Jesuit Homily: Turn the Other Cheek

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Unlike most chaplains, Fr. George Williams, SJ, has to wear a Kevlar vest to Mass.

Fr. George Williams, SJ, the Catholic chaplain of the San Quentin State Prison in California recently had one of his homilies recorded for Catholic radio. The homily was based off of the gospel reading from Matthew in which Jesus talks about turning the other cheek.

“If you respond with violence…you become automatically like the person who has attacked you and you have surrendered your dignity,” said Fr. Williams. “But when you refuse to stoop to their level, you have won.”

Click below to listen to his full homily.

Loyola Press to Release Pope Francis’ Book

met pope bookPope Francis has quickly gained praise for his informal and down to earth way of communicating to the world, from off-the-cuff interviews with reporters to homilies for hundreds of people.

Now for the first time, an English translation of Pope Francis’ essays, speeches and homilies is being published by Chicago-based Jesuit publisher Loyola Press. The publisher is known for such bestsellers as Chris Lowney’s Heroic Leadership and Fr. James Martin’s, SJ, My Life with the Saints.

Entitled, The Church of Mercy, the work presents an English-speaking audience with the Pope’s views on solidarity with the poor and his mission to combat the idolatry of power and money. All written in his own informal style, it is intended for both believers and non-believers.

“For us as a small, Jesuit-owned publishing company, to publish a book by Pope Francis in the English language market was a no-brainer,” Joe Durepos, the executive editor of trade acquisitions at Loyola Press, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s everything we’re about as we move into the 21st century. The mandate I got was: ‘Get the book.’”

The book will be available for pre-order starting March 13, the one year anniversary of Pope Francis’ election.

Volunteer Teachers Needed in the Pacific

Are you a graduating college senior with a passion for teaching and travel?

If so then you may be interested in teaching at Yap Catholic High School in Micronesia.

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A shot of the faculty during their February retreat in Maap located in the northern part of Yap.

Yap Catholic High School (YCHS) is currently accepting applications for volunteer teachers who are willing to spend one or two years in service to the Jesuit run school. Past volunteer teachers have enjoyed the opportunity to live on a fascinating island with a rich culture.

Alex, a first year volunteer and Fordham alumnus said, “Yap has been the adventure of a lifetime. Living and serving in this culture of tradition, community, and compassion has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.”

YCHS opened its doors in September of 2011 with thirty-five students. School principal and co-founder, Fr. Michael Corcoran, SJ, said, “Yap Catholic High School attracts students from across the island – students who are hard-working, highly motivated, and easy to teach.” All of the current seniors (first graduating class) have been accepted into at least one four-year college in the US, many having received scholarships. Click here to read more about becoming a volunteer.

Interested applicants can email Fr. Corcoran, SJ, at mpcorcoransj@hotmail.com

Learn more about the school’s construction here.

On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering

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Pauline Books and Media has published an anniversary edition of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letterOn the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering. This is the 30th anniversary of the pope’s letter which addresses the question of why God allows for suffering in the world.

This edition features the complete text of the letter along with commentary by New England Province Provincial Fr. Myles Sheehan, SJ.  Fr. Sheehan’s commentary includes points for reflection, prayer and action that can be used  by individuals or in study groups. The book is available online.

Vatican Acknowledges Jesuit Operas

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Recently, Fr. T. Frank Kennedy, SJ, professor of music at Boston College, sent Pope Francis a CD he produced containing two Jesuit operas. The first opera, written in 1621, was originally performed for the canonization of Sts. Ignatius and Francis Xavier.

But it was the second opera that made Fr. Kennedy think of the Argentinian Pope: “The second is a small chamber opera entitled San Igancio from the Jesuit missions of Paraguay.” He explains, “Since the original Paraguay Province in those days included Argentina, I thought the Holy Father might be interested.”

The gift did not fall upon deaf ears – Fr. Kennedy received a response in the form of a letter from Monsignor Peter Wells, assessor in the secretary of state office in the Vatican, who thanked him for the recording:

His Holiness Pope Francis warmly appreciates this display of closeness, and asks you to pray for him and to ask others to pray for him. He warmly imparts the desired Apostolic Blessing, which he also extends to the faithful who have participated in those recordings.

Gladly I take the opportunity to express to you my own appreciation and esteem in Christ.

Those interested in listening to the Jesuit operas can request a copy from Fr. Kennedy by emailing him at frank.kennedy@bc.edu.

Taking Flight: Visiting the Jesuit Works of Micronesia

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Fr. Ciancimino with Fr. Wayne Tkel, SJ, religion teacher at a local high school, and Fr. Greg Muckenhaupt, SJ, director of schools for the diocese of the Caroline Islands.

Photos give glimpses of the love, joy and the spiritual richness that seems to be visible around nearly every corner of Micronesia, the string of Pacific Ocean island nations visited recently by V. Rev. David Ciancimino, SJ.

But shared memories from the trip, unpacked over the last few weeks, say even more.

A room full of young people eager with questions about Jesuit vocations. A family who delivered a basket of local food and fruit that would last for days as their way of expressing deep gratitude for a Jesuit who celebrated a family funeral. High school students willing to pick up machetes and pickaxes to clear land for a new classroom. A local dignitary fighting back tears while speaking about the ways Jesuits and volunteers have impacted local lives by opening a Catholic high school that had been discussed and dreamed of for decades. Countless local leaders and two Micronesian presidents who are the products of Jesuit education on the islands. Continue reading

International Women’s Day Celebration at the Centro

centro logoOn Thursday, March 6 from 6 – 9 p.m. the Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia will recognize women leaders from Washington Heights and Inwood for the 4th annual International Women’s Day. This is not only a way to honor these women but also a way to help support the Centro.

Located in Washington Heights, the Centro Altagracia was established in 2005 by the New York Province Society of Jesus. Their mission is to put faith into action and promote social justice in collaboration with local parishes, community based organizations, elected officials and the people of the community. Continue reading