Magazine
Fr. Adam DeLeon, SJ

Our invitation is to see and hear how we respond to racial injustice, gender discrimination, and all forms of oppression, as well as to reflect on how Christ would have us respond.
What I Have Seen & Heard

By Fr. Adam DeLeon, SJ

Having spent the past year as an associate pastor at Saint Columbanus Catholic Church, a black diocesan parish on Chicago’s South Side, I have seen and heard a lot.

I have seen and heard that more than 300 people were shot and killed in Chicago before we were halfway through the year. I have seen and heard that a person is shot every two hours and murdered every 13 hours in Chicago. I have seen and heard many names, like Tyshawn Lee, Laquan McDonald, Rekia Boyd, and Sandra Bland. 

I have also seen and heard many comments offered as responses to these statistics and the murders of these four Chicagoans. For some, these deaths were fleeting news items that had no direct impact. Others saw disturbing trends in these stories but did not know what could be done. Still others noted the difficulty of policing in certain parts of Chicago, stating that officers need to be supported and applauded for all they do.


Fr. Adam DeLeon, SJ, with parishioners at Saint Columbanus Catholic Church Chicago’s South Side

Fr. Adam DeLeon, SJ, with parishioners at Saint Columbanus Catholic Church
And a small but growing number of people have responded by proclaiming #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName. 

As current as the scourge of gun violence may feel, a Jesuit offered a response similar to #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName nearly 100 years ago. A Mexican priest now blessed in the communion of saints, Fr. Miguel Pro, SJ, was killed in Mexico City in 1927 during the Cristero War, a rebellion against secularist, anti-Catholic, and anticlerical policies of the Mexican government. Before he was executed by a firing squad, he is believed to have raised his arms to imitate Christ on the cross, shouting out the cry of the Cristeros: “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” “Long live Christ the King!” 

“¡Viva Cristo Rey!,” like #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName, was a defiant proclamation and protest. As a proclamation, “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” professed Catholics’ faith and Jesus’ truth. Similarly, #BlackLivesMatter declares the truth that black lives do matter, while #SayHerName expresses the truth that African-American women with real names and real stories are amongst those who suffer violence and abuse. 

What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.  1 JOHN 1:3–4    

As protest, “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” announced that Mexico’s laws were unjust. #BlackLivesMatter proclaims that until all corners of our society reflect the truth that black lives matter, we cannot reasonably claim that all lives matter. #SayHerName recalls that African-American women cannot be overlooked in this struggle to affirm the dignity of every black person.

Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ, had his proclamation and protest; we Catholics have ours today. Our invitation is to see and hear how we respond to racial injustice, gender discrimination, and all forms of oppression, as well as to reflect on how Christ would have us respond. Our call as Catholics is to see and hear how our fellow sisters and brothers live and suffer, and to join them in fellowship. Rooted in Catholic and Jesuit tradition, we are missioned to not only see and hear, but also to joyfully and peacefully respond with proclamation and protest: #BlackLivesMatter! #SayHerName! ¡Viva Cristo Rey!


Fr. Adam DeLeon, SJ, is a teacher at Loyola High School in Detroit. Following his ordination to the priesthood in 2015, he served as an associate pastor at Saint Columbanus Catholic Church in Chicago. He has a Master of Theology degree from the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana.

Click here for the Summer 2016 Jesuits magazine index. 





Recent News

June 27, 2017 — Father Martin focuses on the relationship between LGBT Catholics and the Church in “Building a Bridge.”

June 21, 2017 — Today is the feast day of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian Jesuit known for his courage in serving the sick and his dedication to the education of young students.

June 21, 2017 — St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, is hiring a new president to succeed Fr. Timothy Howe, SJ. The new president will begin July 1, 2018, and will serve as St. X's chief executive officer.

June 20, 2017 — On the day Fr. Wally Stohrer, SJ, was ordained a priest, the renowned theologian Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ, told him, “Now you must decide every day for the rest of your life what kind of priest you are going to be.”

June 16, 2017 — Today is the feast day of St. John Francis Regis, a 17th-century French Jesuit known for his zealous missionary efforts and his care for the poor and marginalized.

June 13, 2017 — The group advises reduced militarization.

June 8, 2017 — The Communications Office of the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus is seeking a communications specialist to produce, edit, and curate print and electronic content; manage projects and new outreach initiatives; and oversee social media channels.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Spring 2017

Jesuits Fall-Winter 2016

Jesuits Summer 2016



Manresa Jesuit Retreat House
Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, located north of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., offers retreatants a respite from the city on its 37–acre campus with almost 50,000 trees.