Archive for the ‘Society of Jesus’ Tag

Feast of Pedro Arrupe (February 28)   2 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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PEDRO ARRUPE GONDRA (NOVEMBER 14, 1907-FEBRUARY 5, 1991)

Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized

Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Pedro Arrupe comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Father Joe Nangle, OFM, writing in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Pedro Arrupe Gondra, born in Bilbao, Spain, on November 14, 1907, was a Basque, like St. Ignatius (of) Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus.  Arrupe, who joined the Jesuits in 1927, studied medicine in Madrid.  He continued his studies overseas, starting in 1932, when the Spanish Republican government expelled members of the Society of Jesus.  Our saint arrived in Japan, as a missionary, in 1938.  He, ordained to the priesthood in St. Marys, Kansas, in 1936, held a doctorate in medical ethics.

Arrupe understood the relationship between the Gospel and societal responsibility; he absorbed the message of various Hebrew prophets regarding exploitation of the poor and the marginalized.  Our saint, arrested as an alleged spy in December 1941, spent 33 days in prison.  Then he returned to his duties as master of novices for the Jesuit mission to Japan.  He, living on the outskirts of Hiroshima, joined his colleagues in serving as first responders after the U.S. nuclear bombing of the city on August 6, 1945.  Of the 150 people to which Arrupe and company tended, 149 survived.  Arrupe, regardless of where he was, recognized Jesus in “the least of these.”  This attitude helped him in his work, regardless of his title and duties.  Our saint became the Superior of the Jesuit Japanese Province in 1958.  From 1965 to 1983, he served as the Superior General of the order.

Vatican II was reshaping the Roman Catholic Church.  That Council coincided within a movement within Roman Catholicism in Latin America to defend the poor and the exploited, not military dictatorships that preyed on civilians.  The teaching of the divine preference for the poor informed this shift.  Arrupe challenged Christians, including his brother Jesuits, to defend “the least of these,” as Jesus would have had them do.  In a revolutionary age in the Church, our saint supported Liberation Theology, but only to a point.  Arrupe insisted on the primacy of the Gospel over political revolution.  He also shielded the Society of Jesus from attacks from more conservative quarters of the Roman Catholic Church.  As Jesuit priests and bishops, including Father Rutilio Grande (1928-1977) and Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980), joined the ranks of martyrs at the hands of brutal dictatorships, Arrupe continued to support he cause for which they died.

Arrupe, being an intellectually and spiritually honest Christian, also defended the rights of refugees.  He, affected by the plight of Vietnamese boat people, founded the Jesuit Refugee Service in 1980.  Our saint insisted,

Saint Ignatius called us to go anywhere where we are most needed for the greater glory of God.  The spiritual as well as the material need of more than 16 million refugees throughout the world today could scarcely be greater.  God is calling us through these helpless people.

Arrupe, who said that

the love of God which does not issue in justice is a farce,

resigned as Superior General in 1983.  He had suffered a stroke in late 1981, and a Papal appointee had served as interim Superior General.  Our saint, forced to use a wheelchair, died in Rome on February 15, 1991.  He was 83 years old.

The cause for Arrupe’s beatification and canonization opened officially on February 5, 2019.

Attempting to read the minds of dead people can easily become an act of great folly.  In this case, however, I know what Arrupe would say about the global refugee crisis in 2019.  I do not have to guess what he would think about Donald Trump’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.  Neither do I have to guess what our saint would say about Trump’s recommendation to shoot asylum seekers in the legs.  I do not have to guess what Arrupe would say about government policies that enrich the wealthy and keep the impoverished poor.

Pedro Arrupe was a prophet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DAVID NITSCHMANN, SR., “FATHER NITSCHMANN,” MORAVIAN MISSIONARY; MELCHIOR NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR, 1729; JOHANN NITSCHMANN, JR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; ANNA NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN ELDRESS; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, MISSIONARY AND FIRST BISHOP OF THE RENEWED MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF CYRIACUS SCHNEEGASS, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BLESSED FRANCIS XAVIER SEELOS, GERMAN-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK, U.S. NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER AND OPPONENT OF FUNDAMENTALISM

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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Feast of St. Francis Xavier (December 3)   4 comments

st-francis-xavier

Above:  St. Francis Xavier

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER (APRIL 7, 1506-DECEMBER 3, 1552)

Roman Catholic Missionary to the Far East

St. Francis Xavier lived for about 46 years and 8 months.  During his adult life, according to estimates, he converted about 40,000 or perhaps about 70,000 or maybe more than a million people to Christianity.  He was, as John K. Ryan, author of the article on our saint in The Encyclopedia Britannica (1962),

the greatest missionary since St. Paul.

–Volume 11, page 759

Our saint, who devoted his life to God, came from a Basque noble family.  He, born at the Castle of Xavier, Navarre, on April 7, 1506, was the youngest of three sons of Juan de Jasso y Atondo (steward of the castle) and Dona Maria de Azpilcueta y Aznarez (of Navarrese nobility).  In 1526 our saint commenced his study of philosophy at the University of Paris.  For a few years, starting in 1528, St. Ignatius Loyola was among his roommates.  After Xavier graduated in 1530 he started his theological studies and became a professor of philosophy.  Four years later Loyola, Xavier, and five other men–close associates for years and the core of what became the Society of Jesus in 1540–took vows of poverty and chastity then made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  In 1537, at Venice, these men became priests.  Loyola dispatched Xavier to preach to the poor of Bologna in 1538.  Later our saint became Loyola’s secretary.

King Joao (John) III (the Pious) of Portugal (reigned 1521-1557) requested that the Church send six Jesuits to the far eastern part of the Portuguese Empire.  Loyola could send only two.  Among these was our saint, who took the place of a man who had fallen ill.  On May 6, 1541, Xavier and Martin Alfonso de Sousa, the governor of Goa, sailed from Lisbon.  They spent six months (August 1541-February 1542) in Mozambique then arrived in Goa on May 6, 1542.  Xavier carried with him credentials of his new position, papal legate for the Indies.  Holy Mother Church already had missionaries from various orders active in the region.  Our saint not only built on the foundations other had laid but also laid foundations on which others built.

At first Xavier focused on the needs of colonists at Goa.  He lived in a hospital, visited prisoners, preached to the poor, and catechized children, poor free adults, and slaves.  There was much work for him to do, for immorality, such as harsh treatment of slaves, was rampant.

Then, after five months, Sousa suggested that our saint commence evangelism among the Paravan people.  Xavier accepted and followed this advice.  Through the end of 1544 Xavier helped them build up and organize their defenses and to make peace with their enemies.  He also converted many of them to Christianity.  Furthermore, in December 1544 alone, our saint baptized 10,000 in the neighboring Kingdom of Travancore and arranged for others to teach them.

Xavier, as a missionary, did not remain in one place for long.  Sometimes he was in Goa, but usually he was elsewhere.  In 1545 our saint began to evangelize in the East Indies.  He remained there until 1548, when he began to make plans to engage in missionary work in Japan.  In 1547, while at Malacca, Xavier had met Anjiro, a Japanese man interested in Christianity.  Our saint sent Anjiro and two other Japanese men to Goa for preparation for baptism.  On August 15, 1549, Xavier, two other Jesuits, Anjiro, and the two other Japanese converts arrived at the island of Kyushu.  Xavier’s mission in Japan proved successful and ended in September 1551.

Xavier, the new Jesuit Provincial for India, intended to evangelize in China, where foreigners were forbidden.  Diplomatic complications delayed our saint’s attempts to enter the empire as a missionary.  Finally Xavier made plans to go anyway.  For three months he waited on Sancian Island, near the port of Canton, for a ship to take him into China.  In November 1552 Xavier became ill.  He died on this island on December 3, 1552, aged 46 years.

Pope Paul V beatified Xavier in  1619.  Pope Gregory XV canonized our saint three years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL FAITHFUL BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF GERARD MOULTRIE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Loving God, you called Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan

to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer:

Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way;

through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 2:1-11

Psalm 62:1-2, 6-9

1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23

Mark 16:15-20

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 99

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Feast of St. Joseph Pignatelli (November 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Jesuit Shield

Image Source = 62173

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SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI (DECEMBER 27, 1737-NOVEMBER 15, 1811)

Restorer of the Jesuits

Born Giuseppe Maria Pignatelli

Alternative feast days = November 14 and 28

Former feast day = November 11

The Jesuits have counted among their numbers great intellectuals, evangelists, and scientists.  Their loyalty to the Bishop of Rome has caused them to run afoul of monarchs, as in Spain.  King Charles III expelled members of that order in 1767.  Among the Jesuits who departed was St. Joseph Pignatelli (1737-1811), son of a Spanish woman and an Italian nobleman.  A Jesuit since age sixteen, he had become a priest in 1763.  The saint and his fellow Jesuits relocated to Corsica, which they had to leave when the French, whose monarch had also expelled members of the order, took over.  So the saint and his band of Jesuits moved to Ferrara, on the Italian peninsula.

Pope Clement XIV, under great pressure, suppressed the Society of Jesus in 1773.  Yet the order survived in Prussia and in the Russian Empire, where the monarchs refused to permit this suppression.  And, with the permission of Pope Pius VI and at the invitation of the Duke of Parma, the saint restored the order in that part of Italy in the 1790s.  The Pontiff also granted permission for remaining Jesuits to join their brethren in Russia during that decade.   Pope Pius VII, in 1801, approved the Russian province of the order.  And, three years later, the saint reestablished the Society of Jesus in the Kingdom of Naples, serving as provincial.   The French invaded later that year, ending that Jesuit province, but the saint did restore the order on Sardinia and serve as Italian provincial before he died in 1811. Three years later the Church restored the Society of Jesus universally.  The saint’s labors had helped to keep the order alive.

The Society of Jesus continues its good works.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 3, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD HOOKER, ANGLICAN THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF DANIEL PAYNE, AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE CHURCH OF PAKISTAN, 1970

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Joseph Pignatelli,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60