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''In God's Arms,'' this book's title, expresses the assurance of God's initiating and all-embracing love, which invites us to a deeper personal relationship with Him. This invitation captures the heart of all of Father Nigro's writings in this book. In these writings, Father Nigro guides us into the personal intimacy with the Lord demonstrated in the parable of the Good Shepherd and achieved through an effective prayer life.
Father Nigro's writings here flow from his own spiritual life. This life began with his immigrant Italian family and community, continued through his many years of Jesuit life, in reflecting on and living the principles found in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and finally was enriched by the best Holy Spirit filled thought of Vatican II. His writings are also anchored in his two combined life-time ministries of University Professor of Catholic philosophy and theology, and world-wide retreat work.
Father Nigro in Africa
Invitation for Your Participation
''Before Father Nigro’s death, his desire and request were often voiced that his insights and teachings would be freely shared with others. The publication of this meaningful book, on prayer and our relationship with God as his beloved children, has been an answer to Father’s request. As donations for the printing allow, the book will be available to anyone who desires to grow in appreciation of God’s unconditional love and care and his presence in our lives. We, as the Community of God, can make the production and free distribution of this work of love, so needed today, possible by our donations to the book’s cost.''
- Dr. Catherine Swan Iviqsik Reimer --- Educator, psychologist and author
This book honors a great Jesuit priest, Armand Nigro, theology teacher at Gonzaga and Seattle University, and retreat director, literally all over the world. His zeal to bring Jesus’ life and teachings to people upset by uncertainties in our modern world is shown in these writings collected by Mike Moyer, a devoted friend who wishes to honor Father Nigro's legacy. I think that pastors, retreat directors and especially people looking for helps to pray, will find in Father Armand's writings, spiritual pearls to help them live their lives.
Father Armand Nigro S.J. touched the lives of thousands during his life as a Jesuit priest, through his life as a professor of Theology and Philosophy and as a pastor, retreat master, and spiritual advisor. He touched my life personally for over sixty years. His influence as a spiritual director and confessor still has a profound spiritual effect for me and many of my family members and friends. In these days of worldly strife and uncertainty and on the sad decline of vocations and attendance in the Catholic Church, his teachings on prayer and on God’s love and providential care are needed more than ever.
This book presents the best of Father’s work based on philosophy, theology, and Ignatian Spirituality, work which has inspired so many religious and laity to live lives centered in Christ and intimately know we are loved by God. Father Nigro through his writing draws one into the personal intimacy and love of God, drawing us closer to God through prayer and discovering how each of us are unique to God and loved not by what we do but because of His unconditional love for us and His desire to lavish us with Himself. As Father often said, ‘He wants to saturate us with His Divine Presence, soak us with Himself.’
By compiling the very best of Fr. Armand Nigro SJ’s inspired theological prayer reflections in this book, In God’s Arms, J Michael Moyer empowers readers with the rich opportunity of on-going transformation of heart to know and love more richly our living God. Father Nigro’s reflections presented here are valuable resources for all- pastors, priests, lay leaders, formation guides, teachers, retreat directors, spiritual accompaniers and parents.
I sincerely enjoyed reading and pondering Fr. Nigro’s writings. ''In God’s Arms'' is just that, a warm embrace of Jesus right to the heart and soul of the reader. Especially noteworthy was the effective use of the Ignatian imagination, particularly with regard to our Blessed Mother. Additionally noteworthy was the clear invitation into the transformational and healing nature of the sacraments. Simply lovely! A warm embrace indeed. If you desire a deeper prayer life and some tools to learn how to live out your faith, I recommend this collection of Father Nigro’s effective writings.
For those who knew and loved Father Armand Nigro, S.J., these pages will bring him back to life. Those who didn’t have the privilege of knowing him are in for a spiritual treat. Father Nigro was a priest who drew very close to God in prayer, and his words and meditations lead all of us a little closer to God, too.
This book is amazing! I am only halfway through it and just find every sentence alive with meaning. I just thank you!
Thumbing through the pages of ''In God’s Arms''—a book of few pages but many spiritual insights and delights—I was caught by a small photo on page 72 of Armand Nigro enjoying a meal of sardines with a group of young Malawians sitting along the shore of Lake Malawi. I had been in that same spot many times during my almost 20 years of serving and being served in that very beautiful and very poor country in southern Africa.
The photo revealed Armand’s closeness to the people. It was a closeness that brought people—whether in the USA or in Malawi—close to a loving Creator God, His clear and simple style of Scriptural prayer was appreciated not only by youth but also by older Malawians—women and men whom he taught at the National Seminary in Malawi.
When Armand taught about prayer, it was not abstract dissertation but concrete expression. It was personal story-telling that attracted many to his classes, his writings, and his pastoral direction. I recall one incident when we were both teaching at the same time in the Malawi National Seminary. I overheard him speaking (very loudly!) on a long-distance call to the United States, making an appointment for some spiritual direction time—two years in the future! His calendar was filled until that distant date.
My own ministry in Malawi and Zambia – almost thirty years of education and development work—was enriched by close contact with the people. That’s why the photo on page 72 of Armand’s close contact with the people caught my eye. It explains in a very concrete image why ''In God’s Arms'' is so appropriate a title to this book of Armand Nigro, S.J.’s writings.
Always keenly aware of the needs of the Church, in 1981 Father Nigro, along with Father Vince Beuzer, S.J. and Father Jack Evoy, S.J., led an effort to establish Mater Dei at Gonzaga University, a special seminary appropriate to older men who were attracted to a priestly vocation. Until the mid-1990’s, Mater Dei served the purpose of helping fill the gap for the loss of already ordained men in the priestly ministry. Today, the former Mater Dei program has become a spiritual formation program for Catholic and inter-denominational Christian ministry, both lay and ordained, and is known as Gonzaga’s Ministry Institute and Center for Spiritual Renewal. The Institute, under the present Director, Nathaniel Greene, is a depository of Father Nigro’s writings, and the primary sponsor for this book.
J. Michael Moyer (Mike), the ''Publisher'' of this book, is one of many who was blessed to know Father Nigro. Mike has expressed that his intent in voluntarily publishing this book is to see that Father Nigro’s Holy Spirit inspired priestly ministry not be lost in time, but offered to all who might need and seek a deeper relationship with their Creator. Though Father Nigro never published a book, much like Jesus, he shared his experience and insights about prayer, our spiritual life, and related matters in over 500 typed articles or ''hand-outs.'' The ''Articles'' in this book are very representative of Father’s central themes on prayer. The Articles are ordered here, as Father had ordered them in the packet of materials which Father shared with Mike.
Father was ordained a priest in 1956, the year that Mike finished his first year of novitiate in the Jesuits. During his nine years as a Jesuit, from 1955 through the Fall of 1964, Mike knew of Father, having heard about his work at Holy Cross Mission in Alaska. Then, during the summer of 1964, while Mike was living at Seattle University for summer school, he was recruited indirectly by Father, as a philosophy tutor, for four of Father’s students, who were Sisters of St. Ann. In more recent years, as a layman, Mike assisted Father Nigro and Father Beuzer at the retreat house in Anchorage Alaska, for a few weeks. After that, Mike had the privilege of assisting Father Nigro in giving a very effective one day silent retreat at Mike’s home Parish in Shelton for about one hundred parishioners. Finally, as a member of the faith development committee for St. Patrick’s parish in Tacoma, Mike shared some of Father Nigro’s writings on prayer, which are included in this book, with parishioners through the parish Sunday bulletin. Mike’s hope and intent is that this book will be a source of richer spiritual life and deepened relationship with God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, through the continued priestly ministry of Father Armand Nigro, S.J.