AJCU Celebrates Pope Francis' Historic First Year

To commemorate Pope Francis' one-year anniversary, members of the AJCU network have participated in interviews and offered their perspectives on his Papacy to the media; hosted symposia on the "Francis Effect"; and even brought his likeness to campus, for students to have their picture taken with the Pope.
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AJCU Celebrates Pope Francis' Historic First Year
Thursday, March 13, 2014


Life-size Pope Francis at Loyola Maryland

WASHINGTON, DC - On March 13, 2013, history was made when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the first Jesuit Pope. To commemorate Pope Francis' one-year anniversary, members of the AJCU network have participated in interviews and offered their perspectives on his Papacy to the media; hosted symposia on the "Francis Effect"; and even brought his likeness to campus, for students to have their picture taken with the Pope.

AJCU President Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J. shared his thoughts with The Christian Post on Pope Francis' first year and what he anticipates from his Papacy in years to come.

CNN interviewed Boston College's assistant sociology professor Rev. Gustavo Morello, S.J., School of Theology and Ministry Jesuit students Ryan Duns, Javier Montes, Mario Powell and Sam Sawyer, St. Ignatius Parish Pastor and BC Artist-in-Residence Rev. Robert VerEecke, S.J., and alumnus Robert Bowers '82 H '02 for a feature on the "Francis Effect." BC theologian Richard Gaillardetz was featured in an article by Reuters and in a TV interview with the Boston Fox News affiliate.

On March 26th, the College of the Holy Cross Committee on Mission and Identity will host a free panel for the public titled “Who are we to judge? Perspectives on Pope Francis,” featuring commentary by Alice Laffey, associate professor of religious studies, Mathew Schmalz, associate professor of religious studies, and Rev. Thomas Worcester, S.J., professor of history.

This winter, Creighton University’s Collaborative Ministry Office brought faculty and staff together to read the words of Pope Francis’ exhortation The Joy of the Gospel. More than 85 faculty and staff participated in the book club, many of whom gave the experience rave reviews.

Fairfield University administrators offered statements to the media, including President 
Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., who said, “Fairfield University rejoices in the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ election. His tenure has already worked a revolution in perceptions of the Church both among Catholics and non-Catholics on our campus. I cannot tell you how many of our faculty, staff and students have told me of the positive impact that Pope Francis has had on their own engagement with the Church and our mission and identity as a Jesuit and Catholic university.”

Fordham University's Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Msgr. Joseph Quinn participated in an interfaith panel discussion on Pope Francis' first year on NBC-4 New York, and Theology Chair 
Patrick Hornbeck, Ph.D. discussed Pope Francis' Papacy on Al Jazeera America.


On March 14th and 15th, John Carroll University will host a conference on "The Papacy: One Year Later," featuring JCU President Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J. and noted Jesuit theologian Rev. John O'Malley, S.J.

Loyola University Chicago was featured on NBC's Today Show for a segment on students' reactionstoPope Francis and his impact on the Catholic Church. Loyola campus minister Susan Haarman was also featured in a later segment on NBC Nightly News. Loyola faculty and staff were quoted in The Chicago Sun-Times about Pope Francis' high public ratings. On March 27th, the University will host "Habemus Papam+1: Symposium to mark first year of Pope Francis" with noted speakers Rev. Matt Malone, S.J. (Editor in chief, America Magazine) and John L. Allen Jr. (CNN Vaticanologist; associate editor at The Boston Globe).

Loyola University Maryland published an article for its alumni magazine featuring students' reflections on the Pope's first year. In addition, Rev. John Conley, S.J., Loyola's Bernard P. Knott Chair of Philosophy and Theology, was interviewed by Voice of America for a story on Pope Francis' first year. The University also brought a life-size Pope Francis cardboard cutout to campus this week for students to "get their picture taken with the Pope" to celebrate the anniversary of his election. On March 18th, the Archdiocese of Baltimore will host "The Francis Factor" on Loyola's campus, featuring Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston; click here for more details.

Regis University President Rev. John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J. shared his reflections on the anniversary in an open letter to the University community. He wrote, "Like John Paul when he came to Denver in that wonderful summer 20 years ago, Pope Francis seems to have a special connection to the young, a way of energizing them, pointing the way to possibilities for them and steering them toward the deepest hope we all have to engage in lives of meaning and purpose. Hope was particularly evident during World Youth Day in Brazil where he spoke of hope of the Christian message as an antidote to their deep concerns over unemployment, the future of the planet and the insensitivity of the world they are entering into as adults. For someone who interacts with college students continuously, I know the challenges that come in working with the young people in these uncertain times."

Rockhurst University President Rev. Thomas B. Curran offered comments on the anniversary: “In his inauguration, Pope Francis stated ‘authentic power is service. As a Jesuit university focused upon leadership, it is encouraging and inviting to have a pope, with a Jesuit heritage, who defines his leadership with service.”

Saint Joseph's University's Assistant to the Vice President for Mission and Identity, 
Rev. Daniel Joyce, S.J. was interviewed by Philadelphia's CBS affiliate, KYW-PHI, about Pope Francis. On February 26th, Fr. Joyce organized a panel titled "Pope Francis, Year of Firsts: Reflections on the Anniversary of the Papacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.” The University continues to maintain a “Pope Page” on its website with pictures and articles on Pope Francis.

University of Detroit Mercy's Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity, Rev. John M. Staudenmaier, SJ, was interviewed by WDIV-TV 4 (NBC) for his reactionstoPope Francis' first year in the Vatican.

The Jesuits of Wheeling Jesuit University made several statements about the anniversary, including President Rev. James Fleming, S.J. He said, “Being in the Society of Jesus, The Holy Father is our brother, and is a man who continues to lead a simple lifestyle. In just a year, we have learned so much from him. It is exciting to see the energy he is bringing to the Catholic Church worldwide. What seemed to be missing from the press reports is that to which the Pope is re-directing our attention: the life of Christ and basic teachings found in the Holy Scriptures; care for the poor; paying attention to the marginalized; welcoming the stranger."

On Tuesday, March 18th, Xavier University will host theologians Gillian Ahlgren, Ph.D. and Chris Pramuk, Ph.D., who will reflect on the Jesuit and Franciscan legacy in the Pope’s leadership and ministry; click here for more details. Xavier also offers a number of articles and videos related to Pope Francis' anniversary on JesuitResource.org.


This list will continue to be updated; please send news to Deanna Howes, AJCU's Director of Communications: dhowes@ajcunet.edu.

Quote of the week

"The greater. The better. The elusive idea of personifying the Magis in everything we do lives at the core of a Jesuit education. When we work, we must work as hard as we can. When we plan, we plan boldly. When we dream, we dream big."
Edward Cullen, Co-Founder, Bridge-USA, Fordham University '09


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