Thursday, November 18, 2010

Superman is already here...

If you haven't heard of The Cristo Rey Jesuit high schools... you need to. A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that 50% of Black and Hispanic boys in the city will not graduate from high school. Yet we continue to do the same things and expect different results; the definition of insanity. And witness another generation about to waste their potential.

There are now 26 Cristo Rey (Christ the King) schools nationwide, with many more in development. Started by the Jesuits in Chicago they are slowly, quietly, making a difference in the lives of so many children that the public schools and politicians gave up on long ago. So How About a Good Catholic Story?



Superman Arrived Fifteen Years Ago

Op-Ed By: Robert J. Birdsell

I am encouraged by the recent amount of media and public interest in urban education in this country. From the media excitement surrounding “Waiting for Superman” to the news this week of Joel Klein’s departure from the New York school system, we as a nation are beginning to realize the crisis facing our inner cities and we are finally beginning to pay attention.

Today, a black male growing up in most cities in America has a better chance of being incarcerated at the age of 25 than of having a four-year college degree. For Hispanics ages 25-29, less than 10% who go on to college complete a degree. These facts are a national disgrace that is beginning to be understood, and it is no wonder many experts are thinking that we need Superman to fix this crisis.

However, Superman did arrive fifteen years ago, and his name is Fr. John Foley, a Jesuit priest who spent 34 years teaching and running schools in Peru. In 1995, he was called back to America to open a new school on the southwest side of Chicago. This school was to serve only low income students with limited educational options. The uniqueness of the school was that the students were to work one day a week in some of the best companies in Chicago – McKinsey & Co., Deloitte, DePaul University and Winston and Strawn, to name just a few of the firms that signed on to the program. They worked in real jobs and their earnings paid for over half of the expenses of their education.

Fifteen years later, Fr. Foley’s original school, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, has resulted in a national movement. The Cristo Rey Network was formed to replicate the school and ensure the quality of the new schools. Thanks to the generosity of the Cassin Education Initiative Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, today there are 24 Cristo Rey Network schools serving over 6,500 students and working with over 1,500 corporate partners. There are also nine other communities in various stages of starting a Cristo Rey Network school.

Even more impressive than this rapid growth are the results that Cristo Rey schools are achieving. For the class of 2008, 100% of the graduates were accepted to college and, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, over 84% of those graduates have enrolled in college – more than twice the average for the population these schools serve.

Cristo Rey is a new innovation based on an old idea – that Catholic schools should provide students from low-income urban families with a high-quality education that develops their talent for success in college and beyond. Furthermore, Cristo Rey is a new educational model – whereby we finance urban private schools through an innovative corporate work study program in which teams of students job-share full-time positions in professional settings, and thus develop skills, habits, experiences and dispositions necessary for long-term success.

Fr. Foley’s work over the past fifteen years has allowed thousands of young people to receive the quality education they and their parents dreamed of. He has been fighting this crisis – just like Superman – for over 50 years, first in Peru and now in America. So instead of waiting for Superman, those interested in true education reform have no further to turn than the local Cristo Rey Network school in their city.

Robert J. Birdsell is the President & CEO of the Cristo Rey Network

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coaches VS Cancer

Coaches vs. Cancer goal: Be No. 1 in the state - Scranton - The Times-Tribune

Lackawanna Trail boys basketball coach Andrew Kettel pulls no punches when it comes to his goal. He wants to be number one in the state.

How his basketball team fares is another question, but when it comes to being No. 1 in Pa., it's a goal Kettel takes very seriously as Coaches vs. Cancer readies for its third tipoff breakfast, Nov. 7 at Scranton High School.

"I think the one thing that we can hang our hat on is the amount of growth we've had in three years, and it is because of the kids in the schools," Kettel said. "The kids buy into what this campaign is all about and they run with it."

Last year, coaches from the Wyoming Valley Conference joined the Lackawanna League to expand the reach of the local chapter.

"The biggest thing to be proud of is how fast we've climbed the ladder," Kettel said. "We're recognized on a national level. I get calls from people all over the state who are seeing what we're doing and they want to learn how we've done it."

It helps to have a man like Kettel at the wheel. He started this four years ago when the father of one of his players, Casey Cathrall, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In a couple weeks, $1,500 was raised. In 2008, the pot was upped to $38,000, and nearly double that last season.

It helps to have guys like Temple coach Fran Dunphy and St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli stopping by to speak and help kick off the campaign. This year, the local soirée will welcome Hall of Fame coach Bobby Hurley Sr. of St. Anthony's High School, N.J., one of just three high school coaches to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $15 and available by contacting Tonyehn Verkitus at the local ACS at 562-9749. More info is available online at, including sponsorship opportunities.

The biggest part of Coaches vs. Cancer will come the weekend of Jan. 28-29 when the Lackawanna League will play girls games the first night and boys games the second in what has been dubbed "Suits and Sneakers Weekend." Lackawanna League athletic directors have helped add to the excitement by juggling the schedule to make it rivalry weekend.

"All the gyms will be packed," Kettel said. "They went above and beyond to rearrange the schedule and I think it will benefit everyone."

For more information check out Coaches vs Cancer of Philadelphia.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jesuit Booster Shot...

Forgive me for like my namesake, St. Thomas, I can be a doubter, and like many of you my Faith has its ebbs and flows, its peaks and valleys. That is why it is important for us to recognize those around us who passionately follow St. Ignatius' call to do all things ad majorem Dei gloriam.

I was privileged to attend the Hogan/Ignatius Awards at my alma mater this past Sunday to honor two great hawks, Dr. Lesley D'Ambola, D.O, SJU '82, and Dan Gallagher, SJU '94. Just as an additional dose of a vaccine is needed to periodically boost our immune system, so we also need a periodic boost for our Faith. I'm so glad to have had my Jesuit booster shot this week :-) I wish to share it with all of you.

Katie Arden, the Jesuit Volunteer at St. Luke's, was kind enough to forward Lesly's acceptance speech. Lesley's friend and former roommate at Sourin Residence, Dr. Susan Marcel, wrote "I think the video or text should be on a link on facebook, or, or you tube.  Her speech was too important to be lost on just our ears." I agree, and below is Lesly's speech. I took the liberty to post some pictures, for pictures are worth a thousand words, and painstakingly included links in the text -- ech one tells a great story... for Lesly is the first person to tell you that she works with many heroes.

So why politicians ramble on what to do about healthcare, and spend untold millions on studies on how to do it... Lesly, Fr. Aita, Dr. Cavalieri, Chris Meyers, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, St. Luke's, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Society of Jesus, the Oblates of St. Francis deSales, the JVC, the Diocese of Camden, St. Joseph's University, and many others... just do it.

A while back when I had my mini-fund raiser for St. Luke's I was talking to my next-door neighbor Louis Ramon, who was raised in Camden and attended Holy Name. He remembered sitting on the shoulders of Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ, former pastor of Holy Name and now head of Campus Ministry at the University of Scranton. Of how he took a stand against the drug dealers in the neighborhood, even when it meant there was a price on his head. Again, so many heroes.

Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P. states that "the poor person is someone who is treated as a non-person, someone who is considered insignificant from an economic, political and cultural point of view. The poor count as statistics; they are the nameless. But even though the poor remain insignificant within society, they are never insignificant before God." Similarly Archbishop Oscar Romero, in a homily preached shortly before his martyrdom, said "God's reign is already present on our earth in mystery. When the Lord comes, it will be brought to perfection. That is the hope that inspires Christians. We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us."

To Lesly and her friends -- no one is nameless, no one is insignificant, and God is blessing their efforts. But of course they can always use some help. Your help. And don't think for a moment that you have to be a medical professional, or wealthy, to help. I know for a fact that the kitchen at St. Luke's, the one mentioned in Lesly's speech, is in desperate need of a floor. Anyone ;-)

After the brunch I spoke to Lesly and she told me she was excited to get the Fr. Joseph Hogan, SJ Award because... she thought that something like this might enable her to get more grants to help those at St. Luke's. Typical of this "woman for others".  AMDG indeed. I'm pretty sure this is what God wants...what God demands.


St. Luke's Catholic Medical Services
511 State Street
Camden, New Jersey  08102
(Directions to St. Luke's)

Alumni Association Presents 2010 Hogan Award to D'Ambola

The Saint Joseph’s University Alumni Association will present Lesly A. D’Ambola, D.O. ’82 with the Rev. Joseph S. Hogan, S.J. Award.

The Hogan Award is bestowed annually upon an alumnus or alumna who exemplifies Christian principles and outstanding loyal service to the University. A champion for the poor, Dr. D’Ambola has dedicated her life to service and the betterment of underserved populations in New Jersey. For the past decade, she has served as medical director at St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services, which is a ministry of the Holy Name of Camden. St. Luke’s provides a full range of medical and health services for the poor, uninsured, and under-insured in Camden, N.J.

Her passions for service and medicine were instilled at Saint Joseph’s and later as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. D’Ambola graduated cum laude from the SJU in 1982 with a degree in psychology. She was member of Psi Chi, the National Psychology Honors Society, and Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-medical honors society. As a JVC volunteer, she spent two years working with Catholic Community Services in San Jose, California at a Vocational Learning and Treatment Center. Following her tour with the JVC, she spent an additional year in California, before returning to North Jersey, where she earned a Mayoral Citation for her work directing homeless programs in Jersey City, N.J.

She received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Osteopathic Medicine in 1994 and completed her residency at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, N.J. She has remained active at both her alma maters, teaching as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UMDNJ-SOM and serving terms as both vice president and president of SJU’s Medical Alumni Chapter. In addition, St. Luke’s is a community service and service learning site for current SJU students, as well as a medical placement location for the JVC.

Dr. D’Ambola is a native of Newark, N.J. and a graduate of Newark Academy. She is the daughter of Dr. Samuel and Alice D’Ambola and the sister of Dr. John D’Ambola and his wife Lori. She is the proud aunt of Samantha. She is a member of Sacred Heart Church in Camden.

Proud papa Dr. Samuel D'Ambola, with Hogan Award recipient Dr. Lesly D'Ambola.


The Fr. Joseph Hogan, SJ Award acceptance speech
by Lelsey A. D'Ambola, DO, SJU '82
Thank you Tom for your gracious introduction. I am truly humbled by this award. I have so many thank-yous to say that I’ve lost count. First and foremost, I must thank God for without my faith and trust in God none of this would have happened – my journey, my calling to practice medicine, this award. To God, I give the ultimate praise and honor.

Thank you to Fr. Timothy Lannon, SJ and the National Alumni Board for this award. Thank you to my parents who worked hard and sacrificed greatly to provide my brother and me with great educations in private schools and subsequently medical schools. Thank you to the medical alumni for the honor and privilege of serving as president and vice-president of the medical alumni association. Thank you to St. Joe’s, and to some of my professors here too, for the wonderful education I received here. Thank you to the HPAC committee for supporting my application to medical school six years after graduating from here. To the Diocese of Camden and to Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, DO and UMDNJ-SOM (University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine) for supporting the Jesuit ministry of St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services. Finally, I want to congratulate Dan Gallagher, SJU '94, who just received the Ignatius award, and to thank everyone for coming today; your presence is greatly appreciated.

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been reflecting on my journey to St. Luke’s and recounting my journey as a student at St. Joe’s. Would I be at St. Luke’s if I weren’t a student here? I think not. Because little did Fr. Mark Aita, SJ, MD and Dr. Cavalieri know that there was a third entity—I call it divine intervention—working to help me get to St. Luke’s. The St. Joe’s connection is Fr. Bill Gavin, SJ, my dear friend Fr. Bill Gavin, SJ, who was the director of campus ministry here. I met Fr. Bill when I was a freshman in the beautiful little chapel in Bellarmine Hall at daily mass. With my classmate Dave Burns, Fr. Bill started the search retreats here, the longest running retreat program at St. Joe’s.

Lesly with mentor Fr. Mark Aita, SJ, MD.
 Participating in search retreats was one of the highlights of my experience at St. Joe’s. Over the years, Fr. Bill and I kept in touch, and just before graduating from medical school in 1994, I went on retreat with him at Wernersville. Fast-forward to approximately 1998-1999 when Fr. Bill heard that Mark Aita was leaving St. Luke’s. Fr. Bill later told me that he prayed that I would come to St. Luke’s, and when he heard I was here, he was not at all surprised. So today, Sept. 26, the fourth anniversary of Fr. Bill Gavin’s death, I accept this award and dedicate it in loving memory of Fr. Bill Gavin, SJ on behalf of myself and all the searchers. Personally, I want to thank you, Fr. Bill, for helping me to get “ruined for life” at SJU and in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

1982 was a significant year. On a personal note, I graduated from this fine school, and joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) in San Jose, California. In 1982, the Jesuits arrived in Camden, and fell in love with and served the beautiful people of Camden and Holy Name Church for 26 years and developed a wonderful network of ministries serving North Camden and beyond. They joined the Sisters of St. Joseph who had already been there many years teaching the beautiful children at Holy Name School. The Jesuits and the sisters of St. Joseph worked well together in Holy Name School and provided 26 years of education for its students.

In his poignant prayer, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ talks about falling in love with God. In 2000, I fell in love with a wonderful organization called Holy Name of Camden-Jesuit Urban Service Team – which consisted of 5 ministries: Holy Name church and school; St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services, started by Jesuit physician Fr. Mark Aita, SJ; Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, started by Jesuit attorney Fr. Dave Brooks; and Guadalupe Family Services, founded by Sr. Helen Cole, Sister of St. Joseph and licensed clinical social worker.

This award is not just about me, but about the inspiring work of Fr. Mark Aita, SJ and the staff of St. Luke’s and all the ministries of JUST. There are so many stories I could tell you about the people we serve at St. Luke’s, the most powerful for me was about a young woman, the granddaughter of one of my patients. One day, she accompanied her grandma to St. Luke’s, and I remembered we met at Lourdes hospital when I took care of her grandma there. She replied, “No, Dr. D’Amola, we met about three years ago here at St. Luke’s. I was in a very difficult time in my life. I was pregnant and planning to get an abortion, and you brought me into the kitchen to discuss other options: adoption services, and services to help me in my pregnancy. And today I have a beautiful two-year-old daughter.”

Stories like this occurred at St. Luke’s with Fr. Mark Aita, SJ and his staff, long before I arrived at St. Luke’s. I wondered what would have happened if there were no St. Luke’s. This is why we need St. Luke’s to promote life and be a presence as a Catholic medical ministry in Camden.

In health care, we talk about the eyes and ears – for instance, the nurses at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center are the physicians’ eyes and ears when it comes to patient care. I can’t always be present at the hospital. In keeping the same medical analogy, we can call the City of Camden the patient and call the Jesuits the physicians. But there is a shortage of “physicians,” so the Jesuits are unable to be physically present in Camden. But there are lots of eyes and ears in Camden. Who are the eyes and ears?

Lesly at St. Luke's in front of photos of the many happy patients over the years.

Well, it’s us – the alumni and students of St. Joe’s. We are all called to be the eyes and ears of the Jesuits as women-and-men-for-others. In addition to Sr. Helen Cole, SSJ, myself, St. Luke’s nurse practitioner and former Jesuit Volunteer Chris Myers, and the staff of all the ministries, there are the student volunteers of St. Joe’s. Our wonderful St. Joe’s students who come to Camden to serve at St. Luke’s, through the service-learning program and through the community service of campus ministry. We also have pre-med students referred to us by Fr. Mark Aita, SJ of St. Joseph's Institute of Catholic Bioethics here and Connie O’Hara, the pre-med advisor. At Guadalupe Family Services, St. Joe’s volunteers work with Sr. Helen Cole, SSJ and SJU alumnus Phil Dacchille. St. Joseph's students also run Holy Name Summer Camp for 30 children from North Camden. The SJU Hawk school bus is a “shuttle” for their adventures. The campers go to our campus two days each week for swimming. For many, this is the first college campus they see – what an impact St. Joe’s is having!

Other eyes and ears of the Jesuits include John Trumbore and Dennis Diamond, Ignatian Volunteers, who have worked tirelessly with Fr. Mark Aita, SJ and other Jesuit Superiors in Camden to keep Holy Name School open and to raise funds for tuition-assistance to help Holy Name graduates attend Catholic high schools. Also on State Street, Fr. Jeff Puthoff, SJ and Hopeworks ‘N Camden teach kids valuable computer skills. I see the Jesuit influence in all the St. Joe’s medical alumni I meet at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, selflessly caring for the people of Camden. I see it in the Jesuit Volunteers, who have served in Camden for 24 years.

We are going through some major changes in our organization, our name has changed to Holy Name Ministries and Sr. Helen Cole, SSJ is our new executive director. Our Oblates of St. Francis de Sales colleagues have come to serve the people of Camden, continuing the work of the Jesuits and beginning their own mission and ministries. We are grateful for their presence. I would like to publicly thank our Jesuit colleagues for all you’ve done in Camden, and I want to assure you that we, your eyes and ears, will continue you mission here.

Finally, I want to invite you all to fall in love with our ministries, the people of Camden, and the beautiful children of Holy Name School.

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.

It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you will spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

- Pedro Arrupe, SJ
Superior General of the Society of Jesus (1961-1984)

Dr. Susan Poserina Marcel, Lesly, and Maria D'Arcy; former SJU roomies,
outside the Chapel of St. Joseph -- Michael J. Smith, SJ Memorial.

44's brush with greatness ;-) Congrats Doc Lesly!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Philly sports writer... to the priesthood!

Once a great sports reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News... soon to be a great priest. Best of luck Kevin (although I guess you had to give up your Hawks' season tickets ;-(

Sometimes, a call to priesthood takes time

By Matthew Gambino
Director & General Manager

Kevin Mulligan has played countless golf courses. Always sure of his ability to strike the ball well or choose the right club. Never afraid of sand bunkers or fairway roughs in which the ball might lie. Confident that on a course, he’s never alone.

But it was Good Friday evening of 2008, and he was playing an unfamiliar course. This wasn’t a game at all. Golf was merely an analogy for what was happening in his life.

For almost 30 years he had been a sports writer covering among other things the Philadelphia Eagles from 1990 to ’96 and major golf tournaments such as the Master’s for the Philadelphia Daily News and other newspapers. At the end of 2007 Mulligan transitioned from that career and had begun working for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Communications. He was on the other side of journalism helping the media tell the good news of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese.

Transitioning to a new career after so many years is never easy. Mulligan found himself asking big questions as he walked to his car on that cold March night following the Way of the Cross outdoor devotion at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary: “Am I worthy to do this for the Church? What am I doing here?”

From behind, a voice called. It was Auxiliary Bishop Robert Maginnis, asking him to wait. The two began to walk together. The bishop said he’d heard good things about Mulligan since he began his position a few months before. He listened to Mulligan’s deep questions, gently told him to give it time and let the Holy Spirit guide him.

Neither men knew at the time they had begun a friendship that has remained close. Neither knew that it also was the genesis of a religious vocation for Mulligan. Was it a call to an even greater service than he had been rendering as a high school golf coach, member of the Knights of Columbus and active parishioner at Visitation B.V.M. Parish in Trooper? Should he be a permanent deacon, Mulligan wondered, or something else?

In May 2009 he discussed it with a close priest friend, Msgr. Ralph Chieffo, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Media. Mulligan’s Catholic spirituality had been growing, and he had been discerning a call in his prayer life.

“Am I too old to be a deacon?” he asked the priest. “I learned I was not, but I didn’t act on it. I wanted to learn more,” Mulligan said. “The more I prayed about it in perpetual adoration (of the Blessed Sacrament) I came to really believe that God wanted me to be a priest, not a deacon.”

Click title for the entire article.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For Whom the Bell Tolls...

Having grown up a stones' throw from a Catholic Church -- I miss hearing the bells.


"We really think that this is much ado about nothing," Shivey said. "Whoever moves to this area knows there's a church and a church bell. If you don't like the sound of a church bell, you don't move into the area."

"No one's ever complained before," said Speedy Morris, head basketball coach at St. Joseph's Preparatory School and a lifelong parishioner at St. John's. "With people leaving the bars and urinating on the streets, anyone complaining about church bells is ludicrous."

And Father Lyons?

"Unless the city or the archdiocese tells us we can't, they are going to keep ringing."

Too loud too early for Manayunk church bell, neighbor complains - Philadelphia Inquirer

By Sam Wood

Inquirer Staff Writer

For 104 years, the bell at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in hilly, blue-collar Manayunk has joyfully summoned the faithful to prayer, celebrated marriages, and marked the ends of wars.

Now, in a city whose many sacred symbols include a cracked bell, someone has filed a complaint to silence St. John's 5,000-pound bronze casting.

Not completely. Just in the morning. At 7. That's when it rings 18 times for the Angelus.

The official reason: It's too loud.

The Rev. James A. Lyons, pastor of St. John's, received a warning letter last week from the city Health Department.

The missive threatened the 179-year-old church with fines of up to $700 per day if the pealing bell is found to violate the city's 2006 noise law.

"Air Management Services (AMS) has received citizen's complaints of loud amplified sounds from the above premises every day at 7 a.m. AMS would like to advise you that amplified sound and all other noise . . . shall not exceed five decibels above background level measured at the property boundary of the nearest occupied residential property," states the letter, signed by Roger M. Fey, the city's enforcement officer for air and noise pollution.

Earlier this year, the church's business manager received an anonymous phone call from a woman who said she lived a block from St. John's.

"I will never forget this," said Rosemary Swider, who has worked at the church for 16 years and took the call. "She said the bell was disrupting her quality of life."

The church has stood in Gothic splendor on Rector Street since 1856. The parish originally ministered to the neighborhood's Irish Catholics. It now serves 1,900 families. About a block away, restaurants, bars, and boutiques have sprouted along Main Street, transforming the working-class community into a destination for college students and young professionals.

A clock tower - with the bell - was erected at the church in 1906, long before the city passed a noise ordinance. The church, mindful of neighborhood needs, has, over the last half-century, cut back the number of times the bell tolls.

Until the 1960s, the bell struck every half-hour and all through the night. When Lyons arrived in 1994, he restricted the bell's operating hours, shutting it off at 9 p.m.

The bell has always sounded the Catholic call to prayer known as the Angelus. Traditionally, the Angelus bells sound 18 times at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m.

Several years ago, Lyons delayed the first Angelus to 7. "We wanted to do the neighborly thing," he said, "and give everybody a rest."...

Friday, September 10, 2010

A message from the President...

“I thank Creighton University’s Board of Directors for the tremendous honor they have bestowed on me,” Fr. Lannon said. “While at Creighton many years ago, my life was transformed. Now I have the opportunity to come home and continue the visionary momentum of this institution. I am privileged to return to Omaha and join with the administration, faculty, staff, students and dedicated alumni as we together write the next chapter of educational excellence at this great University.”

Fr. Lannon has many personal and professional connections with the Omaha community, in addition to being a Creighton alumnus. He served as president of Creighton Preparatory School from 1988 to 1995. His father graduated with a medical degree from Creighton in 1936. Fr. Lannon has been inducted into Creighton Prep’s Hall of Fame and received Creighton University’s Alumni Merit Award in 1993.

Fr. Lannon holds multiple degrees from Creighton University, Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now Boston College School of Theology and Ministry) and Harvard University. A native of Mason City, Iowa, Fr. Lannon entered the Society of Jesus in 1977 and was ordained a priest in 1986. During his early years he honed his educational and administrative skills while serving as an assistant principal and instructor at Jesuit institutions, as well as an admissions counselor at Creighton.

Dear Members of the National Alumni Board,

I write to you today with a heavy heart. As announced earlier this afternoon in Omaha, I have been appointed the 24th president of Creighton University, my alma matter, effective July 2011. While I am honored to be selected as the next president of Creighton, it is truly a bittersweet time for me. I have been equally honored to serve and work with the extended Saint Joseph’s community for the past seven years, and I will truly miss the people and spirit of the University when departing at the end of this academic year.

Reflecting on my Saint Joseph’s’ experience, I am humbled and overwhelmed by your passionate enthusiasm and support of the University. It is you, our alumni, who are our greatest ambassadors. Your positive response to the ongoing capital campaign, “With Faith and Strength to Dare: the Campaign for Saint Joseph’s University” – which to date has raised $141 million of its stated $150 million goal – is a testament to the commitment of building on your own Saint Joseph’s experience.

Your additional commitment as a member of the National Alumni Board further demonstrates your dedication to a great University, and I am truly grateful for that loyalty. Like you, I continue to have great aspirations for the future of Saint Joseph’s and look forward to your continued partnership with us.

Saint Joseph’s University is a genuinely amazing place. I am a better person and priest because of my time here as well as the enduring relationships gained along the way. Paul Hondros ’70, chair of the Board of Trustees, will be communicating with the entire SJU community regarding the search for the next president and, of course, each of you will be instrumental in ensuring a smooth and effective transition.

May God continue to bless each of us and the work we do in support of Saint Joseph’s University.

Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.

For more on the announcement... Lannon Named Creighton's 24th President & SJU President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., to Become 24th President of Creighton

Fr. Timothy Lannon, SJ expected to leave Hawk Hill

Timothy Lannon, SJ expected to lead Creighton -

The Rev. Timothy Lannon, an Iowa boy who attended Creighton University and once served as president of Creighton Prep, is poised to be named Creighton University's next president.

Several people with knowledge of the selection process told The World-Herald that Lannon, currently president of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, will succeed the Rev. John Schlegel as Creighton's leader.

Creighton administrators declined to comment on Wednesday.

Kim Manning, an interim vice president at Creighton, said in a written statement that the search committee has been considering candidates and that no board action has been taken. The Creighton board meets Friday.

Lannon, who couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday, would become Creighton's 24th president.

He would take over from Schlegel, who has headed Creighton for 11 years and has announced that he plans to retire. Schlegel, 67, has been credited with boosting enrollment, pushing the campus eastward and heading a $400 million fundraising effort.

Lannon, a Jesuit priest, has been at the center of speculation at Creighton since Schlegel announced in mid-July that he would leave in 2011. Lannon grew up in Mason City, Iowa, and graduated from Creighton University, where he was student body president. He holds a doctorate from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He was ordained in 1986.

Lannon, 59, was Omaha Creighton Prep's president for seven years before departing in 1995.

He served as a vice president at Marquette University in Milwaukee and became president of St. Joseph's in 2003.

St. Joseph's enrolls about 8,000 students and, like Creighton, has a solid basketball program. Creighton enrolls about 7,400 students.

Like Creighton, St. Joseph's is a Jesuit university that does well in academic rankings. St. Joseph's ranked in the top 15 master's-level universities in the North this year, according to U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges lists, and Creighton ranked as the top Midwestern regional university.

Lannon lived for a while at St. Joseph's in a university-owned apartment building occupied mainly by students. He was known for sharing with students leftover desserts from social events he attended or hosted.

Under Lannon, according to St. Joseph's website, the university improved student housing, the student center, science center and fieldhouse. St. Joseph's also bought a 38-acre campus from a private K-12 school when the school moved.

St. Joseph's also says that under Lannon, a revision of undergraduate curriculum took place, and facilities were created for programs in business ethics, Catholic bioethics and autism education.

World-Herald researcher Jeanne Hauser contributed to this report.

Fr. Lannon celebrating a Hawks' victory in Cincinnati with Vince Reilly and John Gill.

Fr. Lannon with Teron Dow, SJP '11 at St. Joseph's Prep's Father-Son Communion Breakfast.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

SJU Mass for the people of Orissa

Thanks to everyone who took time to attend our Mass at the Manresa Hall Chapel of the Jesuit Residence at St. Joseph's University, concelebrated by our Indian friends S. Tony Raj, SJ and John Guidera, SJ. It was a beautiful night! Since the chapel is small I was worried about attendance but we were able to squeeze everyone in, including four of our retired Jesuits who worked in Jamshedpur for many years.

The news of the Christian persecutions may be off the front page but the people in Orissa still need our help. To get a better understanding of the situation please visit or read a copy of Fr. Tony's speech below. I'd urge you to keep those people in your prayers, and if able, to support them financially as they seek to rebuild their lives and their villages.


The Jesuit Missions
Maryland Province Jesuits
Advancement Office
P.O. Box 64848
Baltimore, MD 21264

John Guidera, SJ and S. Tony Raj, SJ concelebrate.

John Guidera, SJ and George Bur, SJ / Nancy Curtis, Fr. Deeney's sister, speaks to Fr. Guidera.

Theresa Roney and Jen Angelucci / Jim Moore, SJ with the McDades.


“Let there be peace on earth”

Thank you Tom for asking me to share.

First of all thank you very much for the support that we continue to receive from each one of you towards our peace building efforts in Kandhamal, Orissa. Today on the second Anniversary of the large scale unprecedented violence that visited the Christians, we continue to pray for lasting peace, and work towards peace founded on Justice.

The socio-economic and political situation of India today has given rise to marginalization of people through appropriation of land and resources and violence by state, corporate and non-state actors. This large scale violation of human rights has resulted in people’s resistance movements and campaigns for alternatives. Violence based on narrow communal and ethnic politics has increased manifold since 1990.

The anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal in 2007-08, that included murders, rapes, arson, burning, loots, and forcible conversions into Hinduism affected about 60,000 people and forced the Prime Minister to describe it as ‘National Shame’.

The people of Kandhamal and other areas of Orissa bore the brunt of two violent anti-Christian communal attacks within the span of nine months in 2007 and 2008. According to government figures during the last bout of violence from August to December 2008, in Kandhamal district alone more than 600 villages were ransacked, 5600 houses were looted and burnt, 54000 people were left homeless, 38 people were murdered. Human rights groups estimate that over 100 people were killed, including women, disabled persons and children, adivasis and dalits. Three women were gang-raped and many injured. 295 churches, big and small, were destroyed. 13 schools, colleges, and offices of 5 NGOs damaged. About 30,000 people had to live in relief camps for months .Barring a few townships, almost all villages in Kandhamal district were under the control of anti-social elements led by Hindu fundamentalist groups. During this period about 2,000 people belonging to minority communities were forced to convert from Christianity to Hinduism. More than 10,000 children had their education cut short because of displacements, fear and severe disruption.

Today, after two years, the situation has not improved, although the administration time and again claims it is peaceful and has returned to normal. A visit to the affected villages and interaction with any of the survivors will reveal a totally different reality, which has been documented by different human rights’ activists
Some of their findings are:

-- The survivors are under threat not to return to their villages unless they agree to change their religion, withdraw cases against their attackers, stop eating beef and dalits stay within limitations imposed by the upper castes. About 15000 people are still living as refugees outside their villages.

-- Out of 3300 complaints filed by victims in the local police stations only 831 have been registered (as First Information Reports – FIRs). Many cases have not been investigated and the accused not prosecuted. In other cases, shoddy police investigations have already created a crisis in the dispensation of justice.

-- The accused have coerced, threatened, and cajoled the victims and the witnesses. There have been attempts to bribe them, both outside and inside the Fast Track Courts. The real perpetrators, like Mr.Manoj Pradhan (BJP-MLA Member of Legislative Assembly), are moving around scot-free and threatening the witnesses time and again, whereas hardly any steps are taken to protect witnesses or ensure their safety. The victims have expressed their deep distrust of the current justice delivery system.

-- There is no action against Orissa Administration officials who could not protect the lives of hundreds of Christians and who allowed Hindu extremist mobs to move around the district with an organised and armed crowd and to do arson, burning, killings uninterruptedly in the presence of police or those who allowed RSS leaders like Pravin Togadia to enter the area and deliver hate speeches.

-- There are major lacunae in the administration of relief to and rehabilitation of the victims of the mass violence. Improper identification and assessment of the houses as fully or partially damaged has been done, damaged houses have been left out of the lists, while lost or damaged household articles are not mentioned at all. Even the 837 families, who lost their houses during December 2007 violence, are yet to get any housing. The government has promised only Rs 50000 as compensation for fully damaged houses; still the actual disbursement till now has only been Rs 10000. Out of 6500 families which lost their houses 60 percent are yet to have a roof to shelter under. Not a single one of the destroyed NGO schools, hospitals, and offices has been compensated.

-- The administration has not made any visible effort to support a revival of dignified livelihood of the victims, to prevent large-scale migration and pauperisation of victim families, or to bring back dropped out children to school.

-- The long-standing problem of landlessness and land alienation of the dalits and adivasis has been completely ignored. There have been almost no efforts to provide land rights to landless survivors, who are facing difficulties to get a shelter after they lost their houses during violence.

Complaints lodged with police after 2008 3232
Cases Registered (FIRs) 831
No of Case were commuted to the fast track courts 193
No. Cases under trial 95
No. Cases disposed (Filed as Closed) 91
No. Persons Convicted 176
Life imprisonment Sentence 5
Persons Acquitted 653
Persons arrested so far 794

All the above observations could be clubbed into the following four areas. The incident and what followed in response has led to:

• Increasing distrust on Criminal Justice System: Shoddy police investigations, threat to victims and witnesses leading to a gross miscarriage of justice.

• Migration, School-Dropouts and Pauperization: The complacency of the administration has left the people feeling insecure and there are still 20,000 people living in poorer livelihood conditions, who are yet to return to their villages, and many children who have dropped out of schools.

• Inadequate or no Compensation left the Survivors Homeless: The apathy and inefficiency of the government in identification and assessment of damage has led to improper and inadequate or even no compensation for the survivors.

• Landlessness and Land Alienation has Doubled the Suffering: Official negligence of ‘land problems’ has been used to demonize the Dalits and to use it as a scapegoat for communal violence. The long-standing problem of landlessness and land alienation of the Dalits and Adivasis has been seriously neglected. While Adivasi lands are illegally transferred to traders and government employees, the Hindutva forces accuse Dalits as land grabbers and tried to project it as the cause of Kandhamal violence. Also, there have been almost no efforts to provide land rights to landless survivors/victims, who are facing difficulties to get a shelter after they lost their houses during violence.

Hence National Public Tribunal (NPT) was organized (22-24 August). Its Objectives are as follows:

• To study and analyse the long-term and short-term causes and impacts of Kandhamal violence
• To assess the role, conduct and responsibility of various organizations, group of individuals or persons, in influencing, precipitating or escalating the violence
• To assess the role played by the Administration and police before, during and after the pogrom
• To study and analyse the various aspects of the problems faced by survivors and victims of violence
• To recommend both short-term and long-term measures for the necessary reparation, peace building, justice delivery, prevention of communal violence and strengthen secularism
• To bring out the findings to larger society and create pressure on the government to do necessary follow up action
• To use the proceedings, findings and the recommendations of the Jury for any further legal action, if necessary
• To assess the functioning of the Criminal Justice System in the context of Kandhamal violence
• To share the findings in a specially convened Media Conference
The other follow-up actions are:
• Observation of Kandhamal Day: NSF plans to observe coming 25th August as International Kandhamal Day to remember the attacks on the Christian minorities in Orissa by communal forces. civil society activists, political parties will be requested to observe this day throughout the globe. Particularly, NSF will engage with the civil society in Orissa and India to observe the Day through various solidarity actions such as exhibition, public meetings, workshops, street-plays, film-shows etc.

• Exhibition on Kandhamal Violence at Delhi: An Exhibition with articles from the site of the violence and paintings narrating human stories from Kandhamal will be organized at Delhi from August 22-24th, 2010. The objective of the exhibition is to inform the larger society about the situation after violence and to create awareness against communal violence. A curator has been engaged to select and develop the articles for exhibition. Also, two artists have been contracted to visit various violence affected villages to develop paintings for exhibitions. Such exhibitions will held in over 50 different places in India.

• Film on Communal Violence: A Documentary Film will be produced on Kandhamal violence. Apart from recording the current situation, testimonies by various people will be taken up as regards to the background, causes, occurrences, impact of the Kandhamal violence. Relevant footage will be collected from different sources. A senior and experienced film maker will be requested for the purpose.

We Jesuits work with the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar towards peace.

Other than that, We as Jesuits are working for the past two years with 11 affected village communities of Mundigodo Gram Panchayat, Tumudibandha Block, Kandhamal Distict in building peace through livelihood options (agricultural interventions)

Of the 4500 destroyed houses that need to be built, there is commitment for 3402. Out of the 3402, the archdiocese has committed for 2453. Our 100 are within the 2453. Out of these 2453, 1310 houses have been completed by the Archdiocese.

Ongoing Ministries with the survivor-victims:

Relief (Immediate, and interim), Education, Rehabilitation, Vocational Training, Psycho-spiritual & trauma counseling, health ( we Jesuits take care of this sector fully), justice delivery, peace building, Reconciliation.

The vulnerable / focus groups : youth, women and children


The gap = Justice Delivery.

Thank you for your continued support. We seek your prayers and support. Lets continue to pray for peace, and work for peace.

S.Tony Raj, SJ


Mae Roney and Theresa Gill / Joh Gill, Joe McDade, Dan Caramanico.

Grandma Gill with Grace / Linda McDade and Jim McLaughlin

Preppers Tim Klarich, George Bur, SJ and Bill Hicks / The lamp breaking Angeluccis.

Russ Strollo and Chris Lester / Rich, Marie, Francine and Russ.

Mike Caramanico and Ed Deeney / Dudley Doright and Violet.

Nancy and Ed (Fr. Deeney's siblings) and Fr. Deeney's nieces together with Fathers Raj and Guidera / 44 and John Gill with Fr. Tony.