Name: Fr. John (Jack) T. Crabb, SJ
Work: Manager of Spiritual Care and Director of Clinical Pastoral Education, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT.
Member since: 1997
Volunteer service: Region I Certification Committee; Certification Interview Teams; Certification Commission for six years; last three years served as chair of Certification Commission; Board of Directors 2009-2015; Conference Planning Committee 2012, 2013 as liturgy chair and Board liaison; 2014 as workshop chair and Board liaison; Governance Committee; Board Executive Committee; Education Task Force
Book on your nightstand: John Grisham’s “The Racketeer” (2012). I am a big fan of this author as he writes well and keeps me involved with the excellent character development and top-notch suspense. Good relaxing reading!
Books you recommend most often: “Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits,” collected and edited by Michael Harter, SJ
Favorite spiritual resource: As they say “this is a no-brainer” – by all means the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola. From the “Principle and Foundation” realizing one is made in the image and likeness of God, to the “Two Standards” with the tussle between following Jesus or the Evil One, to the “Contemplation of Divine Love,” realizing each one of us is loved by God for who we are, this is where I gain my spirituality and my educational philosophy. In the Spiritual Exercises I gain a sense of my fragility and my being a beloved creature of God.
Favorite fun activity: I love to walk along a lake or ocean. Being in Vermont I have Lake Champlain, which is great, but doesn’t compare to the ocean in Gloucester, MA, or along the Maine coast. Seeing the grandeur of God’s creation is so inspiring and allows me to see God in all things.
Favorite retreat spot: Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, MA, which is right on the Atlantic Ocean. The serenity of being in silence and knowing that so much prayer and God’s presence over the years have been inside that building is a graced experienced. The outside is a true experience of God’s grandeur with the waves washing and splashing against the boulders. The trails with their foliage in the fall are spectacular and peaceful. www.easternpoint.org
Personal mentor or role model: My personal mentor and role model is Father James Keegan, SJ. (not to be confused with James Keenan, SJ, the moral theologian). Jim Keegan is a spiritual director, currently living with Parkinson’s disease. He introduced me to the Jesuits and is the one to whom I trace my Jesuit vocation. Jim’s penchant for a culture of communication when we worked together at Eastern Point Retreat House has been my guide as a manager of two different spiritual care departments. Jim writes poetry and suffers silently and gracefully with Parkinson’s. He is my inspiration whenever I find I have a difficult day.
Famous/historic mentor or role model: Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, who was once the Jesuit superior general, has been a role model for me. Father Arrupe wrote a treatise, “ Men for Others.” Its theme has been my focus as a Jesuit — to be accessible and willing to assist those in need, especially the marginalized. Although the title says “Men,” other Jesuits and I have translated the treatise to say: “Men and Women for Others.” Father Arrupe had a stroke in his later years and turned everything over to God as he prayed the “Suscipe,” the prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola: Take Lord, receive all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.
Why did you become a chaplain? After being involved in high school teaching and administration for many years, I felt a call to change and find a more relational ministry. I had spent many years teaching and doing intellectual work. I began to recognize my feelings and eventually after a few years as a fulltime resident chaplain (living 24/5 in the hospital) transitioned to being a CPE supervisor which blended my love for teaching and being present to those who are sick, dying, and lonely. I now see my ministry as a chaplain to the chaplains as I train the next generation of chaplains and church pastors and leaders.
What do you get from NACC? From NACC, I receive my spiritual and professional sustenance. Being able to converse with colleagues of like faith enhances my ministry and aids me in engaging other colleagues with whom I work to think about their own spirituality.
Why do you stay in the NACC? The NACC is my spiritual home. Although I am in other professional organizations, I find the hospitality of our members and God’s grace ever present. In the NACC, there is a welcoming of all for who they are. The NACC assists many members to lessen the burdens of the ministry and to have a place and people to call home and a place to find blessed support and encouragement.
Why do you volunteer? I volunteer from a family upbringing value of “to whom much is given, much is asked.” Among my gifts are organizational skills and a penchant for detail. At the same time I enjoy helping people to see their own gifts and enlightening those who believe they have little to give. I look for the good in people and invite them to join with me and others for a better world. I also want to pay forward.
What volunteer activity has been most rewarding? Each of the various activities in which I have been involved has had its own reward. The work of certification as an interviewer and on the commission allowed me to see the depth and quality of our chaplains, and at the same time to have a small part in assuring that the NACC name is held solid by the quality of our certified chaplains. The work of the Board has provided me the opportunity to see the global picture of our association and to be ever vigilant on making sure that the voices of the members are being solicited. And the time with the Conference Planning Committee has given me the opportunity to show that Jesuits do know how to provide good liturgy. At the same time I have gained a further appreciation of the gifts of our membership as we have elicited members to be leaders of workshops, involved in liturgies, and guides for the overall success of our conferences.
What have you learned from volunteering? I have learned that the more one gets involved in an organization, the more that organization becomes a part of one’s life. Being a volunteer in the NACC inspires me to find others who can join in our venture and make the NACC a continuing top-notch voice in the chaplain world and to be the premier voice for our Catholic laity in ministry. NACC is a part of my life for which I am eternally grateful – especially grateful for all the people I have met, including our NACC staff, who are our backbone.