Dec. 27, 2019 – As 2019 comes to a close, the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces invite you to reflect on some of the many milestones from the past year that took place in our provinces and in the Society. From ordinations to the creation of a new province, as one year ends and a new one dawns, we excitedly look to the future. We invite you to join us in reflecting on just some of the events that made this year so remarkable.
On February 5, 2019, the 28th anniversary of his death, the cause for the beatification and canonization of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, officially opened in Rome. Born in Spain in 1907, Fr. Arrupe entered the Jesuits in 1927. He was ordained in 1936 and moved to Japan in 1938 to work as a missionary. He served as superior general of the Jesuits from 1965 to 1983. His influence on the Society can be seen in the countless apostolates, residences and other Jesuit initiatives (as well as those embracing the Ignatian charism) that bear his name today, as well as in the many phrases and sayings attributed to him (not all correctly). His famous 1973 address to Jesuit educators and students, “Men for Others,” has become a central guiding document for Jesuit education. His commitment to justice led him to establish the Jesuit Refugee Service, which serves refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in 52 countries today. Read more.
Also, in February, the Society of Jesus announced four new “Universal Apostolic Preferences” (UAPs) that will guide its mission for the next 10 years. Crafted through a 16-month dialogue with Jesuits around the world, the UAPs are: promoting discernment and the Spiritual Exercises; walking with the excluded; caring for our common home; and journeying with youth. In a very Ignatian way of proceeding, the Society chose to emphasize these themes by naming them “preferences” to reflect the spirit of discernment involved in settling on the four UAPs: when deciding between good options, all other things being equal, we should “prefer” to do to one thing over another — “priorities” suggests that we have made these four topics our focus no matter what other activities might be possible. Read more.
On April 8, more than 600 friends, supporters and alumni gathered for the USA Northeast Province’s 2019 Jesuit GALA. More than 80 of those attendants were Jesuits from around the world in various stages of formation. In years past, the province has honored individuals who have worked selflessly for the greater glory of God. This year at the GALA, the province honored its 10 Jesuit sponsored High Schools in the northeastern region of the United States: Boston College High School, Canisius High School, Cheverus High School, Fairfield Prep, Fordham Prep, Loyola School, McQuaid Jesuit, Regis High School, St. Peter’s Prep and Xavier High School. Despite being spread across five states in the northeast, the 10 schools all have a shared Ignatian heritage and mission that can be seen in the competence, compassion and courage of their students. Read more.
This year the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces ordained five Jesuits to the priesthood: Ricardo Ávila Natividad, SJ, Christopher E. Grodecki, SJ, Vincent J. Marchionni, SJ, Richard H. Nichols, SJ, and Adam Z. Rosinski, SJ. From all backgrounds and experiences, these Jesuits have completed a 10-year formation process that began as a discernment and a call of the Holy Spirit. They are now living their vocations as Jesuit priests, serving the Catholic Church and all God’s people who are in need of His care and mercy. Read more.
From May 21 to 24, delegates representing the 56 Province Advancement Offices of the Society of Jesus met in Rome and were joined by Father General Arturo Sosa, SJ. The purpose of the meeting was to provide Father General Sosa with answers to how over the next ten years the Advancement Offices will invite men and women from around the world to participate in the mission entrusted to them by the Holy Father. This was done within the framework of the Universal Apostolic Preferences, which were announced earlier this year and consist of promoting discernment and the Spiritual Exercises, walking with the excluded, caring for our common home and journeying with youth. Read more.
Over the summer, an Ignatian delegation took part in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), in New York City. The HLPF brings together governments and organizations from around the world to review the implementation and achievements in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as to examine how countries are carrying out the 2030 Agenda through Voluntary National Reviews. The forum’s theme is “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” and the SDGs that will be reviewed include quality education, reduced inequalities and climate action. Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, expressed his support. “This is an important event for the Society of Jesus, first of all because we have a long experience of working in all these fields in numerous places in the world: accompanying excluded persons and communities, working for justice and reconciliation and for the care of our common home.” Read more.
The Jesuit mission in the city of Philadelphia extends to multiple apostolic works—Saint Joseph’s University, St. Joseph’s Prep, the Gesu School, and Old St. Joseph’s Church, the oldest Catholic parish in Philadelphia. To support Jesuit engagement in these apostolates for the future, we are building a new, multi-apostolic Jesuit community for Philadelphia. Much more than a place to eat and rest, a Jesuit community serves as a collaborative, religious hub for priests and brothers, a place of spiritual conversation and communal discernment where our shared life is at the service of our mission. The community will be named for Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, the charismatic Superior General of the Jesuits from 1965 to 1983. It will be located on the Saint Joseph’s University campus and will serve Jesuits missioned throughout Philadelphia. Read more.
Four Jesuit novices of the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces pronounced first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on August 10 in the Chapel of St. Joseph at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. They are Matthew J. Briand, SJ, (Maryland), Brian F. Engelhart, SJ, (Maryland), Bryan P. Galligan, SJ, (Northeast), and Christopher M. Holownia, SJ, (Northeast). Once they have pronounced these vows, each Jesuit receives a special “Vow Cross,” a symbol of this day that they will cherish forever. Read more.
Celebrating 2019 Jesuit Jubilarians on the East Coast
This year saw Jesuits in the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces gather to celebrate their time in the society and as priests. Jubilarians were joined by hundreds of friends, family members and brother Jesuits. On Sept. 15, the USA Northeast Province held a Mass the Fordham University Church to celebrate the lives of the Jesuit jubilarians in the New York City area. On Sept. 22, the USA Northeast Province held a Mass at Boston College High School to celebrate the lives of the Jesuit jubilarians in the New England area. The Jesuits of Washington, D.C. joined together on Oct. 12th to celebrate the jubilees of ten of its members at Georgetown’s Dahlgren Chapel.
On Tues., Sept. 24, 2019, nearly 100 golfers and supporters attended the 10th Annual Friends of the Jesuits Golf Outing at the beautiful Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. Over the past ten years, the Friends of the Jesuits Golf Outing has raised close to $2.5 million to support men in formation and senior Jesuits in the USA Northeast Province. After registering for the day, guests had the opportunity to talk with Jesuits and members of the province staff. When the golfers completed the course, they gathered for a reception where they had the chance to catch up with one another and representatives from the province. Read more.
On Sat., October 19, Father General Arturo Sosa, SJ, signed a decree officially uniting the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces into one USA East Province, effective July 31, 2020. This is an exciting milestone and especially significant as it was signed on the feast day of the Jesuit martyrs, including St. Isaac Jogues, for whom a former novitiate and current Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville is named. Read more.
A week after signing an official decree to create a new East Coast Province of the Jesuits in July 2020, Father General Arturo Sosa, S.J. has named Fr. Joseph M. O’Keefe, S.J. as its first provincial, effective July 31, 2020—the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. “I am humbled and gratified by the confidence that Father General has placed in me,” said the newly appointed Fr. Joe O’Keefe, SJ, “and I am consoled by the support and encouragement of Jesuits in the Maryland and Northeast Provinces. I look forward to working with my brother Jesuits and our lay colleagues as we build our new USA East Province. God has been so good to us in the past; God will lead us anew into a hopeful future.” Read more.
On October 19 and 20, hundreds of Jesuit-educated alumni and friends of the Society gathered at 23 parishes and schools for the fifth annual Jesuit Friends and Alumni Sunday Masses. Jesuit Alumni Sunday was started as a way of bringing together alumni of Jesuit schools and friends of the Jesuits across the generations to rekindle their connection with the Society and each other. Liturgies were followed by receptions where participants had an opportunity to learn about the Ignatian programming in their area and meet program representatives. Read more.
From October 21st through the 31st, 21 men and women joined the USA Northeast Province for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage through Portugal, home of St. Anthony of Padua and Jesuits like St. Joseph of Anchieta, Blessed Miguel de Carvalho and the missionary St. John de Britto. Among the pilgrims were James Skurka, provincial assistant for advancement and communications for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces, and Fr. Rodolfo Casals, SJ, vocation promoter for the Maryland and USA Northeast Jesuit Provinces. The highlight of the pilgrimage was the visit to the city of Fatima where the shrine of the same name is located. These 21 pilgrims joined others from around the world to visit where the Virgin Mary appeared to a nine-year-old Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Read more.