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January 26, 2022 — Here’s the latest news from the Jesuits in Canada and the United States.

Appointments

Fr. Nathan Wendt, SJ
Fr. Nathan Wendt, SJ

In the fall of 2023, Xavier Jesuit Academy will open its doors with Fr. Nathan Wendt, SJ, serving as its first president. A collaboration of the Jesuits, Catholic Inner-City Schools Education (CISE) and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Xavier Jesuit Academy will educate boys from low-income households in Cincinnati.

“This is a dream come true,” said Mabe Rodriguez, executive director of CISE. “Father Nathan brings great leadership and the Jesuit educational direction that will be critical in the formation of young men.”

Fr. Gregory Ostdiek, SJ

Fr. Gregory J. Ostdiek, SJ, has been named the ninth president of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, effective July 5, 2022. He will succeed Fr. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ, who has been Loyola’s president for the past 12 years.

“I am tremendously excited to join Loyola Academy in its mission of serving Chicagoland and the world,” said Fr. Ostdiek. “Loyola is a school with incredible students, a tremendously talented and caring faculty and staff, who show daily their dedication to the school’s mission of forming women and men for others in service to the Church and the world, and an amazing community.”

Fr. Michael Rozier, SJ

Fr. Michael Rozier, SJ, has been named president of SSM Health Ministries, the sponsoring body responsible for preserving SSM Health’s Roman Catholic identity and serving as liaison to the Vatican.

Honors & Awards

Since becoming president of Rockhurst University in 2006, Fr. Thomas Curran, SJ, has aimed to make the school “a home for all.” In recognition of his leadership on campus and across Kansas City, the Jewish Community Relations Bureau has honored Fr. Curran with the Henry W. Block Human Relations Award.

Each year, this award recognizes leaders who promote equity and inclusivity in the Kansas City area. During his 15-year tenure, Fr. Curran has advocated for Rockhurst’s DACA recipients, established an office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and implemented a college education program at a local prison.

“I am humbled by the recognition for the modest efforts on our campus,” Fr. Curran said. “And I accept it along with its gentle invitation to continue the efforts until justice, equity and love is the experience for all.”

“The theologian, like the church, must continually go out beyond him or herself,” said Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ. Speaking in a lecture hall at Regis College in Toronto, Cardinal Czerny called the church to a renewed theology, rooted in pastoral ministry. Following his lecture, “The Renewal of Theology as Dialogue from Within,” Cardinal Czerny received an honorary doctorate in divinity from the college on Nov. 20, 2021.

Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, receiving his honorary doctorate

According to Regis College president Fr. Thomas Worcester, SJ, the cardinal’s lifelong dedication to serving the marginalized made him an ideal candidate for this honorary degree. “We wished to honor the very many ways in which he has devoted his life with great generosity to the poor, the oppressed, those suffering with AIDS, the marginalized, migrants and refugees,” Fr. Worcester said.

Milestones

Br. Jim Small, SJ, celebrated his 100th birthday on January 10. Br. Small, a member of the Midwest Jesuits, served for many years at Loyola Academy. He painted whenever he had time, and many of his paintings were auctioned at fundraisers. He now lives at a senior Jesuit health care community.

Vows

Fr. Kevin Dyer, SJ, pronounced final vows in the Society of Jesus at Jesuit High School in New Orleans on Dec. 8, 2021, as part of the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Fr. Kevin Dyer, SJ (left) and Fr. Tom Greene, SJ (right), provincial of the Central and Southern Province Jesuits

Nick Leeper, SJ, professed first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus on Dec. 10, 2021, in St. Louis.

Books

Jeremiah, Ezekial, Amos, Isaiah. We hear the words of these Old Testament prophets nearly every Mass, but according to scholar, Fr. Richard Clifford, SJ, we rarely connect the prophets to their historical contexts. Fr. Clifford’s new book, “Thus Says the Lord,” addresses this gap, examining what we know about the lives of the prophets, as well as their teachings.

A new book by Fr. Harvey Egan, SJ, professor emeritus of theology at Boston College, entitled “Homilies in a New Key,” is a collection of homilies from over 60 years of Jesuit spirituality, philosophical-theological study and prayerfully contemplating the great Christian heritage in the context of the Second Vatican Council.

Fr. Thomas Kennealy, SJ, has authored a new book about a fellow Jesuit who he describes as “one of the greatest inspirations of my life.” The book, “Unless You Become Like Little Children,” focuses on the life and legacy of Fr. Francis Finn, SJ, a much-beloved figure at Xavier University and well-known author of a popular faith-based novel series for young people.

Fr. Kennealy (right) at a book signing.

Before he passed away in December 2020, Fr. William Barry, SJ, finished one last book, “God’s Great Story and You.” The book is an invitation to take Jesus’ hand, realize the presence of God’s love and joy in each of our being, and act as images of God.