Father Matt Malone, S.J. inspires students and parents with Lenten hope


Claire Moore '22

Father Matt Malone, S. J. inaugurated the Education to Mission Speaker Series with his panel on faith in relation to everyday life.

As part of the Education to Mission Speaker Series, Father Matt Malone, S.J., President and Editor-in-Chief of America Magazine, virtually addressed students and parents about the intersection of contemporary issues and Catholicism March 9.  In his remarks, Fr. Malone offered spiritual guidance on how to utilize faith as solace during times of uncertainty and turmoil.  

The panelists of the event included Mr. Thomas Lehrman P ’22, ’32, Member of the Board of Trustees, Ms. Marion Glennon ’54, Ms. Emily Kuchta, Fourth Grade Teacher, and junior Claire Moore, all of whom posed questions to Fr. Malone.  Ms. Jessica Johnson ’15 of 7 Eyewitness News in Buffalo, New York moderated the discussion.  The evening commenced with an inaugural speech by Mrs. Christine Di Capua P ’23, Education to Mission Chair and Trustee, who discussed the importance of sustaining community values despite physical separation.

“In no small way, community life at Sacred Heart has been greatly affected by the turmoil of this year, not the least of which has been the pandemic,” Mrs. Di Capua said.  “All of us have had to adjust the way we engage in relationships with one another.  We long for the chance to be physically together.  We long for the chance to hug and embrace.  Yet tonight, despite the challenges we have faced, we still gather as one community, in many ways, exactly as our founding mothers would have envisioned, eager to embrace the future with joy and optimism, and committed to seeking opportunities for spiritual, intellectual, and personal growth, as the pathway for transformation, of ourselves and others.”

Mrs. Christine Di Capua P ’23 introduced Father Malone in her role as Education to Mission Committee Chair.  Claire Moore ’22

In his Lenten reflection, Fr. Malone connected the world’s current social, political, and cultural unrest to the season of Lent within the Catholic Church, particularly focusing on unprecedented hardships related to COVID-19.  He discussed collective sentiments of loneliness, fear, and despair experienced on a global level as preparation for the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

“Lent only exists in relation to Easter as it represents the difficult journey we progress through as a lead up to the Resurrection of Jesus,” Fr. Malone said.  “We are incapable as human beings to contain the infinite joy and hope that comes to us from the Good News of the Resurrection.  While Lent can feel like deprivation, its intrinsic relationship to the rising of the Lord on Easter Sunday makes it very different from the previous suffering.  The long days of Lent are a preparation for the new life that Easter brings.”  

Fr. Malone also drew a comparison between Mary Magdalene, a central Christian figure who delivered the news of Jesus’s Resurrection, and what it means to be an ideal Catholic disciple.  He cited the political tension of biblical Palestine as comparable to today’s global environment while commending Mary’s faith.

Father Malone imparted a message of Lenten hope during his remarks.  Claire Moore ’22

“In this time of tumultuous politics in our culture, we are called to carry the joy of the Resurrection to others,” Fr. Malone said.  “In order for faith to be livable for us and creditable to others, it is fundamentally important that it comes from the heart of Mary Magdalene who first announced the resurrection of the Lord and whose joy lays at the center of our identity as a truly risen people.  The journey of Lent is the journey of Mary Magdalene to deliver the Good News.”

Along with his Lenten commentary, Fr. Malone covered current events while speaking on the role of faith in political leadership, particularly following President Joseph R. Biden’s reinstatement of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  He acknowledged the intrinsic relationship between politics and religion. 

“Faith plays an indispensable role in politics whether we like it or not,” Fr. Malone said.  “Even if the wall of separation between church and state were an absolute barrier, faith would still be playing a role in our politics because people of faith are engaged in politics.  What President Biden sees is that we cannot solve the present problems of the country without the help of faith-based communities as non-profit organizations, a disproportionate number of which are religiously affiliated, provide social services for the majority of America.”

Fr. Malone holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a Master’s Degree from Fordham University, a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of London, and a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of Louvain.  The Catholic Press Association awarded Fr. Malone a distinction for essay writing in 2006, and his commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post.  Fr. Malone acted as the founding deputy director of MassINC, an independent political research institute, and co-published CommonWealth, its award-winning civics journal.  Both of these roles prepared Fr. Malone for his position as America Magazine’s youngest President and Editor-in-Chief. 

In addition, Fr. Malone worked as a special assistant and speechwriter to United States Representative Martin T. Meehan from 1997 to 2002.  He also founded Religion, Mimesis, and Society, an interdisciplinary research team based out of Heythrop College in London, England, that investigates the link between violence and religion.    

Utilizing his extensive credentials, Fr. Malone provided insight into additional questions such as the role of women in the Church, inspiring faith in children, and navigating difficult conversations with peers about religious beliefs.  The evening closed with words from Mrs. Meg Frazier, Head of School, who thanked Fr. Malone for his visit and commented on the influence of historical women in the Church. 

As a faith-based community of young women, it’s so important to share in this story of Mary Magdalene and remember that we are connected to the legacy of Madeleine Sophie Barat’s life and to the same traditions as well as a similar history,” Mrs. Frazier said.  “In our DNA as Sacred Heart women, we celebrate being people of strong faith.”

Featured Image by Claire Moore ’22