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Mission Week: Experiencing Gratitude

by Fr. Jim Voiss, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry

In the month or so since I began my new job as Vice President for Mission and Ministry, what I have felt most consistently and powerfully has been gratitude. I’ve felt grateful for the short walk to the Brew and to Starbucks. The easy commute to my office. The bracing morning chill as the sun first brightens the skies. The stark beauty of the campus in winter. The dazzling brilliance of sunshine on fresh snow.

So many good things!

But most of all, I often experience a powerful upsurge of gratitude mixed with joy because of the people I have met here. Seventeen thousand miles away from my last home, I have found in the Jesuit Community a new home with brothers I never knew before—good, faithful men who, in their diversity of experience and personality, embody for me the multi-faceted grandeur of God. Meeting and talking with the staff, administrators, and faculty, I am moved and humbled—as well as inspired—to encounter extraordinary talent combined with deep commitment to our core values and a passion for Marquette’s mission. I’ve been privileged to meet some of the many generous donors who sustain our work. Their deep affection for Marquette shines through the joy they find in attending games and visiting the campus. And I have also had the privilege of meeting some of the students—bright, creative, and hopeful. They (you!) are the true heart of Marquette. You are the reason we are here! You, too, are cause for joy and gratitude! (I am looking forward to getting to know more of you as time goes on.)

Of course, sustaining gratitude is not always easy. The demands of daily life, the February blahs, stress over papers to write, meetings that go sideways, frustrations in relationships and the many troubling reports about our world which bombard us from news and social media can all erode our ability to see, let alone be grateful for, the goodness around us.

That is why, in his instructions on the Examen prayer, Ignatius asks us to pause periodically during the day and to be grateful for the good things we have experienced thus far. Those good things become the touchstones of consolation which can help us to see in a clearer light where darkness and desolation has begun to take hold. Connection to those places of joy then helps us to find energy to act against the darkness. Ignatius knew that we need to nourish ourselves on gratitude if we are to withstand the temptation to darkness.

Knowing that, I am all the more grateful for this year’s Mission Week theme: Open to Gratitude. That theme encourages us individually and as the Marquette community to pause and to savor the many ways that the goodness of God shines forth in our midst. By basking in the rays of that goodness, we can renew the spirit of gratitude within and, when new challenges arise, we can greet them from a place of hope.

I’ve enjoyed taking part in many of the Mission Week events and seeing new faces. If you see me on campus, whether at this week's events or in the future, please say "hello." Gratitude, like joy, is always better shared!

This Mission Week: Come walk the labyrinth in AMU Ballroom D (Third Floor)! The labyrinth space offers a quiet and peaceful space for this walkable prayer until the end of day Friday, Feb. 7. Embark on your own journey in place, as a pilgrim. This is not a maze, there are no wrong turns; your walk is not to test you, but to give you time to be open to the Divine. You may use the prayer guide provided by Campus Ministry or enter the labyrinth and let your experience unfold.

Senior Reflection: "Campus Ministry Has Shaped Me"
By Elizabeth Killian, College of Education '20

I would be lying if I said that Marquette’s Campus Ministry did not help shape me into the person I am today. My first experience at Marquette was on a retreat, Ignatian Leadership Retreat – the first-year retreat before orientation. It was a place where I was able to be myself, meet friends for life, learn from others, all while finding peace, joy, and happiness.

I have been blessed with many impactful moments throughout my time at Marquette through Campus Ministry. One large moment was attending the Salt and Light Retreat my freshman year. I happened to be the only first-year student surrounded by many upperclassmen. This gave me the opportunity to really take the time to listen to the upperclassmen’s experiences and learn from them while reflecting on my short-lived college experience before entering my sophomore year.

A set of impactful journeys would be the Marquette Action Program (M.A.P.) experiences I've had over spring break. I have been to Enid, Oklahoma, Nashville, Tennessee, and Kansas City. I was able to both be a participant and a facilitator in which I have learned various lessons from everyone I was with, and all those with whom we had the chance to work.

One of many reasons why I love the 10 p.m. Masses at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel is because of the sense of community. I have and will always say that my favorite part about Marquette is the community, and the 10 p.m. Mass radiates that for me. There have been countless times where the Mass would end but we would not start walking home for another hour or so, because there were so many of us who just wanted to talk, catch up, laugh, and continue to foster the beautiful community that was present for the Mass.

One more impactful moment was attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice my senior year. This event gave me more motivation than I could have ever imagined to stand-up for injustice and empower my future students to do the same. These few moments are just small parts of the greater impact that I have had from Campus Ministry and Marquette as a whole.

When I first came to Milwaukee, I never would have thought that I would want to be so involved and spend so much of my time in Campus Ministry, but it made me grow in ways I never would have expected and blessed me with friendships that will last forever. I am so lucky and grateful that I've had the opportunity to not only express my faith,  but to share faith-filled experiences with fellow Marquette students.

I am Elizabeth Killian, senior in the College of Education, a current student teacher, and I'm set to graduate in May 2020. At Marquette, I have spent a lot of time in Campus Ministry, working at the Center for Peacemaking, and working in the Hartman Center in Schroeder Complex. I have spent much time taking part in CAMPus Impact, a service organization focused on serving the community, experiencing all that Milwaukee has to offer, and building relationships with those in the community. As a New Yorker, I never would have expected to love Milwaukee as much as I do, and most of that stems from the joy I have found through Marquette.

What's coming up in Campus Ministry?

February 2020

February 7 (Fri.): Billy Kavula, "Faith in Action" Dialogue & Free Lunch! | Campus Ministry (AMU 236) | 12:30 p.m.
February 9 (Sun.): Mission Week Mass | Church of the Gesu | 6 p.m. 
February 10 (Mon.):
Taize Pilgrimage Information Session | 7 p.m.-8 p.m. | AMU 305
February 12 (Wed.): 
Soup with Substance “South Africa Service Learning Program” | AMU 163 | Noon 
February 12 (Wed.): 
Ignite “Dating, Intimacy, & Relationship Panel” | Chapel of the Holy Family | 7:30 p.m. 
February 13 (Thurs.):
Taize Pilgrimage Information Session | 6 p.m.-7 p.m. | AMU 305
February 15 (Sat.): 
RCIA/Confirmation Spring Retreat Day 
February 17 (Mon.): 
Soup with Substance “True Black History Museum” | AMU 157 | Noon 
February 19 (Wed.): 
Soup with Substance “Student Peacemaking Fellowships” | AMU 163 | Noon 
February 19 (Wed.): 
Ignite “Medicine and the Church” | Chapel of the Holy Family | 7:30 p.m. 
February 21-23 (Fri.-Sun.): 
Salt and Light Retreat 
February 23 (Sun.): Spanish Mass | Chapel of the Holy Family | 4:30 p.m. 
February 24 (Mon.): 
Midnight Run All-Volunteer Reflection | Location TBD | 7 p.m. 
February 26 (Wed.): Ash Wednesday Mass | Chapel of the Holy Family | Noon
February 26 (Wed.): 
Soup with Substance “Catholic Relief Services” | AMU 163 | Noon  
February 26 (Wed.): Ash Wednesday Mass | Church of the Gesu | 9 p.m. 
February 26 (Wed.): No Ignite, Ash Wednesday 
February 27 (Thurs.): Rite of Sending
(RCIA) Mass | St. Joan of Arc Chapel | 10 p.m. 
February 24-April 6 (Mon.-Mon.):  
Lenten Retreat in Daily Life 

March 2020 

March 1 (Sun.): First Sunday of Lent: Rite of Election & Call to Continuing Conversion (RCIA); Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist | Noon 

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