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From The Colbert Report to Commencement

By Jessie Bazan, communication senior

Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a priest who posts and prays, a Jesuit who jokes and tweets.

And he does it Ad majorem Dei gloriam (that's "for the greater glory of God" in Jesuit terms).

Pope Francis may hold the title of world's most visible Jesuit, but few other members of the Society of Jesus can claim the popularity of Father Martin, Marquette's 2014 Commencement speaker, on May 18. Father Martin is currently based in New York, but he seems to be everywhere on the New York Times bestseller list, yacking it up as the chaplain of The Colbert Report and all over social media.  

He is a well-liked Jesuit. (Literally … nearly 70,000 folks flock to his Facebook page for regular spiritual meditations and religious news stories).

Father Martin views his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts as a ministry, but says he only spends about an hour on his sites each day. He spends the rest of his time writing books, working as the editor at large for America magazine and speaking about religion and spirituality to national and international audiences. Amid his many projects, he is looking forward to visiting Marquette.

"When I meet college kids, I'm impressed by their enthusiasm, energy and drive," says Father Martin. "I've found that particularly in students at Jesuit schools. There's something about four years at a Jesuit university that fires people up."

Father Martin has a few pieces of advice for soon-to-be Marquette grads as they approach commencement day.

"Trust that God wants you to be happy," he says. "True happiness comes from being the person whom God wants you to be. You don't have to become anyone else to be holy, or to be loved by God or fulfilled."

There are rumors that Pope Francis will visit the United States next fall. We asked Father Martin how he would spend a day with the pope if the two Jesuit giants met in the Big Apple.

Father Martin says they would visit the poor, tour New York's famous churches and stop at Ground Zero. And, to complete the tour, Fr. Martin quips, "I'd take him to Central Park to have a hotdog."

Father Martin's newest book "Jesus: A Pilgrimage" is available for purchase worldwide. While in Milwaukee, Father Martin will also present "Who is Jesus?" a talk about encountering Jesus in everyday life. This presentation will take place on Friday, May 16th at 7:00 p.m. at the Church of the Gesu.


Comment by Ruth Hoerig at May 08 2014 03:11 pm
This twice graduate from Marquette University is looking forward with enthusiasm to your presentation at Gesu Church on May 16th. If I'm lucky, I might be able to get you to autograph my copy of "Jesus: A Pilgrimage."
Comment by Blanche Premo-Hopkins at May 16 2014 11:34 am
I love Fr. Martin's book, one I think also inspires my daughter who is a so-so Catholic but married to a wonderful Jewish man. It's a challenge to have two strong religious traditions in one household with the father's taking precedence. I draw inspiration from Fr. Martin and he's cool. As a Ph.D. alum I think MU made a great choice for a commencement speaker!
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