June 13, 2003
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation have announced plans to grant $18.9 million to create 12 new small college-preparatory high schools across the country. The schools will be modeled after the highly successful Cristo Rey Jesuit High School of Chicago, which serves low-income and minority youth using a formula of rigorous coursework, an innovative work-study program, and high expectations for all students.
The combined investment will strengthen and expand a network of schools modeled after Cristo Rey and enable high-quality Catholic education to remain a viable option for young 'ducation by sharing entry-level clerical jobs at local businesses. The proceeds subsidize three-quarters of the cost of tuition, making the school an affordable option for most families.
Since its establishment in 2000, the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation has helped launch four new Cristo Rey model schools and has financed several feasibility studies for future schools.
"We are excited to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," said B.J. Cassin, chairman and president of the Cassin Educational Initiative. "The Cristo Rey model is an amazingly effective way to make high-quality education available to economically disadvantaged young people." [Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation]
Company magazine articles on Cristo Rey:
Other sites of interest:
Fr Eric Zimmer SJ, who teaches at Georgetown University, will spend the summer bicycling from coast to coast to raise funds for post-abortion counseling offered through Project Rachel.
Fr Zimmer began his 4,000-mile journey in Anacortes, Wash., north of Seattle, on Memorial Day and hopes to complete what he calls the "LifeRide" by July 20 in Washington, D.C.
Averaging 80 miles a day, he will travel across the northern United States through Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, then south to Indiana, through Ohio and Pennsylvania and finally along the C & O Canal towpath from Western Maryland into the District of Columbia.
The main purpose of the ride, he said, is to raise awareness -- and money -- for Project Rachel and the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. Each night Fr Zimmer will stay in a Catholic parish, where he will speak about post-abortion healing and raise money to benefit Project Rachel.
To train for the ride, Fr Zimmer rode his bicycle for two to four hours a day, five days a week, gradually increasing his time as the Washington weather improved this spring.
The Jesuit said he hopes to raise as much as $50,000 during his eight-week ride. "I tend to have big dreams," he said. "As they say, there's no glory in climbing a small hill." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
A website documenting the journey is at: www.liferide.us
The tiny former soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan is a Muslim-dominated democratic country, with Bishkek as its capital city. However minority Christian communities do make a place in this Central Asian country.
The infamous Stalin era and WWII brought hundreds of war deportees to this place. In spite of the atheist communism and other hurdles, the Catholics kept their faith. Even today they struggle to keep their faith alive.
The Catholic faith was officially recognized by the State in 1969. Today, in church terms, Kyrgyzstan is a "missio sui juris" with Jesuit Fr Alexander Kan as the Administrator. In Bishkek there is a small church building which can hold 200 people. It has a vibrant catholic community which is spread over far and wide in more than 25 villages.
In addition to Fr Alexander Kan, there are three Jesuits in Kyrgyzstan: Fr Janez Mihelcic, superior of the Bishkek Jesuit community and teacher at the Bishkek State University; Fr Ivan Kan, Fr Alexander's brother; and Fr Paul Chemparathy, who studies Russian at the University. Kyrgyzstan is part of the Russian Independent Jesuit Region (RUS).
Two weeks ago the Church received official permission from the State government to visit prisons. Hence the Catholic community can express in action its love for the needy and imprisoned. [Source: Paul Chemparathy <[email protected]> in Bishkek; Olvin Veigas <[email protected]> in Moscow]
Further information on Kyrgyzstan can be found at: http://www.gov.kg/cgi-bin/page.pl and http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/kg.html#People
Although they differ in some fundamental ways, the scandals in the Catholic Church over sexual abuse of children and at the New York Times over fictitious stories by former reporter Jayson Blair have some lessons to offer one another, Fr Jim Martin SJ, associate editor of America magazine, wrote in a guest column published in the Dallas Morning News.
Although he said the numerous accusations of sexual abuse of minors by priests are "certainly far greater crimes than plagiarism or making up quotes," Fr Martin added that "it is instructive to note that despite the noblest of histories, the tightest of controls, the most talented of employees and the best of intentions any institution is capable of being used by a manipulative person for his or her own ends.
"Moreover, the immorality of some does not mean that the institution is fundamentally flawed, that all its employees are corrupt or that it cannot continue in its mission of public service," he said. "It might be useful for the media to reflect on this the next time they cast a critical eye on the Catholic Church."
But Fr Martin said the church can also learn from the Times, which devoted thousands of hours to investigating the Jayson Blair incident, and from the recent resignations of executive editor Howell Raines and managing editor Gerald Boyd.
The Times "showed that it understood the need to come clean immediately -- and publicly -- about its wrongdoings," Fr Martin wrote. "Top management also showed a willingness to accept responsibility for the institution's failures."
By contrast, many Catholic dioceses in the United States failed to respond swiftly and openly to clergy sex abuse charges, "and the church still pays the price for their tragic slowness," he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
The Jesuit order in Japan is reaching out to the growing number of middle-aged men who have lost their jobs from failed corporations.
The figure, about 30,000 according to Church sources, grows steadily upwards as the recession deepens. There are 6,000 on the streets of Tokyo alone. Japanese law does not allow the homeless to sleep out in the open.
In 1998, with outside help, some of them formed the association Nojiren, a kind of union for the homeless, in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
Fr Shimokawa Masatsugu SJ is a member of Nojiren and says it has had some success. Last year it was instrumental in encouraging the government to pass a bill promising jobs, medical help, and counseling to those on the brink of homelessness.
"By forming relationships of companionship, the homeless are becoming more and more self-supporting," he said. [Source: Independent Catholic News]
Italian Jesuit Antonio Ferrua died on May 25 in Rome at the age of 102. Fr Ferrua was the author of more than 400 publications. His name is closely associated with the excavations carried out by the wish of Pius XII under the Vatican Basilica. He directed the excavations from 1944 to 1949 and identified the tomb and the relics of the apostle Peter under the basilica. He was also active in the field of epigraphy.
As a side note: his death leaves only three Jesuits world-wide who are 100 years old or more. They are: Br Wilhelm K. Wolters (Province of South Brazil, born in 1900), Fr James A. Martin (Maryland, born in 1902), and Fr Francis A. Logan (Oregon, born in 1902). [Source: www.jesuits-europe.org]
Fr Daniel Berrigan SJ, a longtime peace activist, urged members of Infant Jesus Parish in Port Jefferson, NY, to prepare for "the next war, the next horror," by becoming peacemakers. "The blessing of beatitude is not given to peaceable people," Fr Berrigan said on May 15. "It is given to peacemakers," those who actively work for peace in the world, he added.
Fr Berrigan said the word for "peacemaking," in the "Blessed are the peacemakers" line from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, implies work that is "physical, uneven, and unfinished. It is a work of love." He focused on Isaiah 2:1-6, the prophet's vision of all the nations of the world streaming to the mountain of God, "a dramatic image of a great pilgrimage."
That universal, joyous, peaceful gathering, Fr Berrigan said, was foreseen in a time that "eerily, weirdly, resembles our own. It was a time of war, a time of invasion." The hopeful prophecy "is uttered in the teeth of conflict," he added. "This is a people who expect to need instruction" in godly ways, Fr Berrigan said, who understand "that our lives are untidy. We can only make that ascent together. That is an understanding that is very deeply at odds with our culture. The White House, the armed forces, and the enlisted media seem to be saying: We are in need of no one's instruction. We are running the world. The Greeks would call that hubris." Rather, he said, Isaiah's message for today would be "please, please instruct us. We are in danger of losing our humanity. ... What a godly message in such an ungodly time." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
Fr James Skehan SJ, professor emeritus in geology at Boston College, has had a half-billion-year-old genus of trilobite named in his honor for his lifetime contribution to earth sciences.
"The genus is named for James W Skehan, to honor his contributions to New England geology," wrote Mount Holyoke College paleontologist Mark A. S. McMenamin in the journal Northeastern Geology and Environmental Sciences in a December article establishing the genus. He coined the name Skehanos for a genus of the undersea invertebrate whose fossilized remains have been found in Hayward's Quarry in Quincy, Mass.
The trilobite, which resembles a horseshoe crab, inhabited the primordial seas that covered New England during the Cambrian period 500 million years ago. Skehanos is of "particular evolutionary importance because these trilobites are apparently ancestral to most . . . later trilobites," writes McMenamin.
Fr Skehan has devoted most of his 40 years of research to the history of the Avalon terrane, a geological microcontinent stretching from Long Island to Belgium upon which Boston lies. The Avalon terrane drifted, joining North American in a continental collision 400 million years ago.
Fr Skehan's interest in rocks has taken him around the world in a quest to map multi-million year changes in the Earth's face. [Source: Mark Sullivan, Boston College Chronicle]
The Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica defended the Italian saint and mystic Padre Pio da Pietrelcina against charges of plagiarism in a mid-May article.
The article, subtitled "Plagiarism or Identification?", looked at ten letters Padre Pio wrote to his spiritual directors from 1911 to 1913. They contain sections copied exactly or only slightly changed from published letters and texts written by St Gemma Galgani (1879-1903), a mystic and stigmatic who was miraculously cured of her spinal tuberculosis. The letters were written by St Gemma between 1899 and 1902.
According to the magazine, the choice of St Gemma's writing indicated that he wanted to identify himself with a precise model of holiness which was in harmony with his own and was marked by an expressive simplicity that he felt he was lacking at that dark phase of his life.
The unexpected phenomenon of a saint who explains the state of his own soul to his spiritual directors by copying sections of letters written by another saint deserves investigation, the magazine said. It admitted that he never attributed the sections he quoted from her letters.
Having overcome the initial understandable reaction of surprise and perplexity, the phenomenon of copying a few letters enters within the realistic boundaries of the humanity of saints, it concluded. [Source: The Tablet]
Christians who want to help the world's neediest people should renounce all war, starting with the conflict in Iraq, peace activist Fr John Dear SJ told University of Notre Dame faculty and students during an April 24 campus visit.
"My thinking is, war with Iraq is not only immoral and illegal, it's also, like every other war, impractical," Fr Dear said. "These days, the warmongering media and the imperial press tell us we have a great victory. But the reality is that it is a great disaster.
"Nobody supports Saddam [Hussein] or tyranny, but our country is the reason people are dying," he said. "War cannot, will not, and never could stop terrorism, because war is terror."
Fr Dear criticized the Catholic Church's just-war theory, which says war is justified under certain conditions. Some of the conditions are that the war must be a defensive effort, that soldiers not target noncombatants, that there be a good prospect of success, and that the damage inflicted is proportional to the evil soldiers are fighting against. Supporters of the war in Iraq said the conflict met all these criteria.
The church has long promoted pacifism and the just-war theory as two alternatives for faithful Catholics, but Fr Dear said this was a bad practice. He said that approving of conducting war under certain conditions is like approving of a sin like adultery under certain conditions.
According to the priest, the just-war theory "has nothing to do with the Gospel," but was developed later to justify a perceived need for military action.
"The church stole it from Cicero, who was a pagan," he said. "Christians are not allowed to kill. I can't see how you can claim to be a follower of the nonviolent Jesus and support the bombing of Baghdad." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
Our readers might like to know that they can now subscribe to receive Dispatches, the twice monthly news bulletin of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Dispatches is available in English, Spanish, French, and Italian. In order to subscribe, go to the JRS website http://www.jesref.org/lists/manage.php and fill in your e-mail address and choose a password, and you will receive Dispatches by e-mail every two weeks. [Source: Hugh Delaney, Jesuit Refugee Service]
First broadcast in 1939 on the campus radio station at Saint Louis University, the program is an institution in the Church in the US. The website includes the voice of founder Fr Eugene Murphy SJ,and histories of the program and devotion to the Sacred Heart. There are spiritual resources and audio samples of the most recent CD of Jesuit jazz musician Fr Frank Coco SJ. You can also read about how prayer can increase your longevity and lower blood pressure.
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