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The First Annual Jesuit Appreciation Day

Karen Funaro ’16 and Connie Lunanuova ’16, Special to The Hawk
January 29, 2013
Filed under News

On Jan. 27, 2013, Saint Joseph’s University commemorated its very first annual Jesuit Appreciation Day, run by the University Student Senate and Campus Ministry.

In Mandeville Hall, and later in the Campion Student Center, university students, faculty, and alumni were given the opportunity to sit in on various information and discussion sessions regarding the principles a Jesuit education is founded in.

The majority of speakers were Jesuit priests, some of whom teach here at St. Joe’s. Each speaker focused on different aspects of the Jesuit ideals and how they are applicable to our everyday lives.

Joseph Feeney, S.J., professor of English, offered an interactive discussion on dealing with his own personal faith crisis and the faith crises that affect our generation today. He discussed how the Jesuit ideals of intellectual integrity helped him cope with the doubts he felt within his faith. He also described how discussion with the Jesuit teachers at his high school offered an honest and captivating inside perspective, which ultimately shaped his relationship with God.

Feeney gave a piece of advice to listeners: “If you have a doubt, think of it as a difficulty of believing, not a removal of faith.”

The keynote speaker at the event was the celebrated William J. Byron, S.J. He spoke about the standard of Christ and how it applies to Ignatian values such as humility, poverty, and modesty, while offering a countercultural premise to success.

“Leaders are much like hawks; they don’t flock, they fly,” said Byron in his speech.

Many students who attended the event left with new opinions regarding Jesuit ideals. Andrew Staub, ’16, explained that the event made him think about parts of the world that do not get to experience a Jesuit education.

“I think at the end of the day Ignatian ideals promote well-roundedness and cura personalis,” said Staub. “There are certainly [parts of the world] that don’t practice these beliefs, so it’s important we learn to combine those beliefs in our everyday lives.”

One of the student organizers of the event, Nicholas Chingas, ’16, also explained the importance of valuing the education available to students at St. Joe’s.

“Oftentimes we tend to undervalue the truly unique experience that a Jesuit education can award us,” said Chingas. “The idea for Jesuit Appreciation Day came from an idea of thankfulness for the Jesuit community, and the hope that students would learn lessons on leadership and success from our revered Jesuit speakers. I feel that the first Jesuit Appreciation Day was a success and I’m excited to see this tradition grow in the future.”

Jesuit Appreciation Day allowed all who attended to engage themselves in the university’s Jesuit identity and foster an interactive dialogue between students and Jesuits on what exactly it means to “go forth and set the world on fire.”

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