May 8, 2020 — Here is the latest roundup of recent awards, appointments and news from Jesuits around the U.S. and Canada.
Celebrating 67 Years of Mission
Fr. O’Malley (center) celebrates his retirement with colleagues and students over Zoom.
After 67 years of teaching, 29 books and 20 honorary doctorates, Fr. John O’Malley, SJ, taught his final class at Georgetown University this May. The virtual celebration with his students and colleagues honored Fr. O’Malley’s nearly seven-decade career as a teacher and scholar of Catholic history. Fr. O’Malley taught his first history class at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Since then, he has inspired generations of students to study the intersections of religion, culture and history.
Charting a Path for Recovery
California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, to the state’s coronavirus recovery task force. As the founder of Homeboy Industries, which rehabilitates former gang members, Fr. Boyle will join 80 other leaders from across the state in crafting short-term and long-term economic recovery strategies. These strategies will especially consider small businesses, including Homeboy’s social enterprises which employ former gang members.
On Twitter, Fr. Boyle said he was “honored to be included among these remarkable leaders Governor Newsom has appointed to ensure all Californians are included on the road to recovery.”
Fr. Greg (top left) on a livestream with David, Chris and Jessica of Homeboy Industries.
Providing a Brighter Future
Fr. Peter Klink, SJ, is one of three finalists for The Opus Prize — a faith-based humanitarian award that recognizes leaders who develop creative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Fr. Klink has dedicated much of his 40-year career as a Jesuit to addressing injustices and providing “a brighter future” for Lakota families on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. As vice president for mission and identity at Red Cloud Indian School, Fr. Klink manages the school’s Lakota language immersion program, which has helped revitalize the language among younger Lakota. The prize will be awarded in November.
Fr. Klink (Courtesy of Red Cloud School)
Breaking a World Record
Br. Pat Douglas, SJ, broke a world record in weightlifting in February. Hefting a 163-pound strict curl bar, Br. Douglas surpassed the 2014 world for his weight class. “There’s a lot of ‘compare and despair’ going on inside and outside the weight room,” Br. Douglas said in an interview about what powerlifting has taught him about faith. “Whether it be that someone else can lift more than me or that someone else has the ideal figure. But for lack of grammar, God don’t make junk. And God made you, so anything that turns you against yourself is against God and is a bad spirit.”
A Posthumous Award for Educating Youth
Catholic Extension posthumously honored Fr. TJ Martinez, SJ (1970-2014), with its 2020 Spirit of Francis Award for his leadership and commitment to education for disadvantaged children. Fr. Martinez, who died at age 44 in 2014 from stomach cancer, founded Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory of Houston in 2009 and is remembered across the city for his energetic compassion for his students and his love of learning. Cristo Rey Jesuit combines a college prep program with a work-study program that helps students pay for their tuition.
Fr. TJ Martinez, SJ (CNS photo)
Fr. Martinez was “a man of faith, hope, vision, great compassion and love who had the power to transform lives,” said Fr. Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension.
T.S. Eliot Scholar Honored by MLA
Fr. Jayme Stayer, SJ, and his co-editors, Ronald Schuchard and Iman Javadi, received the Modern Language Association's Prize for a Scholarly Edition for volume 5 of “The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot.” Fr. Stayer is an associate professor of English at Loyola University Chicago and president of the International T. S. Eliot Society.
Fr. Stayer was about to begin a year’s sabbatical when approached about the project, and time was tight. He accepted the job and worked 14-hour days, seven days a week for a year to keep things on schedule. The result is the fully searchable volume 5, which contains every prose piece written by Eliot between 1934 and 1939.
Developing a New Church Leadership Initiative
Jesuit Father General Arturo Sosa has missioned Fr. David McCallum, SJ, VP for mission integration at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, to oversee the new Global Discerning Leadership Initiative, a formation program for senior church leaders. The institute’s mission is to help support Pope Francis’ vision for the reform and renewal of the church through the process of discernment and co-creative synodality.
Fr. McCallum (left) with Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus
“This is an honor, a privilege and the fulfillment of a dream," said Fr. McCallum. "The program will address the skills, mindsets and knowledge needed to help lead the church in a more participatory way in accordance with the wishes of Pope Francis."