March 2020
Gregorian University Foundation
Support our Mission • Build the Church

A Message from Fr Michael C. McFarland, GUF President

Dear Friends,

We are in a very different place now than we were a month ago, as the corona virus pandemic has exploded all over the world and we have become acutely aware of the terrible threat it poses to our life and health, as well as our social and financial well-being.

Italy, as you have no doubt heard, has been the hardest hit, with more recorded deaths even than China.  Since the focus of our mission is there, we have been especially concerned about their welfare and have kept in close touch.  In this newsletter, we provide several oral, visual and written accounts of what is happening in the schools and communities there.

A video message from 
Fr Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University

Gerry Whelan, SJ

Pontifical Gregorian University

Gerry Whelan SJ is an Irish Jesuit lecturing in the Gregorian University in Rome. Like the rest of Italy, he and his community have been on lockdown for a number of weeks now. “It’s a challenging time”, he tells Pat Coyle, of Irish Jesuit Communications. “It’s also weird and wonderful.”

He describes his utterly changed life in Rome, and answers candidly when Pat asks him if he has learned anything from this unprecedented experience.


3 March 2020
West Palm Beach, FL
Foundation Gathering

Fr Bill George SJ, GUF Senior Advisor to the President, celebrating Mass at the home of Janet Phillips in West Palm Beach. Afterwards Janet hosted a lovely brunch before all went over to the ball park to watch the Washington Nationals play the Detroit Tigers.
Foundation supporters enjoyed a Washington Nationals game at Spring training in West Palm Beach, FL:  Greg alumnus Msgr David Toups, Rector, St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and Fr Gregg Caggianelli, Dean of Human Formation.

Prayer for Corona Virus

Tonight, before falling asleep
think about when we will return to the street.
When we hug again,
when all the shopping together will seem like a party.
Let's think about when the coffees will return to the bar,
the small talk, the photos close to each other.
We think about when it will be all a memory
but normality will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift.
We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us.
Every second will be precious.
Swims at the sea, the sun until late, sunsets, toasts, laughter.
We will go back to laughing together.
Strength and courage.
The Gregorian University Foundation is pleased to present the organization's 2019 Impact Report. The issue includes updates from alumni, students, faculty, and GUF president Fr McFarland. Additionally, there is a comprehensive list or our generous donors. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the report, please email Colleen Mudlaff at

Peter Lah, SJ
Pontifical Gregorian University

Dear friends,
Hope you are well! I wish to update you on the renovation of our studio. GREAT NEWS! The remodeling is complete, we are waiting for soundproof doors and will be ready to use it. I posted a couple photos HERE.

It is in the nature of these things that most of what we did is not visible to the naked eye. We gutted the old place and created the three spaces plus the corridor. They are thoroughly sound proofed. We installed a brand new, quiet air conditioning system. All electric installations are new and studio-grade.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your generous support! With the funds that we have received and those pledged we covered 2/3 of the cost of the remodeling. Thanks to a special donor we were able to hold a weeklong intensive workshop, under direction of Fr. Christof Wolf (Loyola Productions Munich/ Los Angeles)
, where the students learned the basics of video production. It was hard but rewarding work! I decided to publish some of their classroom exercises on my YouTube channel for you to see. Keep in mind this is their first experience in video, and some of the more exciting clips are not visible because they used copyrighted music. (That is part of their training, finding the right kind of music!) The channel is called IntArctica and I intend to update it as new videos become available.

Our next step is to collaborate with some major Catholic media organizations here in Rome, and of course use the internet. 

On a more personal note, we are having a very special kind of Lent this year due to the coronavirus epidemic. We learn how fragile our societies are and how interconnected we are. No country can isolate itself, and no one can be safe in a country which does not have a good health system for everyone, or where the leadership is incompetent. May God spare us the worst! Through God's grace may we grow stronger in faith, hope, and charity!

You all are included in my special mass intention on the first day of every month.
Peter Lah

Faculty News
Jacquineau Azetsop, SJ

Pontifical Gregorian University

Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, has recently released a book by Jacquineau Azetsop, SJ, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Gregorian. The book is entitled Integral Human Development: Challenges to Sustainability and Democracy. You can read the book description as well as purchase the book at a 20% discount by clicking HERE.

Student Profile
Eltom de Sousa Melo
Pontifical Gregorian University

Eltom was born on January 9, 1987 in Itabaiana in the state of Paraiba, Brazil. It is an area in the northeast of the country, just south of the Amazon, and contains the easternmost point of the Americas. Eltom is a member of the Instituto Don Nicola Mazza which is based in Verona, Italy and has missions in Brazil. The Instituto is dedicated to education of adults and youth to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to advance themselves. For that purpose, Eltom was ordained as a priest in 2017 and resides with the community in Rome.

Eltom is in his third and last year of study for a Licentiate degree in Biblical Theology at the Gregorian. His seminary in Brazil had an educational connection to the Greg. Fr. Scott Brodeur, SJ, a member of the Northeast Province in the United States, who is on the Greg’s faculty, went to Brazil and gave a talk at the seminary. That was how Eltom found himself  in Rome. Faculty members of the Gregorian often go to other parts of the world to give lectures and thus affect the lives of many others who are unable to come to Rome to study.
It was Eltom’s interest in the education of youth that brought him to the Instituto Mazza and that is what he would like to do when he returns to Brazil. He envisions his future as teaching either in a seminary or in a private university where he has more freedom to work with youth who need encouragement. His community has a project in the city of Recife, Brazil for developing the educational potential of disadvantaged students. Eltom feels that he has a great future by using the knowledge of the Bible and theology that he has acquired at the Gregorian. He speaks Italian in addition to his native Portuguese. His studies would not be possible without the generosity of donors to the Gregorian University scholarship fund.  Profile by David Books, SJ

Let children pray the Ignatian Examen at Home

The season of Lent and the current crisis of the COVID-19 illness remind us that Jesus is close to us. He wants to bring us hope and peace, especially now.
Even though your students might have classes canceled, you can still share with them the Sacred Story Youth program. Recordings for each grade level can be FOUND HERE 
Help your children take advantage of this pause in the normal routines of our daily lives to connect with Jesus. 
We hold all of you in our hearts and in our prayers.
Jesus, we Trust in You!
Bill Watson, SJ
Founder & President, Sacred Story Institute

Education for Fraternal Humanity: Where Do Religions Come In?

Pontifical Gregorian University
What do religions play as a role in meeting global education challenges? What is their contribution for a more fraternal humanity? What teaching methods can be used to improve religious education and to build a new kind of society without interreligious discrimination, stereotypes, prejudices and biases?
All these questions became main issues of our post-modern life, where concepts of diversity and identity should be part of the solution, not the problem.

Virtual Tour
Vatican Museums

For those who are under quarantine and self-isolation, the Vatican has released 7 virtual tours of the Vatican Museums. Spend some time looking at wonder and beauty that has persevered through hundreds of years!

Mass Cards
available online

The Gregorian University Foundation is pleased to offer Mass cards for the living and for the deceased. 

When you shop online, did you know that Amazon gives a percentage of your purchases to nonprofit organizations?
Just click HERE to select the Gregorian University Foundation as your charity of choice.
Praying with the Pope in March
Pope Francis' Universal prayer intention for March is: 

Catholics in China
We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.

Reflect further on the Prayer Intention for March and unite yourself with the Pope's Prayer Network 
Watch the Pope's Video >>

The mission of the Gregorian University Foundation is to raise funds that provide financial assistance for the Education Consortium of the Society of Jesus in Rome, Italy, which includes the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

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