Rev. Daniel M. Ruff, SJ

Week 15 – March 9, 2015
Entered -- September 1976
Took Vows -- August 1978
Ordained -- June 1986
Fr. Ruff holds a doctorate in liturgy and currently serves as pastor of Old St. Joseph's Parish in Philadelphia. He has taught at Jesuit universities and diocesan seminaries on the East Coast, as well as served in various campus ministry positions.
As a Jesuit with graduate training in liturgy and homiletics, I have had to cultivate a sense of humor about stereotypes concerning Jesuits as presiders. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the jibe "More lost than a Jesuit during Holy Week," or the crack about a successful Jesuit liturgy being "one where no one is seriously injured," I could probably end poverty in a small third-world country!
But happily, I am currently in my seventh year as pastor at Old St. Joseph's, the oldest Catholic parish in Philadelphia founded by Jesuits in 1733, and under our care except during the hiatus created by the Society's suppression worldwide. Here, Sunday after Sunday, I delight in disproving the old jokes by presiding with reverence and care, and by preaching with the intent, as St. Augustine recommended, not only to teach, but also to persuade and delight.
When people tell me that my homilies have touched them, answered their spiritual questions, or made a lasting impression, then I experience "The Joy of the Gospel"? In my vocation as religious and priest. I am also blessed to be teaching homiletics to diocesan seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary; and even after four semesters, I remain excited and hopeful at the promise I hear in their preaching at such an early stage in their formation.
My thanks goes first, of course, to Jesus; but I am also grateful for the spirituality, the vision, and the generous fraternal support of the Society of Jesus. I can't imagine spending the past almost forty years of my life in any other way that would have offered as much opportunity and fulfillment. And in all of it, I am serving alongside Jesus as his disciple. What's not to love?!
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Eastern Point Retreat House, a grand house located on the Atlantic shore in Gloucester, Mass., has been welcoming retreatants since 1958.