Friday, July 31, 2009

The Feast of St. Ignatius


Happy Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola
Posted at: 2009-07-30 12:43:42.0Author: James Martin, S.J.

Tomorrow, July 31 (or today depending on when you're reading this) is the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, aka the Jesuits. To celebrate the day, here is a favorite passage from his Autobiography, which marks not only the beginning of the saint's conversion, but also the inauguration of what has come to be known as "Ignatian discernment." In 1521, Inigo de Loyola was recuperating from serious injuries gotten in a battle in Pamplona, Spain, in 1521. Convalescing at the family castle in Loyola, a relative provided him with some reading material. Unfortunately for the patient, there were none of the tales of chivalry and derring-do that Inigo so enjoyed, just a Life of Christ and a book on the lives of the saints. Inigo (he would change to the more Latinate Ignatius later) took them up grudgingly.

What happened next would change his life, the lives of every Jesuit after him, the lives of Jesuit colleagues and students, the lives of everyone touched by Ignatian spirituality, and perhaps even your life. Here is Ignatius, on his sick bed, in his own words, describing what happened. St. Ignatius refers to himself, perhaps out of modesty, as either "the pilgrim" or "him."
"While perusing the life of Our Lord and the saints, he began to reflect, saying to himself: "What if I should do what St. Francis did?" "What if I should act like St. Dominic?" He pondered over these things in his mind, and kept continually proposing to himself serious and difficult things. He seemed to feel a certain readiness for doing them, with no other reason except this thought: "St. Dominic did this; I, too, will do it." "St. Francis did this; therefore I will do it."

These heroic resolutions remained for a time, and then other vain and worldly thoughts followed. This succession of thoughts occupied him for a long while, those about God alternating with those about the world. But in these thoughts there was this difference. When he thought of worldly things it gave him great pleasure, but afterward he found himself dry and sad. But when he thought of journeying to Jerusalem, and of living only on herbs, and practising austerities, he found pleasure not only while thinking of them, but also when he had ceased.

This difference he did not notice or value, until one day the eyes of his soul were opened and he began to inquire the reason of the difference. He learned by experience that one train of thought left him sad, the other joyful. This was his first reasoning on spiritual matters. Afterward, when he began the Spiritual Exercises, he was enlightened, and understood what he afterward taught his children about the discernment of spirits. When gradually he recognized the different spirits by which he was moved, one, the spirit of God, the other, the devil, and when he had gained no little spiritual light from the reading of pious books, he began to think more seriously of his past life, and how much penance he should do to expiate his past sins."

Believe it or not, we know where his bedroom was. Today in Loyola Castle it is referred to as the Room of the Conversion. A statue of Ignatius stands in the spot where he convalesced. Above the room inscribed on a beam is the legend, in Spanish, "Here Ignatius of Loyola Surrendered Himself to God." That's the photo above.

Best wishes from the editors and staff of America magazine to all our Jesuit brothers across the world and to all friends of St. Ignatius.

Happy Feast Day!

James Martin, SJ

St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola - Saint of the Day - American Catholic

McNamara's Blog: Getting Ready for St. Ignatius Day

Jesuits celebrate Feast of St Ignatius Loyola on Independent Catholic News

The Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Ignatius of Loyola - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

July 31, Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus) - Democratic Underground

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Goodbye Mrs. Kramer

"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us swear allegiance to a
land that's free, Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our
voices in a solemn prayer."

(little known preamble to Irvin Berlin's God Bless America, and a favorite of Mrs. Kramer)

next-door neighbor -- Noun -- a person who lives next to another

That may be the dictionary definition of a next-door neighbor. Mine is simply two words --The Kramers.

One is only a neighbor because of proximity, and next-door because they are adjacent. Putting them together means you boast "next-door neighbor" because that means they are friends, by choice. In Philadelphia it takes on new meaning as you usually share a wall, and all the sounds that come through it. Need a can of peas for dinner, paper towels to clean...go to Kramers. They have our house key... we have theirs.

We lost my former next-door neighbor, Mrs. Kramer, last week. Always Mrs. Kramer, as my mother was always Mrs. B. to them... as a sign of respect, unlike today's 8 year olds that call you by your first name. And respected she was.

Her faith was always at the center of her life, and her imitation of Christ was as close as you'll find. She was always happy to see me and talk to me. She was always happy to see everyone and talk to everyone. When she asked you "how are you doing?", she meant it and wanted to hear all about it. How many people do you know like that today?

Before I went to India last year to visit John Deeney, SJ and the Jamshedpur Jesuits in Lupungutu I stopped by to talk to Mrs. Kramer. She had been there years ago to visit her sister who was one of the first female lawyers in Philadelphia but gave it up to join the Medical Mission Sisters. She wanted to let me know what I could expect and promised her prayers for a safe journey. This was a big deal for me because I am quite convinced that no one prayed more than Mrs. Kramer. No one. Not even the Pope. And she was busier than the Pope.

My buddy Rick Dougherty loves the saying " some people are a drain, others are a reservoir." Mrs. Kramer was the latter - big time. In today's world where people, particularly young people, can barely utter a "what's up"... Mrs. Kramer always greeted me with "hello Tommy B!", in a most melodic way. Just her "hello" could make a bad day seem better.

Her last months were spent at Jefferson Hospital's ICU. One night I visited her after work, after visiting hours (my mother always told me to walk in like you own the place and no one will stop you), and just sat by her bed and prayed. There were no religious icons in the antiseptic room, so I attached a special set of Irish connemara marble rosaries to her bedside. I was touched when I saw them on top of her coffin at her funeral mass at Our Lady of Calvary Parish. On another visit her grandson David and I were alone with her in the room. Mrs. Kramer was intubated and couldn't speak. So we all joined hands and I recited the Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph by heart, ending with "St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for Mrs. Kramer." If I read her eyes correctly she was thinking "attaboy Tommy B!".

But last week Mrs. Kramer told her daughter Nora that she spoke to the Lord and that it was time to go home. Nora mentioned that they were almost finished remodeling the rec-room to make it easier for her. She replied "no, I am going home to the Lord." And so surrounded by her children she left this earth and went back home to the Lord.

As Catholics we believe that a trip to Purgatory will be mandatory because we need "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven, by those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified." She would have been the first to tell you she was far from perfect but I am sure that Mrs. Kramer's stay was as brief as buying a SEPTA token for the El, although she probably got talking to everyone and didn't leave right away... like an typical Irish good-bye in the foyer ;-)

A Jeb once asked me what I was "doing for the kingdom, the kingdom of God on earth?" The question kind of shook me at the time because I didn't have an answer. It wouldn't have shaken the girl from Saint Joachim's and Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls (and the niece of former SJC coach Bill Ferguson). She was always doing for the kingdom. Always bringing people closer to God, with every word, every action, and every song. In fact she requested that her funeral mass take place at night, because Mrs. Kramer was all about seeing people in church, and her life was beautifully eulogized by her son Billy.

When my own mother passed away the best advice I received (mainly because it wasn't advice but a statement of fact) was from St. Joe's AD Don DiJulia who said that "no matter how old we are, no matter how old she is... we are all rookies when it comes to losing our mothers." Nothing we can do will prepare any of us for this eventuality. I was happy that Mrs. Kramer was there to sing my mother's funeral mass. After the mass was over she sang 'Danny Boy' as Mom's coffin was carried from the church. I looked up to give her a "thanks Mrs. Kramer" but she never looked down. After mass she said had she looked down she would have lost it. Then she added that it was her belief that I would get a sign from Mom that she was OK.

So sometime, someday, be ready... Billy, Eddie, Nora, Betteann, Joe, Bob, Moe and Dee.... expect a sign. Knowing your mother it will probably come in a beautiful song ;-)

So goodbye Mrs. Kramer. I for one am sad that you're gone, and will miss you, our talks, and your example of being a woman for others... but I know exactly where you are now. Enjoy your eternal reward. You deserve it. Heaven now has a new choir director!


Tommy B

Elizabeth C. Kramer, 81, chorister

By Walter F. Naedele
Inquirer Staff Writer

Elizabeth Cummins Kramer, 81, of Torresdale, choir director at Our Lady of Calvary Church in Northeast Philadelphia since 1968, died of complications from heart surgery on Thursday at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Mrs. Kramer was president of the Northeast Philadelphia chapter of the American Cancer Society during the 1980s, her son Robert said, and in the mid-1980s its national office gave her its Courage Award.

Mrs. Kramer also was president of the School Crossing Guard Association of Philadelphia from 1966 to the late 1970s, and pool director at the Northeast YMCA in the 1970s and 1980s.
Born in Olney and raised in Frankford, Mrs. Kramer graduated from Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls in 1946.

At a teenager during World War II, she entertained as a singer at USOs throughout the city, her son said, and from the 1960s through the 1980s, she organized variety shows and performed in them at nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Photos show that she worked with The Pastimers, a band composed of police officers.

Each year at Christmastime for the last 20 years, she organized choir visits to more than 50 homes, her son said, working from "a list provided by her pastor, for people disabled or ill."
At Our Lady of Calvary, she was the soloist at weddings and funerals since the parish was founded in 1963.

Inspired by her late sister, Sister Nancy Cummins MMS, a lawyer who became a nun with the Medical Mission Sisters in India, Mrs. Kramer housed a total of 12 foster children in the mid- to late-1980s, in stays that lasted from a week to a year. Besides her son Robert, Mrs. Kramer is survived by sons William T., Edward, and Joseph; daughters Nora, Betteann, Maureen, and Dolores Kramer; a sister; 12 grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. Her husband, William J., died in 1983.

A viewing and funeral took place yesterday. A visitation and short prayer service was set for 8 to 9 a.m. today at Our Lady of Calvary Church, 11024 Knights Rd., Philadelphia, before burial in Our Lady of Grace Cemetery, Langhorne.

Donations my be made to:
8400 Pine Road
Philadelphia, PA 19111

Boston Mourns "Everybody's Priest"

Whispers in the Loggia: Boston Mourns "Everybody's Priest"

Today, Beantown prepares to send off a legend -- Fr Bill McCarthy, the parish priest whose decision to set up overfill cots for the homeless in his church basement a quarter-century ago led to the building of Father Bill's Place, a free-standing shelter that's taken in over 25,000 folks from the streets... in the last six months alone.Ordained in 1952 and pastor of Quincy's St John the Baptist parish until his 1995 retirement, McCarthy kept an active hand at the shelter until his death last week at 82:

Born to Irish immigrant parents in Haverhill, the Rev. McCarthy had friends and admirers ranging from shelter guests to the late Thomas Flatley, the billionaire Milton real estate developer who called him “the salt of the earth.”For Massachusetts housing advocate and former Father Bill’s Place director Joe Finn of Quincy, the Rev. McCarthy was a man of deep, matter-of-fact faith – “a very generous human being with an intense awareness of the need of people around him.”Nationally known homeless advocate Philip Mangano called the Rev. McCarthy “a modern good Samaritan” who tended to the immediate needs of those on the street and worked to get them into secure housing and a stable life...

Click title for entire article.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hawks Soar at the Shore + letters...


An fyi... the "Soar at the Shore" is cleared (posted on Hawk Board - Hawk Hoops - Hawks Soar at the Shore!) and I'm really excited about it! Believe it or not, I am getting excellent support from SJU thus far. Do you think you could include a memo about it on your blog in the near future? I need to get the word out to as many as possible.


Hawks Soar at the Shore '09

Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time: 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: La Costa Lounge
4000 Landis Avenue
Sea Isle City, NJ

1 week after the great Hawks by the Bay at Maynard's in Margate, come join your fellow Hawk alumni for even more fun at the shore!

Your $20 entrance fee at La Costa includes:
-'Soar at the Shore' event t-shirt
-special appearances by members of the coaching staff (TBA)
-private outdoor tent with LIVE music on the deck
-draft beer, wine, and soda (special Hawk drink prices for everything else)
-door prizes via raffle (TBA)
-complimentary BBQ buffet

This event is open to all Hawks as well as friends and family of Hawks.

Facebook Hawks Soar at the Shore '09

The main bartender for this event (and one of La Costa's summertime managers) is my former SJU roommate and a VARSITY Hawk.

Ghost of win-win

UPDATE: various prizes will be raffled, including tickets to a home game at the Hagan....

For all of you that are not season ticket holders, you now have 2 opportunities (Hawks by the Bay + Soar at the Shore) to win tickets AND drink frosty beverages at the shore.

Way to run with the ball Flap... great job and may it be a success!

Hello there,

You are getting this email because at one point in time you wanted to see a video of my speech from Graduation. My friend who taped it was finally able to get it on to youtube so below is the link. I hope you enjoy!

Best wishes,

Even better than the transcript. Love the shield behind you ;-)

Segue picture....


I haven't spoken to you in quite some time so I thought I would shoot you an email to see how you were doing! My summer has consisted of doing nothing and applying for jobs. But recently-- I've hit the jackpot. I had 2 interviews last week, 1 this week, and already got a call this morning to set something else up with another company. So hopefully, out of these 4, I land a great job.

How is your summer going? Hope everything is going well!!!


Good luck with the job hunt, and it would appear we now have a new Cheerleader of the Day -- maybe even Cheerleader of the Year. For more info check out Philadelphia Fight Rugby League Club.


Tom ,

Hope your are enjoying the summer. I am enjoying the nice weather but every time I get an e-mail or letter about the new arena, I become violently ill. I am sure you are too, as well as all of the REAL Hawk faithful. They (and you know who they are) are becoming what we so intensely hated about villainova. Martelli always is boasting about the passion of the Hawk faithful. It is going to be replaced by the pa$$ion of rich egotistical jerks. If he thinks he is going to see an arena full of passionate fans an hour or so before a game begins even when the Hawks have a sub-500 record, he is out of his mind. One good thing is that his voice will last longer since he will not have to raise it too much to be heard. Something very unique and valuable is being lost here and once it is gone it is gone...outta here. I'm sure opponents and sub-par officials will love coming to the Hagan Arena. I know my seats (now section 112) will be long gone when my turn comes. I will likely be in the rafters if I am lucky enough to get called. If I do manage to get in the arena, I am sure I will spend most of my time yelling at clueless pa$$ionate fans who are just there to be there...when they are there (likely halfway-through the first everyone can see them walk in and way before the game is over so they can get home to see Wall Street Week on tape delay).

This new system can be summed up in one word - EXTORTION. Dangling something we love before our eyes while grabbing for the few bucks left in our wallets. And we have less bucks in our wallets because of those greedy ...... who have no conscience and ruined the economy. Ironically, they will be the ones who will be able to purchase the seats we held so dearly for so long. I hope I get to see you at a Hawk game again but I am not holding my breath. Maybe we will see you at HBTB on the 15th. Take care.

Ghost of Sr. Mary Laurian, CSFN

While I'm on record of not being a fan of the forced charitable contribution ticket plan, I do hope you're wrong about the passion being lost. I don't equate a man's riches with Hawk basketball passion. Moving longtime, loyal season ticket-holders to the upper deck in favor of those who have money and may not show up / come late / leave early... could take away our home court advantage. Sort of like all the empty chairbacks at the Palestra for a sold out game.

I was on the fence about renewing my season tickets. After much discernment I've decided to renew but to get one ticket. If the waiting list is indeed long then it won't matter that they've helped to get rid of a few loyal fans. Perhaps new blood is what they seek. I hope it is crimson though.

I know a great many Hawks -- and they are all so charitable. When I asked them for their help with the Jesuits in Jamshedpur, India, or the Jesuit Urban Service Team at St. Luke's in Camden -- the checks came pouring in. I was really touched. They are so generous to St. Joe's, to their high school alma maters, to many Jesuit charities, to many Catholic charities... they are simple charitable, incorporating the Works of Mercy into their daily lives. But they do so voluntarily, not because they are told to. Otherwise it's not charity, just a higher ticket price.

Stay tuned for a blog entry on our grade school alma mater... still working on it... and as the good Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth instructed us to say, every day, "Praised be Jesus Christ, forever and ever. Amen"


What is great in Chicago and many other places there is now a joint cooperative effort with the Nativity-San Miguel- Cristo Rey Schools. I just heard of the book you're reading (More Than a Dream - The Cristo Rey Story - Loyola Press). Shows what can be done. The Camden San Miguel (FSC's) has been in existence at OL of Mt. Carmel-Fatima.

'tis always grand to hear from you. You really are a God-sent. Which altar server were you? The pious one or the sleepy eyed one? My money is on the sleepy-eyed.

Fr. Mike Hegarty

OK... let's talk about old pictures! I'm the pious one btw ;-), Drew Capponi is the other one, who looks like he's asleep. In his defense it was an outdoor Mass and probably 100 degrees.


All well and good regarding the NEW ERA - SAME PASSION - MORE MONEY topic. But do you have any idea when we loyal loyal Hawks will be given the opportunity to discover our fate? Put another way, may we have the envelope, please!

I ask you because I choose not to bother the guy from UConn nor have him bother me any more than he already has.


SJC Class of 1964

Stay tuned P. Always a huge undertaking to distribute 3,200 tickets every year when they're not reshuffling the deck. Hopefully the larger ticket office will help.


It is really unbelievable to me that a year has passed since my last very special birthday (coming up on 22nd). That was a great visit. You had to rough it a bit in LPG, but you were thrown right into the middle of our community life, with chances to also see Pandabir, the Bordor chapel (with that great Mass and dancing), Basahatu, etc...If you had come to visit me here at XLRI, they would bave given you great private rooms, but there would not have been the level of immersion which you got.

I can really never express how special the whole visit was for me. So again and again thanks you for getting the great idea and pulling it off with Johnny and the Klarichs,

Christ's Peace!
John, S.J.

A much younger 6th Man with uncle John Deeney, SJ.

Some help needed, Tom.

Do you have the e-mail address of J Kevin O'Neill. A Hawk from Langhorne, Pa, now in Naples, FL. He sent me a check in my name. Our treasurer says clearing it will be a big problem. - Send it back and have him send a new one to Jesuit Missions, Balt. If I have his email id that makes it easier for me.

My birthday brought back great memories of our celebration last year, the happiest birthday I had in India. We had a great Mass, then I remember vividly you and Johnny coming up with your books and gifts. I had fun showing the speaking card to the candidates. The biggest book you gave I did not get through, but I thoroughly enjoyed the others. Recently I went through He Leadeth Me - Walter Ciszek, SJ. A great book.

Thanks for you generous gift to Dhanur. It came in very handy and helped him get back one of his mortgaged fields. No need to give him any more. His situation starts to clear with his daughter in law teaching in the LPG high school, and his sons getting eligible to get jobs. That's about it for now. I hope that all goes well with you, your wife, dad, and sister.

Christ's Peace!
John, S.J.

HAPPY BIRTH DAY FATHER! If my wife didn't threaten me with divorce Johnny and I would have been back again this year. Looking into your request about the check.

Immersion indeed! Wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I doubt they have lizards in the showers at XLRI ;-) That Mass in Ho at St. Paul Miki was amazing. Lucinda bought me a frame made in India and I have the picture of you and Fathers Greg, Romo, Martin and Hilarius concelebrating Mass so I am reminded of you and our Jeb buddies, and what you do AMDG, every day. I am praying you can come back to Balto for your 70th!

Hi Tom,

I'm a little late in thanking you for the tickets last week for my daughter and her boyfriend. They thoroughly enjoyed the show. Could you add Erin to the list to receive your emails? Thanks and enjoy the rest of the summer - it's been beautiful!


Erin has been added and I'm glad she enjoyed the show. Now we have to teach her the SJU fight song ;-)


My e-mail/computer has been down for almost a month. I'm just about getting by. I wanted to know the date that they are going to dedicate the "field house".

Hope all is well.

Ralph Gilmore

The official dedication will take place on October 17th. The first game will be when Hawk alum Bruiser Flint brings in his Drexel Dragons on November 13th.

Dear Tom,

It was with great joy and gratitude to God, that I was called to Ordination of the Diaconate on April 30, 2009 at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, D.C. Ordination to the Holy Priesthood will take place on September 13, 2009 at 7:30pm at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown.

I’ve been residing at Georgetown University in preparation for Ordination. During my time at Georgetown, in addition to my study for the Priesthood, I have continued the mission for NTWH to provide healing arts for persons with disabilities.In direct response to the ever increasing amounts of Veterans coming home from the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars with both mental and physical disabilities, I have extended NTWH to the Wounded Warriors in our military.

Please donate to our own grassroots stimulus package for the recovery of our programs at NTWH. One of our first goals is to re-open the Belson Bakery to focus on the returning veteran.Please visit which will take you to NTWH’s fundraiser page where you can contribute and/or share this announcement with your friends and family.

If you care to write a check (payable to NTWH), please mail to the following address:

Rick Curry, S.J.
Wolfington Hall, Jesuit Residence
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C. 20057

This Jesuit ROCKS, and he's not only a StJ alumnus but a Shield of Loyola recipient as well! Congrats Father ;-)

Br. Curry lecturing at Georgetown Prep, and as Dr. Sorensen on Mr. Monk gets a new shrink.

For info on Br. Curry's National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped

For more on Br. Curry Person of the Week: Rick Curry, SJ - ABC News

To read his speech at Santa Clara University Rick Curry, S.J. Life's Bread - Santa Clara Lecture


Thanks for making mine the lead off of your e-mail section.

I must have been under the influence when I used an apostrophe to make the plural of “e-mail”.

What would Mr. Makurath have said about that?!



Do it again and I'll make you diagram the sentence on the blackboard ;-0

Johnny looking resplendent in crimson, Dad still tangled up in blue.


I know the Chris Matthews thing was a painful awakening in terms of seeing SJU in a new light.

I hope that this weekend's unveiling of the new Ramsay Center will rejuvenate your feelings about the school's leadership. A new facility has been talked about (wished for) for a long time, but Fr. Lannon got it done. And he did it without sacrificing the school's soul (i.e. DuPont Pavillion). Could he have done it any better? The building remains a natural part of the campus architecture, bears the names of memorable SJU people, and gives Phil a venue to aid in recruiting.

Ticket holders still have some mud-wrestling to do, but in the end they will rather be in the building than remain outside arguing about seat location. I am happy for you all.


Thanks, and good luck with our boy at Paul VI. Thought you'd get a kick out of this one... Creative Minority Report: I Hope The Tuition Isn't Very High.

Been an exciting summer for 44...

Mrs. 44 cleaned out my closet. All Snickers and I had to do was say "donate or keep". The Jameeracle on 54th Street t-shirt got a "definitely keep". St. Vincent dePaul got the most.

Hooked up with my buddies from NE Philly at the Pennypack Park Concert Series. It was worth every dollar spent. Here come the jesters, 1,2,3...

Took in my cousin's surprise birthday party in Harrisburg. Happy Birthday Bo...

Great to see all the McGarritys, especially Uncle John and Aunt Marguerite. The pride of the PRR, Transfiguration Parish in West Philly and 91 years young...

And as a public service announcement I had Mrs 44 take a pic of this sign. It means if you're in the outside lane, and no one is in front of you, and there's a black Dodge Charger behind you... get over. This goes for all Jerseyites driving on 1-95, the Schuykill, the Blue Route, and the PA Turnpike, and the Pennsy drivers on the AC Expressway, I-295 and especially Route 73 - where you'll notice you CAN'T make a left anyway. This goes double for the Delaware drivers as they always seem confused no matter where they are.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Half million Vietnamese Catholics...

This is nothing short of amazing. How brave the Viet-Catholics are, how strong is their faith. Let's keep them in our prayers.

VietCatholic News (26 Jul 2009 13:29)

In unprecedented event after the communist takeover of Vietnam, half million Vietnamese Catholics joined in huge protests demanding the justice for victims who were assaulted brutally by police in central costal province of Vinh as they were trying to rebuild their worship place.

Police in provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, and Quang Binh had been put on high alert in the wake of huge protests joined by half million Catholics. At 7 am local time on Sunday morning, 170 priests and 420 women religious led 500,000 Catholics of Vinh Diocese and neighboring dioceses in peaceful protests being held throughout 19 deaneries. The event is reportedly observed as the most crowded religious protest in Vietnam history.

Across the entrance of the Bishop’s Office and on the façade of every church in the diocese hung big banners which stated the reasons why people were protesting, a testimonial evidence of severe conflict between the increasingly dictatorial regime and a normally peace loving, law abiding citizens and Catholics. The banners asserted Catholics had no choice but holding these protest as it was the only way the world could hear their indignant voice on police's brutality and the injustice that parishioners of Tam Toa have been suffering almost since the beginning of communism in Vietnam.

In more details, Catholic protestors demanded the immediate release of their brothers and sisters who were beaten cruelly in a violent police raid on Monday and have since then been detained indefinitely. During the said incident, police fired teargas at parishioners, who were erecting a Cross and patios on the grounded of the bombed Tam Toa church, before kicking and beating them brutally with stun guns, and batons. 18 were thrown into police trucks. 7 of them are still behind the bar and risk being prosecuted. Police have charged Catholic activists of “counter-revolutionary crimes, violating state policies on Americans’ War Crimes Memorial Sites, disturbing public order, and attacking officials-on-duty,” state-run media outlets reported.

Right after the incident, Nhan Dan (People), a mouthpiece of the Politburo – the supreme leading body of Vietnamese Communist Party – initiated a media campaign calling for severe punishments against Catholics of Tam Toa. The article in the Nhan Dan has seen as a strong signal from the Party for extreme actions against efforts of Catholics to regain Church properties. The start shot of the highest power newspaper has been followed by most state-own media outlets including television channels. Facing the wake of fierce attacks from state media, on July 24, 2009, the Bishopric of Vinh Diocese issued a statement rebuffing accusations from Vietnam government.

“Parishioners of Tam Toa did not violate the laws when they build patios on the ground of Tam Toa church. Up till now, Tam Toa church premise, and its bell tower still remain in the ownership of Tam Toa parish of the diocese of Vinh,” said the statement, demanding the government to “stop immediately the distortion of truth, the defamation of religion, and the instigation of hatred between Catholics and non-Catholics.”

News relating to the Vatican visit of communist leader Nguyen Minh Triet on November and a potential pastoral Vietnam visit of Pope Benedict XVI at un-specified time have been also exploited to their wildest extends. Citing them as an evident of a significant improvement on religious freedom, state media have attacked Catholic leaders and faithful who have actively involved in struggles for the requisition of Church properties as “bad Catholics” who blatantly disregard the laws and continually disrupt public order. In particular, the parishioners of Tam Toa have been accused as “a group of gang rivals” who challenged the laws by attacking officials-on-duty.

In its response, the Bishop’s Office of Vinh Diocese was determined to set the record straight: “We have enough evidence to state that the police of Quang Binh had beaten our faithful before arresting them illegally. Police seized our Cross and confiscated other Church properties as well as our faithful's ones,” the statement said. On July 22, 2009, the People’s Committee of Quang Binh province sent summoning orders to representatives of the Bishop’s Office and the College of Priests of Vinh Diocese to ask them come to the Committee to discuss on the “the situation of Catholic activities on the area”. The orders were rejected. “While our Cross – a great, sacred symbol of our faith is still being profaned by the police of Quang Binh, and while our faithful are still being jailed unjustly, we cannot come to talk with the Provincial Committee,” explained Fr. Anthony Pham Dinh Phung, Chief Secretary of Bishop’s Office in a response letter to the Committee.

Bishop’s Office of Vinh Diocese also sent a letter to the local authorities of Quang Binh demanding that the local government:

1) Release immediately and completely all Catholics who have been beaten, arrested and jailed.

2) Provide medical care for wounded Catholics beaten by police.

3) Make compensation for the patios of Tam Toa parish.

4) Return the Cross and other Church properties as well as our faithful's ones.

5) Stop immediately the distortion of truth, the defamation of religion, and the instigation of hatred between Catholics and non-Catholics.

On Sunday, Vietnamese Catholic Communities in large cities around the world spent a minute of silence to pray for victims of police violent raid at Tam Toa, and for the Church in Vietnam which has recently continually suffered persecutions by the atheist governmentFrom the diocese of Vinh, organizers of the protests have reported a couple of incidents in which Catholics had clashed with police who tried to turn them back to their villages when they tried to join in protests. Especially, at Tam Toa, at least 20 women and children were beaten badly by plain-clothed police when they were on their way to the church. Latest reports stated that after the protest at Tam Toa, on Sunday night police raid parishioners’ houses and arrested at least a women and a male university student.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009


Point System

SJU Athletics will use a point system to prioritize ticket purchasing opportunities and seat locations for all season ticket holders. A point system is a common mechanism used around the country to determine ticket purchasing and seat location priorities for collegiate athletics events.

Points will be calculated based on the following six (6) categories:

• Number of years as a season ticket holder
(300 points per year)
• Overall Lifetime donations to the University
(1 point per $1 donated)
• Donations to Athletics in Fiscal Year 2009 – June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009
(1 point per $1 donated)
• Donations to the University in Fiscal Year 2009 – June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009
(1 point per $1 donated)
• Number of season tickets purchased for the 2008- 09 season
(300 points per ticket)
• Alumni of SJU
(500 points per degree – maximum of 1500 points
per household)

The above categories will determine the total number of points each season ticket holder has accrued, and thus, the priority for choosing one’s seats.

All season ticket holders will be ranked in descending order starting with the individual with the highest number of points. As we move down the point list, season ticket holders will be given the opportunity to select and purchase their seats according to their ranking. In keeping with the point system, season ticket holders will have the opportunity to select their seats at the Palestra when it is their turn. If you have questions or would like to discuss the seating program, please contact Nino Vanin at to schedule a telephone or personal appointment.


As a new era of Saint Joseph’s University Basketball begins, we are excited to share with you the opening of the Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena. This season also marks the beginning of a new seating program for Men’s Basketball, whereby SJU Athletics will establish a fair, transparent and consistent seat location procedure for all home games (including those at the Palestra).
The seating program will be a way to express our gratitude to those investors who make contributions in many ways to the success of Saint Joseph’s and the athletic department.

Your important contributions will continue to generate the incremental revenues which assist in the operation of Hagan Arena and, subsequently, the funding of our broad-based athletics program. Included on the following page is a diagram of Hagan Arena, which will provide you with a visual representation of the Arena Seating Program. With the exception of seats in Sections 216, 217 and 218, seats in all sections of the arena will now require an annual
donation in addition to the season ticket price.

The Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena will not only provide lifelong memories for those student-athletes who compete on the court, but for all those off the court, as well. We are grateful for your support of Hawk Athletics, and look forward to seeing you and your family at the Hagan Arena for years to come.

Seating Program Basics

In recognition of individuals who have consistently supported Saint Joseph’s University, season ticket holders who have supported the university in five of the last seven fiscal years will have the opportunity to renew their current season tickets without going through the seat selection process, if they agree to the following:

• Committing to maintaining and/or increasing one’s current level of support to SJU Athletics for three years (current level of support must fulfill seat level donation associated with one’s
respective seat location).

• If current level of support to athletics does not fulfill seat level donation necessary, individuals must increase their support to that level for the three-year commitment.
• Season ticket holders who qualify for this opportunity will keep the same number of current season tickets in the same location. Individuals interested in changing the location and/or number of season tickets will participate in the seat selection process.
• For games at the Palestra, all season ticket holders will receive a comparable seat location.

For individuals who do not meet the above-listed criteria, the seating program will require season ticket holders to make an annual donation to SJU Athletics
, in addition to purchasing a season ticket. The donation amount will depend on the location of your seats. With the exception of seats in Sections 216, 217 and 218, seats in all sections of the arena will require an annual donation. The annual donation amount per seat will remain consistent for three years (through the 2011-12 season) for those season ticketholders who agree to the initial three-year commitment. This three-year commitment will also insure that you keep the same
seats for those three years.

At the time of this publication, 80% of the donation made through a university seating program is deductible as a charitable contribution as stated by IRS Rules & Regulations. Please consult
your tax advisor annually.

Summertime blues?

Lester, Mr. Phil, 6th Man, Jake... what will we do to pass our time this winter???