Thursday, March 25, 2010

Belated St. Paddy's Day Poem

My annual Paddy's day poems are not getting any better but they are getting shorter... for that readers can be thankful.

Joe Kiernan

Defending the Irish

This Paddy'’s Day please honor my special wish

Whether you’re Polish, Eye Talian or Eye Rish

This year there's one gift I would seriously like

Spare me those old jokes about Pat and Mike

Don’t tell me the story about the widow Finnegan

After her old man downed in the brewery vat again

Please no more cracks about Michael O’'Connor

In court saying, “No more booze for me, your honor”

Or that scatterbrained lad, one Michael Hooligan

Who made a complete ass of himself at the pub again

Poor Seamus on death bed smelled cookies and spake:

“Can I have just one?” Heard, “No they'’re for the wake”

No more tales about the cop and the tipsy priest

Of all stories from old Erin, all those are the least.

Scrap the old Irish joke book; it is drivel and bunk

We'’re not scoundrels in private nor publicly drunk.

Hey, the Irish aren’t fools and not really that funny

You make too much fun of my crowd there, Sonny

Be not shamefully slanderous against people most gentle

We have physical conditions but none that are mental

So get better material, I am warning you, Dude

Cause the Sons of St. Patrick are charming, not rude

My claims and defenses here ain’t theoretical

Our women are lookers and our booze strictly medical

Cease the rumors about the bishop and the organist then

Their lives are their own and they'’re both fine men

Those old jokes ain't authentic; they’re beginning to grate

And while we are at it, let’s get Irish history straight

As to the yarn of St. Patrick, there were no damn snakes

Those chased from the Emerald Isle were Brits for God’s sakes!

So may the road come up to meet you, not hit you in the mush

And may that wind not be your own - - the one behind your tush.

JRK March 2010

Wall Street on Big 5

NCAA March Madness and Philly's Big 5 -

The highlight of my Big 5 tour was La Salle-St. Joe's. The two small Catholic schools epitomize Philly basketball. While agents and scouts hover at many college basketball games, the ever-present figure here was the priest, offering a prayer and a pat on the back. The teams' fans were literally packed to the rafters of the 4,200-seat Hagan Arena at St. Joseph's University. The pep band was at full throat. And the Hawk, the St. Joe's mascot, was running along the sidelines whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The game meant literally nothing, with both teams anchoring the bottom of the A-10 standings. But to the fans who grew up with and graduated from these two schools, it meant everything.

SJU alumna Sr. Mary joins Bon Jovi...

St. Joseph's Alumna Sr. Mary Scullion, RSM Featured in Bon Jovi Video

Sr. Mary Scullion, RSM, SJC '76 , co-founder of
Project H.O.M.E.: Ending Homelessness in Philadelphia, a nationally recognized organization that provides supportive housing, employment, education and health care to enable chronically homeless and low-income persons to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, is featured in Bon Jovi's latest music video, "Superman Tonight."

For those who don't count themselves as fans of Jon Bon Jovi (Mrs. 44 would be disappointed), advance to the 3.24 mark to see Sr. Mary.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Dorm on Hawk Hill

Six-story freshman hall to be built on Gest Lawn
By Luigi Condina '12

Towards the end of spring 2012, Saint Joseph’s University will see the addition of the largest student dormitory on campus.

The process of acquiring the necessary permits for construction is currently underway, and building is set to begin in April of 2011. The “L” shaped building will stand two and a half stories above Sourin Hall. The two wings will cover approximately half of Gest lawn from the sides facing Cardinal Avenue and lining Sourin parking lot, leaving 48,180 sq. ft. of green space.

“The grade from City Avenue, down towards Sourin gradually descends towards Sourin, so closer to City Avenue it would be five and a half stories, at Sourin it would be six [stories],” said Kevin Robinson, vice president of administrative services, who is part of the developmental group spearheading the early stages of the project.

The anticipated cost of the finalized project after architectural and construction fees is in the range of $35 million, according to Cary Anderson, Ed.D., vice president for student life, who is currently working with Robinson to finalize the construction plans. While the completed dorm will add 400 new beds to freshman housing options, Anderson said that the majority of the spaces will be used to relieve congestion in the other campus dormitories.

As called for in the Bridge Plan, underclassmen admissions will see an increase of 50 additional students each year for the next four consecutive years, resulting in the swelling of the undergraduate population by approximately 200 students.

“Our numbers dictate, based on the number of beds we have for first year students (about 1150), if you’re starting to bring in a class of 1200 or 1250 then you just don’t have the space…and so we wanted to be able to accommodate all of that,” said Anderson. “We want them as close to campus as possible, that’s a piece of it. First year students in apartment style living doesn’t educationally work as well as the more traditional hall, and so we want to have that experience to get to know more people before they get into a smaller group of friends.”

According to Anderson, the new student spaces will allow for the accommodation of all first year students without the need for triples. In addition, the freeing of spaces in campus houses will create more room for upperclassmen living on campus.

Anderson said that various other campus sites were considered before settling on Gest Lawn, but that zoning ordinances that restrict construction of student dormitories on Maguire Campus left options limited. Conversations about knocking down Sourin Hall to build a larger dorm on the site were dismissed in favor of the current construction plans in order to maximize the amount of student spaces on campus, according to Anderson.

“When you knock down Sourin, you’ve lost all of those beds and you’d have a smaller net gain,” said Anderson. “We needed to do more than that, and so we went around looking at various spaces on campus because with a first year building you want to be as close as possible. Going off campus raises the cost because you are paying for land acquisition.”

Robinson announced to the University Student Senate (U.S.S.) at a March 15 meeting that as part of an effort to keep the housing options equitable, renovations to the Sourin and Lafarge residences are set to take place for the coming academic year.

“Air condition units are going to be installed in the Sourin dorm, and LaFarge is going to get all new windows,” said Robinson at the U.S.S. meeting.

Robinson and a developmental group proposed the creation of a new committee to gather student input on the construction plans to the U.S.S. Although many of the larger construction issues have been decided by the administration, Anderson said that there are still areas for discussion and student input. The information accrued by the Senate’s committee will be presented to the development group for evaluation.

“What we’re really looking for is the final use of the study spaces and lounge spaces, the finishing, some more conversations about entrances and the use of the green space, general pieces,” said Anderson. “The shell and the main concept is done, but there are some other things that we can [do] through…the group as kind of an advisory on what makes sense. Now again we want to work within our time frame and our budget. It’s not just what makes sense at this exact moment, it’s what makes sense in the future as well.”

An additional gated entrance on the corner of City and Cardinal Avenues will provide main access to the building and line up with the new pedestrian entranceway that is currently under construction directly across the street on Maguire Campus.

According to Robinson, construction workers will begin to take soil samples on the construction site in the near future. After a large granite deposit delayed construction on the Campion addition last year, Robinson said that tests would be conducted to determine the soil’s content before breaking ground on the new project next spring.

Anderson said that discussions with Campus Apartments, the development company overseeing construction plans, considered environmentally friendly options concerning the features of the new residence. Although no additional campus green space will be created as a result of the construction, Anderson pointed to the conversion of a portion of the Science Center parking lot into Neumann Lawn as an attempt to keep an appropriate proportion of porous land on campus.

“That was part of the Neumann Lawn piece when that happened. When we can try to add green space…and that’s why it was part of the design when we talked to the architects that was one of the first things we tried to do is preserve as much green space as possible,” Anderson said.

Together with the U.S.S., the development group is considering possibilities that could fit the new residence with motion censored lighting already available in some residence hall bathrooms.
“The development company is looking at the criteria for our lead certification. It’s our goal to make [the building] as environmentally friendly as possible, and whether it would become lead certified or not is still a question because there are certain things that are associated with that… looking at the overall budget,” Anderson said.

The process of communicating the university’s intentions to the rest of the surrounding community is also underway, according to Anderson.

“That’s happening as we speak; that’s a parallel process in all of this, starting with elected officials and kind of moving from there,” he said. “The one thing about this particular space is that there are no residents’ houses right up against this space.”

Monday, March 22, 2010

7 hours, 38 minutes a day ;-(

Mikaela Espinoza, 17, talks to a friend on her cell phone while checking her Myspace page, while the television is on in the background. Espinoza is among the many teens who stay up late to talk or text their friends or chat online, but their lack of sleep is beginning to impact their health. Studies show a link between technology and sleep disorders. (SHNS photo by Lezlie Sterling / The Sacramento Bee, from the article Research shows too much cell phone, computer use can be harmful to kids)

America Magazine - Jesuit Weekly - Unplug Your Kids

by Thomas Massaro

Last month the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study packed with truly shocking findings. Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 now spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day using a computer, video game console, television, cellphone and all manner of handheld electronic devices and digital technology. Fifty-plus hours a week are an awful lot of screen time for anyone, especially impressionable and insecure youngsters.

Many aspects of the report disturb me. Just picturing in my mind’s eye millions of adolescents holed up indoors and tethered to flickering gadgets for hours on end makes me sad for the opportunities our youngsters are missing to enjoy the great outdoors, participate in physical exercise and engage in genuine human interaction of the face-to-face variety.

A culture of interruption erodes habits of prayer and reflection.Equally disconcerting is the trend line of tech overuse. Young people’s current daily level of electronic consumption exceeds by 77 minutes the average amount in 2004, the last time this social indicator was measured by Kaiser’s Program for the Study of Media and Health. I would like to think we have hit the ceiling, but where this trend goes next is anyone’s guess. If the upward trajectory were to continue, it is hard to imagine what remaining parts of a well-balanced life will be crowded out by the increasing time our children spend “plugged in.”

Last summer in this very space I lamented the losses that over-reliance on cellphones and handheld electronic devices spell for our society. We are hearing even more about potential public health concerns, such as the dangers associated with distracted drivers and even pedestrians lost in their gadgets. There are deepening social concerns too: the need for protocols governing rude behavior, like interrupting dinner conversations and business meetings to take a call or retrieve one’s electronic messages. A municipal official in Danvers, Mass., recently had to propose a ban on texting during meetings of the town’s Board of Selectmen out of respect for the people these elected representatives serve. It takes guts to take on cellphone technology, but I am glad someone did.

If society finds creative ways to accommodate such technology so as to avoid the worst violations of safety and politeness, a third set of concerns remains: the spiritual aspect of life. A culture and lifestyle that allow constant interruption erode our ability to develop a habit of prayer and reflection.

As a theological educator, my hunch is that these are especially critical issues for our youth. Young children and adolescents struggle mightily to forge a stable identity, a sense of self that allows them to feel truly comfortable in their own skin and to be open to the transcendent. While a majority of the human race could probably use some remedial work in developing the intangible quality of interiority, youngsters face a particularly uphill battle to clear out time and mental space to be alone with God. Mindfulness and deliberateness are endangered species in the current age of digital distraction, where buzzing and flashing images envelop us around the clock.

A simple edict will not enforce progress on this front. The best we can hope to accomplish is the fostering of conditions that make it more likely that the youth of today will develop habits of mindfulness that can sprout into a mature spiritual life.

A good first step would involve debunking the myth of multitasking. The conventional wisdom nowadays is that the practice of splitting one’s brain among several simultaneous tasks is somehow desirable, even necessary in today’s digital world. Yet growing evidence from the field of neuroscience suggests that such activity is by no means efficient and in some regards physically impossible. While we persist in believing that we can handle ever greater doses of simultaneous electronic stimulation, the human nervous system exhibits serious limits in its ability to handle interruption and to switch back and forth among tasks without debilitating sensory overload.

Several themes that recur in spiritual literature come into play here: the quest for proper balance, the virtue of temperance, the necessity of addressing self-delusion and even the practice of Christian resistance against corrupt cultural forces. Difficult as it may be for adults to face up to these facts, it is even more imperative that the next generation learn to unplug.

Thomas Massaro, S.J., teaches social ethics at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Fr. Massaro celebrating Mass at St. Joseph's University,
with Fr. Tony Uvary, SJ of the Jamshedpur Province.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bling Day Mass!

A beautiful day in Philadelphia (78 degrees!) for the Junior
Ring Mass at St. Joseph's Preparatory School today.

The solemn Mass was concelebrated by Fr. George Bur, SJ, Fr. Bruce Maivelett, SJ and Fr. Francis Piro, STL, with music provided by the Christus Choir under the direction of Mr. Michael Magree, SJ.

Not the place to be if you're allergic to khakis and blue blazers ;-)

I think The Prep wins the national contest for nicest high school chapel.
One can only marvel at the Church of the Gesu's architecture.

With Lucinda showing off the bling ;-)

Ryan Dougherty, Teron Dow and Joe Liciardello.

and again with Marcus Brown.

Posing with the Dougherty Family, and walking down the aisle.

Smiles for everyone. Congrats TDow and the SJP class of 2011!

Friday, March 19, 2010

it was worth all the while...

Happy St. Joseph's Day!

Poor in worldly possessions, he was rich in grace. Devotion to Saint Joseph, was fervent in the East from the early ages, and has spread and increased. Today, Catholics of all nations honor him.

There are many stories about the miraculous intervention of Saint Joseph. One is a medieval account of how a famine in Sicily was ended after a Novena to Saint Joseph. A more recent story is of the mysterious "itinerant carpenter" who volunteered to build an architecturally unique spiral staircase in a convent chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is as sound today as when it was first built, and has never needed repair.

According to ancient tradition, Saint Joseph watches over and protects the Church. He is considered the model of perfect Christian life and the patron of a happy death.

His patronage extends over the Mystical Body of Christ, over the Christian family and schools, carpenters, fathers, laborers, and all individuals who appeal to his charity and intercession, especially in the hour of death. Joseph, when dying, received the loving ministry of his foster Son, Jesus, and his spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, so it is believed that his intercession may well obtain the mercy of God and the grace of a peaceful and holy death.

His feast is celebrated on March 19, and a special memorial to Saint Joseph the Worker is observed on May 1.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm going down in flames...

Yes, I am going down in flames, again. It defies logic to pay money to play an NCAA pool and NOT to pick the winners -- but that is what I do, year after year. I'm an all or nothing guy, and can't pick schools I dislike. It would be psychological torture to be happy that those teams would win. So this year I have three Jesuit schools in the Final Four. Only 13% of the schools in the tournament are Catholic colleges. I doubt that even Charlie Currie, SJ at the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities has those picks. Unless St. Ignatius Loyola himself starts to get interested in college hoops I'm a goner. So be it.

It reminds me when my buddy Howard Feldman and I ran a pool at work around 15 years ago. We made everyone play as I can be persuasive (the old days when you had to grade them by hand!) and he came upon one pool that had the following teams in the Final Four: Saint Mary's College, Saint Peter's College, Mount St. Mary's University and Princeton. He asked me what person would possibly pick such a sorry lot. I replied... my mother ;-)

Mom only rooted for the Papes, and Princeton snuck in there because current Richmond Spiders coach and former Archbishop Ryan High School standout Chris Mooney was playing for the Tigers. She used to know his mother -- so they got an exemption.

So let the madness begin! I hope whoever wins appreciates my donation ;-)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A-10 Tourney

Kutch and I took in some Atlantic 10 Tournament action in Atlantic City yesterday. I got to enjoy some good hoops, in particular the Xavier - Dayton game, as I could simply enjoy the game without caring about the outcome.

The above sign is a misnomer as LaSalle didn't make the tournament, and St. Joseph's didn't make it to AC. I saw only two Hawks all day, Joe Cabrey, of course, and Jake Dunphy, who was there to root on his cousin Frannie and the Temple Owls. With no Hawk faithful it made me feel as if I was crashing someone else's family reunion ;-(

Jake, Kutch and I did get our picture taken with Big 5 Hall of Famer and St. Joseph's Prep coach Speedy Morris though.

Caveat emptor: Since it was a Friday during Lent a plain pizza was on the menu...

but alas, not all things are as they might appear.

SJU National Community Day

April 24, 2010

Join nearly 1000 alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends nationwide by participating at a community service location in your area. For more information and to register, visit SJU National Community Day.

To learn more or to find out how to become a site leader, contact Megan Famular '06 at 610-660-3294 or

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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Future of the Catholic Mission to the City of Philadelphia

Catholic Intellectual Series

The Catholic character of Saint Joseph's University springs from its historical relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, and from its current embodiment of the great traditions of Catholic life and culture.

The Catholic Intellectual Series promotes the long and dynamic history of Catholic intellectual thought and highlights the latest and best within our tradition.

Through this series Saint Joseph’s University desires to highlight the thoughts and writings of prominent catholic thinkers in our country and throughout the world.

The Saint Joseph's University Office for Mission and Identity presents

The Catholic Intellectual Series 2009-2010

Do everything possible so that liberty is victorious over oppression, justice over injustice, love over hate - Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J.

Faith, Hope and Charity: The Future of the Catholic Mission to the City of Philadelphia

March 16th 2010 at 7:30 PM
Mandeville Hall, Wolfington Teletorium


Keynote Address by

John J. DiIulio, Ph.D.

The Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society
and Professor of Political Science, The University of Pennsylvania.

with responses by

Sr. Mary Scullion, RSM, SJC '76, Executive Director of
Project H.O.M.E.


Rev. Edward Hallinan, Pastor,
Saint Martin De Porres Catholic Church, North Philadelphia


Spread the word for those who may need this

The Inner Journey of the Soul Day of Reflection


Fr. Dudley Mendonca, S.J. Ph.D. Visiting Professor from The Sadhanna Ctr, Pune India


Fr. James Redington, S.J. Ph.D - Senior Jesuit Fellow and Professor of Inter-religious Dialogue SJU

March 21st 2010

9 am – 4 pm

The Saint Raphaela Center, Haverford PA

Daniel R. J. Joyce, S.J.

Assistant to the Vice President for Mission and Identity
Saint Joseph's University
5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia PA, 19131


Senior Resident Fellow
The Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 610-660-3291

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

HHC 3 on 3 Tournament

The Hawk Hoop Club presents HOOP FEST 2010





Saint Joseph's University alumni of all ages are invited to attend a one day charitable event of basketball competition and fun at the Hagan Arena on March 21,2010 at 12:00pm.


Event will include food and refreshments in the Hall of Fame Room, where the NCAA March Madness Playoffs will be airing on television

For more information or to pre-register click Alumni Hoop Fest 2010.

LOL... more than 44 cents to Jam!

Dear Ed,

This is to inform you that a check for $50 came in for the work of John Deeney in the name of Jesuit Missions in response to an apppeal sent out by Thomas F Brzozowski/44. Reading through that appeal made by Thomas, I find there is much for me to learn in the way an appeal is to be framed.

Fr. Jerry Cutinha has agreed to acknowledge and thank the donor while I was requested to keep you informed. As I did the last time as per your advice , I will send the check (s) to .

I will wait for some more time so that in case there are similar checks coming to Jamshedpur I could put them together and send them in one envelope to . I will wait until 25 March to despatch this check(s).

With kind regards,



Jamshedpur Jesuit Province
15 Straight Mile Road,
Sakchi, Jamshedpur 831001, INDIA



Thanks for your mail and all the lovely photos. I know the kind soul couldn't just wait .... money straight came to Jamshedpur !!

The last photo of John Deeney saying mass (above) could have been somewhere in a village saying mass. Often mass is offered in the courtyard of a house where the villagers could gather. Often houses are small - may not be big enough for a crowd of 20-25.

Well, that is the style we offer mass in the villages here in Jamshedpur. Sometimes we may also have to chase off chickens or cows / bulls while saying mass !!! They too want to join the eucharist !! How religious our animals are !!

Today our Martin came to Jamshedpur for some work. He had a "facelift", looked very young with his short haircut, though he said that he had more grey hair than I had.

I am happy that you got the DVD and enjoyed watching it. Our Donald and Amit Tigga worked on it. Donald is doing his PhD in Communications in Chennai.

I am in Jamshedpur, provincial's office. For any postal mails, the address below should be fine.

Thanks Tom,

Jerry Cutinha, SJ


In related news...

Several Christians including three Catholic bishops were Friday, March 5, arrested and later released during a march for reservation status to Dalit Christians and Muslims.

Bishops, priests arrested at dalit rally Cathnews India

Police arrested hundreds including Catholic bishops and priests today in Chennai as thousands gathered for the culmination of a month-long dalit rally, a Church official said.

Police have detained Archbishops A. M. Chinnappa of Madra Mylapore, several bishops and some thousand people, said Father G. Cosmon Arokiaraj, secretary of Indian bishops’ commission for dalit Christians.

“They are kept inside marriage hall as police cannot take the large number of people to jail,” he added.

Thousands of Christians gathered in Chennai today to conclude a “long march” that Catholics and Protestants together organized demanding quota for dalit Christians.

The “long march,” began Feb. 10 in Kanniakumari with some 50 people walking to state capital. They reached Chennai yesterday as planed.

The organizers planned to end the march with massive public meeting and presenting a memorandum demanding reservation for dalit Christians.

The 50 people began a march through the streets of Chennai. “But police objected and arrested morning Bishop Anthonisamy Neethinathan” of Chingelpet who joined the team in Chennai, Father Arokiaraj said.

The bishop’s arrest made “more bishops, priests, nuns and join the marchers’ team, which soon swelled into some thousand people. The police blocked all of them took them inside a kalyana-mandampam (marriage hall). The police have not released them yet. We are in contact with the officials,” the priest said in the evening.

The chief minister was also not prepared to meet the delegation of Bishops and leaders, the priest said.

Christian leaders are demanding the central and state governments to implement the Ranganath Misra report to grant Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims quota meant for socially poor groups.

Archbishop Chinnappa, president of the Tamil Nadu Bishops Council, yesterday told media that Dalit Christians and Muslims are upset by the inordinate delay in implementing the Misra report.

He said the Misra Commission report clearly states that non- inclusion of SC Christians and Muslims in the SC list is discrimination based on religion that goes against the Constitution of India.

The Indian Constitution allows quota in education and jobs for dalit or oppressed castes to help their socio-economic advancement. However, dalit among Christians and Muslims are excluded for the past 60 years on the ground their religions do not follow the caste system.

The marchers have demanded the federal government to implement the Ranganath Misra Commission report that recommends extending the quota to all dalit regardless of religion.

They also demand the repeal of the Constitutional Order 1950, which limited the quota only to Hindus. The order was amended twice later to include Sikhs and Buddhists, but continued to exclude Muslims and Christians.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

Father Martin: The Priest Who Prays for Stephen Colbert - TIME

Father Jim Martin did not seek the title of Stephen Colbert's TV priest. All he was doing was waiting in the wings for his third appearance on the comedian's show, on which the ebullient, bespectacled cleric was scheduled to be quizzed on poverty — why Martin embraces it when its allure escapes so many other Americans. Then the priest suddenly heard his host direct the audience to welcome "The Colbert Report chaplain."

"I remember being surprised and delighted," says Martin. He shouldn't have been too shocked. In the decade since he joined the staff at America, the Roman Catholic weekly run by Jesuits like himself, he has utilized just about every existent platform in becoming one of the highest profile religious "explainers" in the country, a status that should only be enhanced by his user-friendly new book, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.

Every creed has its pop experts — the backgrounders and sound-biters parsing their traditions for a sometimes-perplexed nation. The Buddhist slot, for example, is occupied by Uma Thurman's father Robert, a professor and former Tibetan monk. In the 1990s reporters looking for a conservative Catholic voice sought out Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the journal First Things; for a more liberal take they called America's then editor Fr. Thomas Reese. But Neuhaus passed away and Reese (who remains a brilliant analyst) was controversially fired by the Pope. Since then Martin, America's culture editor, has out-outreached them both in their primes.

His ability to communicate with church outsiders may derive from his six-year stint as a General Electric executive — "before I saw the light," as he informed Colbert, deadpan. He is also less edgily polemic. David Gibson, a veteran religionista and columnist at, notes that while Martin does champion "marginalized" Catholics like gays and women, as well as nuns, who are currently undergoing a Vatican doctrinal investigation despite their declining numbers and often-heroic works., he excels at spiritual and pastoralnuns (currently under a Vatican microscope), he excels at spiritual and pastoral issues. "He's like a campus chaplain at a very large non-Catholic school" says Gibson. Raymond Arroyo, a popular host at the conservative Eternal Word Television Network, concedes, "I think his cultural writing is interesting and has its place," while noting that "some have offered that at times the attempt to be relevant has caused his magazine to muddle and nuance church teaching."
(See how Pope John Paul II dealt with the Jesuits.)

At America Martin moved quickly beyond informing the mainstream press to charming it: Newsweek's religion editor referred to him in a cover story as "my friend." And — full disclosure — he is contributing a chapter to a book I am editing. Moreover, he is himself a very prolific journalist. In addition to writing and blogging for America, he blogged about Pope Benedict's U.S. visit for the New York Times, contributes to Slate and the Huffington Post, stars in Beliefnet videos, and comments frequently for both CNN and NPR. He's written a brace of previous books including the hagiographic memoir My Life with the Saints, which has sold 100,000 copies. Less predictably, after advising on a production about Judas, he became a member of the off-Broadway LAByrinth Theater Company, attending readings and participating in exercises. Says Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar winner and LAByrinth co-founder, referring to the company's eclectic religious mix, "people might have preconceptions about [clergy], but he wasn't judgmental."

Nor is The Jesuit Guide. It helpfully unpacks core precepts like "finding God in all things." But at heart it is self-help book based on the "spiritual exercises" of Jesuit founder St. Ignatius Loyola and other Jesuit practices for a non-Jesuit, possibly non-Catholic, maybe even non-believing audience. This makes it unusual. Unlike Buddhists or New Agers, notes religion author and book critic Jana Riess, Christian writers may evangelize others, but save their how-tos for members of their own flock. Not Martin. His guide suggests "six paths" that might appeal to different kinds of readers, including "the path of disbelief," "spiritual but not religious," and "exploration." Several of its techniques — including the "examen," Ignatius' 20-minute review of the day's events — can work across or outside formal religious contexts. "You could be Richard Dawkins and find this stuff helpful," effuses Martin, referring to the famous atheist.

Yet Dawkins he is not. To understand the Guide's totality "you have to understand that that it is focused on God," he says. Martin simply thinks the paths of exploration, spiritual-but-not-religious and disbelief, if seriously pursued, eventually lead to God: and so they must all be addressed respectfully and seriously, "with invitations rather than condemnations."

And at this rate, it won't be long before he's invited most of us.

To order his book click The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, SJ

Sunday, March 7, 2010

12 hours on Hawk Hill

Arrived on Hawk Hill at 6:40 am, left at 6:40 pm; a full day ;-)

Even young scholars need their sleep, here at the Jesuit Community Library.

Our Lady of the Snows?

Barbelin Hall, still my favorite.

Poor St. Joseph - he looks lonely overlooking City Avenue.

A balmy 44 degrees today.

A trip to the SJU Bookstore.

AMDG... yup!

Fine Philadelphia dining.

3 stooges, musketeers, amigos? For the last time this season ;-(

Can I see your ticket, ma'am?

Loyal, loyal '81 Hawk must have lost a bet.

St. Joe's tops La Salle, clinches tourney berth Philadelphia Inquirer

Usually, fever-pitched emotion has a strong influence on the outcome of games between Big Five rivals. Certainly, there was plenty of it when St. Joseph's and La Salle went at it last night at Hagan Arena.

But more so, cold calculation ultimately was the difference as the Hawks grabbed the 12th and final playoff berth in the Atlantic Ten Conference tourney with a methodical 74-59 win in a regular-season finale.

The victory put St. Joe's (11-19, 5-11 A-10) in a first-round game against No. 5 seed Rhode Island on Tuesday night in Kingston, R.I. For La Salle (12-18, 4-12), the season came to an abrupt conclusion because Massachusetts upset Rhode Island to get the No. 11 seed, relegating the Explorers to 13th place.

For the first time in his 15 seasons as the Hawks' head coach, Phil Martelli ordered up a zone defense for an entire game. He calculated it was his team's best chance to pull out a win over a team with a huge size advantage - La Salle was second in the conference in offensive rebounding; St. Joe's next to last.

His calculation was right on.

St. Joe's held the Explorers to nine offensive boards, and outrebounded them, 34-32. The Hawks had been beaten on the glass in 26 of their previous 29 games.

"If we'd gone man-to-man, we'd have had some matchup problems," said Garrett Williamson, who combined with fellow senior Darrin Govens for 35 points in the final home game of their careers. "They have a big lineup, so the zone was the best way for us. Our major concern was rebounding, and it really helped us there."

The Explorers had been without three senior starters for most of the season, the major reason for their losing nine of the final 10 games. But in a surprise move, Kimmani Barrett and Yves Mekongo played. The 6-foot-5 Barrett had missed the previous 14 games with a broken bone in his right foot. The 6-7 Mekongo had missed eight games with a fractured left pinkie.

Coach John Giannini said both practiced Friday for the first time since their injuries. Barrett scored 15 points by draining five three-point baskets before fouling out with 6 minutes, 9 seconds remaining. Mekongo had eight points and five rebounds and also fouled out.

"They helped us, and what they did was flat-out on heart," Giannini said. "I'm happy they were able to finish their careers on the court."

The Hawks dictated the tempo. La Salle senior Rodney Green, one of the top post-up guards in the conference, was kept away from the basket for most of the game. He finished with 12 points, almost seven below his average, and ended his career with 1,914 points, ninth on the school's all-time list.

The zone "neutralized our size, and it really makes Rodney pass the ball and become a guard who has to find open people as opposed to a guy who can attack his man," Giannini said.

Govens, who scored 17 points, nailed four consecutive three-point shots to extend the Hawks' lead from 23-22 to 38-27 at halftime. He had missed his first five shots before erupting.

La Salle made a brief run, pulling within 51-47, but Williamson surrounded a basket by Idris Hilliard with two free throws and a basket off a nice feed from Carl Jones to build the lead back to 10 points. Jones, a freshman, scored eight of his 16 points in the final eight minutes.

St. Joe's had only four turnovers and forced La Salle to launch 30 of its 52 shots from beyond the three-point stripe.

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