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February 20, 2024 — Here’s the latest news from the Jesuits in Canada and the United States.

Jesuits Shelter Homeless Migrants at their San Diego Parish

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in San Diego is offering shelter to migrant men. Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, pastor, said that the parish was not intending to start a shelter but as temperatures started growing colder in San Diego, more and more migrant men were sleeping on the church steps every night. Several other shelters in the area provide services for women and children, but it is often not easy for men to find a place to stay.

Migrants having dinner at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish

“Our mission is to provide migrant men who have no place to go the opportunity to stay for 30 days to help them get back on their feet,” says Fr. Santarosa.

Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, with volunteers preparing a meal for migrants at the shelter

Jesuit Fathers Hung Nguyen and Brad Mills, associate pastors, were involved with the renovation of a Quonset hut that was turned into the shelter. They oversaw the project with a volunteer work crew that accomplished the transformation in two weeks.

Jesuit associate pastors Frs. Brad Mills, SJ, far left, and Hung Nguyen, SJ, far right, helped create a a warm, welcoming shelter.

Ordinations

Fr. Curtis McKenzie, SJ, was ordained to the priesthood December 30, 2023, at Dormition of the Mother of God Ukrainian Greek Catholic Parish in Kelowna, British Columbia, by Most Rev. Michael Kwiatkowski, JCOD, Eparch of New Westminster. He will continue with doctoral studies in theology at Fordham University while concurrently pursuing a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry.

Fr. Curtis McKenzie, SJ, second from left, with fellow Jesuits on his ordination day

Patrick Hyland, SJ, was ordained to the diaconate in February 10 at Parroquia San Francisco de Borja in Madrid, where he is currently in theology studies at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. “This step for me means greater availability,” he said.

 

Jesuit Cardinal Visits Benin to Boost Green Church Program

Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, prefect for the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican, visited Benin in January to help promote the local church’s Green Church Program.

Cardinal Czerny said the Green Church Program is one of on “environmental education,” which includes training pastoral agents and those working in diocesan structures about “environmental and ecological promotion, highlighting the promotion of renewable energies, and the ecological development of diocesan spaces and structures to combat climate change.” Read more.

Fr. James Martin, SJ, Addresses Irish Bishops Conference

Fr. James Martin, SJ, writer and editor-at-large of America Media, addressed the Irish Bishops Conference at their annual gathering at the Shrine of Knock, in County Mayo, on Jesus’s outreach to those on the margins and the church’s ministry with LGBTQ people.

Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland

“I’m so grateful for the Irish bishops’ kind invitation, their warm welcome and their unfailingly gracious Irish hospitality,” Fr. Martin said. “And my time at the Shrine (especially as someone who is half Irish) was deeply moving.”

Appointments

Fr. John Thiede, SJ, has been named vice president for mission and ministry at Marquette University. An associate professor of theology at Marquette and a fluent Spanish speaker, Fr. Thiede is currently working on a co-authored book on politics, religion and democracy in Latin America with Fr. Matthew Carnes, SJ, of Georgetown University, and his own book on Saint Oscar Romero and his theological influences for Fortress Press.

He specializes in Christology and Latin American theology, and currently serves on the board of trustees at Xavier University and on the board of directors at Marquette University High School.

Fr. David Mastrangelo, SJ, has been named as the next president of Maȟpíya Lúta (formerly Red Cloud Indian School) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

“I am humbled and honored to accept the role of President of Mahpiya Luta,” he said. “This organization is truly unique in its commitment to fostering Lakhota and Catholic values and practices, and this vision is what drew me here three years ago. I look forward to collaborating with our dedicated, creative, and talented staff–artists, educators, pastoral ministers, and all those who work so hard behind the scenes to make our work possible. Together I believe we can serve as a beacon of hope and success for our local community, our reservation, and well beyond.”

Fr. Martin Connell, SJ, has been appointed as dean of Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, effective August 1, 2024. Fr. Connell has served as rector at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University since 2018 and previously served as rector of the Jesuit Community at John Carroll University for five years.

Founded in 2015, Arrupe College is the world’s first Jesuit community college, empowering students to begin their college careers in a setting designed to maximize their opportunities for academic success and leave them with little to no debt.

New Rectors for U.S. Jesuit Theology Schools

Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has appointed Fr. George Collins, SJ, as the next rector of the St. Peter Faber Jesuit community at the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry, succeeding Fr. Michael Boughton, SJ.

Fr. Collins currently serves as the superior of of Campion Center Jesuit Community in Weston, Massachusetts.  He previously served as the coordinator of mission and identity and director of campus ministry at Fairfield University and president of Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine.

Fr. Sosa has appointed Fr. Tom Smolich, SJ, as the next rector of the Jesuit community at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, succeeding Fr. Martin Connell, SJ.  Fr. Smolich assumes his new role in the summer of 2024.

For the last nine years, Fr. Smolich has served as the international director of Jesuit Refugee Service, a humanitarian organization focused on helping refugees and other forcibly displaced people rebuild their lives. Prior to that, he was the president of the U.S. Jesuit Conference.

Honors

Fr. Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president emeritus of Fordham University, was given the 2024 Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, Award for his outstanding contributions and extended service to Catholic higher education at an awards banquet held by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C., on February 3.

“I want to shine the spotlight on you: the scores of women and men religious and the hundreds of talented devoted laywomen and laymen who have led and continue to lead our member institutions with discerning wisdom, deep love, and great effectiveness,” Fr. McShane said. “You keep our sacred and noble mission alive.”

Fr. Gil Gentile, SJ, was honored by Nativity Prep Academy of San Diego at its sixth annual Magi Circle Award Ceremony on January 7, which recognized those critical to the establishment and growth of the school. Fr. Gentile served as the chaplain and a board member in Nativity Prep’s early years.

As chaplain, Fr. Gentile helped to establish the Jesuit identity that is characteristic of Nativity today. He led weekly Mass, was a present minister on campus, and offered sacraments to students and faculty. Most importantly, he accompanied students as they developed their spirituality by offering a consistent and meaningful pastoral presence.

Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, Attends Meeting with Pope Francis

Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, national director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN), represented PWPN USA at a meeting in Rome with Pope Francis on January 26.

“I value the work that you do, which is ecclesial and was born in the bosom of the Society of Jesus,” Pope Francis said. An English summary of the pope’s remarks to the delegation from the organization can be read here.

Jesuits Promote Vocations at SEEK24 Conference

Fourteen Jesuits representing all provinces of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States were present January 1-5 at the SEEK24 Conference hosted by FOCUS in St. Louis.

The conference attracted more than 20,000 college students for worship, talks from many speakers — including Fr. Matthew Baugh, SJ — and music. A giant Jenga game brought young people to the Society’s booth in the exhibit hall, where Jesuits met with students, talked about Jesuit life and taught the Examen.

Brother Jim Small, SJ, Turns 102

Br. Jim Small, SJ, celebrated his 102nd birthday on January 10. He started his career at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, in 1969 as a carpenter. Over the course of several decades at Loyola, he dedicated his considerable skills as a painter to raising more than a million dollars for tuition assistance through the years.

His paintings have found their way across the country and around the world. Br. Small also used to offer art lessons on Saturdays for young and old, alike. He now resides at a senior Jesuit health care community.

Mass of Installation

Fr. Dennis Baker, SJ, was installed as the new president of Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland, at a Mass on January 19. More than two dozen brother Jesuits concelebrated, including Fr. Mario Powell, SJ, provincial assistant for secondary and pre-secondary education for the Jesuits East Province, who presided over the Installation.

Fr. Baker spent five years as president of Xavier High School in Chuuk, Micronesia, where he oversaw considerable growth at the school, as well as leading it through the global pandemic. He has most recently served as director of engagement and planned giving at Xavier High School in Manhattan.

Jesuit Spiritual Director on Finding Happiness

Fr. Steve Hurd, SJ, discussed giving retreats at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in a recent issue of Detroit Catholic and how “happiness” goes a long way toward evangelization.

As a retreat director and confessor, Fr. Hurd said he gets the impression many people are simply “gutting it out” in life, rather than finding true peace and happiness rooted in God.

“To find a deeper happiness comes from our relationships from one another and God,” he said. “I think we really need to bring people to that point.”