Thursday, January 05, 2017

EPIPHANY

JANUARY 6, 2017
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND FEAST OF EPIPHANY



MY SISTER MARY SENT THIS IMAGE AS HER CHRISTMAS CARD IN ONE RECENT YEAR.  SHE IMITATED THE STYLES OF RENAISSANCE EUROPE'S PAINTERS.   SHE DECKED OUT THE THREE KINGS IN RICH AND COLORFUL DRESS.    BUT WHEN THE KINGS ARRIVED AT THE CRECHE, THOSE EUROPEAN PAINTERS HAD NOBODY PAYING  ANY ATTENTION TO THEM.   ALL EYES FOCUSED ON THE CHILD.    

AND HE COULD PASS AS PLASTER OF PARIS.  THIS SET BELOW WAS A PRESENT TO ME FROM MY OTHER ARTISTIC SISTER WHO BETTER CAPTURED THE SIMPLE SCENE AS PRESENTED IN THE GOSPEL

FROM A SERMON OF SAINT AUGUSTINE WHO COMMENTS ON HIS INABILITY TO CONTEMPLATE THE FULNESS OF GOD:

We cannot yet contemplate the fact that the Son was begotten by the Father before the dawn, so let us hold on to the fact that he was born of the Virgin in the night. Since we are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father, let us acknowledge the manger of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Listen for Angel Music"





MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Each year my sister Mary designs and produces her own Christmas card.  This year without fail the card arrived in a timely fashion.    The interior card inscription:

Listen for Angel Music

And some singers came to our Jesuit Center to help us fulfill the wish.

SOME CAROLERS OF ALL AGES ENTERTAINED US IN OUR CHAPEL.   THEY ARE MEMBERS OF THE LEGION OF MARY AT ST. IGNATIUS CHURCH

If my sister was looking for some confirmation about angel colors, she could have looked up in the sky on a morning this past week.





Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ignatius the Pilgrim in winter


IGNATIUS THE PILGRIM ON A COLD WINTER DAY




EVENING



MORNING



LIGHTING BY THE EVENING STAR


Sunday, November 27, 2016

RALPH S. SAUL rip OCT 4, 2016

(1922-2016)

Memorial to Ralph S. Saul, November 25, 2016

Thank you, Jane and Bob, for giving me an opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation for Ralph and his Spirit that surrounds us this evening.   As the relationships developed that propelled the Gesu School’s successes, I marveled as they happened at the beautiful straight line of encouragement that started with a member of the Jesuit parish of Old St. Joseph’s,  ran then to Patricia and Gordon Cooney, then to our dear Ralph and Bette, then to John DiIulio and then on to the Symposium idea that still features so many regional and national figures, Tim Russert and Bill Bennett as examples. 

Patricia and Gordon Cooney introduced Ralph and Bette to Gesu School at the earliest of our fundraising events, one held at St. Joseph’s University.   It was 1992, I believe.   It was a dinner.  Ellen and I were nervous about the choir and about how everything would turn out.  We were seated at table with Ralph, Bette, Patricia and Gordon.   Patricia in her marvelous way made us all feel comfortable, a sign of the fruitful friendship already among the four guests and the encouragement that would flow out of those four hearts in the direction of Gesu’s children.   We enjoyed the evening.  

Then Ralph and Bette took so much initiative, visiting the school and encouraging us.  They perceived Gesu School as doing something unique.   In some troubled areas of Philadelphia this was an accurate perception.  From then on propelled by his and Bette’s kindness to the children and support for the teachers and administrators Ralph introduced the school to a far wider audience: John and Rosalie DiIulio and the honorable symposium guests.  There were strategy meetings at Ralph’s office with our first chair and great friend Win Churchill and others.   Ralph’s assistant, Mary Shields, always generous and kind.   There were tours of the school with persons whom Ralph was sure would help us.   

Encouraged by Ralph we grew at the school developing our own talents and becoming more ambitious to secure its future.   All of the elements of stability came together: the place of the school in the region, the financial resources, the talent devoted to the classroom. 

Ralph kept up to date with the marvelous work that Chris Beck and Bryan Carter brought to the office of president since 2003.  Right down to recent months.   Our current chair Gordon and, of course, Sister Ellen represent a marvelous continuity.    Today amazing things at Gesu:  for example, the students in the older grades all do their school work on tablets!   They had them operating even before the Prep introduced them as a requirement.


There is a beautiful hymn of worship with these words about the just man:   We proclaim the words in Ralph’s memory: “In your strength, O Lord God, the just man rejoices and in your victory he greatly exults.”   Thank you, Ralph, for drawing us into this spirit of praise for the God that blessed us, thousands of work colleagues, friends, the children at Gesu and, of course, your wonderful family with your gifts.

(See Ralph's obituary in the Inquirer  (October, 2016) with details of his  extraordinary life.)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Day TEN LEPERS


THANKSGIVING DAY   TEN LEPERS (Luke)  

You might enjoy today opening the web page of the Wall Street Journal and seeing a review of President Obama’s humorous ways over the years of following the tradition of granting a turkey a pardon on this holiday.   The video shows the ten favorite turkey day clemency jokes.   For example just as the president is called POTUS, he refers to one forgiven turkey as TOTUS.   In another pardon ceremony the turkey has the name Popcorn.  This, President Barack Obama says, just proves that somebody with a silly name can make it to the White House.

So much for that.  Let’s move from turkeys to lepers.   I have an artistic representation of the miracle of the ten lepers which focuses on the attitudes that surround the miracle itself.  Here we see the ten lepers sticking together by necessity in the outskirts of some town.   We see them pleading with Jesus for help.  Material assistance may be their typical request but the intensity of their petition seems to indicate their knowledge of Jesus’ healing gifts.   At this moment Jesus is approaching them but his disciples hang back illustrating that they share their culture’s fear of associating with lepers…..

 “The Jesuit is called to travel –as Ignatius says—and make our life in whatever part of the world there is hope of greater service to God and help of souls.”

In our image we see the disciples traveling with the Lord but their traditions and customs are obstacles on the way prompting them to hold back.   Pope Francis says this (to us Jesuits) about the process of traveling: “Being on the road for Ignatius is more than just setting off and moving alone.   It indicates a state of being.  It’s all about drawing profit, progress, moving forward, doing things for others’ benefit."

In our image Jesus’ willingness to move closer to the lepers models this as the first step in the process of being of service to them.  In this image the only positive note of the disciples holding back is that they are sticking together and trying to understand.  Their isolation and their togetherness is in some sense a mirror image of the lepers.  In the process of healing the lepers Jesus is beginning also a process of healing the disciples of their fear of the unknown……

Let us even if we are reluctant like the disciples to participate in this scene pray for the spirit of joy and consolation that the lepers surely experienced.  And for that sense of gratitude that Jesus here and elsewhere names: “I thank thee, Father, that you have revealed to these little ones the mystery of your Kingdom.”……

And also ask for the attitude of the leper who returns to give thanks.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Prep Kairos 152 at Jesuit Center

These seven young men, seniors at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia finish today their service to Kairos 152.  They led a group of Prep juniors during the three-day retreat.    They are left to right:  Matt Zito, Mike Leonard, Dave Molz, Jon Erdy, Ryan Breslin, Chris Coney and Charlie Nugent.

I wish we were delivering a better world to these young men.  But I have confidence in their integrity.  Of course, as a people of hope we still count on miracles!   Let's encourage these guys to expect them.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

David Gross & Tim Gross Music in the Main Chapel


November 14, 2016
3:00 PM

Organ and alto (and tenor) Sax Concert



David Gross (organ) and Tim Gross (sax) filled this big space with sound!

They entertained us for about an hour with a variety of music composed and arranged for the two instruments.   There were soothing melodies (an organ Pastorale by Guilmant), a jarring piece for organ and tenor sax (Music for a Short Subject by DeBlasio), an amusing piece (Cat Suite by Bedard) and a setting of hymns (Hartley's My Shepherd's Sacred Throne).