Jesuit Heritage Week, a series of events dedicated to celebrating Georgetown’s Jesuit identity, officially kicked off this Sunday with a liturgy held in Dahlgren Chapel.

This year marks the 10th year that the university has celebrated Jesuit Heritage Week.

“It is a student-run week of events to share with the university community various aspects of our Jesuit legacy. The week hopes to demonstrate that this legacy is not simply a relic from the past, but a living and vibrant dimension of the Georgetown experience,” said Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., vice president of Mission and Ministry.

With the celebration of Jesuit tradition, the community also reflects on the life and accomplishments of Fr. John Witek, S.J., who died Sunday morning. Witek’s areas of study included the history of East Asia, China and Japan. The opening reception following the opening liturgy held at 7:30 p.m. was cancelled so the Jesuit community could mourn his death.

Jesuit Heritage Week is not an exclusively Catholic event. Coordinators also encourage participation by members of the university community with other religious beliefs.

“The week’s activities include not just Jesuits, but many students and colleagues across the university, from a variety of faiths and backgrounds. This is a sign that the Jesuit tradition is meant for all men and women, who help us keep the tradition vibrant in the 21st century,” said Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., executive director of Campus Ministry.

According to Boroughs, Jesuits will be speaking at ecumenical chaplaincies’ services.

Students and Jesuits collaborated to plan the week’s events. Gloria Leung (COL ’10), one of the student coordinators, commented on the choice of events, which include some that are spiritual in nature and others that are social events.

“The main point was to create greater understanding and dialogue between our Jesuits and the rest of the Georgetown community. Many students, especially if they are not Catholic, don’t really understand what it means to be a Jesuit, and here’s their chance to find out,” Leung said. “The Jesuit Heritage is very rich . their ideas, their accomplishments and their art . We hope that students can come to a greater appreciation of it.”

Jesuit Heritage Week includes a number of new events this year, including a lecture, taking place Tuesday night, titled “What is the Mass” with Fr. Larry Madden, S.J., director of the Center for Liturgy, which will describe the movements and the history of the Mass. Other popular events have returned for another year. This year, for the first time, students won the annual student-Jesuit volleyball game, Spike-a-Jesuit!, which took place Monday night. On Friday night, Musica Jesuitica will showcase the Jesuits’ involvement in the arts.”

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