Showing posts from September, 2009

A Very Special Day Indeed!

Today, September 27th, marks the 469th birthday of the Society of Jesus. Just 469 years ago, Pope Paul III gave formal approval to the Society of Jesus in the papal bull Regimini militantis Ecclesiae. Across a span of nearly five centuries, these opening words of the Formula of the Institute still serve to captivate the hearts and imaginations of men who desire to spend their lives as Companions of Jesus:
Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman pontiff, the vicar of Christ on earth, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty, and obedience, to keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching, lectures, and a…

Promoted to Vocation Promoter

Now that it has been made public, I can share with my readers that Father Timothy Kesicki, Provincial of the Detroit and Chicago Provinces of the Society of Jesus, has missioned me to be one of two Area Promoters for vocations to the Jesuits.
In the letter, Father Kesicki writes: ...I know how deeply you love the Society, and we have been impressed by the personal priority you hold for the promotion of vocations to the Society. We are quite confident that you would make an excellent Area Promoter. The position of Area Promoter is newly created, part of a re-structuring of vocation promotion within our two provinces. I can only say that I am humbled to have been considered for this position and I have accepted this mission with a heart overflowing with joy.
Over the course of this week, I had the occasion to share with the freshmen, sophomore, and senior classes that I count myself blessed to say unabashedly that, "I love my life." I wake up each morning and I thank God for hav…

This Just In!!

A friend of mine just informed me of some VERY EXCITING NEWS.
It appears that Jesuit Father Uwem Akpan's Say You're One of Them, is going to be the latest pick for Oprah's Book Club.

Yet another first...

Last Friday, I experienced yet another rite of passage for a high school teacher: I chaperoned my first dance.
For some reason, I had entertained bewilderingly romantic notions of what it would be like to be a chaperone. Perhaps I've watched too many movies, but I had images of students dancing awkwardly with their dates with a few getting a bit too close for comfort, necessitating one of the chaperone's to encourage "leaving room for the Holy Spirit."
In short, I think I was imagining the 1950's.
In reality, I experienced the full depths and depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah, complete with the sights and smells.
To begin with, the line "Leave Room for the Holy Spirit" was wholly inapplicable. "Leave room for oxygen" would have been apt, considering that nearly 1,000 students managed to cram themselves into a relatively small area. We chaperone's were encouraged to criss-cross through the crowds which meant pushing, cajoling, and barreling thro…

A Lesson from 7th Period

One of the three courses that I am teaching this year is a senior-level "Introduction to Philosophy." We began the semester by reading a short essay by philosopher/theologian/mystic Simone Weil entitled "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God." This was followed by several days discussing the concept of Justice, using Book I of Plato's Republic (the dialogue between Thrasymachus and Socrates) as our point of departure. This last week, we spent four days reading and discussing Plato's Euthyphro in class.
Reading the Euthyphro has spurred me to read several other Platonic dialogues. The one I'm currently reading, the Phaedo, provides a fascinating treatment on the nature of the soul and the afterlife.
In a week marked with rancorous debate concerning President Obama's address to students and the furor surrounding his speech on healthcare, two points raised in the Phaedo seem worthy of mention.
In the heat of the d…

Well, at lest ONE has gotten the point!

On Saturday night, I went to Holy Name Church with Father Karl Kaiser, SJ, the president of U of D Jesuit. I wasn't surprised that attendance seemed sparse: it is, after all, Labor Day weekend and I suspect that many people had taken advantage of the beautiful weather and holiday to do some traveling. Besides, there were several college football games that afternoon, so I suspect that the usual crowd ended up finding a different Mass to attend.
It was, however, kind of exciting to see two of my own students amid the congregation. It was even nicer that each one approached me with his family after Mass to say hello. One of my students, in my sophomore New Testament class, asked me with a wry smile whether I realized that the passage of scripture I had assigned as the basis of the weekend's writing assignment was the same passage that had been proclaimed that day.
The assignment is what I've called "Sermon from Your Seat." The students are asked to write a 1-page, t…

Week 2: In the Bag!

I can't believe it's already Friday. To be honest, I can't really complain about a strenuous week: we have today off as well as Monday, making for a nice 4-day weekend. I did, however, have to be in school last night for the Mini-Classes where we met the parents of freshmen.
I've now gotten the names of 85% of my students into my brain and, I suspect, the last 15% will lock into place this week. I've also managed to find a nice rhythm for grading and planning, so I've not felt too stressed. This week I'll cover the life of Saint Ignatius with the Freshmen, do a day on Saint Francis, and then prepare them to take a little test on the first three weeks of school. These Freshmen, I must admit, are particularly clever: they managed to convince me that on a 4-question quiz I needed to give 5 bonus points. One student has a 175% in my class. Seriously? I used to think that I'd be a rigorous and demanding teacher. Turns out that I'm a push-over!
As I look a…