February 2023
Gregorian University Foundation
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Lent & Repentance
Michael C. McFarland, SJ

Lent begins with a call to repentance. The first reading on Ash Wednesday starts this way:

Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the Lord, your God.

The ashes we receive that day are an acknowledgement of our sinfulness, which has alienated us from God and from one another, out of a desire to be reconciled, to “return to the Lord.” This is not meant to demean or punish us. Rather it is an invitation to face honestly the reality of who we are and the burdens we carry so that we can be set free from the destructive habits, tendencies and structures we have created for ourselves.

A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
November 4 - 12, 2023

Walk in the steps of St Ignatius as he came 500 years ago to the Holy Land. With him, learn to know the Lord Jesus better in his own land, to love him more and to follow him more nearly. Discover how the archaeology and geography of the Holy Land can bring us even closer to the Lord Jesus. 

This pilgrimage is organized by the Gregorian University Foundation, in close  collaboration with the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem. Fr Josef Mario Briffa,  Director of the PBI in Jerusalem, will accompany the group throughout the pilgrimage. Fr  Josef teaches archaeology and geography of the Holy Land at the PBI in Rome and  Jerusalem, and is currently writing a guide book on Ignatius pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 

  • Caesarea Marittima — Stella Maris (Mt. Carmel) — Nazareth — Lake Tiberias
  • Sea of Galilee by boat; Tabgha (Church of the Multiplication), Primacy of Peter,  Capernaum (House of Peter); Banias (Caesarea Philippi) 
  • Magdala — Mount Tabor 
  • Herodion – Shepherds’ Fields – Bethlehem – Philip’s Fountain (En Haniya) – Ein  Karem 
  • Western Wall, Temple Mount, Via Dolorosa (“Holy  Circuit”), Holy Sepulcher; Mount Zion 
  • Dead Sea/Qumran - Jordan River - Jericho - Jerusalem
  • Mount of Olives — Emmaus
If you are interested in learning more about this pilgrimage please click below.
2023 Lenten Retreat
Deepening our Friendship with Christ: A Virtual Retreat Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

We invite you to participate in this guided retreat extended over the six weeks of Lent. There will be two talks per week with reflections based on themes from the Spiritual Exercises and related Scripture, along with suggestions on how to pray over them. The talks will be posted each Sunday and Wednesday and will be available for viewing whenever is convenient. For those who are interested, there will also be opportunities for faith-sharing in small groups online:

Mondays at 7:30 pm EST with Fr. Bill George SJ

Fridays at 2:00 pm EST with Fr. Michael McFarland SJ

Retreat Schedule:

In the News
Gregorian alumnus Sr. Regina Da Costa Padro, of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) was recently appointed National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Brazil for a five-year period (2022-2027).
Sr. Da Costa Padro, who is the first woman named to this role, was Regional Superior of the Missionaries of the Immaculate at the time of her appointment. She holds a Masters in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University; a degree in Theology also from the Gregorian University; a degree in Psychology, from the Gregorian Institute of Psychology; and a Diploma in Missionary Spirituality, from the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome. 

Pontifical Oriental Institute alumnus and Lebanese Maronite priest Father Michel Jalakh, O.A.M., until now rector of the Antonine University in Baabda, Lebanon, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Secretary of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches. He received his Doctorate in Ecclesiology from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in 2008.

Pontifical Gregorian University alumnus Father Sebastian Šujević was recently named as the next Provincial of Croatia. After studying Philosophy in Zagreb and Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood in2009. In 2012, he completed a licentiate in Fundamental Theology also from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In Memoriam

Pontifical Biblical Institute alumnus and newly created Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Wa, Ghana died at he age of 63 in Rome on November 28, 2022. 

Cardinal Baawobr was an expert in interreligious dialogue, particularly in promoting understanding between Christians and Muslims, and he was greatly involved in ecumenical dialogue and cooperation with other Christian churches.

Read The World Misses a Smiling Cardinal 

Pontifical Gregorian University alumnus Reverend James O’Leary, 87, entered into eternal life February 3, 2023 after a brief illness. 

“For many, Fr. Jim will always be known for his incredible curious mind, his thirst for knowledge as well as his sense of humor and sharp wit,” said Bishop Paul J. Bradley. “Even more notable was Father’s unwavering love of the Gospel, and his deep devotion to all the Faithful he served throughout his 61 years as a priest.” Read more HERE.

Papal Audience for Pontifical Schools this weekend

On Saturday 25 February 2023, in the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican City, the Holy Father Pope Francis will receive in audience the academic communities of the Pontifical Universities and Institutions present in Rome, which represent a collection of around 15 thousand students from 120 countries on five continents.

The event, which will have as its theme "Forming Together to Evangelise", is promoted by the Conference of Rectors of the Roman Pontifical Universities and Institutions (CRUIPRO) and the Association that brings together the student representatives of the 22 institutions involved. 

An unusual music request and an invitation

Anthony Tambasco

I am an alumnus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute. You may recall an article I wrote earlier about my experiences at the Biblicum, which I now have had the enjoyment of seeing again this past October. At this time, I come with an unusual request that might also bring an invitation. Let me first give context. I am presently president of the board of directors of Encore Creativity, which is the largest choral organization for senior adults (55 years and over) in the United States. I and another member of my board are parishioners at the Jesuit parish of Holy Trinity Church near the campus of Georgetown University. I taught at Georgetown, two of my board members have graduate degrees from Jesuit universities, and the Georgetown graduate now serves on one of that university’s boards. I describe this to bring out the links to Jesuit alumni, if not also to Gregorian alumni to whom I make my request and with whom I explore further possibilities.
Alumni Appointments

Rev. David Abadías Aurín,
currently parish priest and professor at the Facultat de Teologia de Catalunya (Spain),
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Barcelona (Spain)



Rev. José Miguel Asimbaya Moreno,
currently Chancellor, Canon and Pastor of the Cathedral of Quito (Equador),
Military Ordinary for Ecuador



Rev. Levente Balázs Martos,
currently Rector of the Central Seminary of Budapest (Hungary),
Auxiliary Bishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Esztercom-Budapest (Hungary)



HE Mons. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso,
former Assistant Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization with the role of President of the Pontifical Mission Societies,
Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan



HE Archbishop Teodoro Gómez Rivera,
currently Auxiliary Bishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa (Honduras),
Bishop of the Diocese of Choluteca (Honduras)



HE Archbishop Michael Leniham, OFM,
currently Bishop of the Diocese of La Ceiba (Honduras),
first Metropolitan Archbishop of San Pedro Sula (Honduras)



Archbishop Rolandas Makrickas,
Extraordinary Commissioner for the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome,
Titular Bishop of Tolentino conferring on him the personal title of Archbishop



HE Archbishop Hugo Alberto Torres Marín,
currently Bishop of the Diocese of Apartadó (Colombia),
Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe de Antioquia (Colombia)



Rev. Mons. Enrico Trevisi,
so far Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish in Cremona and Coordinator of the Family Area of ​​families ,
Bishop of the Diocese of Trieste (Italy)



Rev. Gerardo Villalonga Hellín,
currently Vicar General and Diocesan Administrator of Menorca (Spain),
Bishop of the Diocese of Menorca (Spain)

Mass Cards
available online

The Gregorian University Foundation is pleased to offer Mass cards for the living and for the deceased. 
Praying with the Pope in February
Pope Francis' Universal prayer intention for February is for:


We pray that parishes, placing communion at the center, may increasingly become communities of faith, fraternity and welcome towards those most in need.

Reflect further on the Prayer Intention for February 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 institutions 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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