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 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

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

May 14, 2022 Essay: Notes From Some of Our New Catholics

Monsignor Archibald Vincent McLees was a Catholic priest in Brooklyn and Queens at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He was also my paternal grandfather’s first cousin. Research into my Irish ancestry revealed his tireless work for racial justice. The more I discovered about him, the more he beckoned me to follow him into service through the Catholic faith. I was raised in an environment that was hostile toward religion and spent decades searching for meaning and solace and guidance. After years of struggle, I did find a spiritual path, but Father Archie wanted more for me. He led me to St. Ignatius and now I am home.
— Kelly McLees

During this journey to the body of Christ, we were asked what we desired of God and God’s Church. I declared my intention: “To affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ has always been, and forever is, my companion and Savior.” I am particularly grateful to RCIA at St. Ignatius. I confess that I shall miss the sessions of communal reading and discussion. The Solemn Mass is a beautiful event, but if there is a second, it is the unfettered and open discussion of how Jesus’ teachings and sacrifice affect our daily lives. I will treasure it always.
— Wayne Weddington

I was baptized Catholic but not raised in the faith. My fiance, who has been devout his whole life, inspired me to formally pursue the Catholic faith. St. Ignatius had a well-developed RCIA program so we joined the community. At the first Mass we attended, we were asked to bring up the bread and wine for communion. To be graciously welcomed as newcomers in a new place touched us deeply. It was an embrace from God welcoming us to our new home, both physically and spiritually. At that moment, I affirmed my resolve to fulfill my baptismal promises.
— Abigail Fudge

The moment Father Yesalonia anointed my forehead with the chrism oil and said, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” faith flooded me and I felt the gifts of the Holy Spirit—especially fortitude and reverence. It took twenty-two years of auspicious signs and circumstances for me to take the first steps into RCIA. I will be eternally grateful to the RCIA Team, my sponsor, and the entire parish for patiently guiding me along this wonderful path.
— Christine Reynolds

Easter at St. Ignatius as a new Catholic was beautiful and moving. I found the care and thoroughness of the education in preparation to be exceptional. Every step of the way towards becoming Catholic was guided with a warm hand. Thoughtfully prepared lessons deepened my understanding, as well as my feeling of being part of this lovely community. I am very grateful.
— Judith Rosenberger

You may forget what someone said to you, but you never forget how someone made you feel. That was the beginning of my spiritual journey. I happened to attend Catholic school. I never forgot the feeling I had in my Catholic school daily life. It was His presence I felt, the peace He breathed into my soul. Now with my daughters grown and life simmering down, I was finally able to come full circle, like the prodigal son. He welcomed me back with His embrace. I am Home.
— Anonymous

My journey at St. Ignatius began after getting engaged to my fiancée Anna. It was important for us to have our marriage and faith life be consistent. The RCIA experience refreshed my faith; receiving the Sacraments of Initiation was nothing short of breathtaking. We are looking forward to being married at the Parish in October and I am grateful.
— Jack Granger

My interest in RCIA stemmed from my graduate studies in 16th-century religious Renaissance tapestries. Converting to Catholicism advanced my studies in theology and Renaissance Art, and brought me closer to God—thanks to St. Ignatius Loyola.
— Anna Ingram

May 7, 2022 Essay: The Voice of the Shepherd

“I saw her first. No, I saw her first. No, I saw her first, well, she’s, my mommy. Yes, and she is my daughter. And she was born before you!” This conversation took place often between my mother and my son, especially around Mother’s Day. He was very young and did not understand the timeline of my birth in relation to his birth and that his Nanna is his mommy’s mom. Yet, it was both sweet and humorous to see him and my mom “arguing” who saw me first!

However, who really sees us first? Actually, Jesus is the one who sees and hears each of us first. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” As Christians, we trust, have faith in, and listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd. In comparison, we are not unlike sheep who listen to and follow the voice of the shepherd; as children, we hear our mother’s voice for the first time and follow that voice, not the voice of a stranger.

Let us also ponder some attributes of Jesus’ voice as the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd has a compelling voice. Jesus’ voice is strong and direct; he commands the waters to be still, he silences the demons, he forgives sins, and raises the dead. Yet, Jesus has a personal voice; he calls us by name. He knows each one of us intimately- as a parent knows a child. Most of all, Jesus has a loving, congenial voice, there is a melody of peace and harmony that soothes his sheep. His voice reassures those who are fearful of becoming lost and comforts those who have been lost and then are found.

Jesus taught us to go out in Love and to serve humankind as he showed us. He is our teacher, just as a mother is the first teacher to her child. Jesus beckons us to follow him, and he will not allow anyone to be snatched from his or God’s hand. The Shepherd cares for us, is protective of us, guides us, and leads the way. These characteristics are closely aligned with how a mother cares for her children. Jesus is the Shepherd who knows us intimately and calls each one of us by name and is concerned with our safety. Jesus doesn’t have to push or prod us to follow him, rather, he leads by example. He guides us gently on the path to everlasting life. We are with him and God for eternity. Although the bonds may twist and fray, Jesus tells us we are never severed from him. And, even if the bond between mother and child frays, the spiritual bond will remain through the love of Jesus.

This image of Jesus as the Shepherd, by Bob Dufford, S.J., in his hymn, “Like a Shepherd”, mirrors the loving care a mother also gives to her children.

“Like a shepherd, he feeds his flock and gathers the lambs in his arms,
holding them carefully close to his heart, leading them home.
Come unto me if you are heavily burdened,
and take my yoke upon your shoulders, I will give you rest.”

May the loving, compelling and personal voice of the Good Shepherd be heard through the voices of all mothers today as we celebrate Mother’s Day.

Every Blessing,

Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate

 

 

April 23, 2022 Essay: God’s Better Beauty

At the end of Mark Helprin’s long and troubling book called “A Soldier of the Great War,” there is a discussion among the main characters about the meaning of sacrifice in the face of the insanity they had experienced during the First World War. Reacting to feeble attempts to make sense of beauty that appears even in the midst of terrible loss, this is what the protagonist says:

“Really everything they said seemed to be in contradiction to the truth of what I’d seen. And if you ask me what it was, I can’t tell you. I can only tell you it overwhelmed me, that all the hard and wonderful things of the world are nothing more than a frame for the spirit, like fire and light, that is the endless roiling of love and grace.

I can tell you only that beauty cannot be expressed or explained in a theory or an idea, that it moves by its own law, that it is God’s way of comforting his broken children….”

“Beauty cannot be expressed or explained in a theory or an idea; it moves by its own laws.”

These are the laws of hope and courage, which are, finally, the law of the spirit.

The ancients understood this: The Beautiful is one of the three so-called “transcendentals,” with her complicated sisters, The Good and The True. Beauty is the imaging forth of the divine, the trace in matter of the God who must share his beauty, who images forth his likeness in us and through us in our creations.

We see it in the beauty of creation, in the splendor and terror of nature, mysterium fascinans et tremendum; we see it most clearly in the dawn of the First Day of the Week.

We saw it in the face of him who sat on the cold stone, waiting for his cross. We saw it in the radiance of Magdalene’s smile when she recognizes the Gardener as her risen lord. We see it in the light that poured through the wounded hands of Jesus and healed Thomas’s doubts.

“All the hard  and wonderful things of the world are nothing more than a frame for the spirit, like fire and light, that is the endless roiling of love and grace.”

That, after all, is what St. Ignatius told us to pray for at the end of the Spiritual Exercises: “only your love and your grace.” That’s what Ignatius saw as he wept beneath the stars, as he gazed at the terrible beauty of the cross, and when he saw grace descend like light from the sun, like water from the spring.  He saw hope, hope that God’s will can be done, hope that God’s love and grace really are enough, hope in God’s better beauty, grace. And that too is why he encouraged his brothers and their companions to build beautiful churches, and use the arts and human craft to be tools of persuasion and hope.

The poignant beauty of the dying and rising of Jesus that we contemplate on these Easter days draws us deeper and deeper into the mystery of God’s design for us and for our world.

Such beauty encourages us, literally in-courages us to live lives of compassion and mercy. It turned Peter from his timidity to compassion and mercy, turned Ignatius and his friends to lives of service and praise.

“It is God’s way of comforting his broken children….”

Let all of us, broken children, poor banished children of Eve, open our hearts to that beauty, ever ancient, ever new.

– Fr. Thomas Lucas, S.J., Pastor, Saint Ignatius Loyola Parish, Sacramento