Archived Letters from Interim Director Fr. Howell, SJ

Summer Reading and the Livin’ is Easy

Published July 3, 2019 at 10:07 AM PDT

Summertime, and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high

A Year in Review

Published June 3, 2019 at 11:06 AM PDT

The Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture has had a remarkably rich year of conferences, lectures, faculty seminars, and interactions with other Jesuit institutions of higher education. In particular, I personally have been blessed by working with a remarkably talented, dedicated team of Jessica Palmer, program manager, Amber Larkin, senior administrative assistant, and Lucas Sharma, SJ, faculty fellow.

Fortitude in the Midst of Chaos!

Published May 8, 2019 at 11:05 AM PDT

In the days when I was principal of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, 1978-1983, Fr. Mike Tyrrell, the vice principal, and I made a pact: “Never make any life-changing decisions based on what happens in May.”

Practice Resurrection

Published April 10, 2019 at 11:04 AM PDT

For Christians the Lenten journey continues and culminates with the Pascal Mystery. The death and resurrection of Jesus is a mystery so dense that it takes time, days and months and years, to ponder and embrace. 

Summit in Rome Holds Prospects—but not yet the Reality—for Reform

Published March 12, 2019 at 11:03 AM PDT

Pope Francis just concluded the extraordinary summit of 190 bishops in Rome that he called to address the worldwide crisis of sexual abuse by clergy. Those of us in the United States know that such a summit is 34 years overdue. 

Ash Wednesday Calls us to Deeper Realities

Published March 4, 2019 at 9:03 AM PST

The prophet Joel trumpets the call to public repentance, "return to me with your whole heart; rend your heart not your garments."

In the Footsteps of Jesus: Agents of Hope

Published February 1, 2019 at 9:02 AM PST

Take delight in the LORD ,and he will grant you your heart's requests.Ps 37:4

“Blessings and Peace,”--we need it!

Published January 11, 2019 at 11:01 AM PST

Each new year begins in expectation and hope. The underlying core mission of the ICTC is that we are agents of hope, or as St. Paul mystically suggests, “We are stewards of the mystery of God.”

A holy day has dawned upon us. Today a great light has come upon the earth. (Gospel Alleluia verse for Christmas Day)

Published December 11, 2018 at 10:12 AM PST

The holy season of Christmas rolls around once again, and we have the Advent opportunity to enter into the quiet of these darkened days, letting God dwell more fully in our minds and hearts. It’s a time for family and friends, greeting cards, sacred music concerts, and, sometimes, by a quirk of grace, a surprise visit from an old friend.

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Published November 7, 2018 at 4:11 PM PST

November is the month that we remember the dead—all our beloved friends and family members who have gone on before us.  As I grow older, that great cloud of witnesses—people I have known and loved—grows larger and larger.  Just this last month I conducted three funerals or memorials.

Some Elements towards Reconciliation and Reform

Published October 25, 2018 at 4:10 PM PDT

One of the challenges we face as a center for the Catholic Intellectual heritage is that our audience is diffused and has multiple levels of knowledge and experience.  Some of us have been acutely aware of the seriousness of this issue for at least 33 years when Fr. Tom Doyle, O.P. first briefed all the American bishops on the intractability and incurability of the proclivity towards abuse of minors and outlined for all the bishops precisely what had to be done.

Season of Mellow Fruitfulness

Published October 2, 2018 at 4:10 PM PDT

Classes have finally started. And the Upper Mall is now bustling with students walking to and fro, enjoying the crisp, colorful autumn air. Keats had it right in his “Ode to Autumn”—“season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Enjoy the splendor of falling leaves.

Giving an Account for the Hope That Is in Us

Published September 5, 2018 at 4:09 PM PDT

Such an accounting seems eminently timely as we begin another academic year. “To give an account for the hope in us,” it’s not sufficient simply to catalogue all the terrific events that ICTC hosts, the grants it unleashes for faculty research, or the generous support elicited in donors, we need to delve deeper into the very purpose of the Institute.