Friday, September 28, 2007

Fr. Alfred E. Caruana, S.J. + R I P

What a shock! Just the other evening I was having drinks and dinner with a Jesuit whom I was meeting for the first time at the Xavier Jesuit Community on 16th Street in New York. Fr. Caruana told me he was the Director of the Xavier Society for the Blind, and my interest immediately perked up. I told him he was successor to one of my Jesuit heroes, Fr. Tony LaBau, SJ, who had that job when I was a young Jesuit student living at Nativity Church on Second Avenue. Tony was one of the gentlest and generous men I have met.

Al told me that Tony was still alive, well into his nineties. We found we had some interests in common, including Al's advanced studies in sociology, but not having used the degree so much for academic research and writing, but organizational management. That sounded familiar. We had a delightful dinner, and even a post prandial conversation in the computer room.

I opened my email an hour ago to see his death notice. He died suddenly at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York. "We know not the day nor the hour." I can't say that Al and I were friends. We only met once. But now I have a friend in the Lord on the other side.... Requiescat in pace!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Back in Baltimore

Came home on overnight flight Wednesday into Thursday afternoon. Trip was very long, but bearable. I got to see my doc yesterday, who put me on steroid regimen for six days. Really seems to be helping. I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Tuesday. We will see what the options are then.
In the meantime I am taking it easy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July 5 -- MRI

MRI is scheduled for this afternoon, so we will see what is going on. Painful morning today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Something of a setback..

Seems that my problem with leg pain is not going away.  I am now in the Jesuit infirmary in Santiago, Chile.  I flew on Sunday from La Paz, Bolivia to Santiago, and went to the Juniorate, where young Jesuits are in the early stages of their studies for priesthood.  When I was packing for a flight to go to Osorno, in the far south of Chile, I twisted something again, and my leg was in worse pain than when I had the original problem in Sucre ten days previous.


Drugs, both injectable and ingestible, along with analgesic cream, heat and massage, are helping considerably.  An MRI is in the offing to see what is going on.    ARGH!



Sunday, July 1, 2007

From La Paz Airport

Am waiting for the plane to Santiago de Chile at the La Paz airport. All in all, even with some physical discomfort, this has been a very successful and interesting trip. Having the opportunity to visit so many Jesuit communities and projects in a short period, and to meet most of the members of the Province at one time at their annual Province Assembly in Cochabamba, has been invaluable for getting a sense of the province and the country.

The political/cultural/social economic situation of the country and the struggles entailed, mark virtually every project and plan the Society is involved in. For example, through their network of radio stations and projects in Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and Guaraní, about one half of the radio audience in the country listens to "Jesuit radio." These men have put a huge amount of effort into popular education, in all the national languages, and especially education on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. One of the indices of the success of their work is that many of their graduates of the Fe y Alegría (Faith and Joy) Schools are now ministers and functionaries in the new government. There are still huge challenges, largely around new distribution of political power among the Indigenous, Mestizo, and Blanco (White) groups.

They are struggling to write a new constitution which recognizes political, social and economic realities. What a task!

Another striking element of this visit is the youth of the Bolivian province Jesuits. There is a large demographic component of Spaniards who came to this country in the 1950's and later, who are now retiring and dying out. There is a large number of younger Bolivians, with a different perspective and views of the future. Even with the older Spaniards, the province median age is 51, a good ten years younger than the Maryland Province and others in the US.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

From Bolivia

  1. The last week has been a whirlwind. I arrived in Santa Cruz late at night on the 20th. (HOT) The next day Fr. Ramón Alaix, the Bolivian Jesuit Provincial and I flew to Sucre. (MUCH cooler.) Getting off the airplane I somehow managed to badly twist some muscle in my hip which caused great pain. (A week later, I still have a fair amount of difficulty moving around, but after a Doctor´s consult and some drugs, am doing much better.)

    After two nights in Sucre, we drove up to Potosi, the worlds highest city at 14,090 feet. (Cold, windy and no heat in the house. Room temp when I woke in the morning was 50 degrees.) This was to visit a parish where Maryland Province Jesuit Fr. Bob Wiesenbaugh spent six year ministering to the miners in the parish. I don´t knokw how he did it. Twenty miners a month die in the mines there in Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) which has been actively mined for the last 400 years.

    From there we drove 10 hours through some of the curviest two lane road without guard rails I have ever seen to Cochabamba, where I am now preparing to depart from La Paz early tomorrow morning.

    Here are some pictures from the early part of the trip. It is a small sample of the 900 I have taken so far. Here is the link:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On the way to Bolivia!

Am at the Miami airport to connect to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Will be there for ten days and 15 days in Chile. Keep checking here for updates!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Meeting with CRS US Operations folks

Yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with members of the US Operations team of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in their Baltimore Headquarters. Our discussion focused on the ways that CRS can reach out to the growing Latino Catholic community to invite them into a deeper appreciation and participation in Global Solidarity. The fact that so many our our newcomers to the States hail from Latin America makes them an ideal community to both exemplify and further promote ways of understanding migration, global trade agreements, and processes of globalization as a complex of social, economic, cultural and religious dimensions which cry out for a more human and comprehensive approach to social justice throughout the world. The connections between CRS projects around the world and Jesuit works and institutions of higher education continue to grow and deepen, to our mutual benefit. This is a conversation that will certainly continue into the future.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Leadership Retreat, Sparks, MD

On April 21-22, 2007 some 15 Spanish speaking youth and young adult leaders met for a weekend of prayer, reflection, rest and bonding among themselves at the Msgr. O'Dyer Retreat House in Sparks, MD. Led by Ms. Georgina Vaca, of the Youth and Young Adult Department of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Fr. Charles McDonnell, C.S.S.R., and me, they had the opportunity to learn a number of prayer forms and styles which could help them grow in their own spiritual lives, as well as share with their parish groups.

This is one more important step in the process of helping provide these leaders with tools and skills for their own use, and to help others grow in familiarity and friendship with God.
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Thursday, April 5, 2007

One of the things I do to keep active in the ministry, as opposed to the more bureaucratic aspects of my life, is help out with the parish of Our Lady of Pompeii. It is an Italian national parish located in the Highlandtown section of East Baltimore which is becoming increasingly Hispanic.

Last night was a Sacrament of Reconciliation service in Spanish at the church. Fr. Luis Cremis, an affable Italian priest who spent many years in Peru, is the one in charge of the Spanish speaking community there. What a moving experience, praying with people who are struggling to put their lives together, find themselves in a strange land and culture, and like all of us, seek healing for past hurts which continue to haunt us.

It is even more moving to hear their confessions. Simple people carrying heavy burdens. Old folks with resentments over past harm done to them. Young people in school who are bored, and become lazy and despondent. Today is Holy Thursday, and I am ever more mindful of the gift of the Lord to us, and how his passion, death and resurrection continue to play out in our lives.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Welcome to my blog. This is new territory

Hello! My name is Bill Rickle . I am a Jesuit Catholic priest. The formal name of the Jesuit Order is the Society of Jesus, usually abbreviated S.J. Currently I am wearing two hats. I am Assistant for Latino Ministry of the Maryland Province Jesuits. . In that capacity, I coordinate the Jesuits who are engaged in Latino ministry within the province, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, and facilitate our partnerships with our Latin American provinces.

The other hat is as Director of the Institute on Migration, Culture and Ministry. As a sociologist, I have always been interested in race and minority relations here in the U.S. and in the immigrant experience, both historical and contemporay. As a priest, these interests have intensely practical pastoral implications. With the help of generous colleagues, we are establishing the Institute as a means of communication, reflection on ministry, resources for Ignatian spirituality for leadership, and ultimately, we hope, research projects. The Institute Blog can be found here.

This will be my personal blog for keeping abreast of ideas and trips. The Institute blog is intended as a much more communal enterprise.