Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I thought this worthy of sharing...


Much ObligedGratitude without Entitlement 

Keynote Address Delivered by William J. Byron, S.J

The Alumni/Father-Son Communion Breakfast

St. Josephs Preparatory School, Phiiladelphia, PA
Sunday, February 24, 2013

Much obliged, Father Bur; many thanks to you, Al Zimmerman and your associates who honor me by an invitation to speak on this occasion. Much obliged St. Joes Prep; Im grateful for the education I received here and for the opportunity to speak today. Muck obliged, Prep alumni and all you fathers and sons who gathered an hour ago in the great Gesu church to remember the Lord in the breaking of the bread. We meet now, after Mass, at these tables to share both memories and a meal and celebrate the bonds of brotherhood that bind us to the Prep. Much obliged! 

You all know what much obliged--that expression from the old American vernacular--means. It says simply and directly, Thank You. Thats what we do every Sunday in the Eucharist. Thats what Eucharist meansthank youit is a thanks-saying, a thanksgiving, a liturgical thanks-doing, that brings us all before the Lord each week in gratitude as we express our thanks for the great gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. And for that, we are indeed much obliged. At the Last Supper Jesus said, in effect, to his disciples: This is how I want you to remember meas bread broken and passed around, as a cup poured out. And this is how I want you to relate to one anotheras bread broken for the nourishment of others, as a cup poured out in loving service. 

Thanksgiving Day is a great American tradition. It is a secular, not a religious feast day. Thanksgiving, of course, puts the accent where it should beon giving, saying, and doing thanks. Men and women of faith target God first and foremost for expressions of gratitude when they celebrate Thanksgiving Day; we Catholic Christians do this every day, particularly every Sunday of the year. We Christians know where to look when we want to give thanks! 

Once we put ourselves in the thanks-saying, thank-giving, thanks-doing mood, as we are right now, it is a good idea to pay attention to a rising sense of entitlement in America, especially among the young. And I would suggest to you today that ingratitude is the infrastructure of entitlement. 

Think about thatingratitude is the infrastructure of entitlement, and entitlement is our cultural condition of thinking we deserve everything we have. Entitlement prompts us to make demands, not to give thanks. 

Ignatius of Loyola once remarked that ingratitude is at the root of all sinfulness. He was on to something. When ingratitude takes over ones outlook, there is an erosion of a sense of obligation, including moral obligation. Much obliged is a way the old American vernacular had of saying thanks. If you have nothing to be thankful fori.e., if you consider yourself to be entitled to everything you have and might receiveyou are unencumbered by a sense of any obligation. You are free to be your selfish, solipsistic, narcissistic self. Sadly, we notice a lot of selfishness and narcissism surrounding us in America today. 

Total self-absorption is another word for sin. And remember, St. Ignatius of Loyola saw ingratitude at the root of all sinfulness, of all self-absorption. 

Fifteen or twenty years ago, I found myself describing students I was then meeting in the college classroom as characterized by a sense of entitlement. They thought they deserved good grades, good health, good jobs, and the best of everything the world had to offer. Cultural reinforcement for this attitude of entitlement came, and continues to come, through their entertainment and advertising, their words and music, their images and apparel. They have cures for all their ills, protections from all dangers, solutions for all their problems, answers (with or without the help of a search engine) to all their questions. It is all within reach. It is theirs for the taking. No need to say please. No need to say thanks.

This outlook has seeped down into high school and middle school mindsto the teens and tweens who never say thanks. Good for you if this is not typical of the way things are here at St. Joes Prep. The absence of a culture of entitlement hereif that indeed is the case--suggests the presence of a faith-based culture of gratitude. If, however, youany of you--are trapped in a culture of entitlement, you have work to do. 

Many years ago I pressed a child for a working definition of the word gift. It was Christmas Day, in fact, and she was my niece and we were gathered in the family room where gifts and their wrappings had been strewn around all over the place. Whats a gift? I asked. A gift is when somebody gives you something, this youngster said. And I responded: What if you had loaned me a dollar last week and now Im giving it back. Here, take this dollar. Is that a gift? It fits your definition; you told me that a gift is when somebody gives you something and, here, Im giving you a dollar. A moments pondering prompted the youngster to revise her definition and say, A gift is when you get something you dont deserve.
How true. How very appropriate for Communion Breakfast reflection. What a positive indicator that we, through an awareness of gratitude, have a way of protecting ourselves from the virus of entitlement. Life will be a good deal happier for all if we realize that the gifts we get are not only undeserved, but, in the Christian view of things, that they are symbols to remind us of the gift of salvation to which none of us has a claim, except through our faith in Christ Jesus the Lord. 

Christ has come. We are freed. All we can be is grateful. And because Christ has come and traced out for us by his own words, and by the example of his life, what we should value and how we should live, we can give a contemporary Christian meaning to the compelling command given so many centuries ago by the Lord through the prophet Michah: What is good  has been explained to you, O man [O woman]; this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). 

So lets decide to be genuine men for others by acting justly in all our relationships; by loving tenderly our family members and friends and all those whom God puts within reach of our helping hand; and by walking humbly, not arrogantly, but humbly and gratefully with our GodEmmanuel, who is God with us, Christ Jesus our Lord. 

And lets look upon our so-called Sunday obligation in terms of gratitude. We gladly acknowledge ourselves to be much obliged to give praise and thanks to God every Sunday. Thats what Sunday Mass is all about. Not to do so would be to be an ingrate. And knowing how we personally dislike ingrates, lets resolve on this Communion Breakfast Sunday to avoid being ingrates by being the Catholic Christians weve been called to be. That means regarding ourselves as much obligedmuch obliged to give praise and thanks to God; much obliged to love one another as Christ loves us. 

And during the upcoming week--as next Sunday approaches--ask yourself: Am I an ingrate? Or do I really consider myself to be much obliged? If so, get out to Mass next Sunday, as you did today, and every Sundayto express your gratitude. 

So, once again, St. Joes Prep, Father Bur, Al Zimmerman, Alumni Association, Fathers and Sonsfriends all: Thanks you, gratias, much obliged, many thanks!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Nike colonizing Catholic schools...

I would add to Jim's thoughts -- what if the 228 Catholic colleges in the US, led by the 28 Jesuit colleges and 68 Jesuit high schools, took a stand and, following Catholic Social Teaching, refused to wear Nike until they paid their workers a living wage? Why can't extremely profitable businesses "Just Do It"... and by that I mean just do the right thing, for the least of their brothers and sisters? Jim estimates that all those making sneakers for Nike in Indonesia could make a living wage if Nike gave Lebron James 97 million, instead of 100 million he currently earns to wear and make commercials for Nike
I have been unable to discern how my alma mater St. Joseph's, Philadelphia's Jesuit college, could honor Jim Keady with the St. Ignatius Award (in the service and promotion of Saint Joseph’s University and/or has lived a life of “service to others” consistent with the principles of Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order) for his work in attempting to get Nike to pay its workers a living wage... and then outfit all their sports teams in Nike.

Hypocrisy. But one we could change.


Tom Brzozowski

Team Sweat:

In the near fifteen years I have been working to end Nike's sweatshop abuses and make Nike a fair trade company, I have watched with great pain as Nike has aggressively colonized Catholic schools across the nation. In fact, this is how my work started. Back in 1997, while an assistant coach as St. John's University, I said that because of Nike's exploitation of their overseas workers, our Catholic university should not be party to the $3.5 million dollar endorsement deal Nike put on the table. I lost that battle and since have witnessed Nike continue their march across the Catholic school landscape, spreading their imperial values - values that run completely counter to the ethos of Jesus' Gospel. For their part in bowing to the Nike empire, our Catholic schools get some free gear and at times cash and other perks and Nike gets their allegiance and more importantly, public witness (via our student athletes) that Nike has the backing of some of the greatest Catholic institutions in the United States. Very simply, our Catholic schools sell their names and reputations to Nike for a pair of sneakers and a buck and they offer up our student athletes as walking advertisements for the Nike empire. For Nike's part, it is brilliant. For our Catholic schools' part, it is sad indeed.

For many, the Nike sweatshop issue is not breaking news. The plight of Nike's overseas workers has been covered by reporters, academics and activists for many years. In this time, Nike has done well to manage the public relations backlash and Catholic schools have been a key component in their game to convince consumers that "Nike fixed their sweatshop problem." While Nike has made modest strides at addressing some abuses (the use of toxic glues, sexual harassment, physical abuse, etc.) they have absolutely refused to deal with the key demand that has consistently been pressed by Nike's overseas workers and those who advocate in solidarity with them - workers want to be paid a living wage.

On the issue of a living wage, Catholic Social Teaching is quite clear. Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, Rerum Novarum, states "that the remuneration must be enough to support the wage earner in reasonable and frugal comfort." (#34) The U.S. Catholic Bishop's Pastoral, Economic Justice for All, tells us that "the way power is distributed in a free market economy frequently gives employers greater bargaining power than employees in the negotiation of labor contracts. Such unequal power may press workers into a choice between an inadequate wage and no wage at all. But justice, not charity, demands certain minimum guarantees. The provision of wages and other benefits sufficient to support a family in dignity is a basic necessity to prevent this exploitation of workers." (#103) And Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical, Laborem Exercens, exorts "Hence in every case a just wage is the concrete means of verifying the justice of the whole socioeconomic system and, in any case, of checking that it is functioning justly. It is not the only means of checking, but it is a particularly important one and in a sense the key means." (#19)

Having spent so many years documenting the spending power of Nike's workers, I can tell you with authority that their wages certainly do not meet the benchmark of a living wage as set forth by Catholic Social Teaching. If you question this, I encourage you to CLICK HERE and watch a clip from my most recent round of spending power research for Nike's workers in Indonesia.

It is because of the lack of action on paying a living wage that Catholic schools are so important in Nike's public relations war. Think of it like this. Let's say you are an alumnus from St. Joseph's University, the Jesuit school where I did my undergraduate degree. And let's say that you are somewhat aware of the Nike sweatshop issue. Then you see the picture above.

Without saying a word, this image makes the statement to you that, "Nike must have cleaned up their act." Why? Because, you think, "there is no way that a Catholic, Jesuit, university would ever do business with Nike if they were still paying their workers poverty wages." This image tells people that Catholic schools like St. Joseph's University are behind Nike 100%. It tells people that Catholic schools are so much in support of Nike that we are willing to allow our student athletes to advertise their products to the masses. It tells people that Nike must be paying their workers living wages, if they weren't, why would this Catholic school allow itself to be used by Nike as a marketing tool?

I can tell you why our Catholic schools allow it to happen.

First, many are of the belief that Nike has fixed these problems because Nike has lied and they got a few Catholic schools on board with them. Once this happened, the domino effect took place - administrators think, "if these other Catholic schools have done these endorsement deals, Nike must be ok" and they act without exercising the hermeneutic of suspicion."

Second, if administrators are aware of Nike's violations of Catholic Social Teaching, rather than standing up and being a voice for the voiceless, they adopt the herd mentality noted above ("everyone else is doing it) and/or they cave to pressure from Athletic Directors, Business Managers, Board Members and powerful alumni and donors to go with the flow.

If by chance, administrators are willing to take on the issue, many times the schools want an easy out. They ask, "Ok, if we do not wear Nike, who should we wear?" This is not the question we should be asking as a Catholic school! This struggle for justice is not about who YOU should or shouldn't be wearing. It is about the WORKERS. It is about taking the preferential option for the poor. It is about working in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in these factories to bring Nike to a point where they pay workers a living wage. The question we should all be asking at our Catholic schools is, "If Nike is violating Catholic Social Teaching and they are not paying workers a living wage, what can we do to change that?"

Here is a short list.

1. If your teams are currently wearing Nike products, immediately make a public and provocative statement and cover up every Nike logo with a patch. This may violate the terms of your contract with Nike and may cost you whatever Nike is giving to you. So be it. At times, the Gospel demands radical action and with it, painful consequences. For individual athletes, if your school is not willing to take this action collectively, do it yourself. You may be the spark that lights the flame of revolution.

Using St. Joseph's University as an example, the Nike logos could be covered with something like this.

2. Take every penny of money that has been given to your high school or university from Nike and give it to Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Refugee Services, etc.and make a public statement as to why you are doing this.

3. Engage Nike publicly on the issue of a living wage for their factory workers. Write them open letters. Hold on-campus prayer services. Send delegations to the Nike campus to meet with Nike executives. Hold press conferences announcing all these actions...

Why must we do these things?  "Because we are Catholics." And because we are called by our Catholic faith, in the words of Pope Paul VI, "to carry forward the work of Christ himself under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth, to rescue and not to sit in judgement, to serve and to be served."


Jim Keady
Team Sweat

1201 Third Avenue
Suite A
Spring Lake, New Jersey 07762

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

AMDG on top...

Ahhh... AMDG or JMJ at the top of every paper. A worthwhile article that will remind you of that one teacher who made a difference in your life. Click on the title to read the entire article and to read about his passing click Beloved Brophy Jesuit Dies or Memorial to Fr. John Becker, SJ, 1925 - 2008.

To read one of Father Becker's novels click here or here!


The Greatest English Teacher

Terry Jeffrey

...At St. Ignatius -- in Father Becker’s class and all others -- we wrote the letters AMDG at the top of our papers. They stand for “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” -- To the Greater Glory of God. These are the strategic watchwords of the Jesuit order: Everything ultimately must serve this purpose.

Father Becker taught us that Shakespeare was great not only because of the power and wit and poetry in his language but because his plays truly served the greater glory of God. They helped readers see good and evil and the consequences of choosing one over the other.

Father Becker also taught by example. He had the skills to succeed in many lucrative professions. But he took a vow of poverty and spent five decades as a good and faithful priest teaching boys to become strong and confident Christian men in an increasingly secular world.

In his later years, Father Becker published two mystery novels, while a third was published posthumously after he died three years ago. The hero, Father Luke Wolfe, teaches English at a Jesuit high school and spends his spare time at abortion clinics -- praying the Rosary.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The new St. Paul Miki School in Pandabir!

A dream is started! Three years after visiting the Jamshedpur Jesuit Province the new St. Paul Miki School had its groundbreaking last month. These children of the Ho Tribals deserve the best - and will now get it. I can't wait to see the completion of Fr. Deeney's dream.

Way to swing that ax Fr. Greg, and so good to see Br. Bene ;-)

Good stuff!



Greetings from India!

I have been quiet for a while. I am at the moment in Chennai (South India) for my doctoral studies.

I just wanted to share with you all some latest news about our St. Paul Miki School in Pandabir. I attach two pdf files. You will see the photos of the ground breaking ceremony for the school in Pandabir.

Fr. John Deeney, SJ regularly visited this place for Sunday masses on his bicycle. Memories are still fresh in my mind when I used to travel with him in 1983 as a Jesuit novice. He was certainly faster and skillful than I was in cycling those village roads. His regular and relentless service to this place saw the establishment of this parish and now the school.

I was thrilled to see the crowds in these pictures gathered for the ground breaking ceremony (students, their parents and the villagers). This school project was delayed a bit as there were already one or two school projects in hand and they needed more attention.

You will also see Fr. Edward McGrath, SJ in the pictures (he is one of five Maryland Jesuits working in Jamshedpur Province in India at the moment).

I know many of you Deeney family contributed generously for the St. Paul Miki School project in Pandabir. I am sure the parishners of Pandabir Parish and particularly the children in Pandabir school are very happy to see their school building coming up with more facilities for thier education.

I am sending this mail to the addresses I have in my mail box. You may forward this to other people who might like to read and know the latest on St. Paul Miki School in Pandabir.

Thank you very much for all your support to continue Fr. John Deeney's work among the Hos in Jharkhand, India. I am sure he is interceding from heaven for all the people at Pandabir, the Jesuits at Jamshepdur province and the Deeney family.


Jerry Cutinha SJ
Berchmans Illam, Loyola College, Chennai 600 034

                                                Students Happy to be at St. Paul Miki!
                                                  Yes, we need a NEW BUILDING!
Ground Breaking by Greg D’Silva, SJ

Provincial Mike Raj, SJ and Ed McGrath, SJ greet parents and students 

                                                 Fr. Mike Raj, SJ blesses the new site.
Provincial Flanked by Bene Kichingia, SJ & Greg D’Silva, SJ.


On 8 October we had the Ground Breaking Ceremony of St. Paul Miki School building. To witness and participate in the event many of our students’ parents and local people came. People’s leaders like two Ward Members, the Mundas of two villages, the Mukhya of Bara Lagia were also present on the occasion. The presence of local people and their leaders on this occasion was an indication that they have been eagerly waiting for the new school building to come up for the children in their locality.

During the prayer service, Provincial Fr. Mike T. Raj, SJ prayed for the safety of the workers in the time of the building construction and for the students. He also blessed the site with holy water, broke coconut as part of Indian tradition and then drove the first stroke of pickaxe into the ground. The Jesuits and the local leaders present also did the same. The popular prayer song – “This is my prayer to Thee, my Lord” - composed by Rabindranath Tagore was sung by the school children, led by Gulshan Kujur. Also present for this auspicious occasion were Greg D’Silva, SJ, Ed McGrath, SJ, Hilarius Kongari, SJ and Pascal Kerketta, SJ. At the end of the programme refreshment were served to all. The construction work has already begun. This new school building with nine classrooms and two office rooms will be completed by June 2012, and it will be able to accommodate about 500 students.

- James Samad

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ignatian discernment, God's fast ball, and the preferential option for the poor.

Dean Brackley, SJ passed away last week (read the comments under the article as well). He was a Jesuit from Fordham who after hearing of the 6 Jesuits being martyred in El Salvador... packed his bags and moved there to help fill the huge void at the UCA left by their deaths. Most people run from danger, others run towards it. Not surprising for a Jesuit though. He will be missed, and not just by those he served at Fordham, in the South Bronx, or in El Salvador. A beautiful remembrance by Genevieve Jordan of the Romero Center Ministries in Camden, NJ - Remembering Dean Brackley, SJ.

On Wednesday I picked up his book called The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola. Great read - and you know it will be when even the introduction kicks your butt.

When I was 'doing' the Exercises I had difficulty with Ignatian Indifference - I still struggle with it, and try, most times unsuccessfully, to get my arms around the principle. This from Fr. Brackley:

"Indifference" means inner freedom. It is the capacity to sense and then embrace what is the best, even when that goes against our inclinations. Indifference is neither stoic impassiveness nor the extinction of desire that some currents of Eastern religious scholars advocate. It means being so passionately and single-minded committed, so completely in love, that we are willing to sacrifice anything, including our lives, for the ultimate goal. It means magnanimous generosity, abandonment into God's hands, availability. It is not so much detachment from things as "detachability." It means being like a good shortstop, ready top move in any direction at the crack of the bat."

If interested here's an article he penned that was reprinted in America Magazine last week.

"After reflecting on these issues for some years, it only gradually dawned on me that I belong to a peculiar tribe. The middle-class cultures of the North are newcomers to world history and have only existed for about 200 years. We're not all bad people, we're just a tiny minority under the common illusion that we are the center of gravity of the universe. The poor can free us from this strange idea."
Meeting the Victim, Loving the Poor

I shared the above with a few friends and it was passed on. The following is from my friend Tim Klarich, and his friend George Limbaugh, who is a local coordinator for the Woodstock Business Conference of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University:


I had the opportunity to meet Fr. Dean when he was a visiting professor at St. Joseph's University; he came to one of our Woodstock Business Group meetings to share his experiences in Central America. He was similar in many ways to Fr. John Deeney, SJ; quiet but a very strong man.

Tim –

Thanks for sharing this. We had the privilege to get to know Dean when he was on sabbatical at SJU a number of years ago, and subsequently visit with him several times on our trips to El Salvador. He was an amazing combination of a brilliant theologian and a humble and dedicated servant of the poor. We had the opportunity to accompany him on a Sunday to the parish where he ministered in a poor community outside the city of San Salvador. And as you know from your travels, the word “poor” has a much different meaning than it does in our world here.

We were overwhelmed with the generosity of spirit that we were embraced with by his congregation, and the amazing faith and piety of these people – even without translating you can feel those kinds of things.

Since you have also made the Exercises, you will be able to appreciate this story that Dean tells. It is about his decision to go to El Salvador after the Jesuits at the UCA there were martyred. He was teaching at Fordham and working in the South Bronx, and deeply committed to both endeavors. As he heard the call for replacements at the university, he had a discernment process to go thru. Given the unique and urgent circumstances, it did not allow the usual deliberate process of Ignatian discernment. As Dean described it, sometimes you get the luxury of deliberate discernment; other times God just throws you a fast ball, and you have to decide to swing or not. Pretty profound, and pretty fortunate for the people of El Salvador that he chose to swing at the “fast ball.”



The University of Scranton presented its annual Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Award for Distinguished Contributions to Ignatian Mission and Ministries to Rev. Dean Brackley, S.J., at a University Assembly in the DeNaples Center on April 29, 2010.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thinking outside the box in North Philly...

Every once in a while the media covers a story on the good works of the Church. This was my mother's old  school, once an Irish parish called St. Columba's in the city's Swampoodle section. Not only surviving, but thriving. AMDG.

Partnership in Philadelphia could be model for inner-city Catholic schools

By Martha Woodall

Inquirer Staff Writer

St. Martin de Porres School in North Philadelphia may have found the key to survival for inner-city Catholic schools.

Through a pioneering partnership with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and local business leaders, the school at 2300 W. Lehigh Ave. has become an independent Catholic school overseen by an 18-member board but it retains ties to the archdiocese.

It is the only school in Philadelphia with such an arrangement.

Bolstered by an endowment of more than $4 million, a full-time development director, and fund-raising that covers a quarter of the school's $1.7 million annual budget, St. Martin de Porres has been able to increase enrollment and add programs without raising tuition.

"This has provided a growth and a transformation for the school and a real sense of stability," said Sister Nancy Fitzgerald, the principal. "When I register new families and I explain to them . . . that we are an independent Catholic school and that the archdiocese cannot close us, their eyes light up."

Her school has 400 students from kindergarten through eighth grade - 20 more than last year. Parents pay $2,460 per child.

The school's board, the archdiocese, and the nonprofit Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) quietly signed documents in August 2010 making the school independent.

Officials are scheduled to publicly announce Tuesday the school's independence and its successful year-old transition.

"We're just thrilled that the group has come along to ensure that the school will continue," said Mary Rochford, superintendent of Catholic schools.

John F. "Jack" Donnelly, a business executive who is chairman of the Friends of St. Martin de Porres School Board, said the new approach shields the school from the cycle of rising costs and declining enrollment that causes several Catholic elementary schools to close each year.

"The goal is ultimately to use this as a model for other Catholic schools," said Donnelly, chief executive officer at L.F. Driscoll Co. L.L.C., a Bala Cynwyd construction-management firm.

A year ago, BLOCS pledged $4 million in matching grants to help St. Martin de Porres and six other urban Catholic schools create endowments. Although St. Martin de Porres has not yet raised the $5.75 million to qualify for its $225,000 match, the school is the first to become independent.

"We will be doing a full-court press" to get the match, Donnelly said.

Other area parish schools have become independent in order to continue serving low-income students in inner-city neighborhoods. In 1993, business leaders, the Jesuits, and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary joined together to keep the Gesu School in North Philadelphia open after the archdiocese announced it would close it.

And when the lone surviving Catholic school in Chester was threatened with closure in 2006, the archdiocese, Neumann University, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and the St. Katharine Drexel Parish reached an agreement that created Drexel Neumann Academy...

(click on link for the entire article)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hearts on Fire in Philly...

Fr. Jim Martin, SJ and a team of Jesuits led the Hearts on Fire Retreat at Old St. Joseph's Church for young adults this weekend. Some pics and a great quote by St. Ignatius Loyola.

A great quote from St. Ignatius Loyola, courtesy of Sam Sawyer, SJ:
"There are very few people who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves entirely to His hands, and let themselves be formed by his Grace. A thick and shapeless tree trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture...and would never consent to submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor who, as St. Augustine says, sees by his genius what he can make of it. Many people who, we see, now scarcely live as Christians, do not understand that they could become saints, if they would let themselves be formed by the grace of God, if they did not ruin His plans by resisting the work which He wants to do...."

OSJ is a special place for my wife and me as we were married there;
the wedding Mass concelebrated by Bill Rickle, SJ and Herbert Charles, CSSp.

The "Hearts on Fire" mission team, in the courtyard of Old St. Joseph's after a weekend mission to young adults. Left to right (standing): Mario Cisneros, SJ; Phil Hurley, SJ, director of the Hearts on Fire program; me; Sam Sawyer, SJ.; Jim Hederman, SJ, vocation promoter; (kneeling) Sean Power, SJ: Rob van Alstyne, SJ. A great group of guys! AMDG!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Requiescat in Pace - Edward Bradley, SJ, MD.

Ahhh... the Jesuits. This one was very impressive, even by Jesuit standards. A Lt. Commander in the US Navy, Medical Doctor, professor, Jesuit priest. Makes me wonder what I've been doing with my spare time.

Even though Father went to St. Joseph's Prep and St. Joseph's College... I got to know him as he was a long time subscriber to the Walnut Street Theatre where I work. He had one ticket in the first row center orchestra. Occasionally he would need to exchange his ticket and of course would come into the box office for a chat. Although not in the obituary I could have sworn that Father told me he joined the Society, then left to take care of his mother. When she passed he rejoined.

I last saw Father two months ago when he was in Jefferson Hospital. I went to his room, which was empty, and was told he was receiving dialysis, so I went down to keep him company. He was happy to see me and in great spirits. I brought him a book about Avery Dulles, SJ and a prayer card of Walter Ciszek, SJ, to pass the time. He thanked me and mentioned that he and Fr. Ciszek used to have breakfast together in Wernersville, and told  a few Ciszek stories that I'm sure few people have heard.

Luann Cotton Marziani from the Jefferson Foundation told me that "we have another saint to pray to now. Fr. Bradley was a great influence on my life. He will always be “Father Heart and Soul” to me." So true Luann.

Father never shared the Vietnam story with me. We have Miss Saigon currently playing at the Walnut. He would have really enjoyed that, from the first row.

Mission accomplished Fr. Bradley. AMDG.

The Philadelphia Inquirer printed a similar obituary in today's addition. The arrangements are as follows.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011 6-8 PM
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 9:30-10:30 AM
St. John Bosco Church
235 East County Line Road
Hatboro, PA 19040

Funeral Mass:

Wednesday, June 15 10:30 AM
St. John Bosco Church
235 E. County Line Road
Hatboro, PA 19040

Burial will follow at the Wernersville Jesuit Cemetery.

Notes of condolence may be sent to:

John Kezlaw (cousin)
Lakeview Dr.
Dennisville, NJ 08214

Catherine McClure (cousin)
6312 Ballensby St.
Philadelphia, PA 19149

Anne Schuster (niece)
405 Newton Rd.
Halboro, PA 19040

The poor found in him a generous friend. May they now welcome him into the Heavenly Kingdom.

Saints of God, come to his aid!

Hasten to meet him angels of the Lord!

Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May he rest in peace. Amen.

Fr. Edward C. Bradley, SJ, dies
Doctor served the poor, counseled medical students

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered Wednesday for Fr. Edward C. Bradley, SJ. Fr. Bradley died of kidney failure June 8, at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, where he practiced medicine and taught for more than 30 years. A Jesuit for 37 years and a priest for 32, he was 82.

The son of Marie Cecilia Wood and Edward Charles Bradley of Philadelphia, he was born July 18, 1928. He was a graduate of St. Joseph's Preparatory School and earned his bachelors degree from Saint Joseph's College (now University) in 1951 and his MD from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1955.

Dr. Bradley interned at Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia before going to the U.S. Navy School of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Florida, where he served as a flight surgeon and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander.

Additionally, he completed fellowships in cardiology at the University of Goteborg in Sweden and in cardiovascular research at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He joined the USC faculty in 1964 and was made assistant professor in 1966 and was co-investigator of the circulatory shock unit.

When Dr. Bradley learned of a Jesuit priest in Vietnam in dire need of medical supplies and assistance, he gathered equipment and took it to two Vietnamese villages. He opened clinics there, focusing on tuberculosis and polio cases. He appealed to President Richard Nixon for supplies. Nixon responded with supplies and personnel to inoculate some 8,000 villagers, virtually eradicating the disease in these areas.

In 1974, he resigned from USC to enter the Society of Jesus at the novitiate at Wernersville, Pennsylvania. He professed first vows Sept. 11, 1976. He continued the practice of medicine and in 1975 joined the faculty of Jefferson Medical College. In 1977 he went to study for a master of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. During his studies he practiced medicine at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco and the USC/Los Angeles County Hospital.

Fr. Bradley was ordained a priest June 9, 1979, and served a pastoral year at Old St. Joseph's Church in Philadelphia. The following year, he opened a medical practice in North Philadelphia to care for the poor and rejoined the Jefferson faculty. In 1987, he began serving as a counselor to faculty and students at Jefferson, a position he held until last year.

The medical school honored Fr. Bradley's work several times. The graduating class in 1991 presented his portrait to the university. He received the Clarence E. Shaffrey SJ award from the medical alumni of Saint Joseph's University in 1999. And in 2008, the year after he retired from teaching, Saint Joseph's University Medical Alumni Chapter established the Edward C. Bradley, S.J., M.D. '51 Medical Alumni Award.

Viewing will be held Tuesday, 6-8 p.m. and Wednesday 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at St. John Bosco Church, 235 E County Line Rd, Hatboro, Pa. The Mass of Christian burial will be offered at the church at 10:30 a.m. with burial to follow at the Jesuit Cemetery in Wernersville, Pa.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

'You go in their door. You bring them out ours.'

Jesuit influence apparent in rugby
By Frank Fitzpatrick

Inquirer Staff Writer

It's probably not too surprising that a Catholic order conceived in the aftermath of battle, one which has always seasoned its intellectual and spiritual fervor with a healthy respect for physical strength, has become the principal force behind the growth of American rugby.

So many Jesuit high schools and colleges are playing and succeeding at the rugged and increasingly popular sport that it seems as if the 477-year-old religious order, founded by a converted Spanish soldier, Ignatius of Loyola, has added rugby devotion to its vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

"The whole idea of what Ignatius inspired in Jesuits, a competitive spirit and the development of the whole person, is really alive in the sport," said the Rev. Bruce Bidinger, a Jesuit counselor at St. Joseph's University and the chaplain for that school's basketball team.

The traditional game, with 15 players on each side, and the hybrid "sevens" version, with seven players per side, of the sport are experiencing an American boom, nowhere more so than at the 80-plus Jesuit high schools and colleges from coast to coast.

While Boston College will be the only Jesuit school competing at this weekend's 2011 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship in Chester's PPL Park, the rosters of the 15 other teams will be teeming with Jesuit high school products.

In a recent Rugby Magazine poll of the nation's best high school rugby teams, five of the top 10 - and seven of the top 17 - were from Jesuit institutions in Sacramento, New York City, Dallas, New Orleans, and Washington.

Though Gonzaga of Washington was the top-rated team for much of 2011, this year's high school championship was won by Jesuit High of Sacramento over Xavier of New York, the latter a Jesuit school in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.

The Sacramento school has long been the primary feeder for the dynastic rugby program at Cal, which has won 26 national collegiate rugby titles. Seven players on the U.S. national team - Ray Lehner, Kirk Khasigian, Chris Miller, Kort Schubert, Lou Stanfill, Eric Fry, and Colin Hawley - played at both Jesuit and Cal.

"Those [Jesuit] schools produce smart, tough players who are also good students," said Alex Goff, the editor of Rugby Magazine.

That rugby-Jesuit connection is evident locally, too, as St. Joe's Prep, rated 17th in that same poll, captured this year's Pennsylvania rugby title. Its program - like most, a club-level sport - was formed in 2005 by three teachers at the North Philadelphia school, all graduates of Jesuit universities.

Overall, there are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Most, like St. Joe's, Scranton, Georgetown, Santa Clara, and BC, have rugby teams. Almost all play at the club level since rugby is not an NCAA-approved varsity sport.

Bit of spunk
Jesuits, whose guiding philosophy about the union of body and spirit is the Catholic counterpart to the Protestant notion of "muscular Christianity," have long advocated for sports.

Most of their colleges are too small to compete effectively with the wealthier and more populous state schools in football, but they have a history of success in basketball and lacrosse. Rugby fits neatly into that tradition.

"I don't have any definitive answers [as to why the links between rugby and Jesuits are so strong]," said Colin Curtin, a BC star who played scholastically at St. Joe's Prep. "There doesn't seem to be any reason why there are such great rugby programs and rugby cultures at these schools. But there is. The correlation is unbelievable."

According to Curtin, plans are in the works for a 2012 Jesuit collegiate tournament featuring BC, Georgetown, Santa Clara, and Fairfield.

Curtin said that in his senior year at St. Joe's Prep, when the rugby team played in the national championships, "at least three or four of the other teams were from Jesuit schools."

"It's a sport that allows a lot of people to fit in," said Bidinger. "You don't always have to be the most fit or the strongest. In that sense, it's inclusive. For rugby, all you need is a little bit of spunk and a little bit of energy."

Overall, non-Jesuit Catholic schools are also doing well with rugby.

Notre Dame, operated by the Holy Cross fathers, recently reinstated its rugby team, a response, some insiders suggested, to the school's losing too many Jesuit-trained athletes to Jesuit colleges.

Some suggest an Irish connection is at work. Rugby is among the most popular sports in Ireland. And since the student bodies at many Catholic high schools are overwhelmingly Irish, parents and students there naturally have pushed for the sport.

"[Those connections] have made many Catholic school administrators more open to the sport," said Goff.

The progenitor of American football and long a sporting afterthought on this side of the Atlantic, rugby began slowly digging a foothold at Catholic colleges and high schools in California and the Northeast during the 1960s.

While the process of adding another sport in public schools could be bureaucratically challenging, other Catholic institutions were able to establish teams quickly and, in the process, attract new students.

"These schools were finding success on a national stage, and [others] began to follow suit," said Goff. "Enthusiastic coaches realized that they could persuade a Jesuit school to start a rugby program much more readily than any other type of school. . . . Any coach who wanted to coach high school rugby only had to sell [the idea] to one administration at a private Catholic school rather than to an entire school district."

The Jesuits, of course, being a religious order, have not overlooked the opportunities rugby offers for evangelizing.

"It's like St. Ignatius said," the Rev. James Keane, a Jesuit with a passion for the sport, said of that possibility, " 'You go in their door. You bring them out ours.' "

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/colleges/20110601_Jesuit_influence_apparent_in_rugby.html?viewAll=y#ixzz1O2ZeSOf3
Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Little Flower High School...

Serving Little Flower for more than 70 years, collectively, are, from left:
Sister Kathleen Klarich, R.S.M., principal; Marguerite Nicholson-Schenk,
assistant principal for student services; Patricia McCaffrey, assistant
principal for student affairs; Sister Donna Shallo, I.H.M., president; and
Rita McGovern, assistant principal for academic affairs.

Little Flower High School is Thriving! -- Catholic Standard & Times

By Jim Gauger
Special to The CS&T

PHILADELPHIA — When you speak with Sister Donna Shallo, I.H.M., and Sister Kathleen Klarich, R.S.M., of Little Flower High School for Girls, the enthusiasm in their voices is almost overwhelming.

They head a leadership team at the school, located in the Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia, that is both experienced and committed. Little Flower, which opened Sept. 1, 1939, “as the most modern of the secondary schools and the pride of the Philadelphia Catholic system,” is still going strong despite facing closure in the early 1990s.

“Our current students are our best advertisers,” Sister Donna, the school’s president, said. “The word of mouth is that our students are happy here, and parents want happy teenagers.” That spirit is the engine that drives the faculty and the students each day, said Sister Donna, who has been at Little Flower for 19 years.

And another key element to Little Flower’s continued success? Commitment to service. The principal, Sister Kathleen, has been at the school for 15 years. Then there are Rita McGovern, assistant principal for academic affairs — 15 years; Marguerite Nicholson-Schenk, assistant principal for student services — 14 years; and Patricia McCaffrey, assistant principal for student affairs — 10 years.

“It is very significant (having the administration in place for such a long period),” Sister Kathleen explained. “Each one is an individual with her own gifts and experiences. We are unified, committed to the mission of the school. We respect one another and communicate effectively.”
That sense of continuity and stability is welcomed by Sister Donna. “We are all interested in the students and embrace the mission of Little Flower,” she said. According to the school’s web site, Cardinal Dennis Dougherty, in order “to express his personal devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, named the school Little Flower confident that as patroness of the school she, in her Little Way, would be a model for the girls who would be educated here.”

In 1953, Little Flower was the largest Catholic girls’ high school in the country, with a student body of 3,312. Just about 40 years later the school was battling to survive as archdiocesan high schools adopted open enrollment. “Due to the deficit situation” in the Archdiocese, Little Flower and nine other schools were to be closed.

Sister Donna, who came to the school in 1991 as director of activities, remembers. “It was horrible,” she said of the 1992 crisis when enrollment was in the 900s. “All but St. James (Chester) and Bishop Kenrick (Norristown, her alma mater) survived.” (click title for the entire article)

This for my buddy Clare Pfeil, LFHS '84 (student #844350), who still sings it -- not well but it doesn't stop her ;-)

Alma Mater, good and true
The pride of Church and City,
We pledge our all to God and you
Under Mary's mantle blue.
Our faith is anchored here
With love that will light your years;
Staunch hearts will ever sing in praise of you.

Hail to you, Little Flower, hail!
Pride of all, our love will not fail
Guide us and keep us safe through the years
Bring us your children, brave through all fears.
Onward we will march foursquare
Vanguard of truth to do and to dare,
We, to you, our pledge renew,
Fore'er we will be true.

Little Flower, we glory to see
Your colors gleam in the sunlight,
Maroon for love and loyalty,
Snowy White for purity
Proud, we your banner fling,
Exultant, your praises sing.
We march on strong with trust in God above.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This is for all of those people out there who no longer have mothers. For us old guys, of course, but especially for those younger people who lost their moms when they were way too young. I know how difficult it must be being inundated with all the advertisements at this time of year. The constant wishes... only to be turned into "I'm sorry." Don DiJulia, the AD at St. Joe's, gave the best advice when he told me "we're all rookies when it comes to losing our mothers, no matter the age."

I was lucky enough to have a great Mom... aka Ma. I hope you were too. I keep a County Mayo sticker on the bumper of my Dodge Charger to remind me of her, as she always had one on her car. Don't let the last name fool you -- she was "thoroughbred Irish", as she and her mother liked to boast. I never had perogis or golumpkis growing up.... just a roast cooked for 12 hours (until it just fell off the bone) and seemingly every meal had potatoes. Like all good mothers you were first on her mind when she woke up, and the last thing on her mind when she went to sleep. All those meals, all those rides to CYO games, all the washing and ironing, all the handkerchiefs she would spit on to remove whatever it was you got on your face. All the love, altruism, selflessness. Always putting you before her.

If you were lucky you got one like I did that dispensed excellent Yoda-like advice at the drop of a hat (oh how I wish that once I had the things I threw away), or had a comeback no matter what you said or did (are your ears painted on?). Hopefully she let you fight some of your own battles, like the time I fought the Jewish kid down the street while the parish priest was in our house visiting, and then told you to invite the boy to the house for dinner the next week - which I did and we became best friends (a Philadelphia rowhouse brand of Catholicism?). She was there, whether you wanted her to be or not, at almost every significant moment in your life. Should it have felt like your world was falling apart -- you knew there was one person who would always be on your corner. One caveat however - being in your corner didn't mean she told you wanted you wanted to hear.

At certain times in my life I would love to have just one more home cooked meal served up in the small kitchen, followed up by one of our endless conversations over Miller Lite and a Benson & Hedges Deluxe Ultra Lights. All gone now... oh how I wish that once I had.... ringing in my ear.

So for all of you out there -- don't think of how she died but celebrate how she lived. Say a prayer and remember at least one great memory, of either the lady who brought you into this world, or the lady who raised you. She is still worthy of that honor. But don't be too sad. You miss her, and I'm sure she misses you... but she is having supper with Lord now. By His cross, death and resurrection Christ conquered death. That is the consolation of Christianity. But don't think for a moment she's still not watching over you, and perhaps wondering what in God's name possessed him to do that. She may have retired the handkerchief by now though ;-)

TFB / 5-8-11 / AMDG

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

John W. Smithson - interim SJU president

The end of an era, I'm afraid. The first non-Jesuit president in our history. I hope Fr. Lannon wasn't the last of the long black line, listed below.

This situation is not peculiar to St. Joe's as this article, Fewer Jesuit priests this Easter, but more people learning Jesuit ideals, from last week's Washington Post indicates.

As a Jesuit educated laymen -- it isn't the same as having a man who dedicated his whole life to the Society. As Fr. Martin succintly puts it; "“It’s like running a program in Italian studies with someone born in Italy, who has their PhD in Italian from an Italian school, versus someone born here who studied here,” he said. “As immersed as someone can get, they’re not living it the same way a Jesuit is. There’s something qualitatively different.”


Dear Alumni, Parents and Friends,

I am pleased to announce that at a special meeting on Tuesday evening, April 19, the Board voted to appoint John W. Smithson ’68, M.B.A. ’82 as Saint Joseph’s University’s Interim President. Members of the Board unanimously agreed that Mr. Smithson meets the expectations and aspirations of the campus community for this interim leadership role which were clearly articulated through the many e-mails sent to Trustees and the Open Forums that Board members held with students, faculty, the Jesuit community, administrators and staff, and alumni.

The Board heard the University community’s desire for a strong leader who will engage all constituencies within the community. It was made very clear that members of the University community desire an individual who will maintain the momentum established by Fathers Rashford and Lannon. The Board, along with those expressing their thoughts via the forums and e-mail, were united in their belief that an Interim President needed to demonstrate strength in four areas:

1. Commitment to Ignatian mission and values;
2. Commitment to and capable of, maintaining and building momentum in academic life, student life, fund raising, and fiduciary stewardship;
3. Sensitivity to student and faculty needs, and commitment to maintaining a visible and accessible leadership profile for the SJU community; and
4. Proficiency in Saint Joseph’s administrative affairs.

There was consensus across the community that we appoint an individual familiar with Saint Joseph’s and who has demonstrated a commitment to its Catholic, Jesuit mission. The Board concluded that the University needed an individual who did not require a learning curve and could be effective from day one. As a result, the Board agreed that an internal candidate was best able to act as a steward of the University’s legacy during this interim period.

As you know, Mr. Smithson served as a University Trustee from 1999-2007 and Board Chair from 2003-2007. He has been serving as the Senior Vice President at the University since February 2010. As a result of his deep engagement with Saint Joseph’s, John possesses a deep and holistic understanding of the University’s mission and history, its short-term needs and its long-term goals. He understands its current operational strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, John has a demonstrated respect for and understanding of student and faculty needs.

Mr. Smithson was recruited back to Saint Joseph’s as a result of Fr. Lannon’s and the Board’s desire to strengthen University leadership and enable the President to focus more time externally. Previously, he held the position of Senior Vice President at Towers Watson Reinsurance and, he was also the CEO and President of PMA Capital Corporation.

Under Mr. Smithson’s leadership as Board Chair, Saint Joseph’s achieved some remarkable successes, beginning with the appointment of Fr. Lannon as its 26th President. The University also experienced the establishment of the Brian C. Duperreault ’69 Chair for Risk Management and Insurance, the addition of the residence halls on City Avenue now known as Rashford and Lannon Halls, the revitalization of the City Avenue Special Services District (CASSD), the establishment of the Catholic Bioethics Institute and the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics, the signing of the agreement to purchase the Merion Campus from the Episcopal Academy and the highest ranking from US News & World Report, to name just a few.

Mr. Smithson will assume the position of Interim President of Saint Joseph’s University on May 18, 2011.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who took the time to attend an Open Forum regarding the search and selection process for the Interim President of Saint Joseph's University. I appreciate your interest and concern. It is very clear that each and every one of you is passionate about Saint Joseph’s and wants what is best for our community. I know that the other Trustees who attended the sessions found it very beneficial to hear first-hand what is of most importance to you.

Concurrently, the Presidential Search Committee is continuing the search process, focusing initially on potential Jesuit candidates who are qualified and available, to be considered as the full-time successor to Fr. Lannon.

As the Board Chair, despite this period of transition, I am both pleased by and confident in the excellent situation which Saint Joseph’s is in today. There are a number of strategic initiatives in place, including Academic Affairs, Student Life, Athletics, Development, Enrollment Management, Information Technology and Marketing. Under the guidance of the Board of Trustees and the interim leadership of John Smithson, these key initiatives will continue to move forward as we continue to make every effort to provide our students with the highest quality Saint Joseph’s education.

Please join me in wishing Mr. Smithson well as he assumes the interim leadership of the University, and in offering him your support during this time of transition at Saint Joseph’s.


Paul J. Hondros ’70

Saint Joseph's University, 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131

Rev. Felix Barbelin, S.J. 1851 1856

Rev. James Ryder, S.J. 1856 1857

Rev. James A. Ward, S.J. 1857 1860

Rev. Felix Barbelin, S.J. 1860 1868

Rev. Burchard Villiger, S.J. 1868 1893

Rev. Patrick J. Dooley, S.J. 1893 1896

Rev. William F. Clark, S.J. 1896 1900

Rev. Cornelius Gillespie, S.J. 1900 1907

Rev. Denis T. O'Sullivan, S.J. 1907 1908

Rev. Cornelius Gillespie, S.J. 1908 1909

\Rev. Charles W. Lyons, S.J. 1909 1914

Rev. J. Charles Davey, S.J. 1914 1917

Rev. Redmond J. Walsh, S.J. 1917 1920

Rev. Patrick F. O'Gorman, S.J. 1920 1921

Rev. Albert G. Brown, S.J. 1921 1927

Rev. William T. Tallon, S.J. 1927 1933

Rev. Thomas J. Higgins, S.J. 1933 1939

Rev. Thomas J. Love, S.J. 1939 1944

Rev. John L. Long, S.J. 1944 1950

Rev. Edward G. Jacklin, S.J. 1950 1956

Rev. J. Joseph Bluett, S.J. 1956 1962

Rev. William F. Maloney, S.J. 1962 1968

Rev. Terrence Toland, S.J. 1968 1976

Rev. Donald I. MacLean, S.J. 1976 1986

Rev. Nicholas S. Rashford, S.J. 1986 2003

Rev. Timothy R. Lannon, S.J. 2003 2011