Loyola University New Orleans

05/12/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/12/2018 19:41

The Rev. James Martin, S.J. Headlines Commencement 2018 at Loyola University New Orleans

Jesuit priest, best-selling author, and editor at large of America magazine, the Rev. James Martin S.J. addressed graduates of Loyola University New Orleans at Loyola's Commencement 2018, held Saturday, May 12 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

One of the world's most widely recognized Jesuits, Martin received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree honoris causa from Loyola University New Orleans, the largest Jesuit Catholic university in the South. Bearing the motto 'men and women with and for others,' the century-old institution has a mission of faith, truth, justice, and service.

'Fr. Jim Martin is a profound and prolific spiritual writer who has engaged a new generation, by thoughtfully addressing issues of the day through various platforms - and doing so with trademark compassion, scholarship, and humor,' said Loyola University President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J. Ph.D. 'In his words and deeds, Fr. Martin shows us all how to live the Jesuit mission of being 'men and women for others.'

In an uplifting and thoughtful address, Fr. Martin reminded graduates of their unique gifts and intrinsic value as children of God and congratulated the Class of 2018, more than one-fourth of whom are first-generation college graduates. Drawing alternately on life experience, Jesuit values, and the words of Pope Francis, Martin delivered light-hearted yet meaningful advice on 'Seven things that I wish I had known at your age. Seven things that would have made life a little easier…'

'Be yourself! Or: Stop trying to be someone else,' he said, in one bit of advice. 'Boy, you think, if only I were like him, or her. Or them. Someone else. That's who I wish I were. But you're meant to be yourself. You're a beautiful creation of God. And being holy means being you.'

For his commitment to sharing the Jesuit mission, Ignatian spirituality, and the word of God and his talent for articulating issues of social justice, spirituality and faith, the Board of Trustees and the Faculties of Loyola University New Orleans presented Martin with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa. He delivered a commencement address to more than 750 graduates and a crowd estimated at 8,000.

A renowned spiritual writer, Fr. Martin is known for the wisdom, laughter, and light he brings to the page and to the pulpit as he contemplates the most challenging theological questions and significant issues of our time. A prolific writer, scholar, and bridge-builder, he is an influential and important voice of the Catholic church and Ignatian spirituality.

His 13 books on spirituality and religion have been translated into 21 languages. His writing has also appeared in publications as diverse as Catholic Digest, America, Commonweal and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. A frequent commentator on religion and spirituality in the national and international media, he has appeared on all major radio and television networks, as well as programs ranging from NPR's Fresh Air, Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, and PBS's NewsHour to Comedy Central's The Colbert Report.

Since April 2017, Fr. Martin has also served as consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication, a role in which he has helped to shape and share the messages of Pope Francis.

Fr. Martin assists with Sunday mass at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City. From his desk, he communicates Jesuit values and aspects of the Catholic faith, using social media to connect globally with a new generation.

Through his messages of compassion, humility, welcome, and understanding, Fr. Martin appeals to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Through his writings and many platforms, he has engaged a worldwide community in the Jesuit values of reflection, contemplation, and faith in action. His gift for sharing and interpreting the gospel has drawn speaking invitations from around the world.

More than half of the nation's 28 Jesuit universities and colleges have given honorary degrees to Fr. Martin; Loyola University New Orleans is the 15th Jesuit university to have Fr. Martin as commencement speaker.

In true New Orleans fashion, Loyola capped off commencement with a traditional second-line celebration led by the Kinfolk Brass Band.

The complete speech is posted on Loyola's YouTube channel at 53:14. Raw footage or a clip of the speech may be obtained by contacting the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. High-resolution photos by Loyola photographer Kyle Encar are also available.