Category Archives: Featured Resources

The Importance of Family : Personal and Institutional

“As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live”

– Blessed Pope John Paul II

Much can be said about the importance of ‘family’.  Many, it seems are quick to acknowledge the positive influence drawn from their own personal experience within a family.  Plainly, much of the successes individuals have accomplished throughout their lives, while certainly indicative of a personal initiative, very well may not have been possible without the personal support, development, and community found within one’s personal ‘family’.

Yet, perhaps there can be a different forms of ‘family’ – or rather, communities other than just immediate families that are nevertheless bound by similar principles as immediate families.  Binding principles that come to mind may include common values, motivations, and understandings of the importance of the individual’s relationship with the community in which they are an integral part.

As Student Affairs professionals in a community driven by a unique mission and purpose (particularly here at Boston College in a community defined by its Eucharistic principles), perhaps we are bound in a familial way in our role as administrators by a common mission, a commitment to personal and professional development.  In the least, if indeed a family is that which provides support in individual development that otherwise be impossible, it seems as though both the role of the Boston College professional ‘family’/community as a whole and our place within it might be a fruitful source of reflection.   Perhaps there is much professional development to be gained through this ‘Boston College family’ that would otherwise be impossible.  It is in this way that we might realize our dependence on others, and others’ dependence on us!  Whether it is immediate personal family or a broader ‘family’ through a common community, what humility it requires for individuals to recognize their dependence on others for their own sake!

To this end, on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 12pm, Ernest Collamati, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Regis College will present a lecture on ‘The Eucharist: The Center of Family Life’ in the O’Neill Library Reserves Room.  This lecture is sponsored by Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century (and is a continuing component of this semester’s Eucharistic theme) and the Office of Employee Development.

It is a striking paradox of Christian principle: in the realization of one’s own personal limits by virtue of his/her individuality, one is drawn into a community brought together precisely by this realization and through this community, transcends those individual limitations.  Perhaps it is in this way that at this Catholic institution, we as professionals are brought into, and are constituents of the ‘Body of Christ’!

An Introduction : Beginnings in Thanksgiving : A Eucharistic Focus

An Introduction

It would be unfair for this blog to continue into the 2011 academic year without acknowledging the invaluable contributions of all who contributed to this blog the past academic year.  At this time, however, I am happy to continue this fruitful and important work.  To this end, I suppose my own introduction is now appropriate!

I do not want to say that I am honored to continue this blog’s good work for the foreseeable future – rather, I am humbled that I have an opportunity to provide a platform for meaningful and honest reflection.  To this end, I hope that the interests of this blog’s readers wholly inform my work.  I humbly ask, then, if there are particular themes, topics, and/or sources of discussion that should be considered in this blog’s weekly postings, please contact the blog!  At any rate, I hope my combination of excitement and humility might be a source for Boston College’s professional community to reflect and grow in its understanding of its important and unique work.

The Heart of the Week : A Eucharistic Semester

As the Boston College academic year begins, both old and new members of the community have been brought together.  From the wide-eyed freshman to the dissertation-defending doctoral student, from the first-year Student Affairs professional to the senior administrators, all have been brought together in a common community : that of our Catholic-Jesuit institution, Boston College.

Might this simple occasion of ‘coming together’ be a source of reflection as students and departments across the university construct and develop new goals, commitments, and initiatives? What brings and binds this community together in common purpose? What makes our work, as Student Affairs professionals, integral to the mission of an institution like Boston College in 2011?

Perhaps a good start is reflecting on the defining component of the institution that informs Boston College.  The Eucharist (coming from the Greek εὐχαριστία/ eucharistia), literally means “thanksgiving”, or “to give thanks”.  It is the center of the Christian-Catholic life.  Certainly, there may not be a more appropriate time to share in thanksgiving than beginnings.  But what ought we, as professional members working within this Christian-Catholic community, be thankful for – especially if new projects and responsibilities seem to be inextricable from this ‘beginning’?

The Eucharist is understood to bring individuals together into a whole.  It transforms individuals’ selfish desires of false-pride, ego, and an autonomous self-sufficiency into the desires for human solidarity, a greater and more consistent gratitude, and a renewed sense of wonder for the world in which we live.  For Boston College professionals then, perhaps this Eucharistic ethos can serve both as a comfort and a challenge : a comfort to know of the Eucharistic and transformative principles that define the community in which we work, and a challenge in extending an opportunity for all to engage more fully in the Christian community that our work is inseparable from here at Boston College.

It seems then, that we might be presented a choice.  We might either consider this new year anticipating another year of burdensome and perhaps mundane responsibility, or, we might consider our coming together as an opportunity to give thanks for the most basic gifts of employment and belonging at Boston College : that is, the working with one another in an institution that promotes, or rather, is defined by its ‘bringing together’, and creating the product of a Eucharistically-defined community that is greater than the sum of its integral parts.

Most certainly not unrelated, Boston College’s The Church in the 21st Century (C21) has devoted this Fall semester to investigating the role of ‘Eucharist’ in the Christian community – particularly here at Boston College.  On Thursday, October 6th at 5:30pm, Fr. Thomas Massaro, SJ will speak in Gasson Hall on a central theme to both Catholic identity and mission :  ‘The Eucharist and Social Justice’. Father Massaro seeks to maintain a commitment to hand-on social activism. He recently completed a term on the Peace Commission of the City of Cambridge and is a founding member of the steering committee of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice.

Perhaps this notion of ‘Eucharist’ might serve as an occasion to renew our gratitude for this community of Christian fellowship and mission.

The Ignatian Way: Learning Resources

Would you like to know more about Ignatian spirituality but aren’t sure where to start or how to find the time?  Well, look no further.  Ignatian Spirituality.com (an online service of Loyola Press) has produced a series of free, short (8-15 minutes each) multimedia slide presentations based on the materials written by Brian Grogan, S.J., of the Irish Jesuits.  The site promises that, once you’ve finished the series, “you should have a good idea of what Ignatian spirituality is all about, and how it can help you to grow closer to God.”   So far three presentations are available for viewing:

#1 What Is Ignatian Prayer?
#2 Ignatian Spirituality: An Overview
#3 Finding God in All Things

Forthcoming presentation include:

#4 The Spiritual Exercises
#5 The Daily Examen
#6 What Is Discernment?
#7 Decision Making
#8 Men and Women for Others
#9 The Life of St. Ignatius

To access the video presentations, visit The Ignatian Way web page.  While you’re there, you can sign up to receive alerts when new presentations become available.

Now Enrolling: C21 Offers Free and Low-Cost Online Courses

Discover a unique learning approach to spiritual enrichment and faith renewal.  Designed especially for busy people, C21 Online offers a range of ongoing free mini-courses as well two-four week special topics courses offered at low cost.  Enrollment is now open for two upcoming courses: “spiritual practices” and “teaching elementary religion.”  Visit C21 Online for a full listing of course offerings and to learn more about this program of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Hot off the Press: The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Winter 2010 “Update”

ACCU’s Winter 2010 Update is now available online.  You’ll find the publication chock full of information about upcoming conferences and interesting announcements from schools across the country.  For example…did you know that Siena College has just been named New York state’s first “fair trade college”?  Or that the geology and geophysics department at our very own Boston College has just been renamed to reflect green interests?   Check out the full publication for these and other stories…

ACCU, founded in 1899, is the collective voice of Catholic higher education in the United States. Through seminars, conferences, publications, research and consultation, ACCU helps to foster a vibrant Catholic identity at member institutions and supports cooperation among them for the greater good of society and the Church.  Learn more about ACCU by visiting the organization’s website.

The Busy Person’s Guide to Advent

Advent, which comes from the Latin word for “arrival” or “coming,” begins four Sundays before Christmas.  It is intended to be a period of joyous anticipation and prayerful preparation for Christmas, the great feast of the birth of Jesus, whom Christians call Christ, Emmanuel, and Savior.   Yet, for us, Advent falls smack in the middle of the busy-ness of the end of semester and holiday preparations, which already compete for our limited time and attention.  What to do?  How to slow down?  Where to find time?   Below we offer practical ways to experience the rich beauty of this holy season in our everyday lives.

Advent Meditation Podcasts invite you to enrich your experience of Advent and prepare for Christmas without leaving your desk with reflections by Jesuits on Ignatian Sprituality and the meaning of Advent.

Advent Mornings offers an opportunity to gather with your colleagues to pause and pray at the beginning of the day during this season of beauty with an opportunity for reflection, silence, and prayer.

For more advent resources, including online retreat opportunities, prayers, and weekly meditations, visit: ignatianspirituality.com/advent/

Student Apostles?

Kevin Ahern, a doctoral student in Boston College’s department of theology, reflects on the apostolic vocation of the college student in the latest edition of C21 Resources.

Kevin Ahern is a doctoral student in theological ethics at Boston College. He is the past international president of the International Movement of Catholic Students (2003-2007), a global network of Catholic student organizations in over 85 countries around the world. In that role, Kevin worked with student leaders from around the world and represented them in international forums with the Vatican and the United Nations. In 2008, Kevin was elected as an international vice-president of the movement of Catholic intellectuals and professionals, ICMICA-Pax Romana. In 2008, Kevin was the editor of the Radical Bible with Orbis press and has had articles published in several publications, including the international journal of theology, Concilium.