The third annual Jesuit Heritage Week, featuring discussions, lectures, experiences of Jesuit spirituality and religious services, commenced this past Sunday at Georgetown. The week began with a mass in Dahlgren Chapel led by Rev. Bradley Schaeffer, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.

The Heritage Week was first held in 2001 to celebrate the strong tradition of the Society of Jesus at Georgetown and to unite the entire campus community through presentations and discussions led by university alumni and faculty.

The Jesuit Heritage Week came out of a discussion between Jesuit Heritage Week Planning Committee chairperson J.P. Hornbeck (COL ’03) and a friend a couple of years ago. They talked about feeling a lack of understanding about what made Georgetown such an outstanding university. They found their answer in the Society of Jesus and the rich Jesuit heritage of the university. “This week is all about what makes Georgetown who we are [today],” said Hornbeck.

The opening mass saw a packed Dahlgren, as about 400 worshipers attended. In his homily, Fr. Schaeffer defined the week ahead as the telling of the story of Georgetown’s identity as a Jesuit institution and how we can apply it today.

This past Monday, Dean Carol O’Neil, assistant dean for the JD Program at Georgetown Law School, and Rev. Brian McDermott, S.J., rector of the Jesuit Community, spoke in Copley Formal Lounge. The discussion focused on women and the Jesuit tradition. cDermott spoke of how the Jesuits have come to be more open to working alongside women as co-workers in Jesuit institutions. O’Neil spoke of her experiences with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, an exercise of extended prayer and meditation. She recounted how the Exercises spoke to her as a woman in new ways that she did not expect.

Later in the evening, the Jesuit Heritage Week Planning Committee held a lecture entitled “Jesuits for Dummies: Your Questions Answered” in the Formal Lounge. The question and answer session was led by Fr. Ryan Maher, S.J., Assistant Dean of the College, Fr. Alvaro Ribeiro, S.J., professor in the English department, Fr. Brian Conley, S.J., Chaplain for the University Hospital, and Scott Hick, a Scholastic who has been studying with the Jesuits for two years but who is not yet ordained.

All events are free of charge and open to the entire campus community. They continue on Tuesday with a keynote address on Catholicism in politics by Paul Begala, law professor in the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and co-host of CNN’s political debate program “Crossfire.” Students and faculty can enjoy the sounds of Musica Jesuitica: Jesuit Music in Performance at Dahlgren Chapel Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. The day concludes with an ice-cream social featuring the music of Fr. Pat Conroy, S.J., on guitar. The event begins at 8:30 p.m. in the Jesuit Community.

On Wednesday, two lectures will be offered that look at Jesuit spirituality and its impact on community service and athletics. The first discussion is a look into the mission of Georgetown for all its students and faculty. As the nation’s oldest Jesuit university, Georgetown calls on all who pass through Healy Gates to be “Men and Women for others.”

The second lecture looks at the Jesuit heritage and its influence on athletics. Most Georgetown athletes are aware of being role models for area youth and participate in community service programs. All undergraduates, including student-athletes, are also called by the university’s Jesuit heritage to live “ad majorem dei gloriam” (for the greater glory of God). These themes will be brought up at the discussion scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Philodemic Room on the second floor of the Healy Building.

The week concludes on Thursday with a film presentation of Investigation of a Flame: A Tribute to Philip and Daniel Berrigan. Lynne Sachs’ documentary will examine the events of May 1968 when nine Vietnam War protesters, including a nurse, an artist and three priests, walked into a draft board office, grabbed hundreds of selective service records and burned them with homemade napalm. Now in their 70s and 80s, six of the original Catonsville Nine (including Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit) reflect on their experiences and political activism in the film. A discussion will be held at 7 p.m. in ICC Auditorium with Sachs and Professors Bernard Cook, associate director

of the John Carroll Scholars Program, and Michael Kazin of the history department.

Rare books on the history of the Jesuits will be available throughout the week at the Walter J. Burghardt, S.J., Collection on the third floor of Lauinger Library.

St. Ignatius Loyola, a Basque nobleman and soldier, founded the Society of Jesus in 1540. Today there are over 20,000 Jesuits serving the Church in 112 nations on six continents.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.