"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Jesuits...in Conclusion

June 15, 2012

Maryland Jesuit Province on the Future of St. Aloysius Parish in Washington, DC

The following was released by the Very Rev. James M. Shea, S.J., Provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus:
The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is deeply committed to continuing to fulfill its mission of service to the people of the Mid-Atlantic region through education, pastoral care and social justice, as we have for nearly 380 years. Through the years, as needs and resources have changed, so have our ministries. Today, our province faces a decline in the number of Jesuit priests. Due to this decline in numbers, we are in the process of combining three provinces, and we have to make some very painful and difficult decisions about how to allocate our priests.

After prayerful reflection and careful consideration of how we can best use our human resources to serve those in need, we concluded that we can no longer staff St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish at 19 Eye St., NW (900 block of North Capitol Street), Washington, DC. The Jesuits will continue to be present in the Archdiocese of Washington through two other parishes, three schools, a university and a retreat center. The 300-household parish will merge with nearby Holy Redeemer Parish, which is located just three blocks away on New York Avenue, NW. The transition will begin July 1 and continue through the summer months. We are grateful to the Archdiocese of Washington and to Fr. David Bava, pastor of Holy Redeemer, for their support and welcome during this transition.

The church, which is owned by the Jesuits, is part of the Gonzaga College High School campus. Because it is physically connected with other buildings and integrated into the campus, it is not feasible to establish a non-Jesuit parish there. The church will continue to be used for school liturgies and, on a limited basis and in coordination with Fr. Bava, for special liturgies of Holy Redeemer parish, weddings and funerals for alumni and former parishioners, and other special events. In addition, the Father McKenna Center, the drop-in center for homeless men that has been on site since 1983, will continue to operate.

This was a very difficult decision and one I wish did not have to be made. This change will be painful. Unfortunately, the Province can no longer staff the parish. However, even though the church building will not be in regular service, St. Aloysius will continue to live on through the people and the legacy of faith and service that long has been a hallmark of the parish. The parishioners have many gifts to continue to share as they and Holy Redeemer form a vibrant community together.

I ask you to join our Province in prayer for a renewal in priestly vocations to the Jesuits, and especially for the parishioners of St. Aloysius during this difficult time.

The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus encompasses Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, DC, and West Virginia. The province is home to approximately 300 Jesuit priests, brothers, scholastics and many lay colleagues working in a wide variety of ministries such as education, social justice issues, pastoral care and more, helping others to "find God in all things."

St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish was founded in 1859 and is one of three Jesuit parishes within the Archdiocese of Washington. The others are Holy Trinity in Washington, DC and St. Ignatius in
Chapel Point, MD. The Jesuits also operate Washington Jesuit Academy, Gonzaga College High
School, Georgetown Preparatory School, Georgetown University and the Loyola Retreat House.

MEDIA CONTACT: Susan Gibbs, 202-525-9554 and susan@gibbsmediaworks.com

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