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.
For a LARGER VERSION, click here.
Dave Anderson, S.J., already ministers to Redhawks as chaplain for SU's alumni as well as the men's basketball team. Hawks of a different persuasion were recently added to his fold recently: Fr. Anderson is now one of two priests who celebrate mass for Catholic Seahawks players and coaches the night before their games.
It's a familiar role for Fr. Anderson. He had previously been filling in for the outgoing "Seahawks priest," Father Tom Belleque. In addition, Anderson had been celebrating mass for Catholic players and coaches on the visiting teams when they came to play the Seahawks. He seems to have done a good job of helping the opponents keep things in perspective and not put up too much of a fight at CenturyLink. Now he's preaching to the good guys.
Of course for Anderson, it's not about influencing games. As he told
Northwest Catholic, "I love the Seahawks and I want to see them win, but my primary interest is how can I go to those places where the Eucharist is not being offered."
In the news...
Here's a quick (and by no means exhaustive) compilation of some recent news about the Society of Jesus, locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
1. Seattle Nativity School opened the 2014-2015 school year-its second year of existence-by welcoming 16 new 6th graders alongside the returning 17th 7 graders. Read more about the Jesuit middle school just up the road
here. (Our own Peter Ely, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, is on the school's board.
2. The new leader of the Northwest Jesuits, Scott Santarosa, S.J., is profiled in Catholic Sentinel.
Learn more about the role he sees for the Society of Jesus and the Province.
3. Martin Scorsese is directing a movie about a Jesuit mission to Japan. You can read about the movie "Silence," set to come out next fall, and how it's different and similar to other films featuring Jesuits at
4. Timothy Kesicki, S.J., president of the U.S. Jesuit Conference and a board member of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, joined other national religious leaders in calling on President Barack Obama to protect children fleeing Central America. Read about it in
5. In case you missed it, there was a recent article in
"With their first pope, Jesuits are making a comeback."
Two of our colleagues have contributed pieces for the latest
Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, which is
now available online and will soon be delivered to all SU faculty and staff. The Fall 2014 edition is titled "Mission Integration: With Pope Francis and Catholicism Today."
Our very own
Pat Howell, S.J.
, of the School of Theology and Ministry has written the lead essay, "The People's Pope." In it, Father Howell examines the first year and a half of Francis's papacy and advises Jesuit colleges and universities "to pursue certain themes that emerge from reflection on (the pope's) life and a deeper discernment of the energies arising from God's presence in his life"--he provides seven points to consider. Howell, as you might remember, was a translator of the much-read interview with Pope Francis, "A Big Heart Open to God," that appeared in
America, last year.
And Connie Kanter, chief financial officer and vice president of finance and business affairs, contributed "Discerning Finances Through the Lens of Mission," writes about how universities can utilize five-step process of discernment steeped in Ignatian spirituality to make financial decisions. Again, the online version of Conversations can be
Celebrating our shared mission
By Pat O'Leary, S.J.
Seattle University faculty and staff are invited to celebrate the Feast of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, with two events on Thursday, July 31: a continental breakfast from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Arrupe Jesuit Residence and a mass at 12:30 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Ignatius, with Rector Tom Lucas, S.J., as the presider. The Commons asked Pat O'Leary, S.J., (left) chaplain for faculty and staff-who has been known to play the role of St. Ignatius from time to time-to reflect on the Feast of St. Ignatius and what it means for our university and shared educational mission. Here's what he shared.
It has been a tradition at Seattle University that we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius on July 31
with an "open house" at the Jesuit residence named after the former Superior General, Pedro Arrupe.
Fr. Arrupe is considered by post Vatican II Jesuits as a kind of second founder. Arrupe in his personal witness, his ways of proceeding, his humble and courageous leadership embodied the spirit of
This year’s Feast of St. Ignatius is additionally significant for SU as that’s the day Scott Santarosa, S.J., takes over as provincial for the Oregon Province. There’s a nice profile of Father Santarosa at Jesuits.org. SU’s Pat Howell, S.J., tells us that Pat Lee, S.J., who has served as provincial since 2008, has been appointed Jesuit superior of the Biblicum Institute in Jerusalem, a role he will take on in January after a brief sabbatical.
Ignatius. His articulation of that spirit in his letters to the Society prior to his debilitating stroke in 1980 focused on the interior freedom of Ignatius, his capacity to find and be found by God in all things, and his radical grounding in the Love that is God. Freedom in Ignatius, Arrupe observed, manifested itself in a discerning mind and heart profoundly open and available to the invitations of Word and empowering Spirit. His capacity to find and be found sustained an abiding intimacy with God in being and acting. Intimacy itself resulted in assimilation to the self-giving, vulnerable Love of God made manifest in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
In addition to Arrupe, this year's celebration offers another prism through which we glimpse Ignatius' spirit and vision in service-the surprising, unexpected phenomenon of Pope Francis. Like Ignatius before him Jorge Mario Bergoglio was deeply inspired by the little poor man from Assisi. When asked what it means to have a Jesuit pope his reply was whole hearted and immediate: "Discernment!" In Arrupe's reflection we encounter what it is to "be" discerning; Pope Francis gives us a sense of the "definition" in action. Coming together to celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius we rejoice in the ways Ignatius' spirit and vision animate our own shared mission.
All is transformed
Mike Bayard, S.J., former director of Campus Ministry, delivered the following homily on June 8. It was his last mass at the Chapel of St. Ignatius before taking on his new role assistant for parish ministries for the Oregon and California Provinces.
A traumatic week in Seattle: three shootings-two men in Central District last Saturday; one student died and three injured at SPU; Early Saturday morning murder in the ID; All the result of gun violence.
Fitting on this Feast of Pentecost to take a moment of silence to pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit remembering those who died and were injured as well as praying that the Holy Spirit enlighten the minds of our leaders to find ways of curbing gun violence. Let us take a moment of silence and pray.
A classroom clock emitted a "loud, obnoxious beep" and flashed the word, "lockdown" in bold, red letters. Doors immediately locked, shades drawn, lights off; students hunkered down under desks and pressed themselves against the walls. Quiet, except for muffled sounds down the hall. Some texted family, "I love you," "I am ok." And other students prayed. Anxious and great fear gripped so many in Otto Miller Hall on Thursday afternoon.
Lockdowns have become the new normal. (SPU, UCSB, Newtown, Virginia Tech) We can so easily live in a state of fear, guardedness of our surroundings, and trepidation of stepping outside our front doors on a daily basis. Our lives put on hold. Locked Down!
Days after his death, the disciples disillusioned, blinds drawn in an upper room, locked down for fear of the Jews. Would they be next, as friends of Jesus, who days earlier-at Golgotha-had witnessed the authorities crucify their leader, mentor…friend?
And what would Jesus say if he showed up? Having abandoned him; shame and guilt dogged them. Locked down in their hearts.
What is it when we find ourselves disillusioned, fearful, locked down in our hearts?
What is it about the terror? The fright? The anxiety we can experience at different times in our lives that can paralyze our hearts; questioning and renegotiating what we hold dear?
The unknown, what lies ahead…
B. New positions
C. Less than desirable diagnosis
D. Loss of a loved one or a relationship.
And yet for weeks-in his Farewell Discourse-Jesus assures us we will not be left orphan. He promised the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, would make HER home in us. The Holy Spirit, the Paschal Mystery living in our hearts.
Death … the unknown…has no hold on us. Only life, possibility, freedom, healing, opportunity.
Can we hear his heartfelt words, "Peace be with you?" Do we have firm faith to allow Jesus to unlatch our locked down hearts, so that he can breathe his crucified and yet, resurrected life into us, so we might live??
The Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, wakes us up; enlivens us, fans the flame so that our hearts glow with God's passion in the deep down unfamiliar and often familiar landscapes where we may find a new life we never dreamed we were worthy of…
The Holy Spirit whooooshes in inspires us to take up those great risks; new opportunities; helps us to decipher the often chaotic complexities of life; engages us with new possibilities…new frontiers…even if we move tentatively at first.
I am reminded of Pablo Neruda's poem,
Father Bayard is pictured here with Dan Doyle of Matteo Ricci and Doyle’s family, after mass at the Chapel of St. Ignatius on June 8.
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
and open …
And in that opening? The Holy Spirit is at work and all is transformed, even things we can hardly even imagine.
All is transformed…from the chaos of our very beginnings, the earth, a formless wasteland, the Spirit of God swept over the waters granting us with light … life … goodness!
The Holy Spirit is at work when, in a backwater town, the Spirit of God came upon a Virgin, and conceived an impossibility within her…and with her, YES, she brings to term the One who saves us!
All is transformed…when, in a darkened upper room, in the tragic days after Jesus' crucifixion, the Holy Spirit ignites his friends with great courage to speak truth…to build a CHURCH founded on love, justice, faithfulness!
The Holy Spirit is at work when in the midst of the terrible tragedy at SPU, this SU community reaches out with cards and prayers with assurances of courage, kindness and love.
All is transformed when after four years of this Jesuit education, none of us no longer looks to ourselves first. No, we look outwards to bring the Spirit's counsel, gentleness, and love to those most in need.
All is transformed…when, in this Chapel of Saint Ignatius community, the Spirit of God comes upon these gifts (you and me, this community, and this bread and wine) to make them Holy so that we might become the Body of Christ for one another.
With surprise and often wild abandon the Spirit unfastens and opens our locked down hearts. She, the source of life; She, the force that energizes; She, the one that anoints us with courage, determination and strength so that we might freely, truthfully, courageously live our vocation in this world.
Jesus comes, stands in our midst and says, "Peace!"
Come, Holy Spirit, lover of the poor, the light of human hearts, the kind guide and giver of gifts, the gracious visitor who eases our toils, the consoler with cool grace and light in darkness, the warmer of our hearts and healer of our wounds, the gift of our joy.
(Photo provided by Patrick Howell, S.J.)