June 26, 2022 Essay: A Bittersweet Farewell

This is the toughest aspect of Jesuit life. One year is just enough time to get settled, develop a new routine, get to know people, make friends, gain a feeling of confidence and something roughly resembling competence…and then leave.

When I was preparing to move from Chicago to New York in 2016, I was talking with my spiritual director about the difficulty of leaving people and a place I had come to love. He said, “At times of departure, there are, at most, two things to say: ‘Thank you’ and, if appropriate, ‘I’m sorry.’” As always, he was correct.

I’ll begin with the latter by quoting George Washington’s farewell address: “Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration [“pastoral year” in my case], I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors.” Whether it was forgetting your name despite having already been introduced, a moment of distraction and not engaging you in more meaningful conversation, a line in a homily that didn’t sit well, or anything else, for any and all of my shortcomings this year, I do apologize.

The “thank you” portion of my leave-taking, if done properly, would fill many bulletins. Over the course of my life, I have found God to be bafflingly, comically, abundantly, inexplicably generous and gentle with me. He has continued this undeserved trend this year through you, the wonderful people of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. When I arrived in August I had celebrated perhaps a dozen Masses, heard a handful of confessions, and presided at one wedding and zero funerals. Your generosity in getting to know me, responding to my homilies, welcoming me to baptize your children and bury your loved ones, sharing your human weaknesses and deep, profoundly holy desires in the confessional, and dedication to this parish community are God’s grace made real to me. This parish has been a welcoming, supportive, joyful place in which I’ve been able to stretch and grow into priesthood. As I’ve told several of you this year, the reason newly ordained priests keep getting sent here is that you take good care of us.

Thanking particular people or groups runs the risk of unintentionally overlooking others, but I’d be remiss to not express my gratitude in some specificity. To the whole parish staff, thank you for your tireless work, your generous spirit of collaboration, and the many laughs we’ve shared. To the facilities and sacristy team, without whom nothing would get done, mil gracias por todo su ayuda y diligencia. To the Friends of the Border, our trip was a fortuitous surprise and one of the highlights of the year for me. To IVC, youth group, IYA, ISJ, and the other groups with whom I’ve spent time, thank you for the energy you bring to this community. To all of the musicians, your talent adds so much to the life and prayer of this parish. If left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have processed out of a single Mass until your final notes had finished echoing in the farthest corners of the church. To my brother priests, your support and encouragement of me and your genuine care for the people of this parish have been deeply edifying and are among the key lessons I take away from my time here.

I depart for my doctoral studies at Boston College as a better priest, a better Jesuit, a better Christian, and a better human being because of my time here and the blessings all of you have been to me.

This is not goodbye, but see you later. Until then, thank you.

⁠— Rev. Daniel N. Gustafson, S.J., Pastoral Year Priest

Introducing Doug Purcell

As our beloved Philip Anderson begins a new chapter in his life, so we begin one in our parish. This Sunday, June 26, Choir of St. Ignatius member Doug Purcell will sing his first Masses as our principal cantor. His responsibilities will include the 9:30 AM and Solemn Masses, feast days, funerals, and Grammar School and IREP liturgies.

A native of Farmingdale, Long Island, Doug grew up at St. Kilian Parish, where he began singing in the boychoir in second grade. By high school, he was one of the associate organists of the parish. He majored in music education at Westminster Choir College, graduating in 1985.

Doug has enjoyed a long, fulfilling career as a soloist and ensemble singer. His credits include countless performances with the New York Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Voices of Ascension, Musica Sacra, and here at St. Ignatius, going back to the early days of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space (now Concerts at St. Ignatius, Park Avenue). He was a long-time member of the New York City Opera Chorus and has been in the Metropolitan Opera extra chorus since 2006.

As a liturgical musician, Doug has sung in many church and temple choirs around New York City. For ten years, he served as cantor at Church of the Holy Family, the United Nations Parish. He joined the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola in September 2011 and has maintained an active presence in our church, also singing regularly with the Parish Community Choir and serving as cantor when needed.

Doug has been a dear friend and colleague to me for over twenty years, and I can attest not just to his great musicianship, but his kindness and warmth of heart. Along with our hospitality team, lectors, altar servers, Eucharistic Ministers, and choirs, our cantors fulfill a vital pastoral function here at St. Ignatius, inviting us into God’s presence and into deeper communion with each other. On hundreds of occasions over the last decade, Doug has stepped comfortably and capably into that role on our behalf, and we look forward to his presence among us as he embraces his new ministry.

Doug’s heart for ministry extends beyond the walls of our church. For the last several years he has volunteered at Mt. Sinai Hospital, playing the piano and singing in the atrium (Click here to view Doug performing Meredith Willson’s Till There Was You), and even taking a small keyboard around to serenade patients in their rooms.

Doug is excited to turn this page and share his musical and pastoral gifts with us, and I know you will enjoy getting to know him in the weeks and months ahead. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful team.

May God bless you, Doug, as you begin your new work among us!

– K. Scott Warren, Director of Music Ministries

June 19, 2022 Essay: From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

As we enter the lazy days of summer, I want to provide an update on our parish planning process. This process began in early 2019 when I invited a group of parishioners and parish staff members to work with me to develop our parish’s statement of mission. This working group included Teresa Cariño, Holly Curp, Rose DiMartino, Natalie Fiedler, Grace Gorman, Mary Larkin, John O’Brien, Dr. Ray Pastore, Brian Pinter, Mary Rutherfurd, Fr. Vincent Sullivan, S.J., and Eric Van Nostrand. These individuals represented a wide cross-section of parishioners and parish ministries. By the end of 2019 the final version of the parish’s mission statement was published. It reads as follows:

The love of Christ impels us to welcome all,
to worship joyfully and pray fervently,
to walk together with those in need,
and to reverence God in the wonder of Creation.

 Our mission statement, like all other mission statements, is a snapshot of how we perceive ourselves in the moment and who we aspire to be. It is a lens through which we look at ourselves and plan our future.

It was my hope to initiate a strategic planning process early in 2020 whose purpose would have been the development of concrete action plans that would animate in new ways our statement of mission. Then COVID 19 reared its ugly head, and everything was put on hold as the world sheltered in place. It was during this time that I recognized the need for us to re-imagine ourselves “as church” and confidently enter a post-pandemic world. We would still use our mission statement as the lens through which we would do our planning, but our context needed a wider worldview so that we could be responsive to the glaring needs that manifested themselves through the early onslaught of the pandemic. To fail to do this would, in my opinion, diminish the relevance of the Church (big “C”) in a post-pandemic world. Or, in the words of St. Paul, as referenced in our mission statement, “the love of Christ impels us” to do nothing less.

In September 2020 I wrote an essay that was published in the parish’s e-newsletter and reflected on the need for a new paradigm of Church in a post-pandemic world. I wrote about the need to bring hope and healing to the wounds inflicted through the pandemic – the wounds of indifference, intolerance, and abject injustice. I wrote, “I believe we are at a defining moment of what it means to be Church as well as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. To return to the routine of the past would mean that we failed to learn from our tortured experiences of the pandemic.” I further wrote that we should look at our mission statement as “both a mirror and a compass,” helping us to envision this new reality of church.

Early in 2021 the next phase of the parish planning process was initiated. As with the mission statement group, the planning committee represented a cross-section of parishioners and parish staff members. Those who generously accepted my invitation to this working group were Ivan Briggiler, Rosario Conde Johanek, Holly Curp, Adele Gallo, Fr. Mark Hallinan, S.J., Patti Hogan, Kathy Murnion, co-chair, Brian Pinter, Jean Santopatre, Jacques Torchon, Eric Van Nostrand, co-chair, and Scott Warren. Early in their deliberations, this working group acknowledged the need for input from parishioners. To that end, The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) designed a survey instrument that was distributed to all registered members of the parish. CARA collated, evaluated, and summarized the 790 survey forms that were submitted and delivered its report in November 2021 to the planning committee. You can review that report at ignatius.nyc/surveyresults. The CARA Report supplemented the input members of the planning committee received in the course of their conversations and interviews with parishioners. Then in December 2021, the planning committee delivered to me a Vision Statement that was distributed to parishioners in February of this year. You may view it online at ignatius.nyc/vision-statement.

In March of this year, parishioners were invited to “listening sessions” in the church on the weekend of March 19-20 and a virtual town hall meeting on the evening of March 30 to share their comments about the Vision Statement and their views on what they would like to see accomplished in the course of the parish’s planning process. 143 parishioners attended the listening sessions and 28 parishioners participated in the virtual town hall meeting.

What both the CARA Report and the remarks that were made at the listening sessions and the virtual town hall meeting corroborated was a general contentment with the parish as it now is as well as an openness to what was articulated in the Vision Statement. I am also obliged to report that there was a not unexpected sentiment expressed by several who participated in these meetings that we should not tinker with the status quo. In my opinion that approach would lead us to a path of irrelevance in a post-pandemic world that hungers for hope and healing.

Now is the time to initiate the next, and final, phase of our parish planning process. The Vision Statement provides us a blueprint for the future. What is now needed are its building blocks, or, as I will refer to them, action plans that will implement what was articulated in outline form in the Vision Statement.

In the Fall of this year I will invite you to participate in one of the implementation working groups that will be charged with the responsibility of drafting action plans for each of the four categories identified in the Vision Statement: 1. We Welcome All.  2. We Worship With Joy.  3. We Walk Together With Those In Need. 4. We Reverence God In The Wonder Of Creation. For the moment, I ask that you pray for the continued success of our parish planning process and to consider participating in one of these working groups so that your voice will be heard as we plan our shared future as disciples of Jesus Christ and parishioners of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.

May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us through this planning process so that all that we do now and in the future may redound to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Sincerely in the Lord,
Fr. Yesalonia

June 12, 2022 Essay: The Call to Recreation

Our liturgical calendar places us in Ordinary Time: yet this time of year seems far from ordinary. Each day becomes just a bit longer, the weather becomes warmer, and the ease of summer beckons. Schools begin to wind down, graduations wrap up the academic year and vacation requests have been submitted. I feel the lure of the lazy days of summer.

As we shift our center onto summer plans, recreation becomes our focus. For some of us, taking time off is a challenge—relaxation gets a bad rap in America. It seems antithetical to our American ideas of success. Still, yet, our souls are longing for recreation, longing to be unplugged and rejuvenated, longing for the gift of removing ourselves from our daily routines and habits.

When we are busy in our daily lives we often become oblivious to the world around us. We operate by the constructs of deadlines, schedules, and monotonous conformity. Our lives begin to feel truncated by the mundane and the routine.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the layered meanings of the word recreation. Recreation can mean a great number of things: “an act of refreshment, action of amusing,” or, “spiritual refreshment, amusement, new birth,” or even going back to Latin, “act of restoring,” from recreāre: “to make new, restore, revive”. I long to take time this summer to become spiritually revived through the beauty of my surroundings, a break from the routine. Summer is the opportunity to recreate myself spiritually, to be refreshed and amused.

Why not use this summer to take time from our over-scheduled lives and be re-created? It is in the small, quiet spaces of unscheduled time where we get in touch with our spiritual selves. In the gentle silence, we can hear the whisper of God calling, assuring, inviting us to union with God. The call is always present, yet the constant strains of life can make us deaf to the call, blind to the signs, and too distracted to notice. Our essential selves long for conscious contact with the Divine.

There is another advantage to being recreated: through relaxed and rejuvenated lenses we can be refreshed in seeing the gifts of the world. We experience the blessing of our very existence. Our recreated vision may inspire us to aid in the flourishing of our common home. As we are revived we are energized to serve as the hands and feet working to restore the world around us.

This past weekend the Youth Group, I, and a few friends joined in the Amazing Race sponsored by the LGBT Catholics & Friends ministry. The event, part race and part scavenger hunt, had each member of our group taking on a particular task for a common mission. The park was alive with all the action of a busy spring Saturday and the amazing race was on. To get extra points in the competition we were given a list of things to photograph or video. The highlight of the afternoon was asking 4 people lounging on a blanket to join us in a videotaped dance party. They were happy to accommodate us, becoming part of our team. The fun and spontaneity of dancing in Central Park is one of the highlights of the day. In the surprise and fun of the afternoon we had new and inspiring experiences: all rejuvenating and refreshing and most of all, recreating experiences.

Take the time this summer to smell the salt air, jump in the lake, take long walks, go to the carnival. Form new communities, however short-lived, to feel the joy of spontaneity. Come back to your life refreshed with the inspiration to revive the world around you.

– Kate Noonan, Director of Religious Education

Concerts at St. Ignatius Essay: Turning a Page

Today I would like to lift up two of my dear friends and colleagues, Maureen Haley and Philip Anderson. I had the great fortune to meet them in April of 2001 when I first joined the music staff at St. Ignatius. Their musicianship blew me away, but I was also moved by their kindness and generosity of spirit. I thought then—and believe with even more conviction now—that these two truly embody the Spirit of Christ, sharing their gifts and their hearts without reservation, with tremendous authenticity and humility.

Maureen and Philip have nurtured our parish with their music and abundance of heart since 1989 when they both joined the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola. Before long, Philip transitioned into his current role as cantor, and ten years ago, following over two decades of distinguished service in the choir, Maureen took over leadership of our children’s choirs. In addition to her work in the music ministry, Maureen has also served over the last few years as one of our Pastoral Associates, handling baptisms and weddings, and the vast amount of administrative detail involved with both.

It is with great joy that we celebrate their long tenures, and with great sadness that in a few weeks, we will bid them farewell, as they retire and begin a new chapter in their lives. Their final Sunday with us will be June 19, when Philip will sing his last Solemn Mass as our cantor, and Maureen and Michael will lead a rousing Family Sing Sunday at the Wallace Hall Mass. Afterward, we will gather in McKinnon Hall to express our gratitude, love, and appreciation for their decades of service.

As is probably the case with you, I have a difficult time imagining life at St. Ignatius without them.

Philip is the public face of our music ministry and visitors often receive their first impression of our parish directly from him. This is an enormous responsibility, and Philip is the gold standard. He embodies the term “servant leader”, whether he is singing, providing gentle guidance to altar servers, or helping a guest presider navigate the details of our liturgies. His positivity and goodwill speak deeply and directly into our souls, and his influence will remain with us for decades to come.

Maureen’s love for and rapport with our kids was evident from the very beginning of her tenure as Director of Children’s Choirs. She has provided a solid, healthy vocal pedagogy, the result of which is their radiantly beautiful singing. She has nurtured and been a mentor to many. Those of us with kids know how quickly they grow and change, even in a matter of weeks. Maureen’s quiet and steady influence has been a great gift to our children. Long after they reach adulthood and old age, they will remember Ms. Haley and the loving guidance she gave them.

I hope you will join us on Sunday, June 19, as we celebrate with Maureen and Philip, sharing with them a portion of the graces they have shown to us over the last thirty years. How fortunate we have been to have them walk among us for so long!

Maureen and Philip, our prayer is that God will continue to bless you as you have so richly blessed us.

– K. Scott Warren, Director of Music Ministries

June 5, 2022 Essay: Belonging

The journey from being welcomed by the parish to feeling a real sense of belonging requires a spiritual and emotional openness to communion, participation, and mission.

Each year at the beginning of June we see rainbow flags unfurling around restaurants, retail outlets, college campuses, and a host of public buildings. The flags represent “Pride Month,” which seeks to draw attention to, and support for, the LGBT Community and its citizens. We see many churches of all denominations expressing “welcome” to the LGBT Community and proclaiming inclusiveness for all. For many of us, the “welcome” is encouraging and signals the beginning of a journey of adventure and coming home, of truly belonging.

This journey for me and my husband Michael began during a trip in the summer of 2017 to Italy, at the Cathedral of Amalfi. It was there that we both reflected on our past, having grown up Catholic. We experienced a deep sense of separation from the Church we once knew, once belonged to and once loved. We had both left the Church many years beforehand and aside from a flirtation with Unitarian Universalism, we had no religious connection with any tradition. As we traveled on to the cathedrals of Assisi, Orvieto, Florence, Venice, and, of course, St. Peter’s in Rome, our yearning for a connection to the Church grew stronger, but it remained buried under the sorrows of the past.

While in Italy I was posting daily pictures on Facebook, and on the last day there, I noticed a post from a member of the parish of St. Francis Xavier, thanking Father Martin for his talk on his book Building a Bridge. I read the post and was shocked to learn the Church of my birth was actually engaged in a process to welcome me back, and that’s how we found St. Ignatius. The day after we returned from our trip, we attended the Sunday morning Solemn Mass. Aside from the grandeur of the architecture, the beauty of the music, and the inspiring homily, we were struck by the hospitality minister who walked down the aisle welcoming the faithful to Communion, each time motioning with a wave and a word: “come.” We smiled at her and each other, so moved by that simple action. It was that summer when Father Yesalonia wrote to the parishioners of our church advising them that a new LGBT ministry was going to be established, so we joined.

Reading the book Building a Bridge I became fascinated by the idea of Ignatian Spirituality and enrolled in an Ignatian Spiritual Retreat. The retreat introduced me to the Church’s liturgical calendar in an amazing way, focusing on the daily scripture readings, reflecting on them, and meditating in an experiential manner. The high point each week was the time spent with my new spiritual director, Father Hilbert, who taught me to pray for the first time in a personal way.

So when did I really feel that I BELONGED? Father Yesalonia met with our “LGBT Catholics and Friends” Ministry early on, and made it clear we were to “be an integral part of the parish community.” It was a terrific bit of advice and I truly believe it was that spirit that lead me to feel that I belonged.

The acknowledgment that LGBT members of the parish were encouraged to create a ministry was the beginning of the “welcome” for us. But the true sense of BELONGING came after I saw so many church parishioners attending our events, lectures, and activities. The sense of communion was strong because I felt I was seen as a gay man and as an integral part of the community. This led to greater participation in the life of the parish. Finally, I believed in and supported the mission of creating a spiritual home for all.

Living one’s life authentically here at St. Ignatius is a blessing. It brings to mind the words of Thomas Merton: “The way we would begin in prayer is that we belong to God…all prayer starts and unfolds out of that knowing.”

– Lou Csabay, Parishioner & Member of the LGBT Catholics & Friends Ministry

Ignatian Social Justice Essay: Ignatian Social Justice and Little Sisters of the Assumption Tutoring Partnership

On Saturday, May 21st we launched our college tutoring initiative by hosting an event where our ISJ tutor volunteers met with their mentees and family members at my home. Four tutor and mentee pairings met for the first time in a relaxed informal setting. (Our fifth pairing had previously been introduced in an alternative setting). The individual pairings will continue to meet independently over the summer and beyond as the mentees prepare their college applications.

On Saturday morning, the mentees were accompanied by their mothers, along with Melina Gonzalez, LSA Community Engagement Manager, and Lucia Aguilar, LSA Director of Advocacy. We used the flexibility provided by folding chairs borrowed from Wallace Hall to quickly bring everybody together in the living room while we provided introductions and then, as we dispersed to individual spaces, to begin these important relationships.

I was grateful for the assistance from the families as we worked together in serving light refreshments and home-baked goods to all our guests. While it was so important that we held this initial meeting in person in a relaxed family atmosphere, we had last-minute challenges that were solved by technology. Laura De Boisblanc joined us from her home by Zoom for our introductions and wrap-up, while Laura Silvius started off her individual mentee session via Zoom from the back seat of a taxi as she raced here from her delayed train journey.

We proposed this initiative to LSA as we felt that we had resourceful ISJ members that could help these high school students reach their educational goals. It is important for this fledgling initiative that LSA guides us in all the important decisions as this is our first time providing these services and we hope to go from strength to strength together. If this inaugural event is any indication, then we expect it will be a resounding success.

Tús maith leath na hoibre – A good start is half the battle! (Irish Proverb).

– Jimmy Coffey, Ignatian Social Justice ministry member

May 29, 2022 Essay: Beginning at the End

I turned 70 on April 30th. To celebrate, I wanted to do something special—walk the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route that has been well-trod since the Middle Ages.

My spouse Karen was game to be a “peregrina” (a pilgrim) too. So off we went—walking seven days (5 in the rain!) from coastal Vigo to Santiago de Compostela. On arrival, our Pilgrim Passports were officially stamped, and we joyously celebrated with some “vino tinto,” a staple of this pilgrim’s journey. The next day, we attended “the Pilgrims’ Mass” at the Cathedral on the feast of St. Catherine of Siena.

Why did I walk the Camino? Recently retired and looking ahead, I sought a block of time to consider what I wanted these next years to be. What habits of mind and heart need to change. What patterns of relating were off-track. How to use my time and resources well, not frittering them away. I needed to get off the grid, to listen to the “still, small voice” within.

We started most days with a prayer of blessings. Two that guided my Camino were, “Blessed are you, Pilgrim, if what concerns you most is not arriving but arriving with the others.” And “Blessed are you, Pilgrim, if on the Camino you meet yourself and make yourself a gift of time without hurry so that you may not neglect the image of your heart.”

We usually started out around 9 AM and limped (literally) into our hotel around 3 or 4 PM. As we walked, I listened to birdsong and rain and brooks and streams and, at times, to that “still, small voice.” I felt rock and moss and eucalyptus tree bark. I tried to fathom the faith made visible by the many chapels and stone crucifixes that mark the Way.

Karen and I talked as we walked and bucked each other up when our spirits (and legs) flagged. And we talked to other peregrinos—a global mix from Spain, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Sweden, England and Romania, and, of course, the US. We met a mother and daughter celebrating their birthdays like I was. We met a young couple walking in memory of two friends. We even met a man from Johnson City, Tennessee, where my mother lives in a retirement home. Most times, other pilgrims just wished us slowpokes a “Buen Camino!” as they passed by.

Have I changed? I think so. I see that I am a pilgrim, in process, forever on the Way. So more than a little humility is in order. Also, I “got it” that it’s not about me getting to some spiritual place on my own. I’m on the way to fullness of life together with the rest of humanity, and I am invited to walk with all of them as family. And I took in that my spouse has strengths I wasn’t seeing and potentialities I wasn’t supporting.

Here is Karen’s favorite part of our morning prayer, and I see why: “Blessed are you, Pilgrim, because you have discovered that the true Camino begins at its end.” My/our Camino continues, one step in front of the other.

— Rose DiMartino, Parishioner & Lay Trustee

May 21, 2022 Essay: From Peru to Mars: New Worlds and Jesuit Science

What has been the particular Jesuit mark on science? The connection between Ignatian spirituality and my own scientific work is clear, at least to me. “Finding God in all things” means studying “things.”; finding God in the Universe. Seeing how the universe works tells us something about its Creator. But are there more practical effects of being a Jesuit in science?

One thing that is striking when you look at the history of Jesuit scientists is how entering the Jesuit order has given young men the chance to be a scientist regardless of family wealth or status. Athanasius Kircher, the youngest of nine children from a clerk’s family, became one of the most educated men of the 17th century. James Macelwane dropped out of high school to work on the family farm, but as a Jesuit, he became a key figure in modern geophysics.

These well-trained men were often missioned to exotic frontiers. In the late 1500s Fr. José de Acosta was able to write the first detailed study of the natural and social history of South America because he had been sent there – a trip as rare then as traveling into space today. And being a Jesuit provided instant credibility to a scientist, opening doors in certain circles that other contemporaries could not access. That is how, in the mid-1700s, Fr. Roger Boscovich was to change the Church’s stance on the heliocentric system.

But every advantage has its matching cost. The education of a Jesuit is quite lengthy, taking more than 12 years toward ordination, not counting the time needed for a Ph.D. Likewise, while a Jesuit scientist may be sent to wonderful places, he is also under obedience to leave them behind; after his pioneering work in South America, Fr. Acosta wound up sent back to Spain as the rector of a Jesuit university community.

A Jesuit scientist, supported by the order, is often not tied to a three-year funding cycle or a six-year tenure review. Thus we have the time – it may take decades – to catalog double stars, seismic velocities, or patterns in climate or terrestrial magnetic fields. Jesuits, for instance, invented the basic taxonomy of the plants of India.

But this sort of science often means that their work is unappreciated by their immediate peers. Famously in the 19th century, the Whig historian and politician Thomas Macaulay sneered that the Jesuits “appear to have discovered the precise point to which intellectual culture can be carried without risk of intellectual emancipation” and that being a Jesuit “has a tendency to suffocate, rather than to develop original genius.”

Even as Macaulay was writing those words, in Rome the Jesuit astronomer Angelo Secchi was revolutionizing astrophysics. Of course, Secchi’s work, well known and translated across the Continent, was never published in England. But more to the point, Macaulay’s idea of “original genius” misrepresents both the nature and the motivation of science. The unspoken assumption of someone like Macaulay is that one does science for the glory it brings upon the scientist. But Jesuits do science (or at least, we ought to) not for personal advancement, but for the love of the truth that science can reveal.

The glory that comes from science ought to be reflected on the Author of creation, not on the person who happens to have revealed some detail of that creation. Our scientific scholarship contributes to the good reputation of the Jesuit order in particular and the Church in general.

– Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory

Essay | Laudato Si Week: May 22-29, 2022

The title Laudato si’, or “Praised be You” is a reference to St. Francis of Assisi’s 13th-century poem Canticle of the Creatures. It is written in a Medieval Italian dialect, and praises God for providing “brother sun,” “sister water,” “brother wind”, and “sister Mother Earth.”

The key idea behind Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato si’, is that of “integral ecology.” Earth is our “common home” where humankind, animals, nature, and all creation are vital components as part of one family.

This annual celebration of Laudato si’, which began in 2015, is a way for all Catholics to unite and commit to further action and prayer for our common home. The theme this year is “Listening and Journeying Together.” Catholics across the globe will unite their communities into action on ways to tackle the climate crisis.

We are invited to protect God’s creation for future generations, embrace a lifestyle change for our own good, and take care of people who are poor and more vulnerable. The goals for Laudato si’ are the following: Response to the Cry of the Earth, Response to the Cry of the Poor, Ecological Economics, Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles, Ecological Education, Ecological Spirituality, and Community Engagement and Participatory Action. These goals will be further outlined in the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola Laudato si’ Action Platform soon.

On Sunday, May 22nd, Ignatian Social Justice and Family Ministry will collaborate at the Community Coffee Hour after the 11 AM Masses to highlight Laudato si’ Week. Ignatian Social Justice members will host a table with Laudato si’ information and reusable grocery bags supplied by the NYC Sanitation Department. Family Ministry will host an arts and crafts table for children to make art from newspapers, cardboard egg cartons, and other recycled materials.

For more events happening virtually during Laudato si’ Week, here is a list where you can participate online:

May 22nd,12 PM to 1 PM
Opening of Laudato si’ Week by Pope Francis

May 22nd, 6 PM to 7 PM
Prayer Gathering from Uganda

May 23rd,10 AM to 12 PM
No More Biodiversity Collapse: Rebalancing Social Systems with Nature

May 24th, All Day
Empowering ECO-mmunity, Embracing the Poor (seventh anniversary of Pope Francis signing Laudato Si’)

May 25th, 9 AM to 10:30 AM
Fossil Fuels, Violence, and The Climate Crisis

May 26th, 2;30 PM to 3:30 PM
Investing in Laudato Si’

May 27th, All Day
Laudato Si’ Movie presentation

May 28th, 7 PM to 8 PM
Ecological spirituality/Laudato Si Festival from Assisi

May 29th, All Day
Prayer Gathering. Community resilience and empowerment as part of our Synodal Journey

View calendar

To join Laudato Si’ Week 2022, click here to sign into virtual events.


— Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate, ISJ, IYA & Family Ministry