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All Things Jesuit

Service, Community and Spirituality: A Second Act

July 3, 2017

Are you: 

  • 50 years or older?
  • Seeking meaningful, fulfilling work that benefits society?
  • Wanting to be part of a supportive spiritual community?

Well then, JV EnCorps (JVE) is just the program for you.

Launched in 2012, JV EnCorps grew out of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest, a 60-plus-year volunteer program that focuses on core values of community, simple living, social justice and spirituality. While JVs tend to be on the younger side—typically college graduates—the idea behind JVC EnCorps is to provide a similar opportunity for people with a little more tread on the tires who are retired or heading toward retirement.

JV EnCorps volunteers (JVEs) serve in part-time volunteer positions that allow them to make an impact on the lives of others, particularly those living on the margins. Although they don’t live together as Jesuit Volunteers do, JV EnCorps volunteers connect with each other in many ways. This includes monthly gatherings with other JVEs for community-building, support and reflective sharing; two group retreats; and opportunities for additional group social, spiritual or service activities.

Based in Portland, JV EnCorps is now available in six cities, including Seattle and Bainbridge/Kitsap. The Seattle group meets regularly at St. Joseph Church in Seattle and welcomes people from all spiritual traditions. (A current Seattle-area EnCorps volunteer was recently featured in Northwest Catholic.)

The application deadline for JVE is Aug. 15. Click here to learn more about the JVE program and to apply. If you prefer to complete a printed version of the application, please e-mail or call (206) 305-8911.

Father Conroy ministers to members of Congress

June 16, 2017

Pat Conroy, S.J., chaplain of the House of Representatives, is pictured here offering a prayer before the Congressional Baseball Game on June 15. A longstanding tradition that pits Democrats against Republicans to raise money for charity, this year’s game came on the heels of a shooting that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others while they were practicing. 

A member of the Oregon Province of Jesuits, Father Conroy previously served in Campus Ministry at Seattle University. Sworn in as House chaplain in 2011, Father Conroy spoke with The Commons during a return visit to campus in fall 2012.

SU, other Jesuit schools support continued climate action

June 12, 2017

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and the leaders of other Jesuit institutions have signed on to We Are Still In, an open letter pledging commitment to the Paris Agreement. Thus far, more than a thousand mayors, businesses, investors and colleges and universities have supported the statement in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to abandon the climate agreement. 

“I am deeply disappointed and concerned with President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Sundborg wrote to the campus community on June 2. 

“I also want to express my personal support for divestment from fossil fuels and continuing to explore how we can do so responsibly,” SU’s president continued. “Climate change is a defining issue for our students’ generation and their future. I stand with all who are committed to addressing it with a sense of urgency. Seattle University has made significant progress in recent years through our operations and programming to do our part, including the work of the President’s Committee for Sustainability (PCS) in implementing our Climate Action Plan.”

Rallanka and Busse ordained

June 6, 2017

Of the 29 Jesuits recently ordained in the United States, Canada and Haiti, two of them have Seattle University connections. Ryan Rallanka, S.J., a 2006 graduate of SU, was ordained in June. You can read his bio here. Brendan Busse, S.J., who served on the Matteo Ricci College, was also ordained in June. Click here to read his bio.

Father Howell headed to Orange County for one-year assignment

May 25, 2017

Pat Howell, S.J., has been named interim executive director of Loyola Institute for Spirituality (LIS) in Orange, Calif. His appointment begins Aug. 21 and will conclude July 1 of the following year when a permanent director is expected to start. Father Howell will then return to Seattle University, where he currently serves as Distinguished Professor in the Institute of Catholic Thought and Culture. 

LIS offers formation and grounding in Ignatian Spirituality to train and empower religious leaders and lay ministers throughout Southern California and beyond. 

Michael F. Weiler, S.J., provincial of the California Province, and Jerry Thode, LIS board chair, jointly announced Father Howell’s appointment, writing, “(He) will bring a wealth of experience to this year with the Loyola Institute” and will help “with visioning and review of programming as LIS celebrates 20 years of ministry to Orange County and beyond.” 

Father Howell has held a number of leadership roles at Seattle U, including dean of the School of Theology and Ministry, vice president for Mission and Ministry and rector of the Arrupe Jesuit Community. 

He is a prolific author whose writings include two books, Reducing the Storm to a Whisper: the Story of a Breakdown (1985; 2001), and As Sure as the Dawn:  A Spiritguide through Times of Darkness (1996). Father Howell wrote a regular column for The Seattle Times from 2005 to 2014; much of his recent scholarship has focused on Pope Francis. 

“The need and then the appointment certainly came as a surprise to me,” Father Howell admitted.  “The two provincials—Fr. Weiler and Fr. Scott Santarosa—were looking for someone with executive experience with a background in spirituality, so the vectors landed on me. It will be a welcomed challenge for advancing the ministry of Ignatian spirituality, but even more welcomed will be my return to Seattle U next year.”

Remembering a Beloved Jesuit

May 16, 2017

Hugh Duffy, S.J., who served as a visiting professor at Seattle University for eight years, passed away on April 28 at the age of 80. Father Duffy taught English and theology at SU from 2004 to 2012 before returning to his homeland of Ireland. 

Remembered as a “gentle Jesuit,” Father Duffy touched many lives as a teacher and priest. At Father Duffy’s funeral in Dublin, Brian Grogan, S.J., eulogized his friend as someone who “wanted people to know that they are loved and appreciated beyond words.” 

Tom Murphy, S.J., associate professor of history, says, “Fr. Duffy was extremely welcoming of any Seattle U faculty member who visited Dublin. He delighted in showing one and all the historical and literary sites of the city and the Irish countryside. During the fall of 2013, he hosted me for three months during a sabbatical and always showed an interest in my research while there. 

“He was eager to make anyone feel at home in his presence, and I was moved to witness several encounters he had with Protestants from the North of Ireland. He had a way of putting them at ease in the presence of a Catholic priest that illustrated what Fr. Grogan said about him.” 

Tessa Marejko, who graduated from Seattle University in 2010 with a nursing degree, took an elective course taught by Fr. Duffy. “I saw passion for what he was teaching,” she writes. “He never tried to push religion on anyone, but rather, gave his students the opportunity to reconnect with it. 

“When my mother passed in 2011, he wrote me e-mails, and always checked up on me. I often cried when I read his kind words…We never stopped writing to each other, although our busy lives kept us from writing more frequently. I will never forget him. He was a guiding light in my life, and a symbol of peace and genuine kindness.” 

Father Duffy entered the Society of Jesus in Ireland in 1954. He took his first vows in 1956 and final vows in 1974. He pursued his doctoral studies in English at Columbia University and Fordham University and served as a faculty member at a number of institutions in Ireland and the U.S. 

A memorial mass for Father Duffy will be celebrated at Seattle University, 11 a.m., Thursday, May 25, at the Chapel of St. Ignatius. Father Murphy will preside. All faculty, staff and students are invited to attend.

Ahead of his time?

May 3, 2017

St. Ignatius of Loyola is widely known for founding the Society of Jesus in the 16th century. Now, evidence on Seattle University’s campus has at least one staff member wondering whether the first leader of the Jesuits can also be credited with originating a modern-era dance craze.

Encountering this statue at Loyola Hall, Mike Mullen of Facilities Services asks, “Is Ignatius the inventor of ‘The Dab’? What else could this be?” 

Indeed a careful review of the position of Ignatius’ arms and his slightly bowed head suggest that he is about to Dab (or that he has just finished Dabbing). One could very easily picture his left arm raised to eye level and his right arm outstretched, both angling upward in parallel formation, as if toward the heavens. Hmmm…

Ready to build bridges

April 26, 2017

Fadi Aboulesaad, S.J., a student in the School of Theology and Ministry’s Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership program, was ordained into the Order of the Diaconate this month at the Chapel of St. Ignatius.

Ordination to the diaconate is the last step before priestly ordination in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

After Aboulesaad graduates from the Transformational Leadership program in June, he will return to his home country Egypt, where he co-founded “Point of Light,” an interfaith retreat for Muslims and Christians to offer a safe space for shared spiritualty. 

“I believe that our studies at the School of Theology and Ministry have changed our lives forever, and we are not able to be indifferent anymore, but peacemakers and agents of change,” says Aboulesaad. “I feel ready to go back to Egypt, stand with those who fight for freedom, dignity and social justice. I will carry with me all that I have learned here and all the love that I have received. My hope is to build bridges between communities and share not only religions, but different cultures.”

In above photo from left to right: Tito Cruz (STM Associate Dean of Academic Affairs), Dung Tran (faculty NCS), Carla Orlando (MATL professional coach), Joe Orlando (Director of the Center for Jesuit Education), Fadi Aboulesaad (Jesuit MATL student from Egypt) and Frank Savadera (Jesuit DMin student from the Philippines).

- School of Theology and Ministry

Holy Week at Seattle University

April 4, 2017

Campus Ministry invites all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to the following Holy Week celebrations at the Chapel of St. Ignatius.

Palm Sunday       April 9, 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Holy Thursday     April 13, 7:30 p.m.

Good Friday        April 14, 3 p.m. 

Easter Vigil         April 15, 9 p.m.

Easter Sunday    April 16, 11a.m. only

(Photo by Monica Lloyd)

AJCU opposes Administration's higher education budget

March 17, 2017

Representing the 28 Jesuit institutions of higher education throughout the United States, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has weighed in on the Trump Administration’s proposed higher education budget for fiscal year 18 (FY18).

“The proposed budget will eliminate or make cuts to critical and very successful programs including Pell Grants, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS) programs, all of which provide opportunities for many of our nation’s disadvantaged students to attend college,” AJCU wrote in a statement.

The full statement, which can be read here, concludes with the hope “that Congress will reject these harmful proposals and instead make appropriate decisions for the sake of our nation’s disadvantaged students and the future health of the U.S. economy.”

Bringing a Jesuit perspective to difficult conversations

March 8, 2017

Written by Pat Howell, S.J.

Race relations, police brutality, racism, police support, micro-aggressions, Jesuits and slavery, sexual consent/social justice, “Catholic mission—too much, not enough”—these are just a few of the difficult topics featured in the current issue of Conversations magazine. 

Capitalizing on the magazine, the Jesuit universities and colleges in the Heartlands/Delta region, from Chicago to New Orleans, used this same theme of “difficult conversations” for their well-attended faculty conference at Creighton University, Feb. 24-26.

The organizers of the Creighton conference recommended four articles from Conversations to be read in advance, including “A Spirituality of Citizenship: Cultivating the Ignatian Charism of Dialogue” by Michael P. Murphy of Loyola Chicago and “Difficult Conversations, One Bite at a Time,” by Thomas Curran, S.J., of Rockhurst University. The focus of the conference was active participation in engaging difficult conversations rather than simply talking about them.

The keynoter was Chris Pramuk, associate professor at Xavier University, who spoke on “Leaning into Difficult Conversations: An Ignatian Composition of Place,” offering a superb, contemplative approach for reframing the dialogic engagement needed for conflictual conversations. Two faculty members of the Werner Law Center of Creighton Law School, who specialize in mediation and conflict engagement, guided and facilitated actual, difficult conversations among the conference participants.

We commissioned articles on this theme last year because of the critical situations that had arisen in Baltimore and St. Louis. In each case, a young African-American male was either shot or brutalized by police. Loyola University of Maryland and St. Louis University were directly affected in the aftermath and found creative, “Jesuit” ways of responding to these race-laced situations.

The National Seminar has sought in recent years to partner with other AJCU events so that the magazine receives maximum use and effect. Similarly, the Seminar will partner with Seattle University for the Justice Conference this coming August when it publishes its next issue:  the Jesuit university as “Sanctuary for Truth and Justice.” The topic, rather obviously, arose following the turbulent ascendancy of the current U.S. president and his immediate implementation of discriminatory bans on immigration from Muslim countries and a fierce round up of undocumented peoples.

Pat Howell, S.J., is professor of theology and part of the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture. He chairs the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, publisher of Conversations. The National Seminar has a rotating membership of nine faculty members coming from each of the 28 Jesuit institutions of higher education and serving for a three-year term. Father Howell has been chair and general editor of the magazine for seven years.

Faith and Reason—Friends, Foes or Strangers?

March 1, 2017

On the first day of class when Eric Watson, S.J., walks in wearing a collar and clerics, his new students sometimes look confused, seemingly wondering whether they inadvertently registered for a theology course. While Father Watson certainly knows his way around theology, he is, by trade, an associate professor of chemistry. 

His students are not alone in thinking that priest-slash-scientist is an odd combination—if not an outright contradiction. 

This idea that science and religion just don’t mix was the starting point of a presentation Father Watson gave Feb. 28, titled “Reflections of a Jesuit Scientist.” (The talk was part of the Institute of Catholic Thought and Culture’s Jesuits in Science Series.) 

Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in Wyckoff Auditorium, Father Watson (right) invited attendees to consider for themselves the nature of the relationship between faith and reason: “Do they engage, oppose or ignore each other? Are they friends or foes or strangers?” 

He pointed to a Pew Research Center study in which a majority of respondents—nearly 60 percent—believe science and religion are often in conflict. (Interestingly, a much smaller percentage responded that their own beliefs conflict with science.) The media, Father Watson said, is significantly responsible for reinforcing this perception. He quoted Oxford University biochemist and Anglican priest Alister McGrath, who said, “There is a world of difference between saying that ‘science and religion are necessarily in conflict’ (which is historically indefensible) and ‘science and religion are sometimes in conflict and sometimes work together’ (which historically is true but will seem unexciting to many)." 

Conflict, Father Watson added, is actually just one of four models by which the relationship between faith and reason can be understood. He identified the other three as independence (science and religion are “polite strangers” operating in a sort of parallel, peaceful coexistence); complementarity (religion and science are in dialogue, informing and keeping one another honest, while still pretty much autonomous); and integration (science and religion are viewed cohesively through the prism of a personal relationship with a creative, active and loving God).

Father Watson deftly drew upon the wisdom and insights of scientists and theologians alike to elaborate and critique each model. Speaking from his personal experience as a priest and professor on campus, he shared his views on how Seattle University fosters an integration of religion and science. “Jesuit education promotes dialogue between faith and culture, which includes dialogue between faith and science.” Along those lines, he added that “It’s rewarding for me to see some of my students at Mass on Sunday and then at class on Monday.”

He also spoke with passion about his research. “This is what I make,” he said, pointing to a slide on the screen, “triple-decker organometallic compounds. They’re interesting…they’re colorful…they have eventual applications…but really, I love these things because they’re beautiful.” 

“There’s a lot of harmony,” Fr. Watson concluded, “between my life as a teacher, a priest and a researcher.”