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An Observer From the Vatican

Guy-Consolmagno-Vatican-ObservatoryJesuit brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, was recently awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for “outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist” by the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences. According to the Vatican Observatory website, he is the curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Castel Gandolfo. “His research explores the connections between meteorites and asteroids, and the origin and evolution of small bodies in the solar system.”

Brother Guy received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in 1978. After leaving MIT, he joined the Peace Corps for two years. In 1993, he joined the Vatican Observatory.

“I once caused a stir in a church in Hawaii by announcing that I was ‘an observer from the Vatican,’” Said Brother Guy. “Indeed, I am. As it happens, I was in Hawaii to use the telescopes there, just as I also observe with the Vatican’s own telescope in Arizona. That is my job with the Vatican Observatory.”

Brother Guy, says the AAS, “occupies a unique position within our profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief.”

Brother Guy himself says, “The God I believe in is not of the universe, but existed before the universe began; not a part of nature, but super-natural. If you believe in that kind of God, then there is room to ask how the rest of the world works, and room to wonder if it works by regular laws. We know from scripture that God is responsible for the universe, in a step-by- step manner. Genesis outlines a creation story that is fundamentally different from the Babylonian story in that rather than the physical universe being an accident, Genesis tells us that God deliberately willed it to exist.”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God;
all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

Pope Benedict, Vocations and the Apostleship of Prayer

The Holy Father’s prayer intention for the month of April as announced by the Apostleship of Prayer is:

that many young people may hear the call of Christ and follow him in the priesthood and religious life.”

Amen to that! And the Pontiff’s mission intention is “that the risen Christ may be a sign of certain hope for the men and women of the African continent.”

The Apostleship of Prayer promotes among other things the offering of each person’s daily prayers, works, joys and sufferings to the Lord. Begun in France in 1844 by a group of Jesuit seminarians, the Apostleship of Prayer is truly the Pope’s own “prayer group.” It is, as Pope John Paul II wrote in 1985, “a precious treasure from the Pope’s heart and the Heart of Christ.”

The US National Director is Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., an IRL Board Member. Visit their website for morning offering prayers, the monthly intentions, reflections and much more.

 

North American Martyrs

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Today we remember and celebrate the planting of the Church in North America through the martyrdom of the Jesuit martyrs Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, and companions. In honor of these true heroes of the faith, enjoy this short video with Fr. James Kobicki, S.J. of the Apostleship of Prayer.

May the courage of these martyrs, rooted in the love of God, inspire us to live wholeheartedly for Christ today, and to offer our own sufferings in union with Christ for the life of the world.

Band of Jesuits

In the Fall 2010 issue of Jesuit Journeys, Jesuit Michael Rossmann describes his community’s new “Hearts on Fire” retreats for young adults. During the summer months, a group of young Jesuit  priests and scholastics travel from city to city, opening the treasures of Ignatian spirituality to eager audiences.

Some excerpts from Rossmann’s article:

“It was deeply exciting to share our spirituality. I did not completely recognize just how helpful the Spiritual Exercises and Ignatian spirituality were for people today until a retreatant expressed how she felt as if she were the only one in the room as we went through the ideas of consolation and desolation and Ignatius rules for discernment in that it was connecting with her on such a deep, personal level. . . .

“We targeted young adults in their 20s and 30s. Many expressed they had gone on retreats during high school and college but had not been to a retreat in a long time and had never encountered something like this.We shared the Spiritual Exercises and the spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer, and people found it remarkably fresh and relevant.

“Really, we were simply messengers. We discussed Ignatian contemplation, led them through a Gospel scene, and then gave them time to practice on their own–an experience many found deeply valuable and something that they could integrate into their own prayer lives. While we expressed this through our own voices with particular stories and insights from our own experiences, for the most part, we simply shared with others the immensely rich gifts that lie at the heart of our Jesuit spirituality. . . .

“There were four or five of us Jesuits there each weekend to give talks, play music, and lead prayer. . . . Not only did we have a blast hitting the road, but we grew in community and in our own vocations. And people saw this. It was illuminating to read many evaluations that noted our evident camaraderie and how this contributed to a great retreat atmosphere.”

Click here for a blog post by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J. of the Apostleship of Prayer on the “Hearts on Fire” retreats. And check out this vocation website for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin provinces of the Jesuits.