News Detail
Jesuit Father Michael Kennedy holds his letter from Pope Francis. Photo via The Tidings.
Pope’s Letter to Jesuit Is Affirmation to Those on the Margins

June 3, 2013  This past Holy Thursday, Jesuit Father Michael Kennedy, executive director of the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, organized Jesuit novices to wash the feet of minors at a Los Angeles juvenile hall, following the lead of Pope Francis, who washed the feet of detainees at a juvenile detention center in Rome. The young people at the center in Los Angeles also wrote letters to the pope, and — much to his surprise — Fr. Kennedy received a response from the pope.

In the letter, Pope Francis wrote: “I was very moved to read the letters you sent to me from the young people of Juvenile Hall and to know that we were close to one another in spirit during the washing of feet on Holy Thursday evening.”

“When I read the letter from the pope, many feelings flowed through me,” Fr. Kennedy wrote in a reflection in The Tidings. “I thought of what Dorothy Day said when working at the margins: ‘To work with the poor is a harsh and dreadful love.’ Most of the time it feels like you are losing. Being at the margins brings its own isolation.”

Fr. Kennedy noted that in a simple letter, Pope Francis “affirmed that the choice to kneel down with a population that society has neglected is where we find God’s presence. With his gesture, he points to where we should serve. Rather than running away from those who are not healthy, we should run toward those who need healing.”

Fr. Kennedy said he realizes a letter will not change the day-to-day workings of being in marginalized places, but “it is a small sign of affirmation from the man at the head of our church. It embodies the Gospel’s message of forgiveness and healing, and it affirms that this is where God truly is.”

Read Fr. Kennedy’s full reflection at The Tidings website and watch the Ignatian News Network video on the letter below.


Recent News

July 29, 2015 — Newly ordained Jesuit Father Timothy McCabe will serve the poor at the Warming Center at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit.

July 27, 2015 — Veritas Christi provides religious education for special needs students through the Jesuit Virtual Learning Academy.

July 27, 2015 — Newly ordained priest Fr. Lukas Laniauskas, SJ, a Lithuanian-American born and raised in Cleveland, looks forward to serving the people of God.

July 24, 2015 — A newly digitized collection at Saint Louis University gives a glimpse into the daily lives of students and Jesuits there in the late 19th century.

July 22, 2015 — Students from Belen Jesuit Prep and Our Lady of Lourdes Academy built a bridge in the village of El Puerto.

July 20, 2015 — At Ignatius Cafe in Los Angeles, Jesuit Father Robert Dae-je Choi serves quality coffee to support St. Agnes Korean Catholic Church.

July 17, 2015 — Nearly 300 Jesuits met recently at Loyola Marymount University to discuss their role in the rapidly changing digital world.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 8/03/15

America - 7/20/15

America - 7/6/15



Jesuit Spirituality Center
Situated on 900 acres of farmland, the Jesuit Spirituality Center at Grand Coteau provides a quiet environment for those seeking God through the Spiritual Exercises.