The Reverend James Martin, S.J. to speak at annual Pope John Paul II Lecture on April 26

The importance of joy and humor will be the focus of Felician College’s annual Pope John Paul II Lecture featuring keynote speaker Reverend James Martin, S.J. The event will be held on Thursday, April 26 from 7- 9 pm at the John J. Breslin Theatre (Albin Obal Hall), 262 South Main Street, Lodi.


Drawing on Scripture, the model of Jesus, the lives of the saints, and his own experiences as a Jesuit priest, Father Martin will discuss how joy, humor, and laughter can aid us in the arduous task of doing the work of social justice.  


The event, which is sponsored by Felician College and the Order of Malta, is free and open to the public. To register please e-mail the Franciscan Center at


Father Martin will be available after the program to sign copies of his new book,

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.


About The Reverend James Martin, S.J.


Reverend James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, author and culture editor of America, the national Catholic magazine.

Father Martin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982, where he received a bachelor's degree in finance. After working for six years in corporate finance and human resources with General Electric Co., he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1988. During his novitiate, Fr. Martin worked in a hospice for the sick and dying with the Missionaries of Charity in Kingston, Jamaica; and at the Nativity Mission School, a school for poor boys, in New York City. In Aug. 1990, he pronounced his simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. From 1990 to 1992, he studied philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago, and also worked in an outreach program with street-gang members in the inner city. For his regency, he worked for two years with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Nairobi, Kenya, where he helped East African refugees start small businesses; and for one year with America magazine in New York City. In 1995, Father Martin began his theology studies at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, in Cambridge, Mass., where he received his master's degree in divinity in 1998, and his master's in theology in 1999. While in Cambridge, he also worked as a chaplain at a Boston prison. After completing his Jesuit studies, he was ordained a Catholic priest in June 1999. He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree (D.D.) from Wagner College in 2007. On November 1, 2009, he pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit.

Father Martin is the author of several books.  His bestselling memoir My Life with the Saints , which received a 2007 Christopher Award, was named one of the "Best Books" of 2006 by Publishers Weekly, and also received a First Place award from the Catholic Press Association. My Life with the Saints has sold over 100,000 copies and is used in schools, parishes and book clubs around the country. His most recent book is A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas and Life's Big Questions, which was named one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Books" of 2007 and was awarded a First Place award from the Catholic Press Association.  His two latest books are The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything and Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.

Besides articles in Catholic publications like America, Commonweal, U.S. Catholic and The (London) Tablet, Father Martin has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other national newspapers and websites, including, and The New York Times' website. He has commented on religion and spirituality in the national and international media, and he has appeared in venues as diverse as National Public Radio's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," NPR's "Weekend Edition," PBS's "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" and Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," as well as on all the major networks, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, The History Channel, the BBC and Vatican Radio.

For his writings and various ministries, Father Martin has received Fordham University's Gaudium et Spes Award, the Ignatian Volunteer Corps' Madonna della Strada Award, and the Loyola Institute of Spirituality's Writers' Award.

Besides his editorial, publishing and media work, Father Martin conducts various seminars and retreats and assists on Sundays at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City.