June 2020
Gregorian University Foundation
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The True Body of Christ

The shocking video that captured the brutal killing of George Floyd exposed for all to see a reality that many people of color in the US, especially African-Americans, experience every day.  This was not an isolated random act, but the latest in a long string of such incidents and a manifestation of the racism that continues to pervade the attitudes and structures of our society, exposing people of color to constant insult, mistreatment and mortal danger.
The video provoked widespread demonstrations and condemnations by people of good will of all races and backgrounds.  This included the leadership of the Catholic Church. A group of bishops representing the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement saying how “broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged” they are by the killing and how racism is “a real and present danger that must be met head on.” They were joined by Pope Francis, who in a message to the American people said, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
The most penetrating insight, however, came from Fr. Mario Powell, SJ, the President of Brooklyn Jesuit Prep, a Jesuit-sponsored Nativity school. In a hard-hitting, passionate reflection published earlier this month in America Magazine, he describes how, “As a 38-year-old black Jesuit priest, … I have undergone periods of paralysis, disbelief, anger, numbness, fear and despair since watching those agonizing nine minutes.” He recognizes that the many unjust structures in our society must change; but something more fundamental is needed for that to happen:

Simply put, these structures will not change until white America—which means individual white Americans—gets close to black and brown people. Until you can smell the stench of sin that we smell, until the smell of that strange fruit fills your nostrils and will not let you inhale the sweet fragrances of the world; until you can see in those nine minutes a black man as a brother and not withdraw from his suffering; until you can feel the pain of that knee on your own neck and suddenly find it hard to breath in front of your computer screen; until then nothing will change. These structures will not change until that body has a name and relationship to you…. This is Christianity. This sharing in the experience of others is what it is to be one body in Christ.

This is the crucial insight our faith brings to this critical moment in our history. The Feast of Corpus Christi, which we just celebrated this month, reminds us that all of us are one, deeply interdependent and mutually responsible. That is what the Catholic Church is called to be as a truly worldwide religion built on solidarity and the sacredness of every human life.  We rarely experience the fullness of that universality in this country, where we are still so segregated. But it is the lived reality at our schools in Rome, as anyone who has visited the Gregorian, the Biblicum and the Orientale recognizes. There we see priests and seminarians, religious sisters and brothers, lay women and men from every nation, every race, every culture, living and working together. They bring very different experiences, perspectives and opinions, yet are united by the desire to draw closer to God in knowledge and love and to serve their churches and communities. No group is dominant; all struggle together to learn a new language and a new culture.  There are no doubt inequities and frictions; but they learn from one another, which helps them overcome their parochialism and bias and enter into the experience of those who are different. This is what we need from our church leaders as we seek to heal a world so deeply torn by racial, ethnic and political conflict, which is why these schools are such an essential resource for the Church.

Michael C. McFarland, SJ

Raskob Foundation awards $119,000 grant to the GUF

The Gregorian University Foundation was recently awarded a $119,000 grant from the Raskob Foundation, an independent, private family foundation founded in 1945. This gift is to aid the crucial work for our Church by the Centre for Child Protection (CCP) at the Pontifical Gregorian University. The first part of the grant will be issued this year to assist with funding an additional staff position. The foundation, which is proud of its legacy of service to the Catholic Church, also wishes to encourage others to support the GUF and the CCP.  Therefore, they are continuing a second part of the grant next year with a $50,000 challenge grant for the CCP.  We are very grateful to the foundation, which was started by John and Helena Raskob and now includes five generations of family members who continue their vision. Their grant will enable future leaders to bring this much needed education back to their home dioceses around the world as well as to help the CCP as they work directly with dioceses and other Church programs through special online courses. 
Hope in Times of Crisis
Watch the reflection by Rev. Peter Dubovsky, SJ, a native of Slovakia and professor of the Old Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.  

Safeguarding children online

Fr Hans Zollner, President of the Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, explores online risks for children and offers tips for their online safety.

Faculty News & Awards
  • The Holy Father appointed P. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, Consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a further five years.

  • Following the establishment of a new study commission on the female deaconate, the Holy Father appointed Prof. Rosalba Manes to be a Member of the Commission.

  • Appointed Emeritus: Fr. Kevin Flannery SJ, Prof. Giorgia Salatiello

  • 25 Years Employed: Mrs Rita Bonifazi, Mr Salvatore Valzano, Mr Vincenzo Varchetta

  • 50 Years At The Greg: Brother Luigi Ingrosso, SJ

  • Bellarmino Award (Faculty Of Theology): Fr. Victor Manuel Aguilar Sanchez, A Comboni missionary from Costa Rica, under the guidance of Fr. Henryk Pietras SJ, wrote the dissertation entitled "Corpus Nestorianum Sinicum: ‘So have I heard on the Listening of Mishihe (the Messiah)’ (xù ting m-shi-his jing) and ‘Discourse on the One God’ (yi-shén). A theological approach with a proposed reading structure and translation.”

  • Bellarmino Award (For Other Faculties and Institutes): Mr Marco Capri, layman of the diocese of Camerino (Italy), defended in the Faculty of Philosophy the dissertation entitled "Metaphysics annotated and doubted. The metaphysics of the first Jesuit Doctors and their ‘modern’ Aristotelian tradition,” directed by Fr. Kevin Flannery SJ. The Commission responsible for awarding the Bellarmino Prize was chaired by the Academic Vice-Chancellor, Fr. Mark Lewis SJ, and made up of Professors Kevin Flannery SJ, Ulrich Rhode SJ, Matthias Skeb OSB and Étienne Vetö CCN.

  • Vedovato Award: Fr. Bitrus Teneu Maigamo, priest of the diocese of Kaduna (Nigeria), defended in the Faculty of Missiology, the dissertation entitled "Islamic Extremism and its Challenges to the Missionary Catholic Activity in Northern Nigeria since 1999: A Missiological Study", under the direction of Fr. Laurent Basanese SJ.  The Commission responsible for the awarding of the Vedovato Prize was chaired by the Academic Vice-Chancellor, Fr. Mark Lewis SJ, and included Professors Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ, Samuele Sangalli, Diego Alonso-Lasheras SJ and Peter Lah SJ.


How the Gregorian University has faced the challenges, preparing for the new academic year.

Fr. David Nazar, SJ, shares news on the health and wellness upgrades at the Orientale

Alumni News
Bishop-elect David Toups
Pontifical Gregorian University

Bishop-elect David L. Toups, who was recently named by Pope Francis as the new bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont, addresses the youth of Southeast Texas.

Mass Cards
available online

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

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Praying with the Pope in June
Pope Francis' Universal prayer intention for June is: 

The Way of the Heart

We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

Reflect further on the Prayer Intention for June 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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