Jesuit Week Incorporates Doha
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 03:01
Georgetown University will celebrate the 14th annual Jesuit Heritage Week, which will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Jesuit Restoration from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1. The upcoming heritage week also marks the first time that the university is incorporating the School of Foreign Service-Qatar campus into the festivities.
This year the week celebrates when Pope Pius VII ended the suppression of the Jesuit order in Europe.
“We were wrestling with the idea of having the theme, but we didn’t end up naming the week with an official theme because we thought it was restricting the events too much, and that they would have to fall under the umbrella theme,” Colleen Fitzgerald (MSB ’14), co-chair of the planning committee, said. The committee consists of five students, including co-chair Jose Madrid (COL ’14), and is run through the Office of Mission and Ministry.
Despite the lack of a formal theme, the diversity of events offered throughout the week and the focus on Jesuit values allow all students to feel comfortable attending events.
“When Colleen and I first got together to talk about the vision we had for the week, we wanted to make this week reflect Jesuit education for all. We didn’t want this to be a Catholic thing or something that only Catholic students could identify with,” Madrid said. “We really wanted to celebrate how Jesuit values impact anybody who gets them, whether they’re Catholic students or not.”
The week began with an opening mass in Gaston Hall celebrated by Rev. Joseph Lingan, S.J., the rector of the Georgetown University Jesuit Community.
Lingan discussed the powerful effect of the Jesuit tradition in shaping lives.
“One of the privileges of being a Jesuit is whenever I go to celebrate the liturgy and it is announced that I am a Jesuit, people in the congregation will come up afterwards and say, ‘I went to a Jesuit school.’ My hope, my prayer, is the same will be true of all of you, that wherever life and God will bring you, the term ‘Jesuit’ will mean something to you and reflect something about who you are,” Lingan said.
In his statements after the opening mass, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia said that Jesuit Heritage Week is a time to appreciate the Jesuits’ role in forming the character of the university and the pope’s influence on the Roman Catholic Church.
“For the past 10 months we have watched in awe of our Holy Father live his ‘how.’ He is a man formed in the Jesuit way of proceeding and the heritage that we celebrate this week,” DeGioia said.
All faiths and traditions are incorporated into Jesuit Heritage week, as a Jesuit priest will speak at services in various faith traditions including a Hindu Puja, Orthodox Christian Vespers, a Muslim prayer service and a Jewish Shabbat.
The week will also include a variety of opportunities to explore the Jesuit spiritual tradition through Jesuit-hosted Ignatian meditations each day.
New additions to the week include a “Jesuits in Healthcare” panel and the incorporation of the Doha campus.
“There’s been a long standing tradition to incorporate Doha into our main campus traditions. We really tried to jump onto that same wagon and say let’s do this through our shared Jesuit identity,” Madrid said.
Fr. Thomas Michel, S.J., a senior fellow at the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and Woodstock Theological Center, celebrated the opening mass in Qatar on Jan. 26, which was followed by the Inaugural Interfaith Prayer on Faith and Justice. The campus also brought keynote speaker Fr. Bambang Sipayung, S.J., director of the Asia Pacific branch of the Jesuit Refugee Service on Jan. 27. Qatar campus students also engaged in community service by engaging with special needs children through Best Buddies.
The week also caused students to reflect on the importance of the presence of Jesuits in the lives of Georgetown students.
“We’re so blessed and fortunate that we have this Jesuit heritage, and I think it’s something that people don’t even know about necessarily,” Fitzgerald said. “Even as a senior, I’m growing to appreciate them more and more because I do have so much love for the Jesuits and how giving they are of their time and their talents to help put this week together. We’re so lucky that we have that kind of heritage and it’s important to recognize it.”
The schedule of events includes various talks on topics including “Finding God in All Things: an Ignatian Approach to LGBTQ Communities on Campus” on Tuesday, “Jesuits: History and Spirituality” on Wednesday, “Cura Personalis: Healthcare in the Jesuit Tradition” on Thursday and “The Jesuit Education Difference” on Friday.
Also included in the week’s events are the “Spike-a-Jesuit” volleyball tournament pitting Jesuits against students on Wednesday, the “Jammin’ Jesuit Java” night featuring musical performances on Thursday, the “Musica Jesuitica” Baroque period instrument ensemble on Friday and “Jesuit Storytelling” on Saturday.