Parents from the Loyola community came together for an Advent gathering on Thursday, Dec. 3. In total, over 66 parents and guardians joined the event’s morning and evening sessions, solidifying a connected community despite the pandemic’s disruptions. Within these sessions, many parents found time for prayer and for reflection on all of the blessings and miracles in their lives.
Robert Stephan and Cindy Torroba, members of Loyola’s Ignatian Formation and Adult Spirituality office, lead the gathering. Advent prayer serves as a thankful time in which people reflect on the joys of their life, marking preparation for the celebration of Christ at Christmas.
Dr. Ann Holmquist, Loyola’s Vice President of Mission, focused on upholding the school’s Jesuit mission and welcomed everyone. She later read a series of selected Bible passages. Parents spent the hour engaged in thoughtful prayer, discussions, and reflection designed to foster kinship among community members.
The leaders of the event were able to continue building on the same sense of community and fellowship that they had developed in the past.
Parent Cynthia Garcia said, “I am hoping to get a sense of community and fellowship through prayers and reflection, especially in times of isolation.”
The organizers devoted significant time to planning and rehearsing the Advent presentation for the parents, working virtually to provide an adapted event. Near the middle of the gathering, parents were split into Zoom breakout rooms to share and reflect with other parents. Many found this setting a relaxing and eye-opening way to share personal experiences with other parents. Overall, the event opened the door for heartfelt discussion and prayer.
Garcia noted the day’s mindful qualities, stating, “I have been attending the Advent Day of Prayer for the past four years. It is always very refreshing, especially during this time of year.”