DAN GANNON/THE HOYA Fr. Daniel Madigan, S.J., spoke at Jesuit Heritage Week’s opening event.
DAN GANNON/THE HOYA
Fr. Daniel Madigan, S.J., spoke at Jesuit Heritage Week’s opening event.

Jesuit Heritage Week, the 15th annual university event that celebrates the work and spirituality of the Society of Jesus, began Sunday evening with an opening Mass in Gaston Hall and will continue through Saturday, Jan. 31.

The Office of Mission and Ministry sponsors this event, which happens throughout the final week of January each year and involves a series of special events planned by a student-led team.

“The goal is to share with our students, faculty and staff different aspects of the Jesuit tradition,” Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. said.“ We have academic events, like lectures; we have social events, spiritual events, artistic events and we have athletic events. They share different aspects of the Jesuit tradition and provide an opportunity for students to get to know Jesuits on campus.”

The week’s events are all centered on the goal of bringing the 40 Jesuits of the Georgetown community closer to the student body while celebrating the university’s Jesuit roots.

As part of the week, Fr. John Foley, S.J., delivered a lecture Monday evening on the Cristo Rey model of education. Foley is the founder of a network of schools that use the Cristo Rey, a new Jesuit education model that partners with local businesses for a work-study format of learning.

Other highlights of the week include a lecture on Jesuit history delivered by world-renowned Jesuit historian Fr. John O’Malley, S.J. on Tuesday night and a basketball shoot-out between students and Jesuits during halftime of Tuesday’s basketball game against Xavier at the Verizon Center.

More events include the annual “Spike-a-Jesuit” volleyball match on Thursday night and Jesuit storytelling on Saturday afternoon. A complete schedule of events can be found on the Mission and Ministry website.

The week’s events were planned and coordinated by a team of eight students headed by two student co-chairs, Nikita Jejurikar (NHS ’15) and John Whitmore (NHS ’16).

“The week is meant to celebrate our heritage as a school and to give students the chance to get to know some Jesuits and kind of understand the values that make us a Jesuit institution and what that means,” Jejurikar said. “It’s mostly a celebration and a learning opportunity.”

Jejurikar also said that while the week is centered on Jesuit spirituality, the events are by no means limited to students of Christian faith.

“The Jesuit values and the Ignatius spirituality and mindset inspires a set of values that are not exclusively Catholic or exclusively Christian,” Jejurikar said. “All the events are Jesuit themed but are relevant to all students. All students are welcomed and encouraged to come.”

In an effort to embrace the different faith traditions represented on campus, a Jesuit will be speaking at a service for each of the religions present on campus during the week.

“We have a Jesuit speaking at each of the religious services, from Jewish Shabbat to Hindu Puja, so we reach students in all different areas,” O’Brien said.

Fr. Joseph Lingan, S.J., rector of the Jesuit community, expressed excitement for the events of the week and noted a growing student interest in Jesuit philosophy.

“It’s always wonderful to have student interest in who we are and what we’re about,” Lingan said. “The reason why we’re here is the students here at Georgetown. It’s our delight to meet and encounter and hopefully help students in whatever way we can. This week really spotlights that for us.”

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