A Season of Hope

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A Season of Hope

Dear Fellow Alumni and Friends of Fordham,

We are celebrating a special season. Adding to our Christmas joy is the recent news that Time magazine has named Pope Francis, our first Jesuit pope, its "Person of the Year." From the article announcing the good news:

"He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century."

Under the leadership of this compassionate Jesuit from Argentina, there is great hope for the future of the church. Pope Francis’ work with and concern for the poor, is elevating the mission of the church and capturing the attention of millions, many whose hope in the church was wavering.

And are we not all in a season of hope? Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas—an extended season of hope that raises our spirits, warms our hearts, and challenges our manner of living. We thank God and the people in our lives for the blessings we have received, and we renew our hope that those blessings continue. We long to discover Christ more deeply in our lives. We commemorate and celebrate Christ’s coming in the flesh and hope for his message of peace to be heard by all peoples. With Pope Francis in the news weekly, the Gospel message of compassion, forgiveness, and practical charity is being seen and understood more clearly. The church must reach outward, not just look inward. It truly is a season of hope!

A dear friend of mine, Sonja Donahue, a woman of great spirit and hope, died recently at the age of 83. Some years ago she wrote a meditation/prayer for Advent. I gladly share it with you:

You, gracious God, have given us practice in hope, in waiting, in anticipation, over and over. We have heard your Word of promise from one Advent Sunday to the next. Still, your arrival among us takes us by surprise, far from prepared. But you take no offense at our poor hospitality. You are eager to join us. You, willingly and gladly, wish to take on our human condition. You offer yourself to be sojourner, our intimate friend, part of the very fiber of our being. Emmanuel, God-with-us. So let your dew of grace drop down on us and drench us with joy at your presence. Come, Divine Guest, take us by storm. Welcome!

May the blessings of this season of hopefulness fill your hearts with joy and peace!

Dan Gatti, S.J., JES ’65, GSE ’66