Father Ely reflects
As President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., announced in March, Peter Ely, S.J., will step down at the end of this month as vice president for Mission and Ministry.
"Peter has done a terrific job serving as vice president," Father Sundborg wrote. "Since 2009 he has led Mission and Ministry through a period of growth and positive change. Under his leadership, Seattle University has strengthened its commitment to its Jesuit Catholic character while at the same time fostering a deeper, more inclusive dialogue with other faith traditions. Most importantly, Peter has built a dedicated and talented team that plays a vital role in helping us carry out the mission."
Here, Father Ely shares his thoughts on his six years as vice president and what's next.
On stepping down as VP for Mission and Ministry:
In many ways I'm sorry to be leaving this position. It has been a good six years serving as coordinator of a wonderful team. But I'm eager to move toward a different kind of engagement with the university's mission, not as an administrator but as a teacher. Mission and Ministry is all about nourishing the roots of our mission. That means the Jesuit and Catholic roots. It also means appealing to the deep inspiration people bring to their work at the university from a variety of traditions. This is what Fr. Steve calls "the soul of the university." Everyone working in the university, all of our governing and advising boards, our benefactors and friends and our students-all of us together are responsible for the mission. We do it in different ways.
On what has brought him the most satisfaction in his six years as vice president:
Surely at the top of the list is working with such a committed team ser desire that our SU community has to enter more deeply into the roots of our mission. People from the outside observing us-including accreditation bodies which can be very critical-commend us for the widespread understanding and embrace of the University's mission. Because people embrace the mission they want to understand it more deeply. That is deeply satisfying to me.
On what he will be doing next:
I will teach half-time in the Theology and Religious Studies Department and continue to direct the Arrupe Seminar and the Interreligious Dialogue Initiative. I look forward also to increasing my time for deep reading and some scholarly research projects underway.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve as vice president for Mission and Ministry. It is time to move on and be engaged in different ways. I move on with great confidence in Joe Orlando's ability to lead the division for this next year. Joe has been assistant vice president during my whole time as VP. He is ready to take over. I also have confidence in the people serving in Mission and Ministry. They are highly qualified professionals. They understand our mission from the inside and are committed to it.
A reception to thank Father Ely will be held 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, in Tekakwitha Collegium (Student Center, first floor).
Big meeting in Melbourne
This July President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., will join the presidents of Jesuit higher education institutions and the directors of other Jesuit institutions from around the world for a gathering titled "Expanding the Jesuit Higher Education Network: Collaborations for Social Justice."
Upwards of 300 leaders are expected at the three-day conference, which takes place at Catholic University of Australia in Melbourne. The lead organizer for the gathering is Michael Garanzini, S.J., secretary for higher education for the Society of Jesus worldwide and outgoing Loyola University Chicago president.
The conference will focus on the Jesuit institutions' shared social justice mission, international Jesuit collaborations and future collaborative opportunities. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus, will deliver remarks by video.
The last time presidents and directors met like this was
in 2010 in Mexico City. The theme of that gathering was "Networking Jesuit Higher Education for the Globalizing World: Shaping the Future for a Humane, Just, Sustainable Globe."
You can learn more about the upcoming conference
Alpha Sigma Nu celebrates a century
Seattle University's newest Alpha Sigma Nu inductees were announced by President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., last week. Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. You can click on the video below for a nice history lesson on the organization.
Odds and Ends
There's lots of Jesuit stuff in the air these days. Here's just a few news items as well as some opportunities to engage with Jesuit higher education and Ignatian spirituality and service.
Intentional service! Are you over 50 years young and looking for a transformative way to engage in service? Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JV EnCorps), an ecumenical program of JVC Northwest, might be just what you're looking for. JVC EnCorps is a multifaceted opportunity for value-centered service, community and spiritual formation for older adults committed to social and ecological justice.
During their 10 months of part-time volunteer service, participants meet together regularly in community, deepen their spirituality and explore the values of simple living and social and ecological justice. The priority application deadline is June 30. For more information, call (206) 305-8911 or visit
For(e) the Greater Glory of God: There's your Jedi masters...and then there's your Jesuit-educated masters. Thanks to Pat Howell, S.J., distinguished professor in the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, for bringing it to our attention that 2015 Masters Champion Jordan Spieth is a graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas. Articles on Spieth's Jesuit connection can be found at
Catholic Register and
Jesuits in Ireland, the latter of which includes a handwritten note he wrote to a donor who provided funding for a scholarship Spieth received while attending the school.
Join the conversation. By now you should have received a copy of the latest "
Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education" magazine. The spring edition includes among other features an article by Tom Lucas, S.J., professor of art and rector of the Arrupe Jesuit community, on "The Spiritual Exercises and Art." Readers will also recognize the icon from our chapel that graces the magazine's cover.
The Office of Jesuit Mission and Identity is hosting a conversation on the magazine, "The Spirituality of a University: What Difference Does It Make?" from noon to 1:15 p.m. on Monday, May 4, noon-1:15 p.m., in Hunthausen 110. The discussion will include Darrell Goodwin, dean of students; Camille Kammer, Class of 2015 history major; Brooke Rufo-Hill, director of Magis: Alumni Living the Mission; and Christina Roberts, associate professor of English and director of Women and Gender Studies. A light lunch will be served. To RSVP, please e-mail
Day of Service: Seattle University's Alumni Association and Magis: Alumni Living the Mission invite you to serve in this year's fourth annual National Jesuit Alumni Day of Service on Saturday, April 25. Join Seattle University alumni and alumni of other Jesuit colleges and universities in fulfilling our shared Jesuit mission, which is rooted in service, by participating in a volunteer project at one of several service sites. Learn more and
In case you missed it…Our very own Dave Anderson, S.J., and Frank Case, S.J., who previously served in many capacities at SU, were
recently profiled for their respective roles as chaplains for the SU and Gonzaga men's basketball teams.
Wing and a prayer
A big thanks to Jerry Cobb, S.J., special assistant to the president, for sending in these shots taken in the Chapel of St. Ignatius last week. For Father Cobb, the ducks' appearance in the chapel made perfect sense. He explains:
"Steven Holl designed the Chapel of St Ignatius with the idea of 'aquaeous space,' so that the floor would appear to be water. He also designed the carpet with the blue of the 'River Cardoner' (a place of deep signficance in St. Ignatius' spiritual journey) flowing through the center of (it). To me it is amazing that our two ducks felt comfortable enough to leave the reflection pool and waddle into the chapel and plunk themselves down right on the blue painted part of the carpet!"
Holy Week at SU
Campus Ministry invites you to the following liturgies at the Chapel of St. Ignatius during Holy Week.
March 29, masses at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
April 2, 7:30 p.m.: Mass of the Lord's Supper, washing of feet, and silent prayer and vigil
April 3, 3 p.m.: Celebration of the Lord's Passion and Death, prayers of the people, veneration of the Cross and simple communion
April 4, 9:30 p.m.: The Great Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter, storytelling, baptism, sharing of communion and the feast (First Eucharist of Easter)
April 5, 11 a.m.
Jesuit video series
The Office of Mission and Ministry, in collaboration with Xavier University and campus partners, has produced a series of videos on Jesuit education, Ignatian spirituality and other related topics. The videos are part of an online orientation program that's broken into seven sessions. The first video, "The Life of St. Ignatius," appears below. For all seven of the orientation sessions and videos, you can visit
Mission and Ministry. For each session you'll find a brief intro of the video, suggested companion reading and reflection questions. And you'll also notice many familiar faces among the narrators!
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.