August 13, 2020 — A roundup of recent news from Jesuits around Canada and the U.S.
Seeking recovery in Beirut
Following the explosions that rocked Lebanon last week, the Jesuit community in Beirut is slowly recovering. Only 1.5 kilometers from the site of the blast, their headquarters are now littered with shattered glass and crumpled doors. Across the city, over 200 have died, including three people who participated in Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) programs. The Jesuit church, as well as the JRS office, school and community center, have sustained significant damage.
In a letter, American Jesuit Father Dan Carrou wrote, “The brokenness is painful and traumatic, but the brokenness must lead to being given.” JRS will continue to support the Syrian refugee community in Beirut through education programs, psychosocial support and food assistance. To help them, click here.
Fostering healing for the marginalized
Homeboy Industries has received the 2020 Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize. Founded by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, Homeboy rehabilitates former gang members and supports their re-entry. According to the Hilton Foundation’s CEO, Peter Laugharn, Homeboy “speaks to the power of standing with people who have been systemically marginalized, creating space for them to heal and invest in their future, with the intention of ending the socio-economic inequities that impact communities.” As part of the prize, Homeboy Industries will receive $2.5 million in funding that it will use to expand its mission.
Understanding why we exist
Fr. Adam Hincks, SJ, “embodies that wholistic understanding of why we exist,” says David Sylvester, president of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. An astrophysicist and theologian, Fr. Hincks studied at the Vatican Observatory. Now, he will serve as the first Sutton Family Chair in Science, Christianity and Cultures, which is jointly supported by the University of Toronto and the University of St. Michael’s College. The program is designed to uncover the connections between science, religion and culture.
Struggling for social transformation in the Caribbean
Fr. Peter McIsaac, SJ, has been appointed by Father General to lead the Jesuits in Guyana and Jamaica as Regional Superior. He led religious organizations in the Caribbean throughout his career, serving as president of the Conference of Religious of the Antilles, consultor to four archbishops and Jesuit Regional Superior of Jamaica. “My heart is in the Caribbean,” Fr. McIsaac says. “Its many peoples, with their rich and painful history and their ongoing struggle for social transformation and freedom, have graciously invited me to be part of their lives and home. My life has been shaped by their love, and I have been strengthened spiritually by their faith.”
The Society of Jesus welcomed two new deacons this summer. Jack Krouse, SJ, was ordained at Saint Ignatius Church in Paris, and Gérard Myriam Paul, SJ, was ordained at Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral.
Forging a new province
On the Feast of St. Ignatius (July 31), the Northeast and Maryland Provinces merged to create the new East Province of the Jesuits in the U.S. At the helm is Fr. Joseph M. O’Keefe, SJ, provincial for the new Jesuits East. The province encompasses 16 states from Maine to Georgia, 11 universities, 26 middle and high schools and 17 parishes. Fr. O’Keefe says he is “both daunted and excited” by the merger, but “I am at heart a teacher, and good teachers listen as much as they speak.”