Thursday, June 18, 2009

Welcome to Hawk Hill Joe Koczera, SJ

"The next day he sat at his table in the bare upper room for many
hours. Before him lay a new pen, a new bottle of ink and a new
emerald exercise. From force of habit he had written at the top of
the first page the initial letters of the Jesuit motto: A.M.D.G."
James Joyce
from his semi-autobigraphical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Dear Tom,
I hope this e-mail finds you well. I received a message from you last November on your visit to Jesuits in India and was appreciative for the information and the photos that you sent.

I've recently moved from New York to Philadelphia to begin my Jesuit regency teaching at Saint Joseph's University. I've only been at SJU for a week, but I've been very impressed with the campus and community so far. It's a great place, and I'm happy to have the opportunity to contribute to the great work that has been done here. A few weeks ago I discovered your blog, and I've enjoyed reading your various posts on the university - in fact, your reflections as a dedicated alumnus have helped me to grow in appreciation of the university that I've only just become a part of.

I hope you don't mind, but I've included a link to your post on Fr. Jim Moore's Jubilee Mass on my own blog. I attended the Mass yesterday afternoon at St. Matthias, but I had to leave immediately afterward and couldn't stay for the reception. I was very impressed by the turnout, which testifies to the great impact that Fr. Moore has had on generations of students at SJU as well as on the parishioners at St. Matthias. I'm proud to be a member of Jim's community, and I appreciate the gracious welcome that he has extended to me in my first days at Saint Joseph's.

Here is my post linking yours:

Please know of my prayers and good wishes - all the best,

Joe K sj


A hearty welcome to Hawk Hill -- Mr. Joseph Koczera III, SJ
Joe Koczera, SJ was born and raised in Southeastern Massachusetts and is from the Jesuit Chicago Province. He holds a degree in Government from Georgetown, received his law degree from Notre Dame, and as a scholastic has studied philosophy at Fordham. As a Jesuit, Joe has worked in refugee resettlement programs in San Jose, California and Windsor, Ontario, taught social studies at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, and studied Spanish in Chile and Peru.

We are extremely fortunate to have Mr. Koczera, SJ at St. Joseph's, if only for a short while. I'd urge you to check out his blog The City and the World and should you bump into him on the Hill -- please welcome him personally.
A few years back I read an article in Business Weekly where the author argued that American businesses were making the mistake of thinking that throwing more money would certainly lure the best candidates to their companies. He went on to say that if high(er) salaries were the sole determiner for attracting talent -- the diplomatic corp, the USMC, and the Jesuit Order, who pay far below scale (or none at all) -- would not continue to aatract the level of talent that they always have. While vocations may be down, the quality is still as high as ever.
Reminds of a quote from Fr. Andrew Greeley...
People ask me what kind of a priest I am — meaning Jesuit,
Dominican or Franciscan (Jesuit being the answer most want to hear).
I usually respond, "Not a very good one, but I try."

I think "Jesuit Joe" will be a good one ;-) Welcome to St. Joseph's!


Odds and ends

I apologize for the sparseness of posting over the last several weeks; the onslaught of finals, De U prep, a relaxing home visit and the various tasks associated with moving and getting acclimated to a new place have kept me from giving this blog much attention. I'm happy to report that I've made it to Philadelphia in one piece and have (mostly) moved into my new digs at Saint Joseph's University. Over the past week, I've been occupied with numerous administrative details related to my regency assignment - getting my university e-mail account set up, moving into my office, choosing books for my fall courses - as well as the more general task of starting to get to know my new Jesuit community at SJU. I've had a very good experience so far - the community and campus have both been very hospitable, and I've enjoyed the generous assistance of many good people. Saint Joseph's is a very fine place and I'm very happy to be here.
This weekend, I participated in a couple of celebratory events which I would like to record. On Friday morning, I flew to Cleveland for Bi-Province Days at John Carroll University. I was pleased to join over two hundred other Jesuits from the Chicago and Detroit Provinces in honoring members of our two provinces who this year celebrate major anniversaries of their entrance into the novitiate or ordination to the priesthood (up to and including 75 years since entering the Society in the case of the great Walt Farrell) as well as witnessing the priestly ordination of Martin Schreiber and Cyril Whitaker on Saturday afternoon. Flying back to Philadelphia later that night, I was able to join other Jesuits from the SJU community on Sunday for a Golden Jubilee Mass honoring our own Father Jim Moore on the 50th anniversary of his ordination. Before retiring last spring, Father Moore spent a record 45 years as an administrator at Saint Joseph's University, first as director of admissions and then as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. For another perspective on Father Moore's jubilee and some pictures of the Mass, check out this blog post by a loyal alumnus of SJU who was also in attendance.
For my part, I was very deeply moved by the jubilee and ordination celebrations that I attended this weekend in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Watching as two of my Jesuit brothers were ordained to the priesthood and giving thanks for the many years of priestly and religious service offered by many other Jesuits gave me yet another opportunity to reflect on the tremendous gift of this vocation as well as the responsibilities that it includes. I hope that you'll join me in praying for Cy and Marty and all others who have recently been ordained to the priesthood as well as for Father Jim Moore and for all his fellow jubilarians. May the good work that God has done through them continue to bear great fruit.

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