Fr. SooHoo is currently in special studies at NYU, works with the young adult ministry at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Manhattan and coordinates Charis Ministry Retreats in the Archdiocese of NY.
"What makes me happy to be a religious today?"
For me, one of the most gratifying aspects of being a Jesuit is accompanying people during the important transitions in their lives.
In the sacrament of Baptism I join parents in welcoming their child into the Church. Celebrating the Eucharist I encounter people from all walks of life as they journey with Jesus in the ordinary and day to day. Hearing confessions puts me in touch with my own brokenness and need for God's grace. Witnessing the exchange of marriage vows reminds me of the different vocations to which each of us is called and the commitment that discipleship entails. Being at someone's bedside at the moment of death and mourning with family and friends, for me, is an act of faith, hope, and love.
These are sacred moments when I sense and experience God's presence palpably and concretely. They remind me that "all is gift." I am humbled by the miracle and mystery that is a human life. I am grateful for the people whom I've had the privilege to know. These friendships and relationships have nourished my soul, enriched my life, and expanded my horizons. They've challenged me to embrace my humanity more fully and to become a better Jesuit. It's in the people I serve that I have seen God's face.
Part of being a Jesuit also means working with a wide range of talented, generous, and thoughtful people. Currently, I am involved with Charis Ministries, a program that offers retreats rooted in Ignatian spirituality for young adults. I meet people who are excited about their faith and who have answered the call to serve. We've developed a model of collaborative ministry that works well for us. The project took time and a lot of hard work. There were setbacks and missed opportunities. But what helped us to grow as a team was our shared commitment to the Ignatian vision of finding God in all things and in all people. These young professionals in their 20's and 30's show me what Church can and ought to be.
Being a religious today means finding God in the everyday. Sometimes, my vocation as a Jesuit has led me to places and people I would have never expected. More often than not, this commitment is lived out in the ordinary and mundane -- remaining faithful to prayer, accompanying people where they are, going the extra mile for a stranger or friend.