Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

November 19, 2005


JRS Marks 25 Years of Learning From and With Refugees

Refugees

On November 14, 1980, when Father General Pedro Arrupe SJ called on Jesuits to establish the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), there were only 16 million refugees in the world. Today, 25 years later, with more than 40 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, the context in which JRS works has changed.

More than ever the effects of growing inequality, cheaper communications, access to armaments, and environmental degradation, to name a few, are pushing millions to flee their countries and towns of origin.

"The number of people displaced within their own countries now exceeds those forced to seek protection internationally. While traditional refugee camps still provide shelter to millions of refugees, many also end up destitute in urban areas. Children are now more likely to be involved in armed conflicts, and migrants of all types [are more likely] to be detained for crossing borders in search of protection or a better life," said Fr Lluís Magrina SJ, JRS International Director.

"While remaining faithful to its original vision, JRS, in consultation with forcibly displaced persons, has developed advocacy, communications, and program strategies to serve the most forgotten in places ignored by governments, NGOs, and the mass media. This work has been crucial. However, in the next 25 years we must double our efforts to address the causes of forced migration and to ensure that the need to provide protection to refugees is never questioned," added Fr Magrina. [Source: Jesuits In Europe]

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Podcasting Could Be Important Pastoral Tool, Says Jesuit Magazine

Podcasting, which allows individuals to download audio or video files from the internet to their digital device for listening or viewing at a later time, is already a popular innovation at Vatican Radio and offers a new way for pastors to reach contemporary Christians through their digital jukeboxes, the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica said in its November 5 issue.

The Church should not pass up the opportunity to make liturgies and prayers available via podcast, as well as downloadable sermons by "podpreachers," said the magazine.

The popularity of podcasting has generated a subcategory called "Godcasting," which refers to efforts by churches, preachers, and religious media to tap into the digital communications boom.

Experts have called podcasting the next generation of radio, and Vatican Radio began offering podcasting in July. The response was overwhelming, the magazine said; the highest number of downloads so far has been for Pope Benedict XVI's interview with the radio in August.

The journal said podcasting should be examined with "extreme attention" by Church communicators and seems to offer a real pastoral opportunity.

Quoting from a 2002 document of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, it said that "hanging back timidly from fear of technology or for some other reason is not acceptable, in view of the very many positive possibilities of the Internet." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

Church Resources has begun podcasting the daily Gospel Meditation available on its prayer web site at pray.com.au

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Poem Penned By US Founding Father Discovered in Jesuit School in England

Carroll's signature

A poem written by Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll has been discovered in the archives of the Jesuits' Stonyhurst College in England by Maurice Whitehead, a professor who is doing research at the school.

Carroll wrote the poem in Latin in 1754 when he was in high school in Saint-Omer, France, Stonyhurst's location before its move to England in 1794.

The poem, which bears Carroll's signature, was composed for a visiting dignitary to the Jesuit school. It is being translated by a group of Latin students at Stonyhurst and their classics teacher, Judith Parkinson.

The poem,which includes a dialogue between St Cecilia and Almachius, the Roman prefect who ordered her to repudiate her faith, should be translated by Christmas.

Carroll, born in Maryland, was sent to Saint-Omer because anti-Catholic laws in the colonies had made it illegal for children to be educated in Catholic schools. He was accompanied by his cousin, John, who became a Jesuit priest, the first Catholic archbishop of Baltimore, and founder of Georgetown University.

The high school in Saint-Omer educated children of English Catholic families forbidden to receive a religious education in their country. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Half of Jesuit Volunteers Graduated from Jesuit Colleges and Universities

This year, 53 percent of the 316 Jesuit Volunteers currently serving in the United States and in eight other countries graduated from Jesuit colleges and universities. These 167 Jesuit-educated women and men have committed at least one year to live simply, to deepen their faith through communal and personal prayer, to grow within a conscious community, and to tackle injustices as they work with people living in poverty or on the margins of society.

College of the Holy Cross has the most graduates serving as Jesuit Volunteers with 20 while Gonzaga University has 18. Other Jesuit schools with ten or more graduates serving as Jesuit Volunteers are Boston College (16), Marquette University (14), Saint Joseph's University (13), University of Scranton (13), and Santa Clara University (11). Twenty-four of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities have alumni represented in the domestic JVC and JVI programs. More information is available at www.jesuitvolunteers.org. [Source: Jesuit Volunteers]

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Do Space Aliens Have Souls? Inquiring Minds Can Check Jesuit's Booklet

Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, a Vatican astronomer, has written a 48-page booklet titled "Intelligent Life in the Universe? Catholic Belief and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life," the latest addition to the British-based Catholic Truth Society's "Explanations Series," which explores Catholic teaching on current social and ethical issues.

Cover of Booklet

Br Consolmagno said the question of how Catholicism would hold up if some form of life were discovered on another planet has piqued people's curiosity "for centuries."

If new forms of life were to be discovered or highly advanced beings from outer space were to touch down on Earth, it would not mean "everything we believe in is wrong," rather, "we're going to find out that everything is truer in ways we couldn't even yet have imagined," he said.

The limitless universe "might even include other planets with other beings created by that same loving God," he wrote. "The idea of there being other races and other intelligences is not contrary to traditional Christian thought. " There is nothing in Holy Scripture that could confirm or contradict the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe," he added.

He said asking such questions as "Would aliens have souls?" or "Does the salvation of Christ apply to them?" helps one "appreciate what it means for us to have a soul" and helps one better "recognize what the salvation of Christ means to us."

Br Consolmagno said he tried to show in the booklet that "the Church is not afraid of science" and that Catholics, too, should be unafraid and confident in confronting all types of speculation, no matter how "far out" and spacey it may be. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

Readers in the United States and Canada can order this booklet on the web at www.cts-online.org.uk or by e-mailing ord[email protected].

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Fairfield University Opens News Center for Faith and Public Life

On November 7, Fairfield University kicked off its new Center for Faith and Public Life with help from Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, DC, and Cardinal Avery Dulles SJ, from Fordham University.

Fr Ryscavage, SJ

In his address, the center's director, Fr Richard Ryscavage SJ, who is former director of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA, talked about a center that would address the issues of religion and politics and how they impact one another.

Among the initiatives Fr Ryscavage outlined were: an interdisciplinary structure of support for faculty research and teaching as they relate to various social priorities; expanding faculty and student engagement in civic life, including service learning; developing ways of assisting the local community and regions address social issues; and offering a public forum for reflections on the role of religion in political life.

He said he will also be seeking support for a program series where politicians and public leaders talk on the record about the role of faith in their personal and political lives and careers.

Fr Ryscavage said work has already begun in the area of migration. "Fairfield has taken the lead in creating an academic research network on migration linking 21 different Jesuit universities in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. The university has also entered into an unusual research practitioner partnership with the Jesuit Refugee Service and with the social and international office of the Jesuit Conference in Washington." [Source: Fairfield University]

To read Fr Ryscavage's speech, go to: www.fairfield.edu/x15333.xml

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Denver Gathering Opens Yearlong Celebration of EWTN's 25th Year

Fr Mitch Pacwa SJ

A Denver conference marked Eternal Word Television Network's (EWTN) 25th anniversary, with prayers, Eucharistic adoration, and seminars with some of the network's hosts, including Fr Mitch Pacwa SJ, host of "Threshold of Hope" and "EWTN Live."

Fr Pacwa spoke about his childhood in Colorado Springs, and recalled how his father repaired, not "fixed," the betting machines at the dog track.

"My father always told me you can't beat the house, so don't gamble," Fr Pacwa said. "Well, [faith] isn't a gamble; it isn't a wager. It's a commitment for which you must put your entire life in."

In discussing Mary, Fr Pacwa described how this woman of faith, when confronted by an angel of the Lord, did not question or ask for any explanation but she accepted what she was to face on faith, he said.

EWTN was started by Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration, in 1981. By 1987, EWTN was reaching 10 million homes, and last year the network hit the100-million-homes mark. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

For Company's recent profile on Fr Mitch Pacwa, go to www.companymagazine.org/v221/ontheair.htm

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Campus Briefs

Santa Clara University President Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Santa Clara University President Fr Paul Locatelli SJ was named the 10th recipient of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's Spirit of Silicon Valley Lifetime Achievement Award. At the annual luncheon held on October 28, Fr Locatelli was honored for building Santa Clara University into a nationally recognized university and his commitment to ethics.

"One of the ways in which he has been extraordinary is that he has taken the basic mission of what a Jesuit university is about and applied it to the community around him," said former Rep Leon Panetta, a former college classmate of Fr Locatelli's at SCU and a member of the university's board of trustees.

Xavier University Hosts Jesuit Education and the Classics Conference

Classics teachers from Jesuit high schools, colleges, and universities nationwide gathered at Xavier University in early November for the Jesuit Education and The Classics conference.

The conference's goal was to explore whether or not Classics is on its way out the door of Jesuit education, or whether it is an integral part of the Jesuit educational experience. Participants attended discussions on such topics as Classical language curriculum revision, Jesuit use of Roman theater, and the Latin curriculum.

Find a recent series of articles published in Company magazine on Latin in Jesuit schools at www.companymagazine.org/v231/contents.htm

Gonzaga University Mock Trial Team Places Second at National Tournament

Gonzaga University students captured second place at the annual American Mock Trial Association's Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament; four-time national champion Boston University took top honors. This was the first time these GU students competed in a mediation competition, which included 22 teams from 11 states. After three rounds of competition over two days to resolve disputes, Gonzaga was one of four undergraduate teams to advance to the National Championship Mediation.

Spring Hill College President Named Mobilian of the Year

The Civitan Club of Mobile has named Spring Hill President Fr Gregory F Lucey SJ as 2005 Mobilian of the Year. The club annually sponsors the Mobilian of the Year program to honor an area citizen who has demonstrated significant contributions to Mobile's economic development, education system, cultural development, health, human welfare and social services, charitable enterprises, or service and community associations.

[Sources: Santa Clara University, Xavier University, Gonzaga University, Spring Hill College]

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Recent Appointments

Pope Names Vatican Radio's Program Director to Head Station

Pope Benedict XVI has named Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, Vatican Radio's program director for the past 15 years, as the radio's new general director.

In a statement released by the Vatican, the pope thanked the radio's former director, Fr Pasquale Borgomeo SJ, for his "long and generous service" to the station. Replacing Fr Lombardi as the station's program director is Polish-born Jesuit Fr Andrzej Koprowski, Fr Lombardi's assistant for the past two years. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

Jesuit Conference Official Appointed to USAID

British Robinson, national director of social and international ministries at the Jesuit Conference in Washington, DC, was recently appointed to the United States Agency for International Development's Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid.

Established after World War II, the committee is a link between the government and private voluntary organizations active in humanitarian assistance and development work overseas. Robinson joins 23 other members advising USAID on issues relating to foreign assistance as the only representative from a Catholic organization and one of two faith-based representatives.

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Remembrance of Things Past

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From the Editors

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