Saturday, February 27, 2010

“Things change, you have to deal."

"From our origins in 1540 the Society has been officially and solemnly charged with "the defense and the propagation of the faith." In 1995, the Congregation reaffirmed that, for us Jesuits, the defense and propagation of the faith is a matter of to be or not to be, even if the words themselves can change. Faithful to the Vatican Council, the Congregation wanted our preaching and teaching not to proselytize, not to impose our religion on others, but rather to propose Jesus and his message of God's Kingdom in a spirit of love to everyone."
~ Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus

"And make no mistake; it’s difficult to follow in Jesuit footsteps. Case in point: when the great Prep fire happened in the 1960s, then-Principal Father Joe Ayd, SJ went running into the fire to rescue the Blessed Sacrament from the Prep Chapel. This man had devoted his entire life to the Prep mission, his entire calling was St. Joseph’s Prep.

Who of us here would be willing to rush into a burning Prep today to rescue something precious for fear it be lost forever?"

~ Tony Braithwaite's Call to Arms (St. Joseph's Prep)

“The day is coming, and I don’t think there’s any denying it, that there will only be a very few Jesuits here. End of story. Anyone that thinks we’re going to get back to days when we had even 30 Jesuits here is just naïve. I think it’s likely that in my time here…we’ll see only one or two Jesuits here. That’s a fact, and that’s something the school has to wrestle with.”
~ Thomas Brennan, SJ, assistant professor of English at St. Joseph’s University

Some Jesuits approach the challenge of diminishment by suggesting that our task is to communicate the basics of what we're about to our lay colleagues and then disappear. Some who take this approach go so far as to argue that in some cases our lay colleagues understand 'the Jesuit thing' better than we do and can get along just fine without Jesuits around. In my experience, one hurdle that this argument can't overcome is the fact that many laypeople who really get 'the Jesuit thing' actually want us to stick around - they recognize that Jesuits bring something distinctive to the table, and they don't believe that they'll be able to inculcate similar enthusiasm in skeptical or indifferent colleagues without having some actual Jesuits around.

It also bears mentioning that telling prospective Jesuits that our job is to disappear doesn't make for much of a vocation pitch.
~ Joseph Kozera, SJ

One issue, on which Lannon admitted that he was uncertain how to proceed, was the diminishing number of Jesuits and the possibility of future presidents being non-Jesuits or even laypersons. Lannon said that, "We need to assure that there remains a critical mass of Roman Catholics on our faculty and staff while always appreciating the rich contributions that we all make to the mission of this University."
~ Timothy Lannon, SJ

A eventuality that all Jesuit school must face. Can we be "Jesuit", without any, or few Jesuits?

We were reminiscing with Jim Moore, SJ this morning about a time when there was a Jesuit living in every dorm, in every house, at St. Joe's. There was a chapel in each hall, and a Jesuit brother would have the duty to make sure that each was supplied with sacramental wine, hosts, vestments et al. A tradition that is almost all gone now ;-(

We seem to be the generation of Catholics that have the distinction of not building new churches, but closing them down. Not building new high schools, but merging or eliminating them. Of having students today at St. Joe's who have never met a Jesuit, and the spiritual impact that comes with knowing a Jesuit. I agree with Mr. Kozera when he says "telling prospective Jesuits that our job is to disappear doesn't make for much of a vocation pitch."

So our future is uncertain. It may be a battle of wills between Tony Braithwaite's uplifting yet challenging vision of Jesuit-lay collaboration vs Dr. Marty Meloche, who boasted last year that at St. Joe's "we are first and foremost an academic institution." I assume that that whole sticky Catholic/Jesuit part is secondary or tertiary in his mind. He never really did explain.

"What have I done for Christ, what am I doing for Christ, what will I do for Christ? Will the next generation of Hawks be unfamiliar with this Ignatian term.

Hopefully we won't go the way of the atheistic Ivies. I suppose it will depend on many factors. May the Holy Spirit be our guide as as we decide what our future will be on Hawk Hill.


The Hawk - Future St. Joe’s presidents might lack collars

By Sam Koch '11

The decline in Jesuit ordination is on the minds of many Catholic and Jesuit colleges who once relied upon priests and brothers to teach courses, including administrators at St. Joe’s.

At a recent Faculty Senate meeting, President Timothy Lannon, S.J., introduced a three-year plan to reevaluate the Catholic and Jesuit nature of the university. The plan, which is set to begin next year, will take place in three stages meant to address growing concerns over the dwindling numbers of Jesuits, as well as increasing the involvement of laypersons in the mission and identity of St. Joe’s.

“The day is coming, and I don’t think there’s any denying it, that there will only be a very few Jesuits here. End of story,” said Thomas Brennan, S.J., assistant professor in the English department at Saint Joseph’s. “Anyone that thinks we’re going to get back to days when we had even 30 Jesuits here is just naïve. I think it’s likely that in my time here…we’ll see only one or two Jesuits here. That’s a fact, and that’s something the school has to wrestle with.”

According to Lannon, the first year of the plan will involve students, faculty, and staff discussing what it means to be Catholic and Jesuit. The second year will involve “a documented understanding of what we mean by being Catholic and Jesuit at Saint Joseph’s.” Depending on how the first two years of the plan play out, Lannon said that the university will revisit its existing mission statement and possibly create a new one.

For E. Springs Steele, Ph.D., vice president for Mission, Lannon’s three-year plan could help to bridge the gap of understanding among Catholics and non-Catholics at St. Joe’s.

“The generation of this three year project comes from a number of people’s concerns that the richness of this Catholic culture is going to be lost and it needs to be…translated to make sense to students and to our very diverse faculty,” Steele said.

The plan also considers, among other things, the possibility of a layperson as the university’s president in future years. Currently, only five of the 28 Jesuit universities and colleges in the U.S. do not have Jesuits as their presidents. According to Lannon, that number is expected to increase in future years.

“The bottom line is how do I and those of us here [at St. Joe’s] help prepare the community for fewer Jesuits including someday a president who’s not Jesuit,” Lannon said.

But having a Jesuit as the face of Saint Joseph’s University is not paramount to maintaining the Catholic and Jesuit nature of the institution, according to Dennis McNally, S.J., professor of fine arts and president of the Faculty Senate at St. Joe’s. “Things change, you have to deal. Giving up your principles isn’t the same as changing the captain of the ship. It doesn’t mean you jump ship… Giving up the collar on the captain doesn’t mean you’re giving up the ship,” McNally said. “So the ship doesn’t go down with the captain, basically.”

For Lannon, having a layperson in his position as president is an accepted possibility. “I’m biased, of course. I think having a Jesuit president is helpful, but the Board of Trustees has to make that decision. Who’s the most qualified person to lead the university? And in the future it might not be a Jesuit,” Lannon said.

Beyond the position of university president, declining numbers of Jesuit faculty, staff, and administrators also points to a need for increased involvement on the part of laypersons, according to Brennan.

“If this school is going to remain Jesuit and Catholic, that’s now the job of the lay people… And I think you see…that’s already happening,” Brennan said. “I see it working in my faith-justice programs; that’s almost entirely a non-Jesuit operation itself, and I think it should be… That’s the way the future is going to be.”

Underlying these issues of the university’s future are larger concerns about what it actually means to be a Catholic and Jesuit university in the coming decades.

“I think any religious institution, whether it is Catholic or Protestant or Jewish, has to periodically say, ‘Who are we and where we come from and where we’re going?’ because those are healthy questions to ask,” said Patrick Samway, S.J., professor of English at St. Joe’s.

They are questions that are familiar to Steele, who said that the two identities of Saint Joseph’s University—Jesuit and Catholic—are often perceived as being in conflict with one another.

“I think many of us here feel very positive and enthusiastic about the Jesuit…piece because so much of it is connected with care of the person, social justice—I mean, it’s like mom and apple pie. How can you argue with it?” Steele said. “But the Catholic piece… I mean, is there anything there except the rules, the boundaries? Obviously I think there is but my generation has not done a good job of translating that culture, that language.”

For Lannon, conversations about the Jesuit and Catholic nature of the university would hopefully build upon the traditions and identity that is already in place.

“As far as I’m concerned, we’re very strong in both Jesuit and Catholic identity. So it’s not so much that I’m worried about today… I’m more worried about the future,” Lannon said.

One concern expressed among some faculty and administrators is what a translation of Catholic identity might look like for St. Joe’s in particular.

“My hope would be less restrictive, but I think to go back is just out of the question,” Brennan said. “The idea that somehow Saint Joseph’s is going to embrace a more conservative Catholicism of a place like Steubenville or even for that matter Catholic University, that’s just unrealistic and it’s foolish. It would be wrong for us.”

Moving forward with conversations, McNally said that the changing climate of Jesuit and Catholic higher education is not an impossible challenge.

“Anytime you’re talking about the ideals of identity for an institution, everybody’s worried that ideas we come out as stated things are going to be lunacy. Of course, everybody’s threatened by rethinking stuff, but if we think a lot and pray a lot, we should come up with something reasonable,” said McNally.

The plan proposed by Lannon is set to take place during a three-year time frame; but many faculty and staff members said that the process would most likely take much longer than that.

“Three years down the road, I expect that we’ll be talking if we’re lucky,” said McNally.

St. Francis of Assisi - Springfield, PA

Special thanks to Beth McCarthy and the St. Francis & St. Kevin's Teen Group for inviting 6th Man and I to speak about the life of his uncle John J. Deeney, SJ and our trip to Jamshedpur, India. Pictured above is 6 re-enacting the Ho Tribal dance he learned after Mass at St. Paul Miki in Border. It wasn't pretty ;-)

Bring it on...

Congratulations are in order for the Father Judge Cheerleaders, who placed third in the The National High School Cheerleading Championship this month in Orlando!

Father of the Year honors might be going out to 44 buddy Mike Boyle and "Cheer Dad", who accompanied daughter Shannon on a treacherous 20 hour bus ride through the snow to get to Florida. (Get much sleep buddy?) Mike is part of our Ignatian Prayer Group that meets at St. Joe's on Saturday so we got a full report. Unsure whether he had to watch Bring it On I, II, and III on the ride down ;-)

For those outside of Philadelphia -- Father Judge is a boys school in Northeast Philadelphia, so they rely on the talented and hard working young ladies from their sister school Saint Hubert's, and other girls schools in the area such as Saint Basil's .

So way to go Shannon and the entire Crusaders squad. Best of luck with your college decisions.

Proud pops Jim McGugan and Mike Boyle, with daughters Kelly and Shannon.

Thank the Lord that Shannon got the looks and talent from her Mom (sorry Mike, couldn't resist ;-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What can brown do for you?

The picture above dates back to the early 1980's, when buddies like Noreen Scherer, Linda Moore, Maryellen Comas and Michele Garuffe were hanging at that fine school on Torresdale Avenue. It appears that the saddle shoes are long gone -- probabaly the most difficult shoes ever to polish -- but the great school spirit and academics remain.

For more on this fine Catholic institution click
St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls Facebook or St. Hubert Alumnae Association.

But who was St. Hubert?

Hubert soon followed them and was warmly welcomed by Pepin Heristal, mayor of the palace, who created him almost immediately grand-master of the household. About this time (682) he married Floribanne, daughter of Dagobert, Count of Louvain, and seemed to have given himself entirely up to the pomp and vanities of this world. But a great spiritual revolution was imminent. On Good Friday morn, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert sallied forth to the chase. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag, the animal turned and, as the pious legend narrates, he was astounded at perceiving a crucifix between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying: "Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell". Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself and said, "Lord, what wouldst Thou have me do?" He received the answer, "Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you."

Accordingly, he set out immediately for Maastricht, of which place St. Lambert was then bishop. The latter received Hubert kindly, and became his spiritual director. Hubert, losing his wife shortly after this, renounced all his honors and his military rank, and gave up his birthright to the Duchy of Aquitaine to his younger brother Eudon, whom he made guardian of his infant son, Floribert. Having distributed all his personal wealth among the poor, he entered upon his studies for the priesthood, was soon ordained, and shortly afterwards became one of St. Lambert's chief associates in the administration of his diocese.

And that is why the girls who attend(ed) St. Hubert's are called Bambies. For more about St. Hubert click CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Hubert.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I can't begin to fathom the amount of time that went into creating the Jesuit History Walk panels recently installed in the Campion Student Center at St. Joseph's University. I do know that anything on campus with at least a modicum of class will have Carmen Croce's fingerprints all over it. (actually he would probably wipe them off first ;-)

So bravo to Carmen and the efforts of those at
Saint Joseph's University Press. For many the next occasion to be on Hawk Hill will be the LaSalle game on 3-6. Take the walk up the Hill... it's well worth it.

Hope the last two with me and '81Hawk don't spoil the view ;-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jesuit education for $975!

The following comes from an anonymous acquaintance whose mother proudly saved his scholarship letter to the then St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia. Quite amazing, and sad, how much tuition has increased ;-(

Both older and younger Hawk alumni will notice a difference in the stripes (representing the sons of the House of Loyola). For those wondering why Fr. Maloney was "Very Rev"... it is a an honor no longer bestowed since the Catholic universities distanced themselves from the religious orders that founded them. Prior to the The Land O'Lakes Statement the presidents of Jesuit schools were also the rectors of the adjoining Jesuit community, thus the Very Reverend title.

(click to read)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday...

Priest Lets Friend Choose His Sacrifice for Lent : NPR


You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Today is celebrated as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, the end of Carnival. A time when Christians take an opportunity to celebrate one last time before Lent. For the faithful, Lent means forty days of fasting and other kinds of penance. Commentator James Martin is a Roman Catholic priest and this year, as in years past, he didn't know until the last minute what he'd be giving up for Lent.

Father JAMES MARTIN (NPR Commentator): When I was in college, my Jewish roommates used to tell me what to give up for Lent. Many of my friends at the University of Pennsylvania took an avid interest in my Catholicism. Some would join me at Mass on Sundays where I showed them how to bless themselves, when to sit and stand, and most importantly, how not to slam the kneelers. One winter's night as we sat at our favorite bar, the topic of Lent came up. When I told my housemates about the Christian practice of giving things up they observed that selecting your own penitence seemed far too easy.

Wouldn't it be better, my friend Rob said, if someone else told you what to give up? He had a point. During the 40 days of Lent, Christians make scarifies for many reasons, to rid themselves of a nasty habit, to identify more with poor, or to save money for charity. But since those sacrifices are self-imposed, they are often easier than they could be. So when my roommate suggested that they decide my penance, I agreed. It seemed a more challenging spiritual discipline. Besides, I was curious about what they would choose. They deliberated for a few weeks. Some suggestions were rejected out of hand. Giving up beer, for instance, was deemed impossible. Finally on Ash Wednesday my friend Rob was designated to tell me that for the next 40 days I would have to forgo orange soda, which I drank in great quantities as an aid to late night studying.

Since then, for over 20 years my friend Rob has phoned me every Ash Wednesday to assign me a Lenten sacrifice. The sacrifices have grown easier over the years since Rob is running out of things for me to give up. For a few years he favored spices. One Lent I was suppose to avoid anything with oregano. It sounded easy until it dawned on me that pizza was out of the question for six weeks. Having another person choose your sacrifice adds an extra dimension to Lent. Since my penance is not within my control, it feels a little more spiritual. As with far more serious struggles in life, like an illness or the loss of a job, things outside our control are the most difficult to deal with. They are, in traditional Christian theology, crosses that eventually need to be accepted, much as Jesus finally accepted his cross.

When I was dealing with a long illness, I once complained to an older priest that I didn't want that particular cross. He said, well it wouldn't be much of a cross if you wanted it, would it? But Lent isn't simply about sacrifice, it is primarily a time to spiritually prepare oneself for Easter. And this may have less to do with not doing something than with doing something. God would probably be happier, not if I stopped eating candy, but if I did more work on behalf of the poor. Last year I told Rob I was worried that one day he was going to assign something really hard to give up. It was like worrying about God asking me to sacrifice something. Another reason to stay on my good side, said Rob, and on God's good side, too.


James Martin is a Jesuit priest and author of the book My Life with the Saints. His friend Rob called today, a day early, to tell him his Lenten sacrifices. He'll be giving up Popsicles, pumpkin seeds and meatballs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

HOOPS 4 HAITI - this Thursday on Hawk Hill

Facebook HOOPS 4 HAITI

Date: Thursday, February 18, 2010
Time: 11:00am - 2:30pm
Location: HAGAN ARENA @ Saint Joseph's University


PLEASE come out and join us for an incredible day of competition... filled with food, prizes, and FUN!

- 1 minute to make as many shots as possible
- Shots will be taken at different spots with various point totals
- Winners will receive CA$h PRIZES

- $5 to enter
- A player may compete as many times as possible ($5 each time)

**Players with the highest point totals will have a chance to compete at a timeout during the Temple Game (Feb 20th)

It doesn't matter how good of a shooter you are because anything can happen in HOT SHOT! Besides, all the proceeds to this competition are going to be benefiting Haiti Relief Organizations!

This is OPEN to ALL Students, Faculty, Administrators and Alumni... so spread the word!


If the latest recall from Toyota/Lexus has you singing the blues (oh what a feeling!?), and you didn't like the snarky commercial from Audi... enjoy the following commercials from Dodge Charger. My Charger stops on a dime, the gas pedal doesn't stick, and their commercials only insult guys who carry pocketbooks -- and none of 44's readers fall into that category ;-)

Strange but Tom Clancy predicted a similar scenario to the current Honda/Toyota situation -- hopefully the rest of what he writes about doesn't come true. We're a little short on Jack Ryans in this country.

Apologies to my neighbors as my Flowmasters are a bit loud, as they are on my buddy's Charger across the street.

Enjoy the commercials...

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day...

Two brief annecdotes this President's Day from my friend Frank DeVecchis, former Director of Alumni Relations at St. Joseph's University and now the Associate Director of the Wharton Fund at Penn:

December 1776 was a bleak time for those sympathetic to the cause of American freedom. The British army led by General Howe had taken New York and forced the Continental Army's retreat into Pennsylvania. By the close of the month British forces and German mercenaries were separated from the fledgling nation's capital by a distance of thirty miles, forcing delegates to the Continental Congress to quickly pack their belongings and evacuate Philadelphia for the comparable safety of Baltimore. The British were delayed, however, due to a brazen attack led by Generals Washington and Henry Knox on Trenton, Christmas Eve 1776. Washington pushed his advantage to gain another win at Princeton several days later, thus sparing Philadelphia for the time being.

Congress, fearing they would be unable to act with the speed Washington required to conduct operations of war and fearing a mass desertion of troops when their enrollments expired at the end of the month, voted on December 27, 1776 to grant the General near dictatorial powers. The resolution granted Washington the unquestioned authority to draft men into military service, appoint officers to the army without Congressional approval, set soldiers' pay, establish armories to build and store munitions, buy provisions as he saw fit and take from the populace what provisions he required if they refused to sell at a price he deemed fair, arrest individuals who refused Continental currency or were "otherwise disaffected to the American cause." These powers were to expire in six months according to the legislation but essentially remained in effect through the balance of the war.

When the American forces triumphed over the British in 1783 Washington made known his intent to surrender his command and retire to his estate at Mount Vernon. King George III, ruler of the British Empire greeted this news with incredulity, stating in court that, "...if he does that he will be the greatest man in the world!" On December 23, 1783 at Fraunces Tavern in New York Washington bade farewell to his most trusted officers, surrendered his command and returned to Mount Vernon.

Richmond, Virginia, capital city of the Confederacy, fell to Union soldiers on April 3, 1865. The next day President Lincoln, intent on restoring peace among all states even at the cost of his own safety, insisted on going himself to Richmond. He set out early and arrived in the city just after 11:00 a.m., entering on foot with a guard of about half a dozen soldiers, a number of military commanders and his son, Tad Lincoln, who was that day celebrating his twelfth birthday.

Crowds lined the streets eager to see the President. Scattered among the people were groups of newly emancipated slaves. As Lincoln passed one such group, the men and women fell to their knees at the sight of the President and cried, "Glory Hallelujah!" Lincoln looked at them for a moment then approached and motioned for them to rise. In doing so he said, "Don't kneel to me. You must kneel only to God and thank Him for your freedom. Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as He gave it to others and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years."

These men were great in their humility but unafraid to act on their conviction when they knew their cause to be just no matter the cost. This is the true meaning and test of leadership. Our country was made greate by people like Washington and Lincoln - we would do well to remember them and the lessons they can teach us and pass these lessons along to others.

Feel free to forward this one and share with others the greatness of these American heroes.

-Frank DeVecchis

Philly Jebs blogging on the snow...

Poor St. Ignatius... in the snow resembling a Venitian Doge.

The City and the World

The Spirit blows where it will

Friday, February 12, 2010

bonus melior optimus

"These paychecks are highly rational from the shareholders' perspective. The basic pay structure is the same at all of these banks. The bankers make relatively modest base salaries and receive most of their compensation in the form of bonuses. The average bonuses will be around $500,000-$595,000 at Goldman Sachs and $463,000 at JP Morgan Chase, but some will make far more (as much as eight figures). These bonuses are big and they are unremittingly linked to performance. Together a mere five banks -- Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, all of which got billions of bailout dollars -- have allocated about $90 billion for overall compensation, with bonuses comprising more than half."

Jonathan Macey

My simple mind tells me that giving large bonuses (Latin: to the good) to people who work for companies that wouldn't exist if not for billions in a government bailout (read taxpayer money) is ludicrous. Through their own greed and stupidity they almost brought down our financial system, but unlike a small business that would just be left to go out of business -- they were "too big" to let what should have happened -- happen. In true laissez-faire capitalism (those who do not want the government to interfere in business matters, or if governments do involve themselves in business matters, to keep government influence to a minimum) they would be unemployed now, not receiving billions in undeserved bonuses. We should have expected this from the Wall Street types who give hundreds of millions in golden parachutes to CEOs who run companies into the ground.

They are no different then degenerate gamblers who loses all their money and then file bankruptcy to avoid paying what they should... but when they win keep it all. Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, a Wharton graduate and former GE Capital executive prior to joining the Society, has an alternative...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mass Class

Mass Class

Mass is a very ancient tradition that goes all the way back to Jesus’ Last Supper with his apostles–the meal he ate with his most trusted friends before his sacrificial death. At that solemn time, Jesus spoke with his apostles and shared with them his own body and blood in the form of bread and wine. These twin themes have been essential to the Catholic Mass–and the entire Catholic experience–ever since: the development of community and sharing of God’s word coupled with the sacrifice of Christ, giving his body and blood (in the form of bread and wine) for us to consume and so be one with his body.

Mass as our High Point
The Mass is a big deal for Catholics. According to the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, which is sort of the official user’s guide to the Mass, it is central both to the communal life of the Catholic Church and also to the individual experience of each Catholic. It’s the “high point” of our ability to worship God and God’s ability to “sanctify,” or make holy the world in which we live. In fact, all the other “sacred actions and all the activities of the Christian life are bound up with it, flow from it, and are ordered to it” (16). Of course, we think it’s a good time too. For more information on the Mass, just click any of the links below.

Why Call It the Mass?
The name Mass comes from the Latin phrase that was said when people left the Sunday celebration: "Ite, missa est."» read more

Five Ways to Think About the Mass
Mass is not often thought of as a celebration, particularly by the small children who are forced to go. However, the Last Supper, which was the original Eucharistic celebration, was in many ways the first Mass.» read more

Why Does the Mass Matter Anyway?
There are all sorts of things we could tell you about why the Mass matters. There is theology about why you need to go to Church. There is a deep spiritual tradition about what the Mass can provide.» read more

Cast and Crew
Elsewhere in Mass Class, we've talked about the Mass as a celebration. Now, for small celebrations-especially religious ones-all you need is some pizza and a few fine, religious movies, like "Office Space" or "The Bourne Identity."» read more

What to do at Mass?
It's helpful to think of Mass as a dinner party. Here are five tips that will make it go well.» read more

What’s Happening in the Mass?
The gathering rite gives a formal beginning to our mass and sets the mood. It is helpful to have this start, so that we all know that this is the time to open ourselves more fully to the presence of God and to leave our preoccupation with schedules, plans, and other daily concerns behind.» read more

Transubstantiation is the term used to explain the change that actually happens to the bread and wine offered at Mass into the Body and blood of Christ.» read more

From steaing bases to saving souls...

Call-up of different kind for OF Desme :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

BY DAVE HOEKSTRA Sun-Times Columnist

Grant Desme knew there was a higher ground even when he was playing for the low-Class A Kane County Cougars.

The 23-year-old outfielder announced his retirement from professional baseball Friday.

He is joining the priesthood.

The outfielder was on the Cougars' 2009 Opening Day roster and played 69 of 70 games before being promoted to Class A Stockton. Desme was the only player with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the minors last season.

The Cougars are an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Desme informed A's general manager Billy Beane of his decision Thursday. ''Coming at him with this out of the blue was a shock,'' Desme said Friday. ''It knocked him off his horse a bit. But he was very supportive and understanding, which I appreciate.''

Desme led the Arizona Fall League with 11 home runs and was named the MVP. He decided to enroll in the Catholic seminary St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County, Calif., after the fall league concluded. His final game was in the league championship Nov. 21.

''I knew it was a good chance of being the last baseball game I would play,'' Desme said, ''which was ironic considering I hit a home run and proceeded to strike out twice. That defined my career. There was no sad feeling.'' Desme visited the abbey and checked out the way of life.

''I let it sink in for a week or two,'' said Desme, who was born Catholic in Bakersfield, Calif. ''I talked to quite a few different priests and my family about the desire I was having. I kept this to myself in the baseball community. I decided I was going to apply. They sped up the process to accept me. Its about a 10-year process of studying and formation. In comparison, I'm re-entering the minor leagues.''

He will enter the abbey in August. When Desme played for the Cougars, he relied on spiritual material to pass time on the tedious Midwest League bus trips.

''I'd read books and bring my Bible,'' he said. ''I'd study or look on the Internet. I wasn't as good about it as I should have been.''

Baseball America ranked Desme eighth among prospects in the Athletics' organization. He never considered becoming a priest while also playing baseball.

''I wanted to give my life completely to God,'' he said. ''Something like this is very little compared to what he has done for me.''

AMDG Partners

That 'Always Sunny' bar is moving forward Philadelphia Inquirer

The Fx comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is built around life at a Philly bar, and now a real bar to be part-owned by the show's creator/star is inching closer to opening.

Mac's Tavern -- at 226 Market St. in Old City, where Skinner's is now -- may even debut in time for St. Patrick's Day. (Note the new name; it was "Mac's Olde Towne Tavern" early on.)

This week, the Old City Civic Association told the state Liquor Control Board that it would not oppose the liquor-license application, the association's Richard Thom confirmed.

The new ownership group -- which includes Rob McElhenney, a few St. Joseph's Prep alumni, and his wife/co-star, Kaitlin ("Sweet Dee") Olson-- has assured neighbors that there will be no amplified music or dance floor, Thom said.

Nothing about random stagings of The Nightman Cometh, however.

There are plans to showcase smaller acoustic musical talent, said Eric Vesotsky, one of the partners. "We need to remain at a reasonable decibel level and can run sound through our house jukebox/TV speakers for such performances, however, we will never amplify such music."

Still unclear is whether the new owners will simply keep the bar open during the transition, or if they will close briefly to clean it up, said Bill Morrin, the attorney representing AMDG Partners. (Gotta love the choice of initials, which stand for "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam," as in "For the greater glory of God," the Jesuit motto.)

It's also not clear just how often the stars will actually be at Mac's, or, for that matter, if it will be used in the series in any way. Always Sunny makes annual pilgrimages to its namesake city to shoot exteriors.

Vesotsky will operate the bar with another of McElhenney's schoolmates, Ben Haney, who actually taught at the Prep. Recently, the names of two additional investors showed up in LCB paperwork: Todd Biermann, another Prep grad, and his fiancee, actress Andrea Roth of the Fx series Rescue Me.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Accu Weather says it's going to....


Buried again... so far in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area we're looking at 20 inches, and it hasn't stopped yet. Another 8 inches could be coming on Tuesday ;-(, according to Philadelphia News -

I'm off today but we still have six show at the Walnut Street Theatre today. 35 people, out of a sold out show of 1,100, showed up. We NEVER close... although the USPS called it a day today.

The R2 from Wilmington was cancelled today -- stranding my buddy who finally got a ride in to Center City. Hopefully the PATCO is running tomorrow or I'll be walking across the Ben Franklin Bridge.

At least Snickers is having some fun.

Downtown Philly is empty....
and they're digging out in Northeast Philly.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jesuit Refugee Service: Kino Border / Haiti

picture courtesy of...

Jesuit Refugee Service-USA: Kino Border Initiative

Kino Border Initiative

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With the Kino Border Initiative, JRS/USA has expanded the pastoral care that we have provided undocumented non-citizens over the last nine years in our
chaplaincy program at U.S. detention centers. We are now reaching out to men, women and children – most of whom are Mexican citizens – who were detained by the U.S. government and then deported.

Sr. Engracia Robles, center, and volunteers serve hot meals to more than 200
people every day at the Kino Border Initiative's facility in Nogales, Mexico.
(Robert Dolan, S.J. for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)

Some of the most forgotten and the most vulnerable people in the United States are those migrants
held in federal immigration detention centers pending deportation. The vulnerability of these people does not end with deportation, however; many of the migrants we encounter at the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Mexico, find themselves stranded in the border town far away from their homes and families, with few options or resources to plan for a future life in Mexico or Central America.

To help these forgotten people, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and five partner organizations officially launched the Kino Border Initiative in the twin cities of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona, U.S.A., in January of 2009.

Kino Border Initiative press conference, part 1 from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA on Vimeo.

The bi-national ministry is a collaborative effort among Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the California Province of the Society of Jesus, the Mexico Province of the Society of Jesus, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Archdiocese of Hermosillo and the Diocese of Tucson.

“One of the most gratifying things about this effort is that it is a partnership amongst so many … committed groups,” said Rev. John McGarry, S.J., Provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus as the project was inaugurated last year.

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Jesuit Refugee Service: Praying with Refugees in Haiti

February 2010
Brother Jim Boynton, S.J. is a U.S. Jesuit who began working with Jesuit Refugee Service in Haiti in November, 2009. His first assignment was to serve as the director of a Fe y Alegría school for poor children in Wanament area of northeastern Haiti along the border with the Dominican Republic.

When the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, Jim’s life took an unexpectedly different course. He joined the Jesuit emergency relief response to the quake’s untold number of victims in Port-au-Prince. During the past weeks he has helped to facilitate and support the work of U.S. doctors, nurses and paramedics as they care for the thousands of seriously wounded Haitian people. They have saved many lives by courageous medical efforts, often performing surgeries in the most trying of situations.

Working at a makeshift clinic in Port-au-Prince, Br. Jim Boynton, S.J. holds an IV for a person injured in the earthquake.

What follows are a few selections from Brother Jim Boynton’s diary during the days following the disastrous earthquake.

January 18, 2010
I am new to Haiti, and only arrived on November 1 to work in a school. To be honest I was nervous about that, but a school in Haiti now seems no more daunting than a classroom at University of Detroit Jesuit High School, or St. Ignatius Cleveland, where I taught history for years. What is daunting now is Haiti itself. “Haiti cherie,” or “dear Haiti,” as this country is called by those who love her, is suffering. The news may report that help is being sent from all over the world, but today we are six days past the quake, yet at our location we were the first foreign aid to arrive. Most is bottlenecked in the airport.

January 19, 2010
At Christmas I told my friend, Father Jim Williams, that someday I hoped to have a love for the Haitian people that was not based on pity. This island seemed like a latrine, and the people only to be pitied. Pity is not bad, but it makes you the superior; it sets up an inequality and puts me at the top. After what I have seen these last few days, now when it would make most sense to pity these poor people I have none. My pity has grown to respect and admiration. Overnight I have come to love these people in a way that makes them a model for me, and clearly puts them on a higher plane than I will ever be.

January 22, 2010
The role of faith then is the role of action, and nothing is needed now more than action.

January 23, 2010
Twice today in the tap-tap [bus] I broke down and cried. I’m not embarrassed anymore to do that. Everyone on our team understands that reaction. My guess is most have done that as well. I ask myself how much of this can I take? Why can’t August be here already when I can go home and swim with my niece and nephews in a Michigan lake? Why can’t I see children other than those who want only a drink of water, or parents who are not grieving their dead children, buildings that are not a pile of rubble, or elderly who have the comfort my parents have and deserve? But then I stop and reflect . . . . I have hope, faith, and love, and therefore can take much, much more. My prayer is that, as noble as these people are, they do not lose their hope, faith, and love.

January 25, 2010
Our team neurosurgeon told us today that three of the worst wounded people in town were at a clinic and needed to get to surgery. We had no way to transport them and did not know what to do. At that moment someone noticed a large flatbed truck with the front window broken out. When I asked who owned the truck I had to laugh . . . it belongs to Fe y Alegría, the school I work for. In essence, it was my truck! We drove to the clinic, found the patients and transported them. They will never walk again, but they will live.

Thanks to Rich Brennan, SJU '81, for the heads up on Br. Jim Boyton, SJ