AMDG. For the Greater Glory of God. That is the motto of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, and it was the title for the 2010 National Meeting of the Institute on Religious Life that was held this weekend in Mundelein, IL. This annual meeting is always a blessing and this year was a special one because it was held to honor a brother Jesuit--Fr. John Hardon--who died on December 30, 2000 and whose cause for canonization has been opened. The subtitle of the meeting was "The Theological, Spiritual, and Apostolic Legacy of Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J., Servant of God."
The meeting began on Friday morning with a special session for consecrated persons at Marytown, a place that has had 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration since 1928. Mother Assumpta Long, foundress and superior of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, gave a talk entitled "In Pursuit of Perfect Charity: Father Hardon's Quest for Authentic Renewal of Religous Life." She said that Fr. Hardon "loved God with his whole being, and loved those whom God loves in the same way." She was followed by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, whose talk was "Loyal Son of Ignatius: The Religious and Priestly Witness of Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., Servant of God."
Archbishop Raymond Burke presided at Mass Friday afternoon and gave the keynote address which was entited "For the Greater Glory of God: The Lasting Legacy of Fr. John A. Hardon."
On Saturday there were two main addresses in the morning. Journalist Jay McNally shared stories from the biography of Fr. Hardon which he is writing and Fr. Louis Guardiola, of the Fathers of Mercy, spoke on "The Eucharistic Spirituality of Fr. John Hardon, S.J."
In the afternoon there were various workshops available that covered a variety of topics: the canonization process; the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius; Mary as Model, Missionary, and Mother; evangelization; and the one I attended, "Preaching the Gospel to the Digital Generation."
Archbishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, IL celebrated Mass and I had the honor of preaching. I plan on posting the homily I gave in the next few days. A specially commissioned muscial composition and score in honor of Fr. Hardon was premiered at this Mass.
The day ended with a wonderful banquet at which Archbishop Burke received the annual "Pro Fidelitate et Virtute" award which is given to individuals who manifest a strong love for the Church and a zealous commitment to the consecrated life. Archbishop Burke knew Fr. Hardon and helped him in founding a group called the Marian Catechist Apostolate.
Today there was another major address by Douglas Bushman of the Institute for Pastoral Theology--"Responding to the Call to Martyrdom." All the talks are available from the Institute on Religious Life.
Fr. Hardon founded the Institute on Religious Life in 1974 and it was a deep consolation for me to be a part of this meeting in his honor. Fr. Hardon was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was a great promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer. I had been thinking how it was too bad that he didn't live to see the current revival of the Apostleship and how that behind the revival is the devotion of many younger Jesuits to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But then it occured to me: Fr. Hardon's intercession after he died is what's behind the current revival.