The Society of Jesus was barely ten years old in 1551 when its founder, St. Ignatius Loyola, established the Roman College in response to the many challenges facing the Church from within and without, including greed, corruption, divisiveness, ignorance, doubt and confusion.  He was convinced that the best way to restore the integrity and fidelity of the Church was through a well-educated and spiritually grounded clergy and laity.


This institution, now known as the Gregorian University, named for its great patron, Pope Gregory XIII, continues that work today, serving a Church that faces its own set of challenges just as daunting as the ones St. Ignatius encountered.  It has been joined by two other, more specialized institutions, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, which is a center for scholarship and teaching on the scriptures, and the Pontifical Oriental Institute, which studies and prepares clergy and other leaders for the Eastern-Rite Churches throughout the world.  There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world.


These three institutions together educate about 3400 students, including seminarians, priests, men and women religious and lay people, from 150 countries.  Many now come from the developing world, where the Church is young, growing and full of energy, but also facing severe opposition and poverty. The students bring a dedication, a hopefulness and an eagerness to learn that are truly inspiring.  They are served by a distinguished faculty of scholars who take on very heavy teaching loads while publishing and speaking widely and providing expertise and guidance to many Vatican congregations and other ecclesiastical and secular bodies.


The impact of these institutions is enormous.  Their graduates go on to be priests, bishops, heads of religious congregations, teachers, scholars, administrators and pastoral ministers throughout the world.  They count many saints and blesseds among their alumni. Moreover, as a center of scholarship located at the center of Catholicism, they help the Church both to deepen its understanding of the treasures of the faith and to respond creatively to the intellectual and moral challenges posed by the modern world.  The Society of Jesus recognizes the importance of this work, making the Roman institutions one of its top priorities. It continues to assign many of its most talented and accomplished Jesuits to the work. Yet, because of the broad scope of their work and whom they serve, these institutions are chronically short of funds.  As a result the faculty lacks many of the resources that their counterparts take for granted at universities in the US, Europe and elsewhere.


Our mission here at the Gregorian Foundation is to raise the funds needed to ensure the excellence, sustainability and accessibility necessary for the Gregorian and its sister institutions to carry out the sacred apostolate entrusted to them.  The needs are very great. We are honored to be a part of this critical mission; but we also feel its urgency. I ask that if you have not already done so, you will consider joining in our work by becoming a donor. In doing so you will play an important role in bringing Christ’s healing and transforming Word into our troubled Church and world.



Michael McFarland, SJ