Sunday, April 22, 2007


(In the poetry form called "villanelle")

by the Gesu School students of Room 16

No one could have imagined what would happen that day
It was a day unlike any other
No one knew students would become like prey

It is hard to say
Why someone would kill all those sisters and brothers
No one could have imagined what would happen that day

Thirty-two people lay
Taken from their fathers and mothers
No one knew students would become like prey

Their souls went away
In tragedy they were smothered
No one could have imagined what would happen that day

They died in a painful way
Now they sleep under white covers
No one knew students would become like prey

Their memories will forever stay
All different faces, all different colors
No one could have imagined what would happen that day
No one knew students would become like prey.

We are grieved by what happened at Virginia Tech and deeply troubled by the inhumanity of the gunman. His own family bears so much anguish as do the families of all those killed.

Those of us with distance from the tragedy must begin to search through the story of what happened to find something to get us through the confusion and doubt about our future. We let the sacrificial death of Professor Liviu Librescu inform our grief. He protected his students from the gunman in the corridor by blocking the door of his classroom and urging them to climb out the windows. There is little doubt that this professor saved many of his students from certain death.

When Professor Librescu was a young boy, his family suffered brutally in the Holocaust and later he refused membership in the Communist party in Romania at great cost to his professional career. He knew about crisis and suffering. Finally he found in Virginia a hopeful place to pursue his life and his career. For these reasons he knew how to answer when the ultimate call came to his classroom. I imagine him being the first to understand the triumph of his sacrifice as he succumbed to one of the gunman's bullets.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

These photos show even more uses of our chapel space. The two artists above, Soprano Elizabeth Weigle and Guitarist Daniel Lippel, enthralled us with their talent.
And above James Stormes, SJ, preached on the first Sunday after Easter.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Models (above) in Matteo's Performance Piece

Matteo at left welcoming his audience.
Matteo above congratualting his
Above are photos from the final project of Matthew Quinones, senior art major at Saint Joseph's University. His performance piece , using the model of a fashion show, celebrated the presence of the youthful human figure in the urban environment and the clothes that they wear.
Matthew has a burning desire to bring the love of God to the young people of the urban streets. So he was happy to stage this performance piece in the Chapel of Saint Joseph's University.
As an upper classman this young man came to a gathering of incoming freshmen students of color and gave a short presentation. He startled me by proclaiming this: "People call me a spic and a faggot; but I know who I am. Jesus calls me by different names: priest, prophet and king!" People do not fail to notice this young man!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Conversation that this niece Maura (above at First Communion and at Easter Dinner) has with her mother and father:

"Can women be presidents?"

"Of course they can, Maura. Why do you ask?"

Rolling her eyes: "Mom, all the presidents were men!"

"Well, can women be priests."

"No, Maura, women can't be priests"

"Is that a Catholic rule?"


Well, if a woman becomes president, can she tell the Catholics to make women priests?"

Friday, April 06, 2007

Holy Thursday 2007
We bring our own life stories to any table when we sit and dine with others. And tonight we bring our stories, our joys and sorrows, our lights and darknesses, to this particular table of the Eucharistic Supper. This night we sit and dine with Jesus and his disciples. This night, this meal is different from every other night, every other meal.

Around the table of this Eucharistic Supper are meanings complex and challenging. The power of Jesus as Priest and Prophetic Liberator overwhelms us. The power of Jesus as the King, the royal dinner host, breaks down our reluctance. By the washing of the feet he challenges us to love our brothers and sisters. By the offering of his body and blood for us, food for our long journey, he challenges us to a new relationship with him.

We, for our part, present little evidence to him that we are up to these challenges. But our dinner host, the Lord Jesus, counts on the repetition, the remembrance, the reincarnation among us of the complaints of the Israelites in their time slavery, of the weeping of the exiles in Babylon who remembered their home in Jerusalem, of the longing of sinners for redemption from sin.

Brothers and sisters, this annual celebration of the Last Supper must enkindle in us the complaints of those in slavery, the weeping of those in exile, and the lamentations of those who fear the God who can mark our sins. By remembering these stories we can begin to recite around this table a true narration of our own stories. Our stories will reach the ear of God and God will take compassion on us just as God has taken compassion on the slaves, exiles and sinners of our long history.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Members of the Ignatian College Connection meet Dr. Benjamin Carson and
his wife, Candy. Stephanie Neal discusses with Dr. Carson her desire to study pre-med in college and go on to a medical career.

Dr. Lesly D'Ambola presents the Shaffrey award to Dr. Benjamin Carson.

High school students, some preparing for medical careers, were present at an award ceremony at Saint Joseph's University to honor Doctor Benjamin Carson, Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Carson honored Saint Joseph's by coming to accept the Schaffrey Award for outstanding service in the medical profession, an award made by members of the Medical Alumni.
Dr. Carson, as accomplished surgeon and author, provides countless young students with mentoring and encouragement. Some of the students had read his books: "THINK BIG" and "GIFTED HANDS."
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Carson discussed how he struggled through the first year of medical school. His advisor wanted him to quit. But from an early age he wanted to be a doctor and his determination helped him find a way to succeed. He allowed that he has been the subject of several "fifteen minutes of fame." But the most important thing in life is "walking with the will of God. " His experience with surgery and healing has convinced him that God is at work among us.