled for October 2016.
The main impetus for the congregation is to elect a superior general to succeed Fr. Nicolás who has announced his resignation. (Fr. Nicolas is pictured here with SU President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and Arrupe Jesuit Community Rector Tom Lucas, S.J., in November 2014 prior to meeting with Pope Francis.)
Delegates will also take up "matters of greater moment," as written in the Jesuit Constitutions.
An recent overview of the congregation--or GC 36 as it's also called--can be found
At the end of the article, you'll find a list of interesting facts about previous congregations-such as why the first General Congregation was delayed, who the youngest Jesuit ever to be elected superior general was, which congregation elected two superior generals and, most important, how the delegates know where to sit.
Sport and spirituality
Pat Kelly, S.J., associate professor of theology and religious studies, was recently interviewed by Dave Grosby (a.k.a. “The Groz”) on 770 AM KTTH.
Father Kelly spoke about his book, Catholic Perspectives on Sports, and other aspects of sports and spirituality.
To listen to the full interview, click on the audio to the left or visit Coach's Show.
For more of Fr. Kelly's thoughts on sports and spirituality, you can like his Facebook page.
Last year Trung Pham, S.J., assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History, ran a half marathon. This year he went for the full monty and successfully covered all 26.2 miles in the Seattle Marathon. Fr. Pham came in at 3:57.
The SU Jesuit says temperature was a big factor. "It was so cold (28˚ F) that it gave me a perspective that hell is cold, not hot like people say it would be. When I was out in the sunlight, my body moved better, when I was in the shade, my legs got tighter. My muscles began to cramp after the 20-mile mark. I ran like a stick figure toward the finish line.
"Anyhow, I could not believe that I could do it."
Congratulations, Fr. Pham!
Following is the homily Rector Tom Lucas, S.J., delivered on the 25th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuits and their companions in El Salvador. Father Lucas, S.J., spoke of his recent visit with Pope Francis and how the pope calls us to be witnesses like the eight martyrs.
Life, my sisters and brothers, is full of surprises. Through a series of events too complicated-I might even say "too miraculous"-to recount in a short time, on November 3, I found myself with a family of friends and benefactors of Seattle University and of our Archdiocese, sitting with Pope Francis in his library at the Vatican. Miracles do happen.
Our Holy Father Francis is in fact everything you have seen and heard about him: warm, engaging, humble, delightfully good-humored, radiant in his faith and hope. It was like sitting with a sweet and loving old pastor. He wanted to know about us, and about our world here in the Northwest. He had on worn black shoes, the simple silver cross he had worn in Buenos Aires around his neck, and had a frayed button on his white cassock. He must drive his staff crazy.
At the end of what was supposed to be a 15-minute meet-and-greet audience that he himself extended to 45 minutes of vivid conversation, one of our group asked him what message he wanted us to bring home with us. Counting on his fingers, he gave us five reminders to hold onto, five descriptors of what it means to be Church in this moment of history. I want to share them with you today, because he asked us to share them. I also need to hear them again myself, to be consoled and challenged by them.
Vicinanza: Nearness to those in need, to the poor
Ospedale di Campo: The Church as Field Hospital
The first word was "testimonanza," witness. Words are fine, he said, but active witness is what matters: witness through our lived and living actions to the saving power of Christ in this broken world.
Our witness is lived out in his second word "vicinanza," nearness, closeness. We cannot give witness to Christ in abstraction, but only in our direct and loving contact with others, and especially in our care for the poor and our nearness to the afflicted.
He reminded us that this is how the incarnation, "incarnazione," continues in this world: Christ is incarnate again and always in us, made flesh in deeds more than in words. Christ's life and reality are transmitted in us and through us, made flesh again here at this altar, truly, but also and equally in our witness and in our loving respect and embrace of all God's children.
The Church, the Holy Father reminded us, is not a spa to which we retreat for comfort, but is a "field hospital," a place of healing for those most hurting, most excluded, most in need. The Good Samaritan, he reminded us, didn't ask the man in the ditch to see his identity papers. He climbed into the ditch and pulled the suffering man out, and cared for him.
Why? Because the Good Samaritan knew the grace and power of "misericordia," of mercy. God's infinite compassion for us, poor banished children of Eve, is the key to everything. God's mercy is the hope that gives meaning to our lives, and makes it possible for us do what is impossible: to continue the work of the incarnation, to be close to those who are in need, to give witness. The Holy Father calls this moment in the history of the Church "The Era of Mercy," and invited us to be its heralds.
Today, Nov. 16, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the killing-no, the martyrdom-of six Jesuits and two of their colleagues at the Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador. The Jesuits were teachers, theologians, founders of schools, pastors, and two women their house keeper and her 16 year old daughter. They were dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night and shot in the garden. They were martyrs-the word means "witnesses"-because they testified to Christ incarnate in the poor, because they were near to the afflicted. They made their university a field hospital, a place where God's mercy was taught and God's justice was proclaimed. Like the good steward in today's Gospel, they took the treasure given them and multiplied in works of mercy and justice. Like so many holy witnesses throughout history, they paid the price, giving glory to God through the gift of their lives, through their faithfulness to God through their care for God's least little ones.
Fathers Ignacio Ellacuría, Sergio Montes, Ignacio Martín Baró, Armando López, Juan Ramón Moreno, Joaquin López y López, their coworkers Elba and Celina Ramos. None of us, we pray, will be required to shed our blood as they did, as Archbishop Oscar Romero did when he was gunned down at the altar in 1980, as American Churchwomen Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel who were tortured, raped and murdered a few months afterward Romero's execution. Yet the willing sacrifice of their lives and of so many others throughout our history gives witness to us of the nearness of Jesus Incarnate to the poor and the suffering: the same Christ who gives us courage to be merciful caregivers in the field hospital that is our Church today.
As we were leaving, Pope Francis asked us to pray for him, and so we do today. And let us be mindful of his solemn yet joyful call, to be witnesses to, and to become God's mercy here and now, and always and forever.
Remembering the martyrs
Nov. 12, 2014
Nov. 16 marks the 25th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuits and two laypersons in El Salvador. In the Association of Jesuit Colleges and University's latest edition of Connections you'll find a piece by Joe Orlando, assistant vice president for mission an ministry, on how SU is commemorating the anniversary. Following is a list of the masses and other events taking place over the next few days.
On Thursday, Nov. 13, Peter Ely, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, will celebrate a campus-wide liturgy in the Chapel of St. Ignatius. The liturgy will include a special remembrance of each of the eight martyrs using their words and writings; members of the Jesuit community and two women colleagues will lie down in the sanctuary as each martyr is recognized. Two guests from our sister Jesuit school, the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Nicaragua will be among those individuals to represent the martyrs during the liturgy.
That same evening (Nov. 13), the Office of Mission and Ministry will host the Maguire Lecture, which annually brings together students, faculty, staff and friends of the University to focus on our commitment to justice. The featured speaker will be Serena Cosgrove, SU alumna and faculty member in Matteo Ricci College. Cosgrove was in El Salvador at the time of the assassinations. She will speak on the legacy of the martyrs and how they continue to inspire us today.
Friday, Nov. 14, Fr. Sundborg, Cosgrove, student body president Eric Sype and others will travel to El Salvador to participate in the weekend events on campus at Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador and join in solidarity with other delegations from all over the world.
The university's annual Ignatian Retreat for Faculty and Staff will be taking place with the theme of "In Our Midst as One Who Serves." The two visitors from UCA Nicaragua will offer Spanish-language spiritual direction to some of our retreatants. Ignacio Lange, S.J., and Patricia Suarez will lead the retreat community in prayer on the morning of the actual anniversary on Sunday, Nov. 16.
That Sunday evening, a final liturgy to commemorate the anniversary will be held in the Chapel of St. Ignatius. A candlelight vigil at the conclusion of the liturgy will be held at the "Bowl of Tears" memorial in the garden outside Pigott. Created in 1997 by Sandra Zeiset Richardson, the sculpture is dedicated to the martyrs.
Pictured above: The "Bowl of Tears" in a garden outside Pigott honors the memory of the eight Salvadoran martyrs.
Fr. Ganza named to key post
A former Seattle University Jesuit is taking on a key leadership post in the Society of Jesus. Jean Baptiste Ganza, S.J., has been appointed regional superior for the Jesuits of the Rwanda-Burundi Region. He will begin his new role on Dec. 3, the Feast of Francis Xavier.
Father Ganza spent a number of years at Seattle University while earning his MBA from the Albers School of Business and Economics. After graduating in 2012 he returned to his home country of Rwanda to continue building and running a Jesuit school in Kigali, a community ravaged by the genocide of 1994
Many members of Fr. Ganza's family, including his mother and five siblings were murdered during the conflict. His incredibly tragic but ultimately uplifting story was shared in the fall 2011 issue of
Seattle University Magazine.
"I am grateful to the Seattle U community," says Fr. Ganza. "I gained so much from my time there. On top of the knowledge and degree I acquired from (the) Albers (School of Business and Economics), I made friends among students and faculty. My current work running Saint Ignatius School and raising funds to continue building it benefited from what Seattle U offered me. To lead the Jesuits in Rwanda and Burundi, I will always count on your support and prayers."
Fr. Ganza entered the Society of Jesus in 1994 and was ordained in 2005. He will take his
final vows on Nov. 14.
Meet the 2014-2015 SU Jesuits
Back row (left to right):
John Foster (Assistant to the Dean, Matteo Ricci College), Dave Anderson (Alumni Relations), Eric Watson (Chemistry), Pat O'Leary (University Chaplain).
Second row (left to right):
Pat Kelly (Theology), Bill Watson (President, Sacred Story Institute), Tom Lucas (Rector), William O'Malley (Matteo Ricci College), Mike Connolly (Sabbatical), Peter Ely (VP, Mission and Ministry), Steve Sundborg (President), Tom Murphy (History), Jerry Cobb (Special Assistant to the President), Quentin Dupont (Albers School of Business).
Front row (left to right):
Natch Ohno (Student Development, Assistant Rector), James Selinsky (Controller's Office), Trung Pham (Fine Arts), Pat Howell (School of Theology & Ministry, Institute for Catholic Thought & Culture), Dave Leigh (English), James Taiviet Tran (Boeing engineer, Vietnamese pastoral ministry).
Peter Byrne (Sabbatical), Ron Funke (Pastoral Ministry), John Monahan (U.S. Navy, Bremerton), John Topel (Pastor, Port Townsend), Pat Twohy (Director, Rocky Mountain Mission, Urban Native American Ministry), Josef Venker (Fine Arts).
This photo was taken at the Jesuits' recent retreat by Natch Ohno, S.J., who magically is also pictured.
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