Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Greetings from the Jesuit Center in Amman Jordan

Lay colleagues Marcus Bleech and Tricia Steadman Jump from the Jesuit Conference in Washington, D.C. and Alice Poltorick, communications director for the New England province, had the pleasure of visiting the Jesuit Center in Amman Jordan on Sunday. 

In Amman, it's the center of lay workers and the Jesuit fathers in Jordan. The centers mission is the service of the faithful Christian in different theological and spiritual fields and in pastoral works. Its different works are performed by a group of Jesuit priests, together with a group of laypersons, who have specialized in theological and spiritual education.

Marcus, Tricia and Alice met with Jesuit Father Al Hicks, missioned to Jordan from the New England province and superior of the community as well as Jesuit Father Kevin O'Connell, also of the New England province and pastor of the English-language Catholic parish in Amman. They also joined the congregation at St. Joseph Church in Amman for Sunday Mass concelebrated by Frs. Hicks and O'Connnell. 

Video interviews and additional articles about the works of the Jesuit Center in Amman will be posted in the new weeks. In the meantime, below are few photos from the visit. 


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jesuit Vatican Astronomer Explains Why Science and Religion are a Match Made in Heaven

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno was interviewed by Canadian magazine The Walrus about his work at the Vatican Observatory Research Group, the second research center of the Vatican Observatory based in Tucson, Ariz. Read an excerpt below:  
 Installed on the second floor of a small building on the summit of Arizona’s Mount Graham, Guy Consolmagno is multi-tasking. He’s checking email on his laptop and listening to the Penguin Cafe Orchestra on his iPod, all the while keeping an eye on a bank of computer monitors. One floor up, nestled in a silvery-white dome, a telescope is trained on a potato-shaped chunk of rock and ice known as Haumea, which orbits the sun some six billion kilometres from Earth. Thin clouds have been drifting overhead since sundown, but if they dissipate, the telescope’s digital camera will record changes in Haumea’s brightness as it tumbles through the outer reaches of the solar system, offering Consolmagno and fellow astronomers hints about the structure and evolution of our planetary family.
All this is typical fare for a scientist. What is perhaps surprising is that Consolmagno is also a Jesuit brother, that many of his colleagues are ordained priests, and that they’re scanning the heavens with the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope or, more affectionately, the “Pope scope.”
For more about Jesuit Brother Consolmagno's worked with the Vatican Observatory, go here.

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Jesuit Finds New Vocation but Doesn't Abandon Old One

                                    Photo Courtesy Catholic News Service

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service
Jesuit Brother Rick Curry has a new vocation. He's now Jesuit Father Rick Curry.

But he still plans on helping wounded war veterans restore meaning and purpose in their lives.

Becoming a priest at age 66, as he did Sept. 13, might seem to be what in some circles is called a "late vocation." But don't apply that term to Father Curry. He said he views priestly ordination as "an extension of my ministry."

In 2002, after Father Curry had spent 27 years working with his National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, the workshop administrators were asked to bring returning wounded vets from Afghanistan and Iraq to begin a writers' program so that they could tell their own stories and, as Father Curry told Catholic News Service, "open up the floodgates of post-traumatic stress."

"It was during that time that I began to be asked by the Wounded Warriors (the eventual name of the program) to actually hear their confession. I told them I was a Jesuit brother and not ordained. I told them that so frequently that I began to suspect there was some invitation there," Father Curry said. "I was so happy as a Jesuit brother I never thought of it (priesthood)."

To read more about Jesuit Father Curry's new vocation, go here.

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Reopening of Colonial Maryland Jesuit Church Brings Tears to Eyes of Jesuit Father Edward Dougherty

                                                                           Photo Courtesy Washington Post 

The pine and oak doors of the rebuilt Brick Chapel were opened to visitors last weekend in Historic St. Mary's City, Maryland, completing a 15 year fundraising and historically accurate construction effort to bring the chapel back to life. The chapel was initially constructed by the Jesuits in the 1630s, when they arrived as some of the first European settlers to America to assist in forming the new English colony.

When the chapel burned down in 1645, it was rebuilt by the ruling Calvert family of Maryland but the chapel was locked by decree of royal governors from England in the early 1700s. After that ruling, the chapel was eventually dismantled.

"The first time I saw it, it actually brought tears to my eyes," said Jesuit Father Edward Dougherty of St. Ignatius Church in Port Tobacco, Md., the oldest continually serving Catholic Parish in the U.S. He described the settlers' actions as "the experiment that was derailed a bit but has never stopped and has grown to what it is today."

To read more about the opening of the Brick Chapel in Historic St. Mary's City, visit The Washington Post.  

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jesuit Father Tom Reese Discusses Energy Taxes and Regulations at Georgetown/On Faith's blog

Jesuit Father Tom Reese, Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, regularly contributes to the Georgetown/On Faith blog, a partnership between Georgetown University and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive designed to provide knowledge, inform debate and promote greater dialogue and understanding across religious traditions.

Fr. Reese's recent posting at the Geogetown/On Faith blog discusses and gives his point of view on energy taxes and regulations. Here is an excerpt:

The pope has also been convinced by scientists that global warming is a reality and will have terrible consequences on humanity and the world unless we do something to reverse it. And unlike politicians, he does not just talk about it. He has installed solar powered technology to reduce energy consumption and has made the Vatican the first carbon neutral state in the world.

In comparison, the United States has done little to respond to the environmental and energy crises that face our country and the world. Sadly, this is not because of ignorance. We have known what to do since the first energy crisis during the Carter administration.
You can read the rest of his latest blog post here.

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