Mission and Ministry Newsletter
Mission and Ministry, under the oversight of the Vice President for Mission and Ministry, encompasses the Office of Campus Ministry, including Law Center and Medical Center Campus Ministry, and the Office of Mission and Pastoral Care at Georgetown Hospital. In addition, the Office of the Vice President promotes the Ignatian heritage, Catholic identity and Jesuit mission of the university, through programs and retreats engaging students, faculty, administrators, staff, the Board of Directors, the Board of Regents, alumni and donors in the understanding and practice of our religious identity, values and commitments.
We recently completed our 13th annual Jesuit Heritage Week, with 22 academic, religious, social, artistic and athletic events. The outnumbered Jesuits beat a student team at the Spike-a-Jesuit volleyball game for the second year in a row but were vanquished at a halftime shootout on the court at the Verizon Center! While the week was engaging on many fronts, our Catholic and Jesuit heritage is lived out every day of the year on our campuses-in classrooms, worship spaces, residence halls and everywhere in between.
In this issue of our newsletter, you will read not only about Jesuit Heritage Week, but also about a range of other programs in Mission and Ministry, reaching people of different faith traditions. All of these programs would not be possible without your support. It really matters to us, so thank you.
One of our more popular programs this year was our online daily devotional during Advent. Over 3,500 members of the Georgetown community subscribed to receive a daily meditation for prayer written by a student, faculty, staff member or alumni from different Christian traditions. We will again offer this service during the Lenten season. We are grateful for a grant from the Georgetown Alumni Association supporting the daily devotional and other projects. If you are interested in receiving daily inspiration in your email, sign up here.
As I review the newsletter, I am awed once again by our incredibly talented and motivated student leaders. Our professional staff supports and mentors student leaders, which is one of the joys of doing our work here. Then we get to sit back and watch these students come alive in remarkable ways. This gives me great hope for the future of our faith communities. Read on to experience that hope with us.
Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. (C’88)
Office of the Vice President
- Mission and Ministry Vice President Takes Final Jesuit Vows
- Georgetown Celebrates Advent
- Jesuit Heritage Week a Great Success
Office of Campus Ministry
- Milkshakes With Michelle
- Restoration of Dahlgren Chapel
- Campus Ministry Choirs Work Together
- After Vatican Screening of 'Muslim Scare' Video, a Call for Dialogue
- First year students find a sense of community and connection on ESCAPE overnights
Catholic Campus Ministry
- Reflecting on the Good Work of the Catholic Chaplaincy
- Cultivating a Culture of Life
- Catholic Daughters: New Activities and Old Traditions
- Nightly Mass Community Continues to Grow
Ignatian Programs & Retreats
- Former Member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Shares Stories
- Teach-In to Explore Faith-Based Topics
Protestant Campus Ministry
- A Joyous Sound
Jewish Campus Ministry
- GUish: What's Yours?
- Who Will Retell? An Interfaith Miracle
Muslim Campus Ministry
- Expanding Muslim Life and Programming: Inclusion & Empowerment
- Voyage to the foreign land of Tennessee leads to reflection on faith
- Reflecting on Diversity in Islam Through Martin Luther King, Jr.
Orthodox Center Ministry
- Orthodox Students Provide Physical and Spiritual Nourishment
Medical Center Ministry
- International Programs at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine
- Alumni Association Grant Supports Spirituality Initiatives
Supporting Mission and Ministry
- Upcoming Events
Mission and Ministry Vice President Takes Final Jesuit Vows
Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., vice president for the Office of Mission and Ministry, completed his Jesuit training and professed his final vows this past November. "I am a Jesuit priest partly because of my experience at Georgetown as a student in the 1980s,"O’Brien said. "So it is fitting that I profess my final vows as a Jesuit back here [at the university]. God has been so good to me here, as a student and now as a Jesuit. I hope I can simply return God's graciousness in my service here at Georgetown."
Read more about this special occasion and watch Father O’Brien’s speech at Georgetown News.
Georgetown Celebrates Advent
Jesuit Heritage Week a Great Success
Jesuit Heritage Week 2013 was a great success! The week opened with a beautiful Mass celebrated by several Georgetown Jesuits in Gaston Hall. This year’s events included past successes, like Professor John Glavin’s (C ‘64) tour of Jesuit iconography on campus, the ever-popular Spike-a-Jesuit student-Jesuit volleyball game, and an evening Ignatian retreat. In hoping to more deeply engage the Georgetown community, Jesuit priests offered reflections at all of the faith services throughout the week. We also organized events on how Jesuit values play into the workplace environment for staff and faculty members, a discussion on LGBTQ life on a Jesuit campus, and a panel on the history of religious pluralism in Asia. This year we were also blessed with a visit from Jesuit-educated Mark Shriver, whose life path was very much shaped by a commitment to serve others. Shriver shared stories about how his father, Sargent Shriver, inspired him and many others to put faith into action in both the public sphere and in family life. During the Georgetown Hoyas vs. Seton Hall Pirates game at the Verizon Center, Jesuits and students participated in a lively basketball shooting competition during halftime. The week concluded in Wolfington Hall, the Jesuit Residence, where the Jesuits showed warm hospitality at "Lives of the Georgetown Jesuits." Revs. Charles Currie, SJ, Brian McDermott, SJ, James Duffy, SJ, and Francois Kabore, SJ, shared stories with an intimate audience of 50 people, including many seniors and their parents, in town for Senior Parents’ Weekend.
We were honored to organize this celebration of the Jesuits’ extraordinary ministry here at Georgetown and around the world. We love and have been profoundly transformed by Georgetown because Jesuit values are so alive here; this week provides us with an opportunity to celebrate this gift. For a complete listing of this year's events, see jesuitweek.georgetown.edu.
Milkshakes with Michelle
By Chirei Chang (F’13)
A distinct and invaluable ministry, chaplains-in-residence and Jesuits-in-residence offer an ongoing presence and outreach to all students in the residence halls and off campus, including those who might not identify as "religious,"but who still benefit from the support system and formation the chaplains provide. Below, one senior reflects on experiences that changed her life.
I initially started going to Milkshakes with Michelle (my chaplain-in-residence’s weekly open house) my sophomore year because I wanted to make new friends. I met many people, but it was rare to see the same person two weeks in a row, making it hard to develop friendships. However, I kept going because everyone was friendly, the milkshakes were delicious and Michelle was always welcoming.
The summer following my sophomore year, I studied abroad in Taiwan, where I met several Georgetown students, including Jack. We recognized each other, but could not figure out where we had met on campus because he was older and in different clubs. We eventually realized that we had met at Milkshakes with Michelle! It turns out that friendships can start over a milkshake.
Michelle also hosted a dinner with Rev. Matthew Carnes, S.J., focusing on the meaning of a Jesuit education. The dinner changed my mindset about being at Georgetown. Later, I wrote Father Carnes an email saying, "Your speech about Jesuits and how you educate the people who can make the most difference in the world gave me direction. I now realize that my education will help me become more knowledgeable about problems and their solutions, and I can apply this to the world to make it a better place."
I have some friends at Georgetown who struggle to see the purpose of their education, and I wish they had the opportunity to speak with Father Carnes. He helped put my education in perspective, and that dinner was one of the defining moments of my Georgetown experience.
I kept going to Milkshakes with Michelle until the first semester of my senior year because I was swamped with other obligations. As the semester progressed, I became anxious about graduating and stressed about finding a job. There were times when I felt alone, lost and unsure as to whom I could reach out to. I was still receiving Michelle’s emails and realized she was someone I could talk to openly and truthfully, and I felt so much better after I did.
I am grateful for what Michelle and Father Carnes have provided: opportunities to make new friends, to realize the purpose of my education and to meet someone I can trust. As a nonreligious person, I am surprised but thankful for the impact Campus Ministry has had on my life.
Restoration of Dahlgren Chapel
Spring 2013 finds the exterior restoration of Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart coming to a close. The completion of this phase is a welcome sign of the progress in restoring the spiritual center of the campus. Springtime projects include refilling the trench around the chapel that was dug out for work on the foundation, removing the construction fencing and replacing the brick sidewalks around the chapel. Eventually, as the weather warms, landscaping will be replaced as well. The new landscaping will be more in scale with the chapel; for example, the trees and other greenery will allow one to admire the beauty of the chapel and the restored windows from the exterior.
In addition to restoring the stained glass windows, we have also replaced their exterior protection glass. The new glass is clear, allowing more light into the chapel. This is particularly evident in the Sacred Heart window located in the front of the chapel behind the altar and choir area; the colors are magnificent and give a great glow to the chapel. When the repairs on the wall with the rose window at the back of the chapel are complete in March, all will once again see the beauty of that window.
The final phase of this multi-year plan for Dahlgren Chapel begins in late spring and early summer. We are working with architects to complete the plans for the interior work so that it can be substantially completed throughout the course of this year. The Office of Mission and Ministry is especially grateful to those who have given so generously to this project, from the lead gift of the Rooney Foundation to the gifts for other interior updates. Because of this generosity, Dahlgren Chapel will continue to be the gem of this campus, serving the spiritual needs of Georgetown students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends for generations to come.
Campus Ministry Choirs Work Together
Cooperation among the choirs in Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart is a long tradition. The choirs for the 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Masses sing together several times throughout the year for events such as the Mass of the Holy Spirit, the Baccalaureate Mass, Parents’ Weekend and Jesuit Heritage Week. Through these events, student musicians in the Catholic Chaplaincy serve the entire university community gathered together for the Eucharist. This collaboration is an important expression of the students’ desire to lead the sung prayer of fellow students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.
The search for further opportunities to work together musically does not stop. This year, Campus Ministry took a major step forward with a cooperative event between the University Chapel Choir and the University Gospel Choir. James Wickman, director of the Chapel Choir and director of Music and Liturgy, and Phillip Carter, the new director of the Gospel Choir, worked together with the support of Rev. Bryant Oskvig and Rev. Patrick Rogers, S.J., to bring these diverse groups together for the common purpose of praising God in song. The repertoire and musical style of these two singing groups is different, but part of the beauty of music is its ability to bring people together, no matter the musical style.
The groups met for rehearsal in the fall and again at the beginning of the spring semester, both in Dahlgren Chapel and in St. William Chapel, to prepare for two collaborative events.
In addition to these events, the Gospel Choir sang for the first time at the annual Advent Lessons and Carols service. Since its beginning years ago, Lessons and Carols has been a favorite event marking the start of the liturgical season of Advent on campus. Having the Gospel Choir sing with the Chapel Choir and the 7:30 p.m. Mass Choir this year was another step toward expanding our musical praise of God.
After Vatican Screening of Muslim Scare Video, a Call for Dialogue
This fall, the Vatican convened a meeting of bishops to discuss the New Evangelization. At the meeting, one bishop showed Muslim Scare, a film that suggests that the rising numbers of Muslim adherents threaten Catholic evangelization efforts. Jordan Denari (F‘13) saw the screening in a different light. "The video claims that engagement and evangelization are at odds,"Denari said, "but as a devout Catholic, I don’t see it that way. For me, dialogue with the Muslim community during my years at Georgetown University hasn’t pushed me toward conversion nor pulled me away from my tradition. It has actually made me a better Catholic."
First year students find a sense of community and connection on ESCAPE overnights
As ESCAPE enters the second semester of the academic year, many first-year students find it offers a respite from the routine of campus life and an opportunity to forge deeper connections with their fellow students, including upperclass team leaders.
Following a recent January weekend, first-year student, Katerina Maylock (C’16) wrote, "I cannot tell you how much the ESCAPE weekend changed my life. I was always happy at Georgetown. I have a lot of friends that I can talk to, but [they] are all surface friendships, the kind that ask you how you are without really caring about what the answer is. ESCAPE weekend changed that. I really connected with the leaders, and now I feel like I have true friends to come to with problems. I had no idea so many people had been feeling the same way that I was, and because of you, I know that now. Because of ESCAPE, I have a whole new community of people to hang out with. People that won't judge me for not drinking or for my small town ways, and for that, I can never thank you enough."
Twelve ESCAPE overnights are offered throughout the academic year and more than 200 students attend the program annually. For more information, visit the ESCAPE website.
Reflecting on the Good Work of the Catholic Chaplaincy
The Catholic Chaplaincy has been busy doing the Lord’s work.
The chaplaincy certainly has been off and running this semester with lots of great things happening. Sunday Masses are continually full and the daily 10:15 evening Mass community has steadily grown. On average, there have been around 40 students attending each of those Masses. The intimate setting of Copley Crypt Chapel of the North American Martyrs has been an apt place and the faith of the students who participate is inspiring. Those who regularly celebrate Mass there find it truly moving.
The Chapel Choir is doing all kinds of good work. Students, faculty and staff have told the Catholic Chaplaincy staff about how blessed they feel because of the beautiful music the choir performs each week. In February, the Chapel Choir participated in the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting, held in Washington, D.C. The Chapel Choir sang at the opening Mass, held at the National Shrine, as part of the opening reception for the event. The Mass was celebrated by Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York.
Ennio Mastroianni, Ph.D., director of Adult Faith Formation, has been bringing new souls to the church through his Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. Those who will be confirmed this spring were recently added to the classes, and Mastroianni looks forward to walking with them on their journey toward full initiation into the Catholic faith. The ministry’s student faith-sharing group (RENEW) are prospering. The students who have participated in these groups are fiercely loyal to them, which is good for themselves and good for the church! These are beautiful souls learning more about their faith and sharing friendship in the Lord. One might suspect these kinds of faith-sharing groups are a lot like the earliest Christian communities.
Jen Reis, director of retreats, has directed a number of very successful retreats this past fall. "I personally attend as many of these retreat experiences as I can and I just love what Reis is doing with her program," said Rev. Pat Rogers, S.J., the Catholic Chaplaincy director. "For instance, Reis led a packed-no room for another soul if we wanted to-retreat in late January." By engaging in spiritual conversation with others, Reis has been helping students fall deeply in love with the Lord and discover how deeply loved they are by the Lord. Many have said that the retreats provide spiritual food for the months and years ahead. The passion with which the student leaders help their peers come closer to the God is inspirational as well. "I leave each retreat so very thankful that I went," said Father Rogers.
Additionally, Reis will lead the annual trip to El Salvador through the MAGIS Immersion and Justine Program. The students encounter many wonderful people who teach them about putting faith in action and living the Gospel in any circumstance.
This past fall, the Spanish Mass community continued to grow. This Mass is held every third Sunday of the month. There are more congregants in the pews and more students participating in the liturgical life of Georgetown. A special Spanish Mass was held in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The students did an excellent job of acting out the story of St. Juan Diego and the miracles that happened on another hilltop in Mexico in the 16th century.
In July of this year, the Catholic program coordinator, Lara Ericson, and Father Rogers will accompany 12 students to Brazil for World Youth Day. In the Ignatian spirit, they are treating the journey like a pilgrimage, just as Ignatius and the earliest Jesuits had to move from place to place, begging along the way. The World Youth Day team meets every other week to pray for each other and to prepare to encounter the millions of others who will travel to Rio de Janeiro. Please consider making a donation to help students make this pilgrimage.
Cultivating a Culture of Life
By Kevin D. Sullivan (F'14)
The Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life was founded by students 14 years ago to resolutely state that Georgetown is a pro-life university and to bring greater attention to the sound intellectual roots of this international movement. In that short span of time and
through the efforts of numerous Hoyas, the conference has grown to be the nation’s largest student-run conference on pro-life issues and has gained national media attention.
By bringing together leading pro-life politicians, lawyers, activists, bioethicists, doctors, theologians and journalists, many who are members of the Georgetown community, the Cardinal O’Connor Conference has become a worthy educational and discussion-based companion to the March for Life.
A record 650 students and pro-life pilgrims filled Healy Hall at the 14th annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference for Life this January, traveling from all over the country to join the Georgetown community. With a full day of speakers and events, attendees had the opportunity to learn and discuss the many aspects of the pro-life movement, ranging from abortion to bioethics to the death penalty. Helen Alvaré, associate professor of law at George Mason University, delivered the keynote address. At midday, eight experts in their respective fields led discussion-based breakout sessions on a variety of pro-life topics. In the afternoon, Lila Rose, founder of Live Action; Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List; Melissa Ohden, an abortion survivor; and Sister Veronica Mary, S.V., director of the Family Life/Respect for Life Office for the Archdiocese of New York, participated in a panel discussion titled Women Leaders of the Pro-Life Movement. The day was brought to an appropriate end in Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart with the conference’s Mass for Life, celebrated by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington.
Kevin D. Sullivan (F’14)
As a part of the Cardinal O’Connor Conference over the last few years, I have been blessed to see it take its place as the strongest affirmation of Georgetown’s pro-life commitment. The conference has steadily grown in size, increasing in attendance from 500 in 2011 to nearly 650 in 2013. Simultaneously, it has grown in quality, with the participation of tremendous figures like Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, whose presence graced Gaston Hall this year. Its outreach has grown also-groups of students from Australia and Spain attended last year, and the conference was the subject of several national news articles.
As tremendous as these advances are for the conference, they are given meaning in the simple, kind remarks of those that attend. I am told constantly that participants, the majority of whom are passionate students at peer universities, learned how to take their pro-life commitment beyond their own convictions. The conference enables participants to build the culture of life that we need, the culture that cares for human life at all its stages and is closely tied to building a peaceful and just society. As our beloved Georgetown alumnus John Cardinal O’Connor’s episcopal motto states, "There can be no love without justice."
Seeing my peers filled with both inspiration and knowledge reminds me of the unique Georgetown nature of our conference. Our distinctive Catholic and Jesuit identity, influenced both by our location, which overlooks the capitol, and by our storied past, shines forth in the conference and gives our visitors a special experience. The opportunity to share a small slice of the Georgetown experience-one that is filled with the values of "contemplation in action" and education for the purpose of serving others-was truly rewarding.
My senior year is right around the corner, and I am extremely excited to see which direction the next student leaders will take the conference. With the generosity of our benefactors and the support of the university, the conference is finally well-grounded and I am confident that it will be a staple of Georgetown’s historically-important contribution to the pro-life movement. While seeing the conference with a firm foundation is reassuring, it is even more encouraging that it remains entirely student-led.
This conference says an incredible amount about what passionate Georgetown students can achieve for a just cause. As the pro-life movement statistically becomes more and more of a national youth movement, the Cardinal O’Connor Conference is well positioned to play a major part in that shift as my generation becomes the new, energetic builder of the culture of life that Cardinal O’Connor encouraged.
Kelly Thomas (F’15), 2013 Cardinal O’Connor Conference Co-Director
There are many words that could be used to describe the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life. Having had the honor of assisting with the 14th annual conference this year, I saw firsthand all of the different aspects of the conference, both the day of and in the months leading up to it.
It was inspiring
It was inspiring to see so many of my peers united in the defense of life. I witnessed the dedication of my fellow board members as they worked tirelessly to put the day together, lining up speakers and arranging for the housing of pilgrims attending the March for Life and the conference. When the day finally arrived, I watched as hundreds of students gathered with clergy, academics and other pro-lifers to celebrate the legacy of John Cardinal O’Connor, who sought to create a culture of life. As I looked around at all the attendees, I saw their eyes ignite with hope that we could play a role in protecting the sanctity of all life. Their hope increased as they soaked in the energy of those around them.
There was passion
The passion of the speakers shone through as they sought to impress upon their audience the precious nature of all life and how it must be safeguarded. These men and women chose to come to this conference on a Saturday morning because they saw it as an opportunity to proclaim their message of life and its value.
The conference was comprehensive, bringing together a lineup of nine breakout speakers to discuss every issue under the pro-life banner. One speaker discussed the death penalty, another abortion and natural law, and yet another addressed the pro-life cause as it related to theology of the body. The day wrapped up with a panel discussion of women leaders in the pro-life movement. Guests had the opportunity to listen to four women pro-life leaders discuss their individual work.
There was triumph
Conference attendees rose to their feet in applause when one of the panelists, an abortion survivor, looked at the audience and said simply,"I was supposed to be delivered a dead child. Instead, by the Grace of God, I stand before you today, whole."
The 2013 Cardinal O’Connor Conference was a conglomeration of all these words and
experiences. As I looked around at the excited eyes of the attendees, and at the enthusiasm of the speakers, the concept of a "culture of life"didn’t seem like a hazy dream, but an achievable goal. To witness such zeal for the defense of human life was nothing less than a tremendous blessing and privilege.
Catholic Daughters: New Activities and Old Traditions
By Francesca Vullo (C'16)
This year has been exciting and busy for the Catholic Daughters on campus. Last semester, Christmastime was full of activities, such as selling olive wood crafts to support Christians in the Holy Land, attending Advent Lessons and Carols and hosting our holiday party where we sold crafts created by the inspiring women of the N Street women’s shelter. As sad as it was to see another semester end, this current semester has been packed with new activities and old traditions.
We kick-started this semester with recruitment week, beginning at the Student Activities Fair. Our first general meeting of the semester, held at the apartment of our spiritual advisor, Chaplain-in-Residence Anne-Elisabeth Giuliani, was full of new faces interested in joining. Recruitment week festivities consisted of a brunch at Giuliani’s apartment and a trip to Alumni Lounge to work with the Interfaith Council to make sandwiches for the homeless. Recruitment week also included the Rosary, the March for Life and the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life. Kelly Kimball, a volunteer at the conference, said, "I had a really great time volunteering and being a part of such a large pro-life conference. Working at the registration table was just one small way that I could help the conference run smoothly. It felt amazing to be around so many other pro-life students and hear what they had to say."
We ended the week by getting together for dinner and then going to Mass in Gaston Hall to begin Jesuit Heritage Week. Emily Buongiorno, a first-year student member of the Catholic Daughters, commented on the dinner, "As a new member I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know such a wonderful group of girls who I will be able to call my sisters. The dinner was welcoming and it was great celebrating Mass together, as I truly felt as though I was a part of something bigger than myself. I am really looking forward to spending more time with the Catholic Daughters as I grow with them in service, spirituality and sisterhood."
Looking ahead to the fall, we are planning a movie night and many service opportunities. Along with the board, Giuliani is grateful for the development of the group. Giuliani said, "With their common desire to be women of the Gospel, attentive to the presence of the Spirit in their lives, their strength lies in their openness to the rich diversity of backgrounds and perspectives among themselves and in the church."
By Amy Spohr
Georgetown RENEW, a program of the Catholic Chaplaincy, provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the readings from Mass each week. Small groups of four to 10 people meet Monday through Thursday to reread the Gospel from Sunday and to reflect, both silently and in conversation, on how the Gospel relates to their lives in college.
Currently, there are about 30 members of RENEW, accompanied by seven leaders who facilitate the group discussion each week and who are part of a core team that keeps RENEW running.
This academic year, RENEW has almost doubled in size, both in leaders and participants, and this increase is due in large part to the efforts of the core team in recruiting through personal communication, flyering and mass announcements. RENEW now has a Facebook group to foster further communication between and within RENEW groups.
RENEW has been an extremely rewarding experience for those involved, and many friendships have been formed through reflecting on the Gospel and sharing personal thoughts and anecdotes. Many have strong bonds within their groups and have found connections to other aspects of Campus Ministry, such as retreats and nightly Mass. RENEW is a unique and powerful experience and many are thankful for this community.
Nightly Mass Community Grows and Deepens
By Jordan Denari (F’13), Michael Fischer (F’13), Stephen Gliatto (C’14), and Laura West (C’13)
Now entering its fifth year, the Georgetown Nightly Mass has flourished as one of campus’s most vibrant and thriving communities. What began as a small gathering in the depths of Copley Crypt on Monday through Thursday evenings from 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. has grown into a deep community of more than 100 members. Many attend multiple times a week to pray and celebrate the Eucharist together. While prior years would see only about 15 students on any given night, recent services have blossomed to more than 50 students assembled at one time. Although a shorter and more solemn service than those offered on Sundays, this Mass blesses attendees with the opportunity to gather in an intimate and quiet retreat from the hectic nature of the school week.
Those who stumble upon this community witness an eclectic mix congregating to worship-students arriving from Lauinger Library in need of a break from studying, an athlete journeying from Yates after a workout or even a staff or faculty member wanting to pray before returning home. The community has brought together first-year students and upperclassmen, breeding familiarity and recognition among fellow faith-filled attendees and combining the deep traditions of the Catholic faith with homilies that speak to the concerns of the modern student.
Some of Georgetown’s finest Jesuits-Patrick Rogers, S.J., Steve Spahn, S.J., Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Matthew Carnes, S.J., Howard Gray, S.J. and Lan Ngo, S.J.-have lent their services to these Masses and have played an instrumental role in the growth of the community. The community also has developed fellowship following the liturgy. On Mondays and Thursdays, different members of the community have tried out their culinary skills and baked desserts to help encourage after Mass conversation and friendship. Soirees, hosted by Chaplain-in-Residence Anne-Elizabeth Giuliani, are held once a month on Tuesdays. The nightly Mass community has been a tremendous example of the fruits of student initiative and passion, including the creation of a Facebook group, continuing the Masses over the summer and inspiring intense discussion and art. By the grace of God, the community continues to grow and deepen, bringing together tradition and innovation in a unifying experience.
As Father Carnes mentioned in an Advent Mass homily, "God is Adventing. And when, you ask, ‘is he Adventing?’ When you took time from your studying tonight to come here together and pray in this small, quiet chapel, he is Adventing. When you spent a little extra time with your friend or roommate, he is Adventing. This whole semester, when your friendships deepened and relationships blossomed and you grew in faith, he is Adventing."
Former Member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Shares Stories
Colleen Kerrisk (C’10), the Ignatian programs coordinator, served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) program after graduating from Georgetown. This fall, Michelle Siemietkowski, director of Professional and Residential Ministry, invited Kerrisk to share her JVC experience with current juniors and seniors who are considering a wealth of postgraduate options. "For me, I knew from the get-go that I wanted to do JVC," Kerrisk explained. "I learned about how broken and unjust our world is in the classes I took at Georgetown. I wanted to learn about these people; I wanted to know their names and faces, not just statistics."
Read more about Kerrisk’s experience and students’ reactions at The Hoya.
Teach-In to Explore Faith-Based Topics
The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice "really aligns with Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit identity and speaks to a lot of the values that our university, as well as other universities, hold dear," said Vail Kohnert-Yount (F’13).
For the full story, visit The Hoya.
A Joyous Sound
On Thursday and Sunday nights, the air around Copley Hall is filled with the sounds of faithful praise. This joy radiates from the Chapel of St. William, through the windows and out the front door. When a courageous or curious soul dares to open the door to the chapel, the visitor finds more than 40 Georgetown University Gospel Choir members in full song under the direction of Phil Carter. For over 30 years, the Gospel Choir has provided the spiritual sustenance of song, shaping the lives of both the choir members and those who have heard their songs.
The choir decided to root itself in the faithful heart that brings the community together. Rather than just perform a concert, the choir provided a gospel worship service this past fall. The service was interspersed with scripture readings and faith reflections from students and university chaplains. The spirit was so experienced in that moment that there have been many requests for another musical worship service.
St. William’s Chapel in Copley Hall was not the only place that has enjoyed the grace of the choir. Over the past year, the Gospel Choir offered a selection at Lessons and Carols and helped usher the community into the Advent Season. They have also joined with the chapel and 7:30 p.m. Mass choirs to sing as one Christian community at the final vows of Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. and at the Georgetown University Martin Luther King Jr. spiritual service.
The Gospel Choir has continued its tradition of filling campus with the music of praise for God. The music has strengthened those that are tired, has stirred the hearts of those who are lost and has comforted those in need. The music of the Gospel Choir is a prayer from the Protestant tradition for the entire Georgetown University community in the name of Christ. This prayer is the gift of previous generations of Hoyas and the offering of those current members who gather to sing.
GUish: What’s Yours?
About this time last year, folks on campus began seeing a logo composed of the letters "GU," a six-pointed star and the letters ‘ish’ in the middle of the star, accompanied by the question, "What’s yours?" This was the launch of the Jewish Chaplaincy’s GUish Campaign, which asked, "What does being Jewish at Georgetown mean to you? What’s your GUish?"
The GUish Campaign had a great start last spring, and this year it has moved seamlessly into phase II. Phase II involves hiring four student interns, thanks to the generosity of an alumni family, to act as student ambassadors to fellow students who do not fit into the "traditional" Jewish mold. The interns are charged with what Rabbi Rachel Gartner calls "the Five Cs":
1. Finding and connecting to less involved students.
2. Taking these students out to coffee and learning about their lives (Jewish and general) and identifying their interests (Jewish and general).
3. Staying connected to these students via email and in person.
4. Acting as uninvolved students’ concierge to all things Jewish on campus.
5. Creating new initiatives that address the expressed interests of these students.
So far this year, GUish interns have reached out to over 50 uninvolved students. Interests included community service, exploring the greater D.C. area together and the discovery that there is a large "sushi-ish"segment on campus. At the end of the fall semester, the GUish interns invited their contacts to a make your own sushi event in Makom. A sushi chef walked the attendees through the process of making sushi and, in no time, sticky rice and wasabi became the backdrop to fun and community building. Not only is the Jewish community re-evaluating what its borders and boundaries are, but the GUish Initiative is also raising the Jewish Chaplaincy’s profile on campus. The question increasingly heard is not, "Is there Jewish life on campus?" but, "What aspect of Jewish can I participate in today?"
Rabbi Gartner happily has fielded a constant stream of visitors, and the Jewish offerings are growing in type, number and depth. Georgetown University has long been welcoming to Jewish students, faculty and staff, and now the options for "doing" Jewish are as diverse as they are robust. The Jewish Chaplaincy proudly joins the broader Georgetown community in celebrating diversity among and within the groups who call the Hilltop home.
Who Will Re-Tell? An Interfaith Miracle
Recalling an interfaith miracle on a cold night in December, Rabbi Rachel Gartner reflected, "Just nights before Hanukkah, a small band of two dozen primarily Muslim and Jewish students-some Israeli and some Palestinian-stood together for a vigil. Catholic, Christian and Hindu students participated, too. This courageous group came together, in their words, ‘To commemorate the victims of the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza. ...[To] stand together as a community to condemn the violence that has destroyed innocent lives on both sides.’"
The full story of this interfaith wonder is available at The Huffington Post.
Expanding Muslim Life and Programming: Inclusion & Empowerment
The Muslim Chaplaincy had a tremendous fall semester, praise be to God! One of the chaplaincy’s goals this year has been to promote an "open door" spirit to all Muslim and Islam-related activities on campus in order to reach out to curious people of other or no faith, while fostering a "home and mosque" feeling among Muslim students, faculty and staff. To support this endeavor, the chaplaincy regularly met with active, Arabic-speaking, Muslim members of the English as a foreign language program to brainstorm ways to increase participation, especially among those who seemed reluctant to attend Friday prayers. Over the course of the fall and into the spring semester, the Arabic Jum’ah Friday service grew from an average attendance of around 20 to closer to 40-50 students.
In regards to the English Jum'ah, the chaplaincy instituted a new Friday Experience program, which includes a period of quiet reflection and scripture reading. To further empower all students, but particularly in an effort to be inclusive of Muslim women, the chaplaincy also launched a new Khaatira lecture (literally, "short talk") that takes place before the sermon but is not itself a sermon. Rather, it is an opportunity for students, male and female, to give a 10 minute researched talk in an academic style, on a topic that either relates to the theme of the sermon or pertains generally to an Islamic principle on which she or he has some insight.
Last semester, the Islamic Learning Series (ILS) sessions featured programs on, Women of the Koran, "Shari'a and Shari'aphobia" and "The Islamic Etiquette of Discrepancy." There was an average attendance of 50-70 attendees, up from around 40 last spring. ILS has attracted many undergraduate and graduate students from the main campus, Medical Center and Law Center, as well as staff, faculty and Georgetown community members. The first ILS event of the spring semester was, Men & Women of Understanding. It was well attended and set the tone for the next two sessions,"Tajdid: Jurisprudence of Reform in Islam and Catholicism" and "Gender and Sexuality in Islam." To support ongoing conversations, the chaplaincy also kicked off a new Zawiyah program (literally, "corner," center of retreat) as a time of guided analysis of the Koran and the Hadith.
Other highlights of fall included welcoming Imam Sohaib Sultan, Muslim Chaplain and life coordinator at Princeton University, to campus to deliver a Friday sermon and to lead congregants in discussion and prayer for the monthly Qiyam ul-Layl (night prayer) program. The Muslim Chaplaincy aims to build a stronger relationship with the Princeton University Muslim community as part of its effort to make Georgetown University a safe space for Muslim university students and programming in the Washington, D.C., area. In this spirit, the chaplaincy will host the University Muslim Chaplains’ annual conference at Georgetown University April 13-14. The two day event will include discussions and panels on matters such as women's empowerment, LGBTQ ministry and interfaith involvement, including outreach to nones (those with no faith tradition) and cultural Muslims of varying degrees of practice.
In line with the chaplaincy’s environmental awareness goal, Muslim student groups will hold discussions on religion and environmentalism. On April 12, to increase an outdoor presence and to put the open door policy into practice, the Muslim Chaplaincy will host the first of two Halal-BQs on Copley Lawn. On May 3, the chaplaincy will also host an outdoor Jum'ah, likely to also take place on Copley Lawn. The sermon will address the role of the environment in Muslim faith and practice. After the prayer, the event will conclude with a Halal-BQ, which will provide free food and is open to everyone.
Overall, the Muslim Chaplaincy has continued to expand its efforts to increase Islamic literacy and to create safe, inclusive spaces for Muslim students, faculty and staff. This semester, the chaplaincy will host a luncheon on historic engagement between Muslims and Catholics, with a special focus on Vatican II.
Voyage to foreign land of Tennessee leads to reflection on faith
"We attended each other’s religious services, and even attended a Jewish Shabbat service together. As we worked, ate and prayed together, we grappled with common misconceptions on both ends of the table, highlighting the many overlapping areas of our philosophies without forgetting the important distinctions," said Sadaf Qureshi (C’12, M’16), in a reflection on the Muslim Chaplaincy-led trip to Tennessee, where students worked to restore a local Christian church.
Read the full story of this unique partnership at Georgetown Voice.
Reflecting on Diversity in Islam Through Martin Luther King, Jr.
Georgetown and Campus Ministry celebrated the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in January. Aamir Hussain (C’14) recently wrote a piece in The Huffington Post regarding his experience of the celebration. The Martin Luther King holiday is "a great opportunity for Muslims to rediscover the importance of diversity within the Islamic tradition," said the Georgetown student. In his reflection on King’s legacy and the core values of the civil rights movement, Hussain interweaves Islamic history to highlight the shared principles of diversity, equality and hope for unity.
Orthodox Students Provide Physical and Spiritual Nourishment
In reflecting on the Orthodox Christian Ministry over the last several months, only one word came to mind: fantastic! The Orthodox Chaplaincy has been blessed in so many ways--first and foremost, by the students. The chaplaincy has such an energetic group of students who want to be involved, who always encourage one another and who clearly enjoy being together.
Orthodox Christianity, sometimes referred to as Eastern Orthodoxy, is comprised of many national Orthodox churches. The group has been fortunate to have had students from many Orthodox backgrounds-among them Greek, Russian, Ethiopian, Indian and American. The students have come primarily from the United States but also from as far as Singapore and Bangladesh. V. Rev. Constantine White serves as the Orthodox Christian chaplain in a part-time capacity and has a full time position as a parish priest in Maryland. Reflecting on this year, V. Rev. White, director of the Orthodox Chaplaincy, said, "Having students that are active and willing to take on responsibilities even when I am not present on campus is an additional blessing."
The Orthodox Chaplaincy had a well-attended retreat, held the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Bishop Claggett Center near Frederick, Md. The retreat has been held at this center and run by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland for over 20 years now. Though it is not far from campus, it provided a rural setting and gave students the opportunity to hike down to the Monocacy River, something everyone enjoyed. It provided some time to retreat from the busy pace of life at Georgetown before finals began. Retreatants celebrated a full Divine Liturgy where students were able to receive the Eucharist, and the students did a marvelous job singing the responses during the service.
Students on the retreat watched and discussed the movie Life is Beautiful which tells the story of an Italian-Jewish father who was imprisoned in a concentration camp. The moving story provoked a profound discussion among the retreat participants, who were able to bring to bear elements of their faith and their own emotions into the discussion that followed. "I have to say that I was very impressed with their response to the film," said V. Rev. White. Attending a retreat together also gave students the opportunity to learn more about the various Orthodox traditions.
One of the chaplaincy’s newer activities, which started last semester, is volunteering for Georgetown Area Ministry, a local homeless shelter. This began last fall and has evolved beautifully as a student-motivated idea. This Orthodox Ministry began by using one student’s campus apartment to make around 100 sandwiches, mostly with Orthodox students and some of their friends. Now the ministry activity draws students from various other student groups, including the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Daughters, the Muslim Student Association and students not affiliated with any campus ministry group. Students are asked to donate $5 each to cover the costs of food. Inevitably, the original sandwich-making apartment became too small, which was a great problem to have. Alternately, the student-led group has been using a university-supplied space to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate. Sandwich-making also has grown from a monthly event to a weekly event! V. Rev. White said, "I know it is my job to inspire the students and I try to do that, but they truly inspire me."
All of this would not have been possible if we were not for Georgetown receiving the tremendous support from alumni and benefactors, which is just one more blessing. Hoya Saxa!
International Programs at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine
Since its founding in 1851, the Georgetown University School of Medicine has developed and maintained a reputation of excellence in clinical education. Located in the nation’s capital, it is able to provide its students a rich array of resources in biomedical education, research, international health care and public policy. Each year, approximately 40 percent of the four-year medical school staff participates in at least one of the international initiatives.
The Office of International Programs was established in 1991 and now offers 20 international opportunities annually. These electives are offered to the four-year medical students. With placements in developing countries worldwide, the program is able to connect the skills of Georgetown medical students with the health care needs of the underserved patients around the world. Participating in these programs helps students to appreciate their medical vocation, providing them with a sense of humility in the face of inferior care and the dire needs of people in developing countries. Students are awakened to the realization of humanity’s common bonds, and their hearts, minds and intuitions are enlarged, enabling them to be excellent people as well as superior clinicians.
Over the years, the program has been very fortunate to benefit from the generosity of a number of individuals and foundations that understand the importance of the need for programs in health and education in Latin America. The Santa Fe de Bogota Foundation and the Victoria and Albert Gildred Foundation have both been instrumental in providing the funding necessary for the success of this program. Additionally, the program has also benefited from the generous donations of anonymous benefactors.
Students participating in this program must be able to pay for their own lodging and expenses. This financial obligation can often times deter them from participating in the program. It is the goal of the Georgetown University Medical Center to secure funding to ensure the continued viability of the international programs.
Students who have participated in the program have come back to Georgetown with a profound understanding of their vocation. "[My elective rotation to the Philippines] has really put into perspective for me the broad responsibility health care providers have to the community abroad. On a personal scale this was truly a golden experience that provide for much growth and insight. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. I would highly recommend that all future physicians take a rotation such as this for the invaluable opportunity it presents for personal growth," said Mark Real, a Georgetown University medical student. "I always have the image of Father Bill in mind when he told us to come to this experience with open hearts. Here there is a great deal of love and joy to share, even though they don’t have much materially. After this experience I know that I will be a better person, for my own good and for that of others as well."
The Georgetown University Medical Immersion program takes place in nearly 20 countries and has been going to the Dominican Republic since 2003. In this program, students see patients, give vaccinations, set up de-worming programs for children and do Pap smear tests for women. Megan Janni, a Georgetown medical student, commented on her service, "I am a new person after this experience. Now I know exactly what I want to do in medicine and what kinds of people I want to work. This experience has transformed me into someone with a bigger, more caring heart. I am happy about that".
Students who participate in these programs find them to be enriching from a personal and cultural point of view. As they begin their work, they are provided with a clear and human focus on how they may want to practice medicine as future doctors. Dr. Irma Frank, senior associate dean of International Programs observed, "Many of the students comment that they went with the idea of serving, but in the end, they received more than they could give. When they return, they realize that they not only learned a great deal professionally and culturally, but also humanly."
Alumni Association Grant Supports Spirituality Initiatives
This year, the Georgetown Alumni Association has made a grant to support several components of the Mission and Ministry programs. Its gift is helping underwrite the daily Advent and Lenten devotional emails and booklets, to promote events in Washington, D.C., and New York, and to support the restoration of Dahlgren Chapel.
Alumni Association President Mary Beth Connell, M.D. (M’89), has made spirituality a focus of her two-year term. The first event highlighted The Power of Discernment and A Balanced Life at a Women & Wine alumnae networking event.
Connell opened the reception at the Jesuit residence at Georgetown University and invited alumnae to reflect, refocus and reconnect with sister Georgetown alumnae. Rev. Joe Lingan, S.J., rector of Georgetown's Jesuit community, spoke about Ignatian spirituality: of living a life of meaning, the power of discernment-and ultimately, what it means-and how to create a balanced life. He answered questions like, "Does life seem to be getting increasingly complex and full? Do you feel pulled in too many directions with not enough time for the things that truly matter to you?"
Because the event was so popular, and attracted hundreds of more responses than the space could fit, it will be held again in May on campus.
A second event sponsored by this alumni grant is a Mass for Georgetown alumni and parents in the greater New York City area, which is planned for 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at Regis High School. A reception will follow at Wallace Hall at St. Ignatius Church on Park Avenue. Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., will preside. The reception discussion will focus on interreligious dialogue after Vatican II between Catholics and Jews, offering a perspective from Georgetown. Rabbi Rachel Gartner will join Father O’Brien in this discussion. All are welcome.
The Alumni Association has also launched a new web portal-spirituality.georgetown.edu-that includes updated information on these and other programs.
For more information, contact Mary Prahinski (C’85), senior director of development for Mission and Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-687-6671.
Supporting Mission and Ministry
All of the programs described in this issue are enhanced by gift support. If you would like to make a gift to help a specific chaplaincy or program, or the overall effort, you may do so online at: giving.georgetown.edu.
If you would like more information on supporting any of these programs, please contact Mary Prahinski (C'85), Director of Development for Mission and Ministry, at 202-687-6671 or by email at email@example.com.
- Mar 3, all day: Five-Day Ignatian Retreat
- Nov 4, 5pm: Religious Services Open House - Protestant Worship Service
- Mar 11, 12pm: The Power of the Internet on Our Religious Lives
- Nov 9, 1:30pm: Religious Services Open House - Muslim Jum'ah Prayer
- Mar 13, 5pm: Lenten Reflection Series: Music as Prayer
- Mar 15, 6pm: Hallelujah Shabbat
- Mar 18 8:30pm: Across the Wall: Catholic-Muslim Dialogue #2
- Mar 19, 8pm: Relationships: Marriage
- Mar 23, 7pm: Hinduism in the Arts
- Mar 25, 6pm: First Passover Seder
- Apr 14, 1pm: New York City: Mass at Regis High School
- Apr 14, 2pm: Interreligious Discussion at St. Ignatius Loyola Church