December 4, 2009

Church's AIDS Work Aims to Promote Dignity, Respect, Jesuit Says

Fr. Fratern MasaweIn a statement prepared for the December 1 commemoration of World AIDS Day, Fr Fratern Masawe SJ said that when AIDS first began to afflict Africa 25 years ago, "few of us reacted well. People who were HIV-positive or suffered from AIDS could easily find themselves condemned, rejected, cast out, and treated ‘as good as dead.' "

Over the years, Catholic agencies, including the African Jesuit AIDS Network (, have worked to prevent the spread of HIV, defend the dignity of people who are HIV-positive, and offer medical treatment and other assistance to those living with AIDS.

The work of the Catholic Church in Africa to stem the spread of HIV and to care for people living with AIDS is designed to respect the dignity and life of each person and to show solidarity with everyone in need, said Fr Masawe, who is moderator of JESAM (Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar).

"It is very important for the church to get her life-affirming message across today to everyone. Abstinence and fidelity are not only the best ways to avoid HIV and tackle AIDS, but are the path to real, personal fulfillment," Fr Masawe's statement read. [Catholic News Service]

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Former Jesuit Discusses Using Ignatian Discernment as a Congressman

Anh "Joseph" CaoUS Representative Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA) recently spoke with National Jesuit News about the process of discernment that he uses in reaching decisions as a US congressman, how those decisions are grounded in his background in Ignatian spirituality, and why he didn't choose the party line in voting for health care reform.

A Vietnamese-born lawyer, the first Vietnamese-American to be elected to Congress, and a former Jesuit seminarian, Cao is the current US Representative from Louisiana's 2nd congressional district and was the lone Republican congressman to vote for health care reform on November 7, 2009.

To read NJN's interview with Cao go to [National Jesuit News]

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Loyola Press Releases New Mobile Application

Loyola Press iPhone applicationLoyola Press has released a new mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch, A Year of Grace-Filled Days: 2010, based on its Grace-Filled Days book series.

Each day, the app delivers scripture readings from Mass, a quotation from the readings, inspirational music, and a short reflection.
In addition to the current day's readings, users can view all readings from October 1, 2009 through December 21, 2010, while background images and color schemes change seasonally.

Users can purchase the full version for $4.99 or sample the app for free with the "lite" version, featuring seven different days and  two musical options. Both are available at

This is the second of Loyola Press's mobile app offerings: the 3-Minute Retreat app debuted in August 2009. [Loyola Press]

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America Magazine Podcast Features Jesuit Author

America magazine's December 7 podcast "The Imagination of Uwem Akpan" features Jesuit Fr Uwem Akpan, whose short story collection Say You're One of Them is the most recent selection of Oprah Winfrey's Book Club.

In the interview, Fr Akpan describes how the Ignatian tradition has helped nurture his writing and why he decided to tell his stories from a child's point of view. To listen to the podcast, go to  [America Magazine]

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Jesuits Urged to Widen Scope of Mission in India

Retired Archbishop Henry D’Souza of Calcutta, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, Calcutta Jesuit Provincial Fr George Pattery, and Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipu
Concelebrants during the Mass: From left: Retired Archbishop Henry D'Souza of Calcutta, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, Calcutta Jesuit Provincial Fr George Pattery, and Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipu. (courtesy UCAN)
Jesuits in Kolkata, India, were urged to continue to serve Indian society during programs marking 150 years of their Bengal mission.

The early missioners contributed much to the development of tribal communities in eastern India, noted Naresh Gupta, secretary of the national Jesuit Alumni Association of India, at a November 28 anniversary program, which included a symposium on Jesuit contributions to the education and social life of people in eastern India.

However, Gupta said he wants the Jesuits to widen their scope to provide health care facilities in the country.

Jesuit Provincial of South Asia Fr Edward Mudavassery, while paying tribute to the Jesuits' contributions, invited them to face current challenges boldly.

More than 2,000 people, including ten bishops, attended the jubilee celebrations at St. Xavier's College in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state.

Four Belgian and three English Jesuits landed in Kolkata port on November 28, 1859. The mission they started now comprises two archdioceses, 21 dioceses, and seven Jesuit provinces. [Union of Catholic Asian News]

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Jesuit Seven-Year Plan for the Environment

The Jesuit Seven-Year Plan for the Environment was launched at a ceremony at Windsor Castle in England on November 4, along with hundreds of other plans by different faiths, denominations, and religious orders.

Jesuit conferences, provinces, works, communities, and individuals are encouraged, with the help of this plan, to fulfill the mandate of GC35 to "move beyond doubts and indifference and take responsibility for our home, the earth" (D. 3, no. 31).

The full plan can be downloaded at  [Electronic News Service SJ]

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New McGinley Professor to Focus on Fostering Interfaith Understanding

Fr Patrick Ryan SJFr Patrick Ryan SJ, Fordham University's new Laurence J McGinley professor of religion and society, said he hopes to devote his tenure to "seeking common ground on which we Jews and Christians and Muslims can recognize each other as men and women of faith in the Holy One."

Fr Ryan delivered his first lecture as McGinley professor on November 18. He follows in the footsteps of Cardinal Avery Dulles, who held the chair from its creation in 1988 until his death in December 2008.

Fr Ryan said the similarities and differences in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim understandings of faith offer hope for a future of mutual understanding. "For Christians the expression of their faith has often entailed the elaboration of creeds, organized statements of the content of faith, or beliefs," he said. "But liturgy, sacred music, mysticism, asceticism, and heroic charity have also played important roles as expressions of faith within the cumulative tradition of Christianity."

He said theology is more central to Christian faith than it is to Jews and Muslims and that Christians often misunderstand "the cumulative traditions and law-centered lives of observant Jews and Muslims." [Catholic News Service; Photo by Michael Dames]

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Jesuit Astronomer Talks Alien Life on the Colbert Report

Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, a scientist at the Vatican Observatory, was a guest on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" on December 2. Political humorist Stephen Colbert interviewed Br Consolmagno on the satirical show and asked why the Vatican accepts the possibility of alien life.

Watch the interview:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Gold, Frankincense and Mars - Guy Consolmagno

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Around Campus

David M. Stapleton
Canisius College David Stapleton ('87), was the lead builder for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in Buffalo.

Canisius Gives Scholarships to Family of Five
Canisius College President Fr Vincent M. Cooke, SJ, presented Delores Powell and her four children, a Buffalo family chosen by ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," with five Canisius scholarships for the family.

David M. Stapleton (Canisius class of '87) and his company constructed the home on Buffalo's West Side for the Powell family.  Delores Powell moved to the United States from Jamaica 22 years ago and worked hard to support herself and her growing family.

Each week, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" selects a different family in need as the recipient of a new or significantly refurbished residence.

For video and photos of the event, go to  [Canisius College]

University of Detroit Mercy and Ford to Retrain Automotive Engineers
The University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) is teaming up with Ford Motor Company to develop electrical engineering curriculum that will help retrain Ford's engineers to deliver the company's electric vehicle product strategy.

Ford and UDM created the Advanced Electric Vehicle Program, a graduate-level curriculum that emphasizes core electric and hybrid vehicle engineering expertise, such as power electronics, power flow, energy management, and system architecture.

Ford is retraining engineers to meet the growth in demand for hybrid and electric vehicles; the company has announced plans to deliver four new electrified vehicles by 2012.

The UDM program developed with Ford will be open to engineers across the automotive and defense industries. [University of Detroit Mercy]

Saint Joseph's University Students Develop New Model for Food Distribution in Philadelphia

SJU student Angel Piazza
Senior food marketing major Angel Piazza stocks the shelves of the Community Food Center with canned goods.
In the spring of 2009, Philabundance, the second largest food bank in the United States, solicited the help of Saint Joseph's University's food marketing department to develop a food service model that better met the needs of the city's hungry. In response, a class of Saint Joseph's students developed the Community Food Center.

Studies have shown that the current community food model, the pantry line, isn't sufficiently meeting the needs of Philadelphia's hungry.

To improve the pantry system, Martin Meloche, associate professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph's, and William Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance, worked with students to create a solution.

The students developed a model whereby residents in need are able to choose from available items rather than take a prepared box or bag of food, which is the pantry line's current model.

The Community Food Center opened in late November in the basement of the Lillian Marrero Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library. [Saint Joseph's University]

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