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

April 18, 2017 — Fr. Kesicki's homily from the Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope on April 18.

April 18, 2017 — On April 17, the Jesuits celebrated a private Mass for the descendants of slaves sold by the Society in 1838; Fr. Robert Hussey, SJ, delivered the homily.

April 14, 2017 — The new laundromat in Rome represents the latest gift from the pope to the city’s poor and homeless people.

April 13, 2017 — Since its founding in 2009, the Kino Border Initiative has been serving and advocating for immigrants and providing "a humanizing presence on the border."

April 12, 2017 — For Father Timothy Kesicki, SJ, his mother’s Friday evening meals during Lent are among his greatest childhood memories.

April 9, 2017 — Jesuit Juan Ruiz suggests that as we reflect this week upon the suffering that Jesus endured for our sakes, we can ask for the grace to show his mercy to others who hurt us.

April 4, 2017 — For more than 170 years, the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network has invited people across the globe to pray with the bishop of Rome.

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 5/1/17

America 4/17/17

America 4/3/17



Ignatian Spirituality Center
The Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City offers programs in Ignatian prayer and retreats and trains lay people as spiritual directors and retreat guides.