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Photographer Capturing Images of Jesuit Priests to Donate 10 Percent of Book Proceeds to JRS/USA
May 12, 2017

Photographer Capturing Images of Jesuit Priests to Donate 10 Percent of Book Proceeds to JRS/USA
Father Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ, is rector of the Jesuit Community at Loyola Marymount University. (Credit/Robert Macaisa)
"Reflecting on how JRS is both a global service agency and Jesuit organization, I cannot help but think about the quote, ‘Go forth and set the world on fire.’ This is epitomized in all of the work they do, which I admire so greatly."

There is nothing better than the feeling of satisfaction when donating to a cause we know will make a difference in people’s lives. The joy of giving is so powerful and completes us as a human being. This is the excitement Chris Yates felt when he decided to donate 10 percent of the proceeds of his new photography book, Emmaus: The Nature of the Way, to Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.

Educated at a Jesuit university and more recently volunteering in a year-long service program in the heart of Chicago on issues regarding refugees, Yates was exposed to the work of JRS during most of his student life. He also lives with other volunteers who directly work with refugees and has learned of their first-hand experiences. This helped him see how much the work of JRS is necessary for giving a voice to those whose voices are stripped away.

“Reflecting on how JRS is both a global service agency and Jesuit organization, I cannot help but think about the quote, ‘Go forth and set the world on fire.’ This is epitomized in all of the work they do, which I admire so greatly,” says Yates.

Yates is a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif., with a bachelor's degree in screenwriting and a minor in archeology. He is currently doing a year of post-graduate service at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a program called Amate House, where he has the opportunity to serve the poor and marginalized in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood.

Yates describes his photography book as fine art portrait photography that chronicles the lives of 22 Jesuit Priests as they recount their own personal journey to Emmaus much like the one the disciples embarked on in Luke’s Gospel (25: 13-35). The book showcases the personalities and hobbies of each priest along with the stories that touch on deeply human issues.

“In society, priests are often seen as unapproachable and essentially inhuman,” says Yates. “We hope to break down some of these societal barriers that are placed on priests.”

The project started two years ago, when Yates was  involved in Campus Ministry at Loyola Marymount University and came to know Jesuits not only as teachers, but also as friends.

“I reflected on the great impact these men had on my life, and thought it would be invaluable to provide that same experience to those who did not have the opportunity to personally meet them," he says. 

This is when photographer Robert Macaisa, a professional portrait photographer and videographer in Los Angeles, allowed him to take a director role in the making of the photography book project. Yates met Macaisa in Loyola Marymount University and for several years they have worked together on creative projects that include a short psychological horror film in Colorado, a documentary about an archaeologist in Nebraska and a series of liturgical videos. Since then, he worked with Tsehai Publishers and Marymount Press Institute, who both helped bring the new photography book to life. 

The book will be released on May 13, 2017, with a gallery opening at Open Mind Art Space in Santa Monica, Calif. 

Yates describes himself as a storyteller and creator rather than only as a photographer or director. When developing a story, he chooses from photography, videography, writing or painting. 


“When I have a story that I want to tell and believe in it deeply, I do not want to limit the expression of that story to only one medium,” Yates explains.

Deciding to donate part of his book sale wasn’t difficult to Yates. Besides his obvious Jesuit connection, Yates believes both Emmaus: The Nature of the Way and JRS have a similar mission, that is reflected in different ways.

“We hope to shed light and give a voice to the truth of this group of priests, that will break down societal misconceptions and barriers,” he says. “JRS also gives a voice to those who are voiceless throughout the world, which is something I deeply respect and is the reason I wanted to donate.”


As the refugee crisis worsens, millions of men, women, and children face uncertain future and JRS welcomes partnerships that help advance its mission and raise awareness about refugees around the world. That is why JRS is grateful for Mr. Yates’s generous donation and for doing his part to draw attention to the plight of refugees and displaced persons around the world. This will help support JRS programming around the world, which address the education, health and social needs of refugees in 47 countries.


The book Emmaus: The Nature of the Way will be released on May 13, 2017, with a gallery opening at Open Mind Art Space in Santa Monica, CA. The book will be available on the website: natureoftheway.org as well as other outlets, including Amazon.com. On the website, prints will also be available in select, limited editions.  You can find updates, contests, and behind the scenes material on social media the @natureoftheway handle.



Press Contact Information
JRS/USA Communications
jrscommunications@jesuits.org
202-629-5946