Jesuit Institutions Make “Fall Call” for Humane Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Source: JESUITS

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Saint Joseph’s University students built a ‘fence’ on campus for “Fall Call” for Immigration Reform. It includes statistics and images to illustrate the injustices and struggles that undocumented people face on a daily basis.

September 26, 2013 — Nearly 30 Jesuit institutions across the country are hosting events in support of immigration reform during the week of September 22-29, 2013, as part of the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s immigration advocacy effort, the “Fall Call for Immigration Reform.” Jesuit institutions involved include 24 universities, two parishes, one high school and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and events will be held in 15 different states plus the District of Colombia.

The Ignatian Solidarity Network is a national social justice education and advocacy organization that works with Catholic institutions, primarily those sponsored by the Jesuits. The “Fall Call for Immigration Reform” includes supporting young people without documentation seeking higher education, maintaining family unity in all elements of the immigration system, protecting refugees and asylum seekers and respecting the rights of U.S. and immigrant workers.

“The advocacy of presidents, students and campus ministers from Catholic universities sends a clear moral message to elected officials that we must act now to fix our broken immigration system,” said Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Rockhurst University students pray the prayer of

Planned events include more than 30 Catholic Masses and prayer services intentioned for humane immigration reform, educational events and legislative lobbying via letter writing and phone calls. Highlights include a “Border Fence” being built on the campus of SaintJoseph’s University in Philadelphia; a bilingual Mass at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.; an interfaith prayer service at Regis University in Denver and Mass on the U.S.-Mexico border in Southern California with Loyola Marymount University students.

“The significant number of events on campuses and at parishes across the country demonstrates the significant desire that people of faith have for comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the Catholic value of human dignity,” said Christopher Kerr, Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “These actions send a strong message to the House of Representatives, including the 41 members who graduated from Jesuit universities, that Jesuit institutions support comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship.”

This initiative follows two important letters released this past summer. In May 2013, the U.S. Jesuit Provincials published a letter reiterating the call of the U.S. Catholic Bishops for immediate action on comprehensive immigration reform. In July, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Faith in Public Life coordinated a letter from more than 100 Catholic university presidents urging Speaker John Boehner and the U.S. House of Representatives to fix an immigration system they described as “morally indefensible.” [Ignatian Solidarity NetworkThe Paramus Post]

Quote of the day

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do Your will.

— St. Ignatius of Loyola

10th Anniversary of Brooklyn Jesuit Prep

Source: Brooklyn Jesuit Prep

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Fr. Vin DeCola, SJ, was the main celebrant at the Mass to celebrate the 10th anniversary of BJP.

On Sunday, September 22, Brooklyn Jesuit Prep (BJP) celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a Mass in the Church of St. Teresa of Avila. Fr. Vin DeCola, SJ, first president for BJP, was the main celebrant. Concelebrants were Frs. Saint Charles Borno, pastor of St. Teresa of Avila, Jim Keenan, SJ, second president of BJP and Dan Fitzpatrick, SJ, moderator of Brooklyn Jesuit Prep’s alumni association.

Brooklyn Jesuit Prep is a Jesuit middle school serving low-income families of diverse ethnicities and faiths in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Their mission is to develop young leaders who are intellectually competent, open to growth, loving, religious and committed to doing justice.  They achieve this goal through a rigorous academic program, an extended school day, a summer leadership camp and a graduate support program.  In this way, they break the cycle of poverty and further the Jesuit tradition of molding men and women for others.

Click here to view more photos on their Facebook page.

Kenya and Malawi: first graduation of university students sponsored by Jesuit Refugee Service

Source: Jesuit Refugee Service

KEN04_2013_0624_CF_479main(Rome) September 24, 2013 — After years of planning and hard work in harsh conditions, the first group of 48 refugees sponsored by Jesuit Refugee Service graduate from university this week. The refugee graduates have been participants in the innovative online Diploma in Liberal Studies managed by Jesuit Refugee Service and Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins.

“This is an incredible moment for these refugees, their families and communities. After being forced to flee in search of safety, shelter, food and employment, the idea of university seemed unattainable. It is a journey from survival to rebirth, the transformation in the lives of refugees and their communities,” said Fr Peter Balleis S.J., JRS International Director.

The first graduation ceremony took place yesterday in Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya where 25 refugees received their diplomas accredited by Regis University a Jesuit institution in Denver. The second ceremony will be held this Friday, when another 23 students in Dzaleka camp in central Malawi, will graduate. (Learn more about JRS and JC:HEM here.)

Refugee populations are increasingly static. Whole generations are born and raised in exile. In the past, the provision of primary education was thought to have been sufficient. Recently, there has been a growing recognition of the need for second and third level education. Refugee communities need their own teachers, social workers, nurses, psychologists and business people. Otherwise, they will remain dependent on donors, NGOs and international governmental agencies.

“This is an incredible moment for these refugees, their families and communities. After being forced to flee in search of safety, shelter, food and employment, the idea of university seemed unattainable. It is a journey from survival to rebirth, the transformation in the lives of refugees and their communities,” said Fr Peter Balleis S.J., JRS International Director.

The Jesuit initiative, Higher Education at the Margins, offers refugees opportunities to broaden their minds and help their communities. It combines the best of new technology with the Jesuit philosophy of Ignatian pedagogy, which emphasizes learning through experience, reflection and evaluation, action and service. Continue reading

A Big Heart Open to God

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Last week, an exclusive interview with Pope Francis, conducted by Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, was released simultaneously in 16 countries around the world in 12 languages. Around the world, major secular and Catholic media covered the interview and many Jesuits in the New England, New York and Maryland Provinces were asked to provide commentary. Click here for some highlights. 

New England Jesuit Father Named First Provincial of the New Central and Southern Province

Source: JESUITS

Mercier_Ronald_NENSeptember 23, 2013 —  Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás has set the feast of St. Ignatius, July 31, 2014, as the starting date for the new U.S. Central and Southern Province — a unification of the New Orleans and Missouri Provinces — and has chosen Jesuit Father Ronald A. Mercier as the first provincial. Fr. Mercier will succeed Jesuit Fathers Douglas W. Marcouiller (Missouri) and Mark A. Lewis (New Orleans).

Fr. Mercier currently serves as rector of Bellarmine House of Studies in St. Louis. He is a theology professor at Saint Louis University specializing in theological ethics, bioethics and social ethics. He also does sacramental ministry at the College Church and at St. Mary’s Assumption Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church.

Born in Holyoke, Mass., in 1953, Fr. Mercier is currently a member of the New England Province. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1975 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1987.

From 2006 to 2009 Fr. Mercier was executive director of the Jesuit Collaborative, a network linking ministries in Ignatian spirituality from North Carolina to Maine. Earlier he had served as dean and professor of ethics at Regis College, the Jesuit school of theology at the University of Toronto. He holds degrees in theology from Regis College and the University of Toronto as well as degrees in Slavic Studies and Russian history from Yale, Columbia and Harvard.

The Missouri and New Orleans Provinces conducted a lengthy and thorough discernment process that led to Fr. Mercier’s appointment, which included input from individual Jesuits, Jesuit communities and province staffs. [Missouri Province]