Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

December 09, 2005

Jesuit High New Orleans Reopens

Jesuit High New Orleans became the first of the city’s flooded schools to resume classes on its home campus when some 600 students—who had been attending evening classes at St. Martin's School in Metairie since mid-October—returned to Jesuit High on Monday, November 28.

The homecoming began with an assembly, and the students and teachers were addressed by Jesuit's president, Fr Anthony McGinn SJ.

"Jesuit High School has served as an anchor for the Mid-City neighborhood, as an anchor for the city and the entire metropolitan area, and as an anchor in the lives of its students, faculty, parents, and alumni," Fr McGinn said. "We are committed to our neighborhood, the city, and the entire Jesuit community. We will not pull up the anchor just because five feet of water from a drainage canal remained in our building for two weeks."

Fr McGinn noted that the entire first floor of the school was destroyed by the flood and would have to be replaced. [Source: Jesuit High New Orleans]


Bible, Evolution Are Perfectly Compatible, Says Jesuit Magazine

Properly understood, the Bible and evolutionary science are perfectly compatible, and to use religious arguments against evolution shows ignorance of the nature of the Bible, said the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica in its November 19 issue.

In response to its own question—Is there really an opposition between the widely accepted theory of evolution and the account of creation in Scripture?—the magazine said: "The answer is no. And the reason is that the Bible is a book that does not try to give a scientific teaching, but a religious teaching.

"In other words, it doesn't try to teach 'how' man appeared historically," it said. Instead, the Bible teaches who man is in relation to God and the world, what is man's spiritual condition, and what is man's destiny, it said.

The article said that when it comes to creation, scientists and believers should be careful not to invade each other's fields of competence. When evolution is presented correctly, however, there is no contradiction with Scripture, it said.

"These are two visions of the origin of man that not only do not contradict each other but complete each other, on the condition that the scientist does not try to exclude any intervention of God in the formation of man and the believer does not try to find in science a confirmation of the biblical account," it said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Director of "Pope John Paul II" Got Career Start at Jesuit College

John Kent Harrison, who directed the CBS miniseries "Pope John Paul II" and wrote much of its script, got his start in filmmaking at the Jesuit’s Loyola College in Montreal, Canada. "I became a filmmaker because of the Jesuits," Harrison said. "I went to Loyola ... I happened to be inspired by a priest­--Marc Gervais is his name. He asked me, 'Why don't you take my Italian class?' I took his Italian cinema lass, and I dropped every other class I was taking and left to become a filmmaker."

Harrison also credits a second Jesuit for kindling his passion­Fr John O'Brien, who was head of the communications department at Loyola, which has since been renamed Concordia University.

Harrison added that both priests sent him e-mails wondering whether it was really he who had been tabbed to direct "Pope John Paul II," which aired Sunday, December 4, and December 7.

Brought on only to direct, Harrison looked at the Italian-written script that he was given. "The script I received was vetted by the Vatican and they thought it was shootable­and I didn't think it was shootable," Harrison said. He asked for, and got, permission to write a new script.

"I did my own version of the story," he said. He interviewed Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Pope John Paul's former personal secretary, "and other people who were close to the pope. And I talked to a number of people in Poland who knew their way around politics and history and got me through this thing," Harrison said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Jesuit Artist Spends a Year Creating Four Advent Books

Arturo Araujo SJ, a Jesuit priest from Colombia who came to Seattle University to study art has presented the university with four Advent books he spent over 1,000 hours creating.

Fr Araujo created the books using several art forms including calligraphy, embossing, painting, and binding. He also created special pigments from dust and sand that were sent to him from friends around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Paraguay. Each book represents each of the Sundays of Advent and contains three gospels, one for each of the liturgical cycles.

"Fr Sundborg and Seattle University gave me a scholarship, which allowed me to follow my dream to study art," he said. "It's why I made this book for SU. Just to say 'thank you.'"

Araujo wrote the gospels in English, his second language, and also incorporated other languages including Hindu, Spanish, Korean, and even Braille. [Source: Seattle University]


Education and Agricultural Development Should Be Priorities in Zambia

Fr Peter Henriot SJ, director of the Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection in Lusaka, Zambia, said the government should focus on poor people in rural areas and in city slums.

He said the country has "serious poverty" among its population of around 10 million, and many elderly women are caring for their grandchildren orphaned through AIDS.

"More important than having enough resources is where we put the money that we do have," Fr Henriot said, noting that "education, agricultural development, and employment generation" should be priorities.

In working toward the millennium goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, the Zambian bishops' commission for justice, development, and peace promotes agricultural training in all Zambian dioceses, Fr Henriot said.

"Zambia has tremendous agricultural potential," he said, noting that with support farmers could produce enough food for local markets and even export to neighboring countries.

The Zambian government has also made a "big commitment to ensuring greater gender equality," Fr Henriot said. "Women play a key role in development, and education is crucial in that."

In rural areas, traditional leaders are encouraging families to send their daughters to school, he said, adding that "in the past few years we have seen an increase in the number of girls in school." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Spring Hill College's Chapel Receives Restoration Award

Spring Hill Chapel

Spring Hill College's St Joseph Chapel, which was built in 1909, was one of three historic buildings in Mobile that recently received the Mobile Historic Development Commission's Henry Hitchcock Award for restoration excellence.

Restoration of the chapel's exterior began in the summer of 2003 and included the installation of a new roof, new stucco, and window frames, as well as new amber glass where necessary. Interior restoration work began in the fall and included installation of a new Carrara marble altar, ambo, and baptismal font; restoration of the original altar/tabernacle; and restoration of the Sacristy and Stations of the Cross. [Source: Spring Hill College][Web version of SJUSA News has a picture of the exterior of the church.]


On the Web

Jesuit Thomas O'Brien SJ writes about why he believes the Church is wrong to exclude gay priests in an article available from the Detroit Free Press web site:


Remembrance of Things Past


From the Editors

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