Georgetown University recently celebrated its fourteenth annual Jesuit Heritage Week during the last week of January. I had the honor and pleasure of being the co-chair, along with my fellow co-chair José Madrid (COL ’14), of the Jesuit Heritage Week planning committee. I graciously accepted this invitation from Father Kevin O’Brien while I was studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland last spring. Little did I know how much planning and effort is put into a week such as this. To be honest, this was my first real exposure to a Jesuit Heritage Week at Georgetown. I vaguely remember attending "Spike-a-Jesuit" during my sophomore year; I even have the "Spike-a-Jesuit" t-shirt to prove it. Other than that, this was just as much a learning experience for me as it was for the members of our student committee. Since I attended the largest Jesuit high school in the country (Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL, just north of Chicago), I thought I already knew a great deal about Jesuit heritage. I was pleasantly surprised at how much more I could learn during this week.
Coordinating the 2014 Jesuit Heritage Week gave me a deeper admiration for our Jesuits because they give so much of their time, energy, and wide array of talents to our community. I loved watching them sing and perform at "Jammin’ Jesuit Java," discuss their Jesuit/doctor background in our healthcare panel, share poignant tales of working with former gang members in Los Angeles, and tell stories of their countless passions during "Storytelling in the Jesuit Residence." I specifically remember watching the Jesuits bless the Eucharist during the opening mass and experiencing an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation for them in that moment. Our committee had been emailing and conversing with the Jesuits throughout the fall semester requesting their participation in our events; in that moment when everything came together for this glorious week, I saw why these men are so committed to what they do. They serve our campus and live in community with each other, all for the greater glory of God. As Father Matthew Carnes describes it, Jesuits truly are “monks in the world,” doing God’s will wherever they are called to be. What’s not to love? They are men for others.
The Jesuits have awakened a fire in me that I was unaware I possessed. While I’ll be starting full-time at Deloitte in October, I am now considering international Jesuit Volunteer Corps programs after I work for a few years. I noticed a shift in my mindset when I myself started becoming extra involved within Georgetown’s Campus Ministry, using words like “building community” frequently in my vocabulary when I never did before. Coordinating this special week for Georgetown was the quintessential way to conclude my eight years of Jesuit education, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. The Jesuits have given so much to my life and to my family over the years, and I can’t wait to see what I will give back when I move onward.