Today, July 31, is the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. It is also the customary time for Jesuit Provinces to publish “The Status,” the annual announcement of changes of assignment for members of the province. In days long past, Jesuits would gather round the bulletin board after lunch or dinner to see what future superiors had decided for them. Today individuals about to be (re-)assigned usually know well in advance of their future posting, but Jesuit houses learn from an e-mail posting from the province office of where others will be going. This year, our centennial year, is one of major transition for editors at America. Five of our number are moving on to new assignments: two to new works and three to studies.
Father Joe O’Hare and Father Dennis Linehan are retiring after extended service on the editorial board. Father O’Hare, the president emeritus of Fordham University in New York, has been part of the editorial team or its leader for 17 years. From 1972-74, he was an associate editor; and from 1974-84, editor in chief. In 2004, he returned to do a second term as associate editor. Joe, a beloved figure around New York City, headed the city’s Electoral Campaign Finance Board and served on the city’s Charter Revision Commission. In the last five years he penned many of our editorials and comments on U.S. politics. He could also be relied on for judicious advice on sensitive issues. He now turns to pastoral work, which he loves.
Father Dennis Linehan has worked as an associate editor since 1994. Unheralded, Dennis assumed many necessary but tedious jobs, particularly assembling our semi-annual index. In addition, he vetted manuscripts, reviewed and edited letters, and collated galley corrections made by the other editors. For the last several years, he also scanned the Catholic press to prepare our weekly Signs of the Times news feature. Around the editorial table, he was always a source of historical perspective and “high class,” mostly reliable gossip–a particular gift of Jesuit historians. In September, Dennis will move to the Jesuit Center at Wernersville, Pa.
Moving on to studies will be Father Jim McDermott, Mr. Jim Keane and Mr. Matt Malone.
Jim McDermott was known here for his enormous creativity and affability. Always interested in videography, he produced a number of short videos for our web site, and in the coming year he will be completing some unfinished film and video projects as he applies to film school. Jim also became an historian, doing a multi-part story on the struggle against segregation at Spring Hill College in Mobile in the 1950s, searching our archives for the stories that appeared as part of our centennial observance, and collecting memoirs from recent editors to fill up the lacunae in the historical record.
Jim Keane is returning to his home state of California to theological studies at the Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University, in Berkeley. Jim, a man of prodigious talent and accomplishment, was our most reliable re-write man, re-working interesting but turgid articles to make them readable, an invaluable asset on any editorial team. He also worked with Jim McDermott on the historical pieces drawn from the America archives. He wrote exceptionally sensitive cultural criticism and some of our best humor. His “Oops!” article, describing the less than wise judgements of editors in years past, was the hit of our centennial issue.
Matt Malone will be leaving us at the end of August to do theological studies at Heythrop College, London. Matt has served as our art director these past two years and oversaw the magazine’s re-design last winter, a major feat which has won acclaim. In short, he is the reason America looks so good. For the last several months, he has also edited the Signs of the Times weekly news section.
We wish all five God’s abundant blessings in their new homes and at their new works.
As Jesuits move on, we are preparing to welcome two lay editors. We are pleased to announce that in September Kevin Clarke, formerly of SALT and U.S. Catholic, will join us as an associate editor, returning from Chicago to his native New York. Before too long we hope to announce the arrival of a second lay colleague.