Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the December 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Volume LIV, No. 31
Fifty Years Ago: November 28, 1965

John F. Kennedy Pavilion dedicated at Gonzaga University; senator receives honorary degree

On the eve of the second anniversary of his brother’s assassination, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said that “a new tolerance replaced bitterness ... a new understanding replaced rancor.”

The senator, in his dedicatory address of Gonzaga University’s John F. Kennedy Pavilion last Sunday, said that the nationwide soul-searching that followed President Kennedy’s assassination forced Americans to “a clearer kind of thinking about the kind of people and the kind of nation we want to be.... They reassessed their own course and some of their own ways of thinking about many of the problems of our country.

“We began to see more clearly that many of the relationships we had accepted in our country, between people of different races, were contrary to history and morally wrong. And so we have seen a moral awakening in this field, and considerable progress in the field of civil rights.

“We began to see that it was not in keeping with our heritage to let millions of poor exist in the midst of plenty. And we began a new effort to wipe out poverty, and extend opportunity,” he continued.

“We came to see that many of the long-held prejudices we held about people from other countries and other cultures had no basis in fact.”

Mentioning major reform in U.S. laws in the field of immigration, programs in the field of Medicare and aid to schools, reform in tax structure, the senator said that actions of the administration during the last two years “have kept the U.S. strong.”

The senator, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Gonzaga, said that “all of the things that were done were programs President Kennedy had advocated for many years.”

He attributed the fact that the United States is a “better country today” to the resurgence of the American people and desire to work together. “Without this support, no president can succeed,” he said. “With it, no country can fail.”

Qualities of the late president which his brother said all Americans can make use of included the quality of “understanding ... the ability to appreciate every point of view ... to respect people and to work with them ... the quality of intelligence and commitment to fact.”

Jesuit Father John P. Leary, University president, introduced Senator Kennedy, and student body president Danny Ukishima of Hawaii tendered the welcome.

Guests present included Bishop Topel; Mayor Neal R. Fosseen; John J. O’Connell, State Attorney General; Congressman Thomas W. Foley; and U.S. Senators Henry M. Jackson and Warren G. Magnuson. Jesuit Father Neil G. McCluskey, academic vice-president, presented the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree to the senator, and Jesuit Father Arthur L. Dussault, vice-president in charge of university relations, gave the invocation. Jesuit Father Richard E. Twohy, professor of political science, presided.

From the Inland Register – Volume 48, No. 8
Twenty-five Years Ago: December 6, 1990

New Jesuit Provincial: a time of discernment, regeneration, assessment, renewal

by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

Jesuit Father Stephen Sundborg, new provincial of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, sees his six-year term in that post as a time of consultation and process, working with his brother Jesuits to discern the needs of the Province, regenerating the sense of Jesuit companionship through ministry.

It was not always so for Jesuit Provincials, Father Sundborg said in an interview last month.

He called the provincial’s changing role a “big shift,” away from control and authority.

“It used to be the provincial simply commanded and sent,” he said.

He views his new role rather as engaging in consultation and dialogue with the members of the Jesuit community, “a mode of discerning with people about directions that we should go.”

Like many Religious communities, as well as diocesan clergy and lay ministers, the Jesuits find themselves called to do more, but with fewer numbers, he said.

“We have orientations for what we want to be about,” he said – “enabling lay ministry, working collaboratively, being in solidarity with the poor, stressing evangelization and Christian critique of culture.”

Rather than heavily staffing parishes, ministries or educational institutions with Jesuits, the future perhaps will mean instilling a sense of Jesuit values and charisms, rather than actual staffing.

“It adds up in all sort of very helpful, but difficult discussions and deliberations about what those characteristics and charisms and ideals might be,” he said. “What are they in a university? They’re not the same as they are in a parish or ministry among Native Americans.”

Part of the deliberative process, he said, will require Jesuits “to come together more among ourselves in our companionship, in our community way of living, in our faith sharing among ourselves, so that we will have the kind of support and challenge we need.

“That’s an essential characteristic of Jesuit life,” he said.

“We’re companions in ministry, not simply individuals in ministry.

Whatever we’re about, we’re trying to serve the faith through the promotion of justice.”

His term, he said, will be one of assessment, re-evaluation and renewal as the Oregon Province moves ahead.

“There’s a kind of readiness now, and a desire now, for Jesuits to be together in a new kind of way. It’s thematic for me as provincial; regeneration of companionship through ministry.”

He entered the Society out of high school with the original goal of being a “dog sled priest” ministering as a missionary among the Eskimos.

“I was very much impressed by the example of the missionaries – these people who could both pursue the intellectual life, which I was very interested in, yet work in that kind of way as a missionary.”

Instead, however, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Gonzaga University and a doctorate from the Gregorian University in Rome. He taught at Gonzaga Prep and St. Michael’s Institute for seven years (“this feels a bit like coming home”), and at Seattle University for eight.

He was chosen provincial by the Jesuits’ Superior General, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. The six-year appointment is non-renewable.

The appointment came after a long period of discerning on the part of the Jesuits of the Province. A final list of three names was submitted to Rome.

He sees a continuation of traditional Jesuit ministries in the Province – which consists of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska – despite fewer numbers.

Through collaboration of ministry, both in education and elsewhere, “we’re attempting to have an even wider impact than we’ve had in the past.

“How do we work better as a team, with people, rather than as individuals?” he said. “Working collaboratively as a team, in a somewhat more subordinate role than in positions of control” is the direction of formation and training of the new Jesuits.

“That’s true in every setting – parishes, the whole parish team. How to train Jesuits to be able to work as a member of a team, rather than a person who controls the situation or dominates it. It’s a whole new way of formation and training,” he said.

The development should not be viewed with dismay, however.

“I don’t find Jesuits at all discouraged by the lack of numbers,” he said. “I don’t find them without hope about the future. I find them rather challenged by how to do this in a different way … a shift in the way we go about our ministry.”

(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)

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