Jesuits and friends come together to look at the world through Ignatian eyes, always striving to live Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam -- For the Greater Glory of God. Hosted by Mike Jordan Laskey and guest host Eric Clayton. Learn more at jesuits.org. A production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.
God and Basketball with ESPN's Mike Breen
The National Basketball Association season starts next week. If you flip on a marquee matchup on ESPN or ABC sometime this fall, you’ll probably hear the voice of today's guest: play-by-play announcer Mike Breen. Mike is widely regarded as one of the best announcers in the world in any sport. He informs without overexplaining. He shows excitement and love of the game without being cheesy. He perfectly captures the energy in the arena for those of us watching at home. It’s no surprise he has announced the NBA finals a record fifteen times and received the top media award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.
Mike is a proud alumnus of Fordham University and a deeply committed Catholic. Host Mike Jordan Laskey asked him about what he loved the most about returning to the arena after announcing dozens of games from his house during the pandemic. They also talked about all the work that goes into the job of announcing games in the hours and days before a big game starts. They also discussed Mike Breen's faith and his time at Fordham.
Learn more about Mike Breen: https://espnpressroom.com/us/bios/breen_mike/
AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.
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Honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day with Rosella Kinoshameg
"Every child matters," reads Rosella Kinoshameg's fluorescent orange tee-shirt. The shirt is part of a national movement to recognize the harmful history of Indigenous residential schools in Canada. Rosella's shirt commemorates the thousands of children who were compelled to attend these schools, where practicing Indigenous cultures or languages was forbidden in an effort to assimilate children into white culture. Indigenous communities in Canada and the U.S. are still grappling with the impacts of this history.
Co-host MegAnne Liebsch talks to Rosella about the ongoing trauma in her community, an Ojibwe First Nation reservation on Manitoulin Island, Canada. Rosella also shares moments of joy from her vast ministry with the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre, which is a work of the Jesuits of Canada.
For her, Indigenous and Catholic traditions go hand in hand. Both energize her to serve the community on Manitoulin Island. And her wisdom is widely sought. As she told me, when something happens—a baby’s birth or a loved one’s death—she is one of the first calls that people make.
To learn more about the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre visit: https://www.anishinabespiritualcentre.ca/
In the U.S., Congress is currently considering a bill that would create a Truth and Healing Commission on U.S. Indigenous boarding school policy. The Jesuits, alongside six other faith groups that formerly ran boarding schools for Indigenous students, have endorsed this legislation. We ask you to join us in supporting this commission. Learn more at https://www.jesuits.org/stories/jesuits-endorse-bill-to-establish-a-truth-and-healing-commission-on-us-indian-boarding-school-policy/.
The US Catholic Church is Shrinking (and Other Myths) with Fr. Tom Gaunt, SJ
Today’s guest might make you reexamine everything you think you know about the current state of the Catholic Church in the USA.
Fr. Tom Gaunt, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and the executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). Since it was founded in 1964, CARA has conducted hundreds of social science studies of the Catholic Church. If you want to know how many priests were ordained last year, or how many Catholics go to Mass weekly vs. once or twice a year, CARA is the place to go. Host Mike Jordan Laskey asked Fr. Tom for a bird’s eye view of the state of the church, and that overview provided surprising stats time after time. Be ready to be surprised.
Learn more about CARA: https://cara.georgetown.edu/
AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.
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The Ignatian Year Invites Us To Reach Out To Trauma Victims — Rob McChesney, SJ, Tells Us How
During this Ignatian Year—this 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius—a lot has been said about “cannonball moments.” The phrase comes from Ignatius’ own life story: he’s struck in the leg by a cannonball at the Battle of Pamplona. It’s that injury and its subsequent, painful recovery that confines Ignatius to bed and ultimately presents him with the opportunity to read and reflect on the life of Christ and the saints.
We talk about this cannonball moment because it’s so jarring; it literally knocks Ignatius off his feet, off the trajectory he’d set for his life, and forces him to look anew at what God is inviting him to do with his life. From that cannonball moment, we get the Society of Jesus, the Spiritual Exercises and countless other good fruits. And, as a result, we’re invited to consider similar moments in our lives—when have we been struck by cannonballs; when have we had our life turned around by God?
These are all good and worthy questions—and this year provides us with ample opportunity to reflect on our own ongoing conversions. We’re invited to see all things new in Christ.
And yet, there’s a temptation to sanitize the cannonball moment, to forget that Ignatius—then, Inigo de Loyola—was a prideful man who led his soldiers to their deaths; whose cannonball moment was a bloody, gruesome affair, and who suffered from trauma and guilt in the many months and years that followed. This, too, is what it means to experience a cannonball moment—and we must look at the story honestly, fully, lest we risk offending or alienating those among us who have also experienced such trauma.
This is the theme of today’s episode. Fr. Rob McChesney, SJ, joins us again to discuss how Ignatian spirituality and the person of St. Ignatius can help us process trauma, can help us accompany those who have experienced trauma and, ultimately, how a fuller understanding of what a cannonball moment represents might bring us closer to God.
A warning: the subject matter today is heavy; we do dig into trauma and its effects, particularly where veterans and sexual abuse survivors are concerned.
We hear from one combat veteran, Bob Macpherson, who shares his story of trauma and Ignatian spirituality. You can learn more about Bob and read his book at https://www.robertseamusmacpherson.com/.
As a final note, Fr. Rob makes mention of several meditations found within The Spiritual Exercises. We encourage you to visit the Office of Ignatian Spirituality’s page on the Exercises to learn more. Go to https://jesuitseastois.org/spiritualexercises.
Reimagining the Story of St. Ignatius: A Conversation on Storytelling
There’s a series of Star Wars books called From A Certain Point of View. Two have been released to date, each to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, respectively. Each book contains 40 short stories from 40 different authors assuming the perspective of 40 different, minor characters from those classic films. The whole idea is to give readers a new glimpse into an old story—to retell that classic tale “from a certain point of view.”
The Ignatian Year—this anniversary celebration of St. Ignatius’ conversion in which we find ourselves—invites us to “see all things new in Christ.” We’re invited to contemplate St. Ignatius’ story in new ways, to look upon his conversion and his legacy with the eyes of Christ—and then to turn that same gaze on ourselves, our own lives. How is Christ using Ignatius’ story to inform and inspire our own?
For those of you who have read St. Ignatius’ autobiography, you know that the pages are full of minor characters—women and men who cross Ignatius’ path ever so briefly and yet leave behind a profound impact. Here at the Jesuit Conference, we thought one way to consider Ignatius’ story anew would be to explore the perspectives of these other characters: how they saw Ignatius, what they were thinking about as they encountered saint. It’s still the story of St. Ignatius—from a certain point of view.
And so, we invited authors to submit their stories. And today, I’m really excited to share the work of two authors—and my conversations with them.
The first of our authors is Ryan Carroll, a PhD student in English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is a longtime enthusiast of Ignatian spirituality, having first become involved through the Ignatian Spirituality Ministry at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. His story is titled, “The Pilgrim’s Book,” and it’s an extended meditation on the life of the book itself—the book that stirred Ignatius’ own conversion.
Our second author is John Dougherty, is a Catholic writer and campus minister with over a decade of experience in Jesuit education. His work has appeared in America Magazine and Millennial Journal. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and children. His story, “The Provincial and the Pilgrim,” puts us in the shoes of the Franciscan friar responsible for turning Ignatius away when the would-be saint sought to live and work in Jerusalem.
Both stories are beautiful opportunities to pray with the story of St. Ignatius, to “see all things new in Christ.” You can read these stories at Jesuits.org/pilgrim-stories – or, click on the link in the notes.
The Beauty and Mystery of the Wilderness with Nick Ripatrazone
Back in the innocent days of February 2020, host Mike Jordan Laskey sent a Twitter message to author Nick Ripatrazone in reply to a tweet Nick posted about reading the Graham Greene novel "The Power and the Glory" for Lent, which is something he does every year. What if we invited others to read along with us and talk about it online? Mike asked. Nick was up for it and the Jesuit Book Club was born.
Since then, the Jesuit Book Club has hosted a series of live events featuring conversations with some of today’s best authors who are rooted in the Catholic literary tradition, including Alice McDermott, Kirstin Valdez Quade and Phil Klay.
For this summer’s Jesuit Book Club selection, we read Nick's own most recent book, which is titled "Wild Belief: Poets and Prophets in the Wilderness." The book traces the theme of wilderness through the work of almost a dozen writers in creative and surprising ways.
This time, instead of a live event, the Jesuit Book Club discussion is happening as an episode of AMDG. Mike and Nick discuss the work of three of the writers Nick focuses on in his book: Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Everson and Mary Oliver.
Join us in October for our next book and live author event with a very special guest (Nick announces who it is during this episode!). If you can't wait that long, check out jesuits.org/bookclub to sign up for the virtual gathering.
Michael Jordan Laskey asks great questions that are often unexpected. The caliber of his guests is also high - CEOs, college presidents, bestselling authors. This makes for excellent conversations on important topics. I recommend wholeheartedly!
I just finished the show from the 1st of January. Really enjoyed the guest- he straightforward and experienced wisdom was refreshing and I learned quite a bit! I will certainly be tuning in regularly! It looks like there's a ncie variety of shows, too.
This podcast is a great blend of serious discussion and light hearted banter. It shows that a religious life can be joy filled and loving and fun. Thanks Jesuits