Jesuit USA Newsletter

October 24, 2000

In This Issue

JRS Worker Killed in Burundi

Br Antoine Bargiggia, a Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) worker in Burundi, was shot dead on October 3 by a man who approached his car at a roadblock.

Br Antoine, 43, a member of the Friends of the Poor, a congregation from Milan, lived in Burundi for 20 years. For the last three years he was project director in Buterere for JRS Burundi, for which he helped AIDS sufferers and the displaced population living there.

Violence in Burundi has intensified following an unsuccessful attempt to sign a cease-fire in Nairobi late last month. NGO sources in Burundi reported: "The situation is getting worse by the day since the failed attempt to reach a cease-fire, especially in the south of the country and north of the capital, Bujumbura." [Source: JRS Dispatches]


New Bulletin from the Social Apostolate

HEADLINES is a new bulletin of the social apostolate of the Society of Jesus. HEADLINES is for Jesuits and colleagues working throughout the social sector, as well as others who request it. It hopes regularly to give brief, interesting items of news, stimulate contacts, share spirituality, and promote networking.

HEADLINES is published in English, French, Italian, and Spanish, and is distributed by e-mail or, where needed, by mail. The first issue came out in mid-October, and anyone wishing to receive the bulletin, please send your name (if a Jesuit, also your Province; if not, your connection with the social apostolate), your e-mail address or mailing address, and the language of your choice to <[email protected]> or +39-0668-79-283 (fax) or by mail to: Social Justice Secretariat, CP 6139, 00195 Roma Prati, ITALY. [Michael Czerny, SJ, Social Justice Secretariat]


Jesuit Colleges and Universities to Develop Action Plans for Social Justice

Four hundred educators from the 28 US Jesuit colleges and universities ended a four-day conference, "Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education," at Santa Clara University with a promise to develop action plans for social justice at their individual campuses by next March.

"In the world we live in there are too many people who don't count, whose voices never get heard," said Paul Locatelli SJ, president of Santa Clara University, which along with Boston College and University of Detroit Mercy sponsored the event. "This conference renews the commitment of American Jesuit institutions to help our faculty, students, and alumni hear those voices and respond."

The unprecendented gathering, which included Roman Catholic leaders from Rome, Latin America, and the Far East, convened to identify the pursuit of social justice as a central theme for Jesuit higher education.

Conference keynote speaker Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, challenged the universities to act for justice from a deep spirit of faith.

"Jesuit universities have stronger and different reasons than many other academic and research institutions for addressing the actual world as it unjustly exists and for helping to reshape in the light of the Gospel," Fr Kolvenbach told the gathering on October 6.

He traced the conference theme -- to have colleges and universities embrace "an action-oriented commitment to the poor" -- back more than four centuries to the Jesuits' founder, St Ignatius. [Source: Santa Clara University]


Salvadoran Attorney General to Ask Judge to Reopen Jesuits' Case

Salvadoran Attorney General Belisario Artiga said he would petition a local judge to study reopening the case of the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter.

"We are treating this [announcement] with caution; it is not what we were asking for," said Pedro Cruz of the human rights institute at the Jesuit-run Central American University in San Salvador. "We want a new case to be opened, against new defendants, not a reopening of the old case," he said.

According to Cruz, the decision to seek a reopening of the case instead of asking another judge to open a new investigation is due either to "error, negligence, or bad intentions."

Earlier in October, the Jesuits called for the attorney general to "fulfill his role" and initiate a new investigation into the killings after the order had requested an inquiry into the involvement of ex-President Alfredo Cristiani and six top generals, all of whom are retired.

The attorney general has refused to take up the case on two separate occasions. But Artiga said October 16 that his office would ask San Salvador Judge Elmer Chavarria to review the possibility of reopening the original murder case against a group of military officers for their part in the killing.

Two of the officers, one of them a colonel, were sentenced to the maximum 30 years imprisonment in 1991, but were later released under an amnesty law passed by Cristiani's government.

Fr Jose Maria Tojeira SJ, rector of Central American University, said, "Obviously this [the request to reopen the case] is a trap." He added that the attorney general is "acting more like a defense lawyer for those we have accused rather than like an attorney general."

He said that for the moment the Jesuits have not taken any steps to open legal proceedings outside El Salvador, for instance in a Spanish court. Five of the murdered priests were Spanish.

But Fr Tojeira warned that "the traps being laid in this case by the attorney general are almost an invitation for us to do so."

Fr Tojeira said that if the authorities continue refusing to open a new investigation into the murders, "we will have to seriously consider thepossibility of suing the attorney general himself."

Jesuit authorities believe Cristiani knew about the orders from the then-army high command to murder the Jesuits.

The Jesuits said if the investigations do not occur they would seek a Supreme Court order to overturn the amnesty law and initiate legal proceedings abroad. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Loyola New Orleans's Crescent City Farmers Market Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Farmers Market This October marks the fifth anniversary of the Loyola University New Orleans­sponsored Crescent City Farmers Market. This urban outdoor "store" started as a place for a dozen farmers and gardeners to hawk their produce directly to city dwellers and restauranteurs alike and has since grown into a full-fledged local institution.

The Saturday and Tuesday Markets combined now average over 65 small-scale farmers, fishermen, gardeners, and over 2,000 shoppers each week. Their efforts have incubated 22 new businesses, pumped new life into old ones, and rewarded the hard work of small farmers and fishers who showcase their fresh products.

A June 1999 study, conducted by Tulane University business school students, revealed that the market generates over $1 million in economic impact benefiting vendors and downtown businesses, thus creating a new vision of regional cooperation. [Source: Loyola University New Orleans] Visit the Market's web page at

For a Company feature story go to


Colombian Guerrillas Release Kidnapped Spanish Jesuit

Fr Alejandro Matos, a Spanish Jesuit kidnapped by the small People's Liberation Army (EPL) in Santander, Colombia, was released October 1.

The EPL planned to request a ransom for his release, but Fr Matos became a "hot potato" after his captors realized he was a Catholic priest.

The EPL asked the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's second-largest guerrilla group, to handle the release, and the priest was set free in the middle of the Bolivar jungle.

Bishop Jaime Prieto Amaya of Barrancabermeja, called by the ELN to receive the priest, said that Fr Matos was "in good shape, but in need of a long rest" and confirmed that no ransom was paid. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Jesuit among Nation's Top Nonprofit Executives

Fred Kammer Fr Fred Kammer SJ, president of Catholic Charities USA, is among the nation's top nonprofit executives this year, according to the NonProfit Times newspaper.

Fr Kammer was named in the paper's third annual "Power and Influence Top 50" for his influence in the nonprofit sector during the past year and throughout his nine-year tenure as head of the nation's largest private network of social service agencies.

The newspaper said that Fr Kammer "makes his influence on social issues felt around the globe. And, he continues to be a leader in blunting the federal government's attempts to shift its burden onto the nonprofit sector."

Last June Fr Kammer announced that he would step down as Catholic Charities president at the end of his term in September 2001. He said he had met his goals for the organization, helping guide it to sound footing spiritually, structurally, and financially. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Items from the Schools

Xavier University Hosts Millennium Peace Celebration

Spiritual leaders from around the world converged at Xavier University in late September for the Millennium Peace Celebration. The leaders represent the International Interreligious Peace Council, a 16-member delegation of world religions, whose goal is to promote peace for all people.

Speakers included Nobel Prize winner and peace activist Máiread Corrigan Maguire and Most Rev Samuel Ruiz García, retired Roman Catholic Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico. [Source: Xavier University]

Online Learning has Impact on Jesuit Colleges

Richard Vigilante, executive director of Jesuit Distance Education Network (JNET), has been given a mandate by 24 of the 28 US Jesuit colleges and universities to develop online learning for them. He says, that unlike some large public universities, the Jesuit schools are not putting entire academic programs online. A student pursuing a graduate degree at a Jesuit university still must enroll in an individual school and have contact with professors.

Today, students with time constraints rely on brief personal encounters with professors and fellow students and spend most "class" time reading lectures online and participating in Internet chat-room discussions.

Vigilante, former head of New York University's Virtual College, says online learning is not for everyone, "but when the course is well-designed, it's analogous to a graduate seminar, with better discussion."

Partial online learning can make continuing education easier. For example, next spring a teacher in Massachusetts will be able to pursue a degree in Catholic school administration at Boston College, Fordham University, or the University of San Francisco.

The teacher would take online versions of at least two courses developed by the three schools for credit at the school where he or she is enrolled. If the joint program develops as planned, the teacher could commute to New York or Boston for summer courses, while taking courses online during the school year. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

Visit JNET online at

Georgetown University to Strengthen Jesuit and Catholic Identity

Georgetown University President Leo J O'Donovan SJ has announced a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing Georgetown's Catholic and Jesuit identity.

The immediate steps include inaugurating a second chair in Catholic Social Thought (the first chair is currently held by the Fr John P Langan SJ); promoting dialogue among faculty about Jesuit pedagogy through the work of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, a new center that will make these discussions a part of its overall mission; supporting Jesuit recruitment through the establishment of a standing committee of Jesuits and other faculty members; and creating a Center for Social Justice, Teaching, Research, and Service that will focus on expanding the ways that Georgetown integrates research and service into academic life. [Source: Georgetown University]

Jesuit Colleges again Ranked among Best in Nation

Jesuit colleges and universities once again made it into US News & World Report's annual ranking of the nation's best colleges. In the national ranking, Georgetown University (23d) and Boston College (38th) made the top 50. Holy Cross was 29th among national liberal arts colleges.

Among regional universities, Creighton University topped the list in the Midwest; John Carroll University tied for 4th; Xavier University ranked 7th; and Rockhurst College was 15th.

Schools making it to the top 15 in the North were Fairfield University (3d), Loyola College (5th), University of Scranton (7th), and Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia (10th). Among liberal arts colleges in the North, LeMoyne College tied for sixth.

Four of the top 15 regional universities in the West were Jesuit schools: Santa Clara University (2d), Loyola Marymount University (3d), Gonzaga University (4th), and Seattle University (13th).

Loyola University in New Orleans (7th), Wheeling Jesuit University (12th), and Spring Hill College (tied for 15th) made the top 15 in the Southern region.

US News & World Report based its rankings on a wide range of factors, including academic reputation, retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.

The US News survey has come under increasing criticism this year when the Washington Monthly reported in its September issue that a 1997 report commissioned by US News found the survey methodology lacking "any defensible or theoretical basis." [Source: US News & World Report and Loyola College Maryland]

US News & World Report web site is at:

University of Detroit Mercy Announces Catholic Studies Program

The University of Detroit now offers an Arthur F McGovern SJ Catholic Studies certificate program where students will learn how the Catholic intellectual tradition has influenced history, art, religion, literature, and people's lives.

The program, named in honor of former UDM philosophy professor Fr McGovern, who died in May, will be an interdisciplinary program focusing on several areas of interest, including traditions of Catholic spirituality and theology and Christian perspectives on the human person and human development. [Source: University of Detroit Mercy]

Jesuit Colleges Make List of Praying Schools

Four Jesuit colleges made the top 20 in a list of colleges where students pray on a regular basis, according to surveys conducted by the Princeton Review.

College of the Holy Cross (8), Creighton University (11), Loyola Marymount University (14), and Saint Louis University (19) made the list.

The rankings are included in Princeton Review's 2001 edition of the Best 331 Colleges, which profiles the nation's top schools. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Jesuit Weekly Rehabilitates Oscar Wilde

A Jesuit weekly has rehabilitated Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde on the centenary of his death, hailing his turn to spiritual values and deathbed conversion to Catholicism, the Associated Press reported.

La Civilitŕ Cattolica observed it had once condemned Wilde and his most famous poem, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," which was inspired by his imprisonment for homosexual offenses.

In the current edition, Father Antonio Spadaro said the two years the poet spent in jail were "really tough for Wilde, comforted only by some letters, even of a spiritual nature".

Wilde died in Paris on Nov. 30, 1900. Father Spadaro wrote that the priest summoned to his deathbed was "absolutely sure" Wilde knew he was converting even though he appeared semiconscious. As further evidence of Wilde's interest in the Church, Fr Spadaro wrote that Wilde wanted to go to a Jesuit retreat after his release from prison in 1897. The Jesuits asked him to wait a year as a test that his desire was real, the news agency noted. [Source: Zenith News Service]


For Your Reading Pleasure

"Brother Astronomer, Adventures of a Vatican Scientist," by the American Jesuit Br Guy Consolmagno SJ is a science book for everyone. It is an excellent new book. Br Guy hunts metorites from Mars in the wastes of Antarctica, among other things. Young people will find it inspiring too. (McGraw Hill, 2000). [Source: Bill Winkler, parishioner of St Rita, in Dallas, run by the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province]


Seniors Find Joy, Spirituality with Ignatian Volunteer Corps

Jesuit Frs James R Conroy and Charles Costello formed the Ignatian Lay Volunteer Corps (ILVC) program five years ago to provide men and women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s the opportunity to serve the needs of the poor in their local communities for 20 hours a week, nine months of the year from September through July.

One ILVC volunteer is John O'Hagan, a retired engineer, who counsels Baltimore's working poor about dealing with their delinquent mortgages. "The spiritual component was the key," O'Hagan says. Like the other volunteers, he wanted to "give something back" because God had been good to him, but he also wanted a way to significantly enrich his spiritual life.

As life spans lengthen, the population of retired people in good health grows, and many seniors are discovering that they want more from their post-working life than leisure. Through the program, the volunteers have the chance to help others and to also grow spiritually by reflecting on their experience of service.

What began in 1995 as a modest effort with 11 volunteers in three cities -- Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia --has grown to 60 volunteers in eight mid-Atlantic and East Coast cities and is planning to expand into Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Recent Appointments

*** In an October 3 letter, Fr General appointed Mark Rotsaert SJ as the new president for the Conference of European Provincials (CEP).

Rotsaert is the present Provincial of Northern Belgium, and since April 28 the Acting President of the CEP. In his letter Fr General said that normally the job of CEP President should be a full-time one, but at the same time he asks Mark Rotsaert to remain Provincial of the Northern Belgian Province for some time. [Source: Jesuits in Europe - News Service of the Conference of European Provincials SJ]

*** Fr Eugene Geinzer SJ (MAR) has been named the new rector at Loyola College in Maryland; he succeeds Fr Patrick Earl SJ (MAR).


Remembrance of Things Past


From the Editor

JesuitUSA News is a service of Company Magazine. All correspondence concerning this mailing list should be sent to the editor at <[email protected]>. The newsletter is available to all Jesuits, to those who work with them, or to those who are simply interested in what they are doing. Tell your friends; the price is right! If you are requesting addition to the list, please include your real name as well as your email address. If you are changing your address, please include YOUR NAME as well as both the NEW and the OLD email addresses.

The editor of this Newsletter is Richard VandeVelde SJ who is ably assisted by Ms Rebecca Troha, Assistant Editor. They would both like to remind you of the following useful WWW links for items of Jesuit interest. Many of these links will lead you to others.



Copyright(c) Company Magazine, 2000. Updated: 10/25/00