Fr. Bryan Massingale and Marie Dennis Honored for Commitment to Faith and Justice
BY ISN STAFF| May 12, 2022
I want my church to be what it says it is—to be Catholic, to be universal. Where all belong, where all matter, where all gather around the table and all are included, and we’re not there yet. But there’s hope.”
-Fr. Bryan Massingale
On April 27, 2022, the Ignatian Solidarity Network welcomed honorees and guests at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City for Ignite: A Celebration of Justice to honor Marie Dennis and Fr. Bryan Massingale. Both were presented with the Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award, given annually to individuals who have “demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus.”
Rev. Bryan Massingale is the James and Nancy Buckman Professor of Theological and Social Ethics, as well as the senior ethics fellow, in Fordham’s Center for Ethics Education. Prior to his appointment at Fordham, he was professor of theology at Marquette University. Fr. Massingale is the author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2010).
Watch Fr. Massingale’s remarks from the event:
Marie Dennis is senior advisor to the secretary general of Pax Christi International, the global Catholic peace movement. She was co-president of Pax Christi International from 2007 to 2019 and serves on the executive committee of Pax Christi’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. Dennis is author or co-author of seven books and editor of Choosing Peace: The Catholic Church Returns to Gospel Nonviolence.
Watch Marie Dennis’ remarks from the event:
Ignite: A Celebration of Justice served as a benefit in support of the continued work of ISN to form youth and young adults as advocates for justice. ISN’s youth and young adult formation programs, including the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ) and leadership summits for high school and college students, empower participants to put their faith into action—setting the world on fire for justice and making real change in their communities.
Both Fr. Massingale and Dennis spoke about IFTJ in their remarks. “From a gathering in a tent, I have watched the Ignatian Solidarity Network become one of the most effective and inspiring movements for justice in the Church today. Your energetic Teach-In gives hope every year to all of us who have been in this work for the long haul,” shared Marie Dennis. She served as a keynote speaker at the 2014 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.
Fr. Massingale was a keynote speaker at both the 2017 and 2021 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Speaking about his time at IFTJ in November of 2021, he shared, “this past fall, I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the Teach-In. It’s an amazing experience. If you’ve never been you’ve got to be there. That will instantly renew your hope, when you see these young people who don’t have to be there, who could be anywhere else.”
“I want my church to be what it says it is—to be Catholic, to be universal,” he also said. “Where all belong, where all matter, where all gather around the table and all are included, and we’re not there yet. But there’s hope.”
ISN also presented the Legacy of the Martyrs Award at the event to Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. The award honors individuals or organizations who have made significant contributions to sustaining the witness and legacy of the Salvadoran martyrs—the six Jesuits and two laywomen who were killed for their commitment to upholding the dignity of those who were oppressed.
Founded in 2009, the Kalmanovitz Initiative draws on Georgetown’s distinctive identity—its commitment to intellectual excellence, grounding in the Catholic and Jesuit traditions, history of inter-religious cooperation, global reach, and prominence as an arena of policy debate in the nation’s capital—to advance prosperity, broadly-shared economic justice, and respect for the dignity of labor.
Two young alumni of Jesuit universities, James Havey (Marquette University ‘11) and Amanda Montez (Loyola Marymount University ‘15), were also recognized at the event, presented with the Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leaders for Justice Award. James served as the project advisor for the world’s first 10-year study on the aftercare of sex trafficking survivors with Chab Dai Coalition’s Butterfly Longitudinal Research Project, and Amanda is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Jesuit High School in Portland, OR, and is a co-author of Jesuit West’s Community Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE).
The award is given in memory of Moira Erin O’Donnell, who had served as ISN’s executive director for less than a year when she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33. The annual award honors individuals ages 23-33 who have received an undergraduate degree from a U.S. Jesuit university and have demonstrated significant social justice leadership in their communities.
Honorary committee members included Very Rev. Kevin P. Dowling, C.SS.R, John J. DeGioia, Loretta Holstein, Rev. James Martin, S.J., Patricia McGuire, Bob and Jackie O’Donnell, and Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J.
Generous sponsors included Mrs. Loretta Holstein, St. Ignatius Loyola New York, St. Ignatius Parish, Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Regis High School New York, Jesuits West, Santa Clara University, The University of Scranton, Peter Albert and Charlotte Mahoney, the Bramson Family, Vince and Robyn Caponi, Orbis Books/Maryknoll, Bellarmine College Preparatory, Catholic Climate Covenant, Ignatian Young Adult Ministries, Jesuits East, Loyola University Chicago, the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Xavier University, Bob and Jackie O’Donnell, Jeannie Anderson-West and David West, Jesuit High School Sacramento, and Kate Carter and Ann MacGovern.
Please continue to support the work of the Ignatian Solidarity Network to form youth as faith and justice advocates in Marie Dennis and Bryan Massingale’s honor by donating here.
Blessed are those who spend their precious lives in the service of justice. May their tribe increase. Hearty congratulations to justice warriors Marie Dennis, Fr. Bryan Massingale, Amanda Montez and James Havey.