Of Many Things

Summer is a time of celebration and transition in most religious communities. It is no different for those who live and work at America House, situated midway between Radio City Music Hall and the West-Nile virus hot zone in Central Park. Though none of us has been stricken with any exotic tropical malady, we have suffered from the vagaries of ordinary life. In June, Vincent Duminuco, S.J., director of the International Jesuit Leadership Project, went to Belen College in Miami to give the commencement address. While there, he tripped on a banyan root and broke his shoulder in three places.

A few days later, walking back from visiting Father Duminuco in the nearby hospital, our superior, Vincent T. O’Keefe, S.J., former vicar general of the Jesuits, had an asthma attack. Or so we thought. It turned out to be more serious. He needed surgery on a heart valve plus a double bypass, which was done on June 21. His recovery at the New York Province infirmary progressed well enough for him to enjoy the celebration of his 50th anniversary as a priest on Aug. 24. Our senior editor, John W. Donohue, S.J., had celebrated the same anniversary in June, along with our Father Minister, James Stehr, S.J., who has been a priest for 25 years. Not to be outdone, John Gallen, S.J., our peripatetic liturgist, also celebrated 50 years as a Jesuit in August.

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Although Father O’Keefe will be returning to America House as soon as his recovery has progressed sufficiently, his term as superior ends this year. In the meantime, Father Duminuco, who had to cancel his teaching schedule in Italy and Poland while he mends and undergoes physical therapy, was tapped to act as superior. He will hold the reins until January, when we will welcome back to the community as superior Robert A. Mitchell, S.J., whose career has included service as provincial of the New York Province of the Jesuits, president of the U.S. Jesuit Conference and president of the University of Detroit-Mercy. Most recently he was president of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., where as a young priest he had been a teacher and dean after his return from studies in Louvain and later in Strasbourg.

Another transition hit us with the sad departure from America of James E. Brogan, who has been a wonderful colleague and an efficient and knowledgeable assistant editor. Jamey came to us after a stint teaching at St. Aloysius in Harlem as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. As a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Georgetown and a graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, he enjoyed a thorough Jesuit education. He is now moving to Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., where he was awarded the J.V.C. scholarship. He will be joining other laypersons who are studying for the master of divinity degree, which he will use in teaching or pastoral ministry after he graduates. We wish him well and will miss him.

In the staff listing to the right of this column, longtime readers will recognize a familiar name from the past - Francis W. Turnbull, S.J., who served from 1984-92, first as assistant editor and then as managing editor. He returns to America House and to the magazine as assistant editor. Brother Frank left America to work in Nigeria, where he helped found a retreat house and direct retreats. On the way to Africa he stopped in Rome, where he re-catalogued the library of the Jesuit curia. Most recently he worked at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. His return to our editorial office guarantees a smooth transition, to the delight of editors who remember so well his unflappable and even-tempered approach to the daily grind of producing the magazine week after week.

The generosity of all the men and women who work at America - in advertising, bookkeeping, development, editorial, mailing, production, promotion and subscriptions - continues to be an inspiration to us. They help make America a quality journal that will challenge, educate and inspire our readers.

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