Friday, October 30, 2009

Team California Wins Third Place in the 2009 Solar Decathlon with Help of Jesuit Mentor

Jesuit Father Jim Reites (Courtesy SCU)

Team California, comprised of students from Santa Clara University, got its day in the sun after winning second place in engineering and third place overall at the U.S. Department of Energy's 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The students beat top universities such as Tufts University, Rice University and Cornell University, making their home one of the most energy-efficient, beautiful and comfortable solar-powered homes in the world. The judges described Team California's 800-square-foot house, called Refract House, as masterfully executed, exquisite and well designed.

Read more about Team California's win here.

Helping lead the team to its win was Jesuit Father Jim Reites, faculty member at SCU. With his endless supply of energy, infectious laugh and no-nonsense, do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done attitude, Reites is an essential and beloved member of the team who has been inspiring students at SCU since he joined the community in 1975.

Allison Kopf, ’11, student project leader for the ’09 team, calls Reites “one of the most enthusiastic, hard-working people I’ve ever met. His pride in the project and excitement about the process encourage students to work to their fullest.” James Bickford, BSME ’08, who led the student team to their third place victory in 2007, agrees: “Father Reites is the Energizer Bunny of the Solar Decathlon program. He is an all-around great guy with a big heart, can-do spirit, and energy becoming that of a 20-year-old.”

Read more about Fr. Reites' work with the SCU Solar Decathlon team here.

You can also view a video of Fr. Reites speaking about Team California at SCU's website:

Jesuit Collaborative Launches New Blog

Jesuit Father John Predmore
The Jesuit Collaborative has added a blog to its website with the goal of providing opportunities to enter into Ignatian prayer and reflection on a regular basis.

Jesuit Father John Predmore, creator the blog, will feature reflections on scripture, Ignatian prayers and Jesuit history. Fr. Predmore will continue to author blog posts several times each week while special guests will be invited to author postings on the site. This new prayer resource supports the Jesuit Collaborative's mission of promoting the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. 

The Jesuit Collaborative is a professional association of Jesuits, laypersons, clergy, and religious who share in common the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius. The Collaborative promotes networking, reflection, scholarship, and learning while coordinating the diverse ministries that derive from the Spiritual Exercises. The Collaborative is pledged to serve the Church by providing for the spiritual development and care of persons, forming leaders, and nurturing a faith that does justice.

Vatican Honors Jesuit missionary to China - Father Matteo Ricci

(Photo courtesy CNS)
By Sarah Delaney
Catholic News Service

A new Vatican exhibit highlights the life of a Jesuit missionary whose extraordinary intelligence, culture and open-mindedness helped him bring Christianity to imperial China four centuries ago.

The exhibit is part of a series of events marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit who spent 28 years evangelizing, absorbing Chinese culture and bringing Western science to the faraway Asian continent.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jesuit Father Jim Martin Presented with Ignatian Volunteer Corps' Della Strada Award

Stephen Quigley, Chairman of NY Regional Council of IVC, Fr. Jim Martin and Liz McMahon, NY Regional Director
The New York/New Jersey region of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps presented its third annual Della Strada award on October 22, 2009 to Jesuit Father James Martin. 

The Della Strada award takes its name from the church that Ignatius Loyola and the early Jesuits in Rome established to serve the urban poor. This award honors those whose work and lives reflect the Ignatian values of direct service to the poor, and of working and educating for a more just society. 

Fr. Martin truly embodies these values – through his current position as the Culture Editor for America Magazine, the national Jesuit weekly, as well as his books, articles, presentations, workshops and media appearances, and his prior work in a Jamaican Mission, with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Kenya, with street gangs in Chicago, and at the Nativity Mission School in New York.

Prior recipients of the Della Strada award include Fr. Joseph Parkes, President of the Cristo Rey High School in New York, and Fr. Joseph O’Hare, former President of Fordham University and past editor of America Magazine.

The Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) provides men and women, aged 50 and greater, opportunities to serve others, to address social injustice, and to transform lives. IVC matches the talents of capable Volunteers with the greatest social needs of our time through partnerships with hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the United States.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jesuit Conference President Tom Smolich Sees Further Collaboration with Indian Jesuits

Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich, president of Jesuit Conference of the United States, ended his 10-day visit to India on Oct. 27.  He told the Union of Catholic Asian News he was “energized” to see the Indian Jesuits’ works in the fields of education and social development.
“Many of the educational institutions managed by the Jesuits in India are top-notch,” he said after visiting Jesuit works in Delhi, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The Jesuit institutions and the infrastructure facilities available in India are designed to change society, he said and added possibility of collaboration between Jesuit Conference of South Asia and its US counterpart.
Read more of Fr. Smolich's interview with UCAN here

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative, to Speak at Georgetown Conference on Immigration Reform

                                             (Photo courtesy JRS/USA) 
A one-day conference at the Intercultural Center Auditorium on the campus of Georgetown University this Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 seeks to educate and inspire students and others to greater knowledge, commitment and action for immigration reform. Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative, will be on hand to speak during one of the panels.

A series of panel discussions will put a human face on the migrant experience by: sharing personal narratives of individuals crossing the border; exploring political/legal, economic, ethical and law enforcement perspectives on the current immigration system; making the case for policy changes, discussing ways in which the current system is failing immigrants and our communities. It also will explore the prospects for immigration reform, discuss the key players in the process and talk about what such reform may look like.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why Jesuits Are in Higher Education


Jesuit Father William J. Byron has been a Jesuit for more than 59 years. He is currently a university professor of Business and Society at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, is past president of three Catholic universities and the author of 12 books. In his book Jesuit Saturdays; Sharing the Ignatian Spirit with Friends and Colleagues, Byron shares with great joy and openness the stories and experiences of his Jesuit journey, offering readers the chance to see what it really is that inspires and motivates Jesuits to do what they do.

In an excerpt from his book, Byron explains why Jesuits are predominately found and gravitate toward the fields of education and higher learning:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jesuits Help Host an Evening Prayer for Peace in the Middle East

Jesuit Father Al Hicks, singer Joumana Modour, Director of the Jesuit Center Raed Awwad and Jesuit Father Clarence Burby present a gift to Modour for her performance at the Evening of Prayer for Peace in the Middle East.

An Evening Prayer for Peace in the Middle East, featuring acclaimed Lebanese singer, Joumana Modour, was held on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at the Melkite Church in Amman, Jordan.

The event was coordinated by Raed Awwad, Director of the Jesuit Center in Amman and Maroun Nejim, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Amman, with the help of the Catholic Church communities in Jordan. Over 1,200 people from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq attended including 200 people who arrived by bus from Palestine. Among those present were Melkite Archbishop Yasir Aiash, Jesuit Father Clarence Burby and Jesuit Father Alfred Hicks, both of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus.

U.S. Congress Honors Jesuits on the 20th Anniversary of Their Deaths in El Salvador

The U.S. House of Representatives debated and approved, on the suspension calendar, a resolution remembering and commemorating the lives and work of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the upcoming 20th anniversary of their deaths in El Salvador. The resolution was sponsored by Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), who led the Congressional investigation into the assassinations when he was a senior aide to then-Rep. John Joseph Moakley (D-MA).

The House today passed House Resolution 761, which stated, in part:

"Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of Jesuit Fathers Ignacio Ellacuria, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Segundo Montes, Amando Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno, Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, and housekeeper Julia Elba Ramos and her daughter Celina Mariset Ramos on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America Jose Simeon Canas located in San Salvador, El Salvador on November 16, 1989."

During the bloody civil war of El Salvador in the 1980s, in the early morning hours of November 16, the six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper along with her daughter were executed by soldiers. Many Jesuit institutions around the country will mark the 20th anniversary of the murders with lectures, vigils and screenings of documentaries about the killings and the struggle for justice.

“The witness of these martyrs continues to inspire us today, these many years later,” said John Kleiderer, acting secretary of social and international ministries at the Jesuit Conference of the U.S. “They were unwavering in their defense of the poor and oppressed. We honor their memories and their legacy of work on behalf of justice and peace. We are grateful to the members of Congress for remembering and honoring them today.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jesuit Uses Camera to Tell Refugees' Stories

Photo Courtesy Creighton University 
Jesuit Father Don Doll has seen corners of the globe few Americans ever will.

Fr. Doll, a journalism professor at Creighton University in Omaha, has photographed war-torn countries where refugee camps are commonplace. In April, Doll was with Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic relief agency, in eastern Chad along the Darfur border where he was among 250,000 Sudanese refugees.

Doll said his goal as a photographer is to provide an honest depiction of what is taking place. In an interview with the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, Doll discussed his work as a photographer and the images he has captured.

“I like pictures that show what a serious situation it truly is,” said Doll, who has photographed for National Geographic magazine. “Sometimes you can just sense in their eyes the horrors of what they’ve seen. There’s a heaviness in their heart.”

To read more about Doll's work in the Sudan with Jesuit Refugee Service, click here. 

To see Doll's images taken of Sudanese refugees in Chad, please visit his website, Magis Productions.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jesuit Father Tom Reese Appears on Lou Dobbs to Defend Stance on Immigration

Jesuit Father Tom Reese, Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, appeared on Lou Dobb's television program last week to defend the Church's stance on immigration. Reese spared off against commentator Dobbs and Fr. Patrick J. Bascio, who was on the program to promote his new book outlining his case against immigration.

To view Father Reese's lively discussion with Dobbs and Bascio, please click on the video link below:

Jesuit Father John Dear Talks Peace With Catholic San Francisco

Jesuit Father John Dear, ordained in 1993, has been a peace activist for more than two decades, having been arrested more than 75 times protesting for peace and having spent more than a cumulative year behind bars.

"Life to me is the journey toward peace,” said the Jesuit. “After all these years of working, the journey to peace is still the most important thing, greater than any one event or success.”

Though he remains committed to peace, Dear said he tries to avoid the word “pacifism.”

"Pacifism connotes passivity,” Father Dear said. “Non-violence involves active derring-do, confronting the opponent non-violently. Peace is not just a tactic or a strategy. It’s a whole new way of life. Jesus didn’t say, ‘Blessed are those who like peace.’ He said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’”

To read more about Father John Dear's mission of peace, go here.