News Detail
Jesuit Father Thomas Massaro
“It is important that we enter into solidarity with the poor.” —Jesuit Father Thomas J. Massaro
Jesuit Advises Parish Ministers to Reserve Judgment and ‘Love People First’

September 23, 2013 — Jesuit Father Thomas J. Massaro, dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif., advised parish social ministers to “look into their own hearts” during his keynote talk at Catholic Charities USA’s Annual Gathering in San Francisco this month.

“This is my main point here today,” Fr. Massaro said. “None of us can be of much service to others unless we are at peace within ourselves and understand the priorities that guide us.”

The gathering brings Catholic Charities delegates from around the country together each year to share knowledge and exchange ideas on reducing poverty in America.

Fr. Massaro, author of “Catholic Social Teaching in Action” and other books and articles on Christian social ethics, believes that parish ministry workers who do not know where their heart is will lack the interior structure to act effectively. “Your strategies will be off-kilter,” he said. “The work of our hands depends upon the state of our soul.”

But becoming an instrument of God’s peace doesn’t happen magically, according to Fr. Massaro.

“We must be grounded in the values of our faith,” he said. “I firmly believe that the peace we develop within ourselves is what we will have available to communicate outward to others.”

Fr.  Massaro said this is especially true when working with youth. “Teenagers and young people in general seem to have a ‘malarkey meter’ — they know when you are not walking your talk,” he said.

According to Fr. Massaro, Pope Francis serves as a near-perfect example of the kind of “servant leadership” that comes naturally when actions are rooted in the values of our Catholic faith.

“Our pope has walked the talk of Catholic values and inclusiveness in an unprecedented way,” he said. “Saints and sinners are walking together in locked step, letting God sort things out along the way.”

Reaching out with authenticity and inclusiveness to immigrants, prisoners, the poor, nonbelievers and even gays, the pope doesn’t insulate himself from the marginalized populations, according to Fr. Massaro.

“It is important that we enter into solidarity with the poor,” he said, something that the modern world tries to insulate us from with gated neighborhoods and skywalks built that insulate from the world of the needy. “It is counter-culture to reject this national obsession with insulation,” he said.

“Love people first,” he said. “Reserve judgment until after we have met a person’s needs. There should be nothing narrow about a faith-called Catholic.” [Catholic San Francisco]


Recent News

April 16, 2014 — The city council of Dublin, Ireland, honored Irish Jesuit Father Peter McVerry with its Freedom of Dublin award for his work with the homeless over the past 40 years.

April 14, 2014 — Marquette University has elected Michael R. Lovell, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as its 24th president and the university’s first lay president.

April 16, 2014 — The Jesuits of the United States invite you to join in on their digital, communal Lenten/Easter prayer experience, Moved to Greater Love.

April 11, 2014 — Saint Louis University has named Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., its 33rd president, making him the first permanent lay president in SLU's 196-year history.

April 9, 2014 — The Society of Jesus in the United States has named Fr. William J. Kelley, S.J., as the new Secretary for Social and International Ministries at the Jesuit Conference.

April 7, 2014 — Dutch Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt, who refused to leave war-torn Syria and stayed to help the poor, was beaten and killed with two bullets to the head in Homs.

April 7, 2014 — Jesuit Father Cyril Opeil is a professor of physics whose research has applications for the pursuit of alternative-energy sources.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 4/21/14

America - 4/14/14

America - 4/7/14



Loyola House of Retreats
Loyola House of Retreats is located on 30 acres of beautiful lawns, gardens and woodland in a quiet section of Morristown, N.J.