News
Jesuit Students Celebrate Life

By Doris Yu

January 30, 2017 — Standing on the steps of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Jesuit Church in Washington, DC, last Friday, Marquette University sophomore Steph Wissing gazed at the hundreds of students milling around and spoke about “how alive the young Church really is. … People don’t believe it, but I really believe it.”

 
Jesuit Fr. Bill Muller gave the homily at the Jesuit Mass for Life.

After looking inside and scanning the rows of Jesuit high school and university students (and one baby!) that filled the church from front to back, it would be hard to doubt her.


A young mother and her baby were in the congregation.

School groups journeyed across the country — many for long hours by bus — to participate in events marking the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. They gathered Friday morning at “St Al’s,” as it is affectionately known, the home church of Gonzaga College High School, for a special Jesuit Mass for Life.

 

“For me, recently, the pro-life movement has become a part of who I am,” said Wissing, who traveled from Milwaukee with fellow Marquette University students. “I’ve never been here before, and I thought it was a great opportunity to not only meet other people at Marquette who are passionate about the pro-life movement, but to see all the people from across the country who are here for the same reason.”


Marquette University student Steph Wissing traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in the Jesuit Mass for Life.

Jesuit Fr. Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, was the presider, and Jesuit Fr. Bill Muller, president of the Jesuit Schools Network, gave the homily.


Members of the student choir hailed from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., and Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn.

Father Muller began by describing an African Bushmen custom of greeting each other along a path or roadway and saying, "I see you," with the other replying, "I am here." 


(l-r) Jesuit scholastic Michael Wegenka, Jesuit Fr. Bill Muller and Jesuit Fr. Timothy Kesicki

“As far back as we can trace human history, women and men want to know they belong, that they have value, that they are seen,” Fr. Muller said. “That's what we are praying about this morning and marching for today — that all be seen, recognized, noticed and that all belong to our crazy and wonderful human family, from the baby in the womb to the dementia patient taking a last breath.”


Students at Saint Louis University High School sing during Mass.

Schools in attendance at the Mass included Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, Jesuit High School in Tampa, Saint Louis University High School, Fairfield University in Connecticut, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and many others.

“We represent 1,500 boys back at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland,” said Jonathan Ockunzzi. “As Catholics and Christians, we believe in the sanctity of life. It’s our constitutional right to come to Washington, DC, and make our voices heard, and show the world that we believe that life is precious. God gives everyone this precious gift.”

 

His classmate Erik Johnson III echoed that sentiment. “We represent a greater community,” Johnson said. “I just think it’s amazing that we all come for the same purpose, all from the same age group. It’s very powerful and strong and very motivational to see us all come together for one thing.”

 

Following the Mass, the students walked down the street toward the US Capitol to join the larger March for Life, which has been held every year since 1973.

 
School groups gathered for a photo after the Mass.

“This is important — life, and the value of every life, even if you’re not born yet,” said Daryl Forrest II, from Saint Ignatius High School. “We’re just making sure we try to get this word out and spread it across the country.”

Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.jesuitvocations.org for more information.





Recent News

May 28, 2020 — The global pandemic has forced everyone to go digital. Spiritual direction — confidential, guided discernment of God — has not stopped. Rather, just like the persons who employ the Exercises, spiritual direction has pivoted online.

May 25, 2020 — In two of the more memorable and simple ceremonies in recent history, one Jesuit was ordained a priest and five Jesuits were ordained deacons on May 23.

May 21, 2020 — The sterling efforts of the Patna Jesuits in responding to the situation arising out of the country-wide lock-down in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis are an image of hope in the midst of several resistances to outreach to the least, the last, and the lost (Matthew 25).

The Spring 2020 issue of Jesuits Magazine is now online. The cover story details the Invisible Infrastructure that is the underpinning of the Midwest Province's purpose and function. Plus, news from the frontiers, Jesuits on the Move, and more!

May 19, 2020 — A group of Ignatian colleagues in northeast Ohio are dedicated to sharing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. They developed a unique Ignatian Spirituality Collaborative to strengthen their practice and impact in the region.

May 18, 2020 — May marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of Laudato Si’. Through this landmark encyclical, Pope Francis called the Church and all people to transform our relationship with creation.

May 18, 2020 — Fr. Garanzini succeeds Fr. Michael J. Sheeran, SJ, beginning July 1.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Spring 2020

Jesuits Fall Winter 2019

Jesuits Summer 2019



Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago
Located 80 miles north of Milwaukee, the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago welcomes men and women of all faiths to its silent preached and directed retreats.