Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farewell, Joe Palmisano, S.J.

Today was the funeral of Joe Palmisano, S.J. who died at the age of 41 on Christmas Day. It is quite a tragedy that he suffered a lengthy illness, but there is comfort in knowing that his suffering has come to an end. We will miss him.

My last visit to Joe was two weeks ago at Campion Center. I was told he was weak and would not be able to recognize me. As I walked in, he said, "Hi, John," and we had a pleasant conversation. He thought he was at villa where he could rest and pray for a while before returning home. It was quite consoling for me

The funeral was filled with concelebrating priests. Though it was certainly a sad gathering, I again was very consoled by the presence of so many good brother Jesuits who cared deeply for Joe and for one another. It was very much like a homecoming for me since I haven't seen so many men of my province in three years as I was in Amman for two and had surgery this summer whereby I missed the province assemblies.

Joe arranged his own funeral and one of the most moving portions of it was when the oboist played Gabriel's Oboe from the film The Mission. The luncheon afterwards was just the way he wanted it: festive with lots of laughter.

We do miss him. The day was sad, but we have great stories to share with one another. He is now home with Christ and together they are making sure we are strengthened by our care for one another.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Quiet Sunday Morning

The other day as I said two masses in East Cambridge, I decided to take a walk in between the liturgies. I used to live in the area and I wanted to see what has changed in the area.

The first thing I noticed was just how quiet the streets were. I could not hear any automobile traffic and there were no people walking along the sidewalks. It was the most quiet I've heard in an inner city neighborhood for a long time. Sometimes parts of Roxbury can be this quiet.

As I walked towards Kendall Square, young professionals were outside for exercise or to walk their dogs. The area, while remaining quiet, had some energy. MIT borders Kendall Square and the students receive many commercial services in the area. I remember when the area contained just a few hotels and some computer company offices. Now there are some fine restaurants, boutiques, and coffeehouses.

Just down the road from the T-station is a new Square called Federal Square. It contains a series of restaurants, open gathering spaces, and a walkway to the Charles River. It feels hip and seems like the place to be. As I continued my walk, I came across more specialty shops and coffeehouses. I was pleased with the amount of development. Of course, there are also many new residences that support these markets and restaurants and the professionals who occupy these spaces have disposable income.

This new area is just three streets away from the church, which is basically a modest working-class neighborhood. I can see many changes coming fast to an area that was once, and for the present, a sleepy, quiet neighborhood. When I went back to church, I was hoping some of those people might have found the church, but that discovery is still to happen.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tom Reese's eBook

NCR eBook: Caring for Our Common Home

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iPad-mockup_laudato-si.jpgA Readers’ Guide and Commentary on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment
By Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ
$9.99

Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment has captured the attention of millions of people all over the world. One of the most important documents of this century, the encyclical puts the Catholic Church firmly behind the environmental movement, calling the world to a conversion that will have a huge impact on how we live, how our economy works, and how governments operate.

National Catholic Reporter Senior Analyst Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ provides an introduction, thoughtful questions, in-depth analysis and prompts for discussion.

Available from these eBook sellers:
iPad-mockup_inside_laudato-si.jpgTable of Contents:
Preface
The Encyclical’s Introduction
Chapter 1 “What is happening to our common home?”
Commentary - Pope Francis says ‘Facts are more important than ideas’
Chapter 2 “The Gospel of creation”
Commentary: Revelation and creation, respecting and sharing God’s gift
Chapter 3 The human roots of the ecological crisis
Commentary: Francis’ equation: Technology + greed = disaster
Chapter 4 Integral ecology
Commentary: Everything is connected
Chapter 5 Lines of approach and action
Commentary: Saving the environment through dialogue and transparency
Chapter 6 Ecological education and spirituality
Commentary: The path to change is environmental education and spirituality
About the Author:
Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a senior analyst for NCR and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. He writes weekly onNCR's Faith and Justice blog. Follow him on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ.