Ignatian Identity Week unites community through prayer services and reflections

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Loyola held its annual Ignatian Identity Week from Nov. 2 to Nov. 6. This week commemorates the Ignatian values and ideals upon which Loyola High School was founded. It serves as a period for the community to reflect on the relationship between St. Ignatius’ vision and the school as well as the men for and with others that it will shape.

Theology teacher Cheryl Truong said, “I think Ignatian Identity Week is even more important because we can’t be on campus all together right now. It’s a reminder that we, the students, faculty, staff, and administration, keep the Ignatian vision alive and honor St. Ignatius by putting our love into action in our families and communities.”

There were many virtual prayer services and contemplative reflection periods that took place in the online spaces this year. Students, parents, and faculty were invited to reflect and pray in unity on the Ignatian values instilled in the Jesuit education that the students receive. Participants came together in this unique and stressful time as a virtual community.

Sophomore Lucca Volkman said,  “The events that took place this week helped me feel less stressed about homework, social media and all the news that have been going around. I hope Loyola will do more events like this as I felt more connected to the school.”

Truong stated, “When I think about St. Ignatius’ vision, I think about his phrase “Love manifests itself in deed rather than in word.” How are we as a school to put our love for God and our love for others into action? Ignatian Identity Week helped to center me and remind me of the values I hold near and dear to my heart.”

In addition to the virtual setting, Loyola was able to invite the community for the first time back to campus to attend in-person masses. Each student and one parent was invited to celebrate the Feast of All Saints and Blesseds of the Society of Jesus and receive the Eucharist on Smith Field. For many students, this was the first time in months to step foot on campus since the lockdown. For freshmen, this was the first official Loyola mass they took part in as Cubs.

Sophomore Joaquin Lovato stated, “After being away from Loyola for so long, I completely forgot how much I missed my connection to the campus. Although it felt significantly emptier than usual, it was incredible seeing the community come together during this difficult time. This mass was the epitome of the Loyola community as it expressed the strength, bond, and devotion between the students, families, and faculty even with the unsure times of Covid 19.”

To accommodate the needs of the greater Loyola community, these masses were also streamed online. 

Volkman said, “I attended the online mass on November 6th. Seeing my peers and family on campus from the screen was a great sight towards the hopeful future of ever going back to school.”

Truong said, “When we find ourselves in troubled and uncertain times, finding our true north is very comforting. This week reminded me that I am part of a community that seeks to put love into action and to work to create a more just world. For that, I am very grateful.”

The Ignatian Identity Week would not have been possible without the guidance of Vice President for Mission, Dr. Ann Holmquist, the Adult Spirituality Team, Director of Campus Ministry Matthew Schaffer and the rest of the Campus Ministry team.

Truong said, “I want to give a huge shout out to all those involved in Ignatian Identity Week! There’s so much behind the scenes work (especially when everything is online or hybrid!).”

Overall, the Ignatian Identity Week helped students, parents, and faculty recenter themselves on the Ignatian values and helped to strengthen their bonds with the community and God.

Lovato said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely affected my religious bond to God and my school, but by attending my first mass and other services since the start of quarantine, I was able to reunite myself with the Lord as well as Loyola.”

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