Thursday, September 29, 2016


Recent tragedies have produced new Jesuit martyrs, and their stories suggest a new direction not only for martyrdom but for the Church in our world today.  They died because they took risks in working and speaking for human rights, in situations where doing so put them in grave danger.

However the Church adapts to the fast paced, often violent world of today, it needs the steadfast faith of witnesses such as these martyrs who surrendered their lives to help others in the Lord's name.
In a recent Blog we met Archbishop Christophe Mwene Ngabo Munzihara of Bukavu, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), who was murdered  in 1996 with fellow Church workers, because of his forthright stand against violence in that troubled region.

Icon by Fr. Wm McNichols

Another recent Jesuit martyr is FATHER ANCHANIKAL THOMAS in state of Jharkhand, India, who was beheaded in 1997 by bandits who resented the vigor of his work for justice for India's untouchables. Like St. Teresa of Calcutta he gave his life for the poorest of the poor.

Passion for human dignity guided his ministry. He worked ceaselessly to develop a network of night schools around Hazaribag, which gave people an opportunity to share their concerns-  a whole range of social issues and needs. Father Thomas  became involved in every aspect of people’s lives. He felt himself called to be on the side of the poor, the victims of injustice in whatever form. He sought dialogue and initiated methods to help the people such as bonded laborers held in the crippling clutches of landlords and money lenders. He helped people to buy their own land and build proper homes, escaping from enslavement.
Because of him some people now can hope in a brighter future for their own children. He is still loved and cherished by those whom he selflessly served.

Every year, thousands of Dalits and Tribals come from around the district to visit his tomb and the place where he made the ultimate sacrifice.
Jesuits in Hazaribagh province run two social action centers and offer low-castes education, health services and women´s development programs for their socio-economic advancement.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Having had a chaplain several years ago who was from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we are always interested in saints from that area, and this new martyr fits into our summer theme of Jesuits.
More than 300 Jesuits died during the 20th century for love of God. Some of them were murdered, others died as a result of maltreatment and others were simply made to "disappear" by terrorist regimes. All of them form part of our martyrology for the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

SERVANT of GOD ARCHBISHOP CHRISTOPHE  MUNZIHIRWA MWENE NGABO lost his life in 1996 during the most ignored war of our modern times. 
The Congo Wars, which flared off and on between 1995 and 2003, at one time or another involved eight nations and roughly 25 armed groups, producing a staggering total of 5.4 million deaths. Had this been Europe or North America, it would be considered one of the most important chapters of late 20th century history, but it was Africa, so the carnage rates, at best, a footnote.
Archbishop Christophe was among its early victims. As Rwandan troops poured into the eastern part of what was then Zaire in the fall of 1996, he issued a final, fervent plea for help.
"We hope that God will not abandon us and that from some part of the world will rise for us a small flare of hope."
Born in 1926 in Burhale (Lukumbo) Christophe studied first at local schools before entering the minor seminary where he studied Greek & Latin. Feeling the call to the priesthood he continued his training at the seminary of Moba (formerly Baudouinville). He was ordained in 1958.

In 1963 he joined the Jesuits and was sent to the Louvain in Belgium to study. In 1978 he was appointed Rector of the Jesuit seminary in Kenshasa. Two years later he was appointed provincial superior of the Jesuits of Central Africa. In 1986 he became bishop of the Diocese of Kasongo.

In 1994 he was appointed Archbishop of the diocese of Bukavu.  As Archbishop, he participated in the special synod on the Church in Africa convened by Pope (St.) John Paul II in Rome in April-May 1994 . On his return from Rome he had to face the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of people arriving in South Kivu , driven out of Rwanda by genocide. The whole region was destabilized and beyond the control of civilian authorities.

 For two years ' Mzee ' (" the old wise one", a title given to him by his followers) visited the refugee camps in his diocese. He drew the attention of local authorities as well as the international world of the catastrophic situation of these people, courageously stressing the need to find a just solution to the conflict that upset the whole region.

Archbishop Munzihirwa was all that stood between hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees and potential annihilation. He had long criticized all parties to the violence. His last hope, shared with the handful of missionaries and diocesan personnel who stayed with him, was for rapid intervention by the international community. But no one listened to his appeals and Oct. 29, 1996, he was murdered along with other religious in the area.

At his Nov. 29 funeral, someone recalled the Archbishop’s favorite saying: "There are things that can be seen only with eyes that have cried.” He has been called the "Oscar Romero of Congo".

At the end of the millennium Pope  (St.) John Paul II commissioned a Martyrology for the 20th century, so that we might not forget the witness of love of God and neighbor which so many men and women of our time have given with their lives and with their deaths.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


CARDINAL AVERY DULLES, SJ, (1918-2008) was the first U.S. theologian to be named to the College of Cardinals. Avery Dulles was also the first American Jesuit to receive that honor.
Avery Dulles was the son of former U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, (for whom Washington Dulles International Airport is named). While his parents’ religious background was Presbyterian, Dulles was raised in a generally secular household
His religious doubts were diminished during a personally profound moment when he stepped out into a rainy day and saw a tree beginning to flower along the Charles River; after that moment he never again "doubted the existence of an all-good and omnipotent God." 

He noted how his theism turned toward conversion to Catholicism: "The more I examined, the more I was impressed with the consistency and sublimity of Catholic doctrine."  Reading the Gospels led him to the loving and merciful God who redeemed us in Jesus Christ. He converted to Catholicism in the fall of 1940. 

He continued his studies and was led closer to the Catholic faith through them. He especially admired Thomistic philosophers Etienne Gibson and Jacques Maritain. Dulles was also attracted to the active Catholic liturgical life he observed in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Finally, Dulles asked a Jesuit priest to instruct him in the faith, and he was received into the Church in 1940.
Cardinal Dulles entered the Jesuits in 1946 and began a life of studying and teaching theology. He taught at the Jesuit House of Studies at Woodstock College, the Catholic University of America, and finally at Fordham University in New York.
Cardinal Dulles’s aim as a theologian was to present the Catholic tradition as it speaks to contemporary culture. He did this in 22 books and over 700 articles and reviews. His book Models of the Church (1974) has had a lasting influence on how the Church is perceived and remains a useful guide for exploring the nature of the Church.
So the theologian must participate in the prayer life of the church and be a praying person himself or herself in order to think the thoughts of God, as we theologians try to do. Cardinal Dulles acknowledged that the foundation for teaching is a life of prayer.
 At the time of his elevation to cardinal, he was not raised to the rank of bishop, as is normally the case, as he had successfully petitioned the pope for a dispensation from Episcopal consecration due to his advanced age.
In his later years, the cardinal suffered from the effects of polio from his youth. In addition to the loss of speech, the use of his arms was impaired but his mind remained clear and he continued to work and communicate using his computer keyboard. The cardinal reflected on his weakening condition:
“Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be expected as elements of a full human existence.
Well into my 90th year I have been able to work productively. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity”.
Cardinal Dulles died on December 12 (My birthday and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe), 2008 at Fordham University in the Bronx, where he had lived for many years. He is being considered for canonization.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


BLESSED JAN BEYZYM was a Polish Jesuit  known as  "the Servant of Lepers”, having worked for many years in a leprosarium in Madagascar.

He was born into the gentry, yet knew hardship in his youth. His family were dispossessed of their ancestral home following a failed revolt against Russian rule.

Bl. Jan entered the Jesuits at age 22 in 1872. As a  novice he helped other Jesuits in caring for victims of a cholera epidemic. This experience may have planted a seed in his desire to help others. He was ordained in 1881, and spent the next 17 years teaching in Jesuit schools in Poland. During these years he repeatedly requested to be assigned to the missions to work with lepers.

In 1898, his wishes were fulfilled and he was sent to Madagascar.  He found the conditions deplorable, with the 150 patients lacking shelter, nutrition & medical treatment.  He immediately began to improve the terrible conditions while laying plans for a new hospital.
He also worked to change social attitudes toward the stigma of leprosy (shades of St. Damien of Molokai).

He said: One must be in constant union with God and pray without respite. One must get used to the stench, for here we can’t breathe the scent of flowers but the putrefaction of bodies generated by leprosy.”

In 1911, a year before he died, Bl. Jan inaugurated the new hospital for his people.  Many came, not only because of the better care, but because of the devotion of the priest who had served them with such love.

Bl. Jan was beatified by Pope St. John Paul in 2002. As a missionary he was conscious of the global dimension of the Jesuit Society’s work to meet the needs of humanity. “One’s country is where the greater service of God and help of souls is found. It does not matter where you live, at the Equator or the North Pole. What really matters is to die in the service of the Lord Jesus as a a member of our holy Society. 

Monday, September 19, 2016


SERVANT of GOD GEORGE J. WILLMANN, S.J. was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1897. His parents were William Godfrey Willmann and Julia Corcoran Willmann. George had two brothers, Edward and William Jr. and four sisters, Miriam, Dorothy, Ruth and Agnes. His sisters Ruth and Agnes became members of Franciscan Missionary of Mary.
From 1902 to 1908, George studied at the Our Lady of Good Counsel Grammar School in Brooklyn, and from 1908 to 1913 and at the Boys High and Brooklyn Preparatory High School. On August 15, 1915, He entered the into Society of Jesus Seminary at Poughkeepsie, New York.
He was then sent to the Philippines in 1922 as a seminarian for a teaching stint at the Ateneo de Manila, later returning to the United States in 1925 to continue his theological studies.
In June 20, 1928, he was ordained at the Woodstock College in Maryland by Archbishop Michael Joseph Curley. Father George served as Director of New York Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau from 1930 to 1936. Then he  returned to the Philippines to continue teaching at the Ateneo de Manila. The next year he became dean of Ateneo de Manila.
In 1938, Father Willmann established the Catholic Youth Organization in the Philippines, a religious and recreational organization for the youth. He became the chaplain of the organization on its establishment until 1977. He  was also initiated into Order of Knights of Columbus June 30 of the same year. He was appointed Chaplain of Manila Council 1000 based in Intramuros, Manila.
In 1941 Servicemen clubs were established under the guidance of the Army-Navy Morale Committee, of which Father Willmann and the auxiliary bishop of Manila, Msgr. Rufino Santos, were members. In 1942, he taught Social Sciences at the Manila San Jose Seminary.

Father Willmann became a prisoner of war during the Japanese occupation of Manila where he was arrested at the University of Santo Tomas by the Japanese on July 1944. He and the other prisoners where later put into a concentration camp in Los Banos, Laguna and were later freed by American forces in 1945.
On July 1, 1975, Father George was granted Filipino citizenship by then President Ferdinand Marcos  for his "virtuous acts, compassionate and kind and loving service for the Filipino people.”
On June 29, 1977, Pope Paul VI awarded him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.
Father Willmann later went to New York presumely to pay a visit to his sisters, Ruth, and Agnes, nuns living in Roslyn. He was prone to falls because of weaking limbs and had a fall while he was in New York, resulting in hip surgery. After his stay in the hospital, he was transferred to the Murray-Weigel Hall, an infirmary owned by the Jesuits in New York state.
Father Willmann died on September 14, 1977, due to cardiac arrest. His remains were interred at the Jesuit Cemetery in Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines.
"He spent all 40 years of his priesthood here in the Philippines," said Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, one of the postulators for Father Willman's beatification. He described the late priest as "a friend of the poor" and a "missionary to the youth." adding that "it is only right that he be recognized as a Filipino saint, if and when the time comes."

Father Willman is now one of eight Filipinos currently undergoing the process for beatification and canonization

Saturday, September 17, 2016


In our theme of Jesuits, and also those being considered as saints in the Church is FATHER EUGENE JOHN HEBERT, an American born Jesuit missionary in Sri Lanka. He along with his Tamil driver Betram Francis disappeared on August 15, 1990 as the Sri Lankan civil war was raging. He went missing on his way to the eastern city of Batticaloa from a nearby town of Valaichchenai. He was known for his Human Rights activity on behalf of the local civilians. The Jesuits believe that he was killed along with his driver.

Father Hebert was born in JenningsLouisiana, United States, on October 9, 1923. He joined the Jesuits on August 14, 1941 at the age of 17. After completion of Jesuit studies, he volunteered for the Ceylon Mission. He was accepted and arrived in September 1948. After serving a year in the eastern township of Batticaloa and another in Trincomalee at the Jesuit Colleges he went to Poona, India, for the study of Theology. He was ordained a priest on 24 March 1954.
After returning to Ceylon in April 1956, he was assigned to St Joseph’s college in Trincomalee as a teacher and sports coach. He was named principal there for a brief period. In the 1970s, Jesuit schools were taken over by the State, and Father Hebert was sent to Batticaloa to work at the Eastern Technical Institute, the joint Jesuit and Methodist technical institute, as its director. He was also the basketball coach at St Michael’s College in Batticaloa, where he achieved national championship status over several years.

Father Hebert was a prominent member of the Batticaloa Peace Committee that has interceded on behalf of the many disappeared and missing people as part of the Sri Lankan civil war with both the Sri Lankan government officials and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group.

During the mid part of August in 1990, there were number of massacres and counter massacres of civilians targeting both the minority Muslim and Tamil communities. Perpetrators were alleged to be the rebel group as well as government soldiers belonging to various divisions. Following the massacre of a group of Muslims in the Kathankudy Mosque, the situation at the nearby ethnically mixed town of Valachchenai became tense with unruly Muslim mobs roving around targeting Tamils. Most Tamils from Valachchenai fled to refugee camps in the provincial capital of Batticaloa leaving behind a group of Catholic sisters, some girls and helpers trapped in a convent.
The Bishop of Batticaloa sent Father Eugene Hebert on August 13 to Valachchenai to assist the trapped sisters and others as well as a security guarantee against an attack. On August 15, the Bishop of Batticaloa organized a security convoy from the city to bring back the trapped sisters and others. He informed Father Hebert to accompany the convoy on its way back from Valachchenai to Batticaloa. Instead Father Hebert informed the Bishop that as the situation was getting better he would leave on his own via a circuitous route through an ethnically mixed town called Eravur to Batticaloa as he had urgent matters to take care at the institute where he was the director. Father Hebert along with a Tamil boy Betram Francis was last seen riding a red Vespa scooter towards Batticaloa via Eravur.
The Sri Lankan government believes that Father Hebert was killed by the rebel group who were active around the Eravur area at the time of his disappearances. Local Jesuits  believe that a mob of civilians may have waylaid and killed Father Hebert and Betram Francis and destroyed any evidence of the crime.
He was a man who held no grudge or hatred against anyone. He has influenced and inspired many to stand for justice and peace.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Tapestry- Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral- John Nava
In the past three years the Church has proclaimed about 160 people as SERVANTS of GOD.  Servant of God is the title used for a person who has been posthumously declared "heroic in virtue" during the investigation and process leading to canonization as a saint.  

Thirteen of these are Americans, eight are Jesuits (our theme this summer) and four are Benedictines, all women, and many are from the laity. Countries as far away as DR of Congo, Sri LankaIraq, S. Sudan, and S. Africa have men and women being considered.

Some we have already done Blogs on: Romano Guardini (Aug. 2016), Joseph Dutton of Molokai (Apr. 2016), and Sister Blandina Segale (The Fastest Nun in the West- July 2014). Others, especially from our own country, we will present in future Blogs.

Seventy six notable persons, whom are recognized to have the possibility for a cause towards formal beatification and canonization, are awaiting to be declared Servant of God.  Among them
are 29 from the USA, some of whom we have already done Blogs on: Jacques & Raissa Maritain (2011), Flannery O’Connor (Apr. 2012), Rhoda Wise & Rose Ferron (July 2012), Pedro Arrupe, SJ (Jul. 2016), Alfred Delp, SJ (June 2016), Wm. Doyle, SJ, (June 2016).

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I am always excited to learn of new saints coming from that area. This would have been a new order to the area as I was starting High School and then when I left for College I never really lived in Los Angeles again, so I was unaware of them. But any order dedicated to the Sacred Heart has my attention.
SERVANT of GOD IDA PETERFY  began the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart, dedicated to religious education, in her native Hungary in 1940. 
Sister Ida was born in 1922 in Košice (at that time part of Czechoslovakia), from a Catholic family of Hungarian descent. She was the only child of Dr. Péterfy József, professor of law and history, and the fourth daughter of Kristóf Ida, who had been widowed during the First World War. 

During her primary education with the Ursuline Sisters, she began her lifelong participation in activities of Catholic movements like the Sacred Heart League . Faith and devotion developed in every aspect of her young life. As an avid member of the Hungarian Girl Scouts, she lived its ideals of loving God and neighbor through the exercise of truthfulness, reliability, and readiness to help. During summer camps, she found creative means to impart Catholic teachings on young participants.

Her actions in behalf of the Jewish people – rooted in the conviction that “Jesus loved everyone”, caused her to break up with an upper-class boyfriend who harbored anti-Semitic sentiments.
Ida was preparing to go to college in 1940 to pursue a degree in chemistry when she attended a three-day retreat that would change her life direction. She received the grace to understand that God knows her by name: “I clearly realized that God does not know me as [if I were] a cabbage in a cabbage field. Rather, He knows and loves me very personally and uniquely – as Ida.” During the same retreat, she thought of the children of the summer camp, wondering who would continue bringing them close to Jesus as Nazism and Communism were looming. She thought and answered her question, “The Church will.” But in the light of grace, she found herself continuing this inner dialogue: “And who is the Church? You are the Church, you teach the children.”

This experience had a profound effect on Ida. In total surrender, she abandoned her plans to go to college to pursue a call from God to catechize His children. Convinced of the authenticity of her vocation, Bishop Madarász István, Ordinary of Košice, encouraged her to pursue it. On 7 October 1940, her eighteenth birthday, Ida pronounced private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience before the Blessed Sacrament at the Franciscan Church of Košice.

During World War II she helped hide several Jewish families from the Nazis, and when Communist rule came to Hungary she kept her group together by creating a cover organization--a secretarial school for typing and shorthand.
Convinced that training Catholic leaders was important for the Church’s future, Ida used money she inherited from her father to purchase a property in the mountains near Košice to build a leadership center and camp.

The escalation of the Second World War further impacted the development of the community. Persistent rumors that the Nazis were suppressing religious congregations compelled Ida and her companions to take prudent steps in their activities. They decided to do their apostolate quietly, attract as little public attention as possible, and wear simple street clothes. Concerned by the further incursion of Soviet forces into Czechoslovakia in 1944, Ida decided to move the center of her community to Budapest. At the end of the war – and after enduring several life threatening situations during battles waged by German and Russian forces in Hungary – Ida was able to reconnect with her scattered companions and gather again her little community.

Through creative means, Ida and her companions were able to maintain the business school they opened in Budaörs in operation. This enabled them to have a livelihood and continue to live as a community. Despite restrictions, Ida continued to conduct catechist formation courses and children’s retreat days, mostly disguised as puppet shows to protect attending children, parents and catechists from the unexpected raids of the Communist secret police. Ida would often say: “We have to teach children the essential truths of our faith in a very short time and bring them to the Heart of Christ so that they can live their faith in every circumstance.”

The arrest of the Servant of God Mindszenty József, cardinal primate of Hungary, in 1948 signaled the intensification of persecution in Hungary. Ida was determined to continue her work and accept the consequences for it. However, she was prevailed upon by the provicar of the Diocese of Székesfehérvár to “go to a free country, develop the community, and come back some day when it would be possible.” Ida secretly left Hungary on 14 February 1949. After a brief stay in Innsbruck, Austria, she migrated to Toronto, Canada.

In this new endeavor, Ida beheld a new vision for religious life where members work together as a team to fulfill a common task, rather than the follow the custom of dividing members between choir and lay sisters. It was around this time that Ida began to In this new endeavor, Ida beheld a new vision for religious life where members work together as a team to fulfill a common task, rather than the follow the custom of dividing members between choir and lay sisters. It was around this time that Ida began to call her community as the
Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart and allowed each member to be openly called as “Sister.” 

In 1956, Sister Ida received an invitation from the James Francis Cardinal McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles (California), to begin a community in his see. Convinced that the Providence of God was leading her to the United States, Sister Ida accepted the invitation. Likewise, after years of instability and uncertainty – their tense development and escape from Communist Hungary and their transitional start in Canada, Sister Ida felt that that would be the opportune moment for the community to have a fixed mother house and novitiate.
Arriving in Los Angeles in 1956, the order created a stir because of its nontraditional dress code.
But even Cardinal James McIntyre, then head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and known for being extremely conservative, urged Sister Ida not to change the dress policy.  
The sisters of the order taught basic elements of church doctrine to children. They used puppets, song and dance and educational techniques that Sister Ida had begun to develop in Hungary. They sponsored educational retreats to their camp in Big Bear, where they held classes for children and their parents.
In the early 1970s, Sister Ida took her message to television, producing the children's show "My Friend Pookie," which ran on KABC for three seasons. In the 1980s, she produced 30 half-hour installments of the "Sacred Hearts Kids' Club." They are still shown around the world, although the program has never aired in Los Angeles.
Sister Ida believed that the membership of the order, which established a convent in Burbank in the late 1970s, should be multinational. Today they are in three continents: in the archdioceses of Los Angeles and St. Louis, in the dioceses of Orange and San Bernardino, and in the archdiocese of Taipei, Taiwan, where the evangelization apostolate is complemented with significant medical work.  Sacred Heart Sisters strive to present the Catholic Faith to every age level in an inspiring, dynamic, attractive manner leading the whole person to conversion of heart.
Sister Ida was a lifelong athlete who especially loved hiking and camping (she took the sisters of the order on several trips to the Grand Canyon), she was diagnosed as having lymphoma in 1995. At first it hardly slowed her down. Later she made several hospital stays at the City of Hope, where she was visited by church leaders.
She treated everyone the same. "One time I walked in and she was talking to the cleaning woman, asking about her family and telling her how much she appreciated having a clean room when she was sick. The nurses used to fight over who would take care of her”, said one of her sisters.
She died in her room at the mother house. Sister Ida said, “The love of Our Lord is everything! When you realize that you love Our Lord, when you realize that He really loves you too, He personally loves you, then you cannot help but love Him back. Once you love Him back, it obviously leads to the Sacred Heart.”

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Father Abbot Gregory Polan, 66, Abbot of Conception Abbey in Missouri, has been elected the 10th ABBOT PRIMATE, succeeding Abbot Notker Wolf, who has served in the position of Abbot Primate since being elected by the Congress of Abbots in 2000.

Abbot Gregory has been the 9th Abbot of Conception Abbey since 1996. He was professed in 1971 and ordained in 1977. He is a native of Berwyn, Illinois.

Abbot Gregory is the second abbot of Conception Abbey to be elected Abbot Primate. Abbot Marcel Rooney was the 8th Primate having been elected on September 18, 1996 and resigned on 3 September 2000.

Abbot Gregory is the fourth American to be elected to the Office of Abbot Primate. The others were Dom Rembert Weakland (now retired archbishop of Milwaukee), the late Abbot Jerome Theisen, and Abbot Marcel Rooney.

According to the Proper Law which governs the Confederation of Congregations of Monasteries of the Order of Saint Benedict, the ministry of the Primas is described as “the office of the Abbot Primate whose function it is to represent the Confederation and to do all he can to foster co-operation between the confederated monasteries.”

In the decree Inæstimabilis unitatis (1894) Pope Leo XIII gave the office of Abbot Primate to the Benedictines. The Primate has no direct authority over the vast number of Benedictine houses (there are Benedictine monasteries he is responsible for). There are approximately 7000 Benedictine monks. Abbot Polan becomes the abbot of the monastery Sant’ Anselmo. As the Benedictine leader, he is the point of "communio" for the worldwide Benedictine Confederation and he  works as the primary liaison with the Holy See.

Abbot Gregory is recognized as being a pastoral abbot and spiritual leader and is well regarded across various sectors. He is a talented musician, who at age 16 was already serving as assistant organist at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral. He is also a Scripture scholar who teaches Greek and Hebrew at Conception Seminary CollegeThat made him the perfect choice a few years ago when the U.S. bishops decided they wanted a revised translation of the Psalms then in use, one that evoked both the musicality of the prayers and adhered more closely to the words in Hebrew.

Under his leadership a new English translation of the Book of Psalms has been adopted by the US Catholic Bishops and Rome as the translation that’s used in the Liturgy.

As with all monasteries, the monks at Conception chant the entire Psalter of 150 Psalms every two weeks as part of their communal prayer. Abbot Gregory says he never tires of hearing each Psalm. “They are really the nourishment of monks. Despite the fact of their daily use, they never wear thin.”