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JCU Mission Week 2024: called to become

Rooted in the Jesuit tradition, John Carroll hosts an annual Mission Week to reflect within the community.
John Carroll calls the community to reflect and become during Mission Week.
John Carroll University
John Carroll calls the community to reflect and become during Mission Week.

Annually at John Carroll, one special week is designated as Mission Week. This week is meant to help the JCU community realign with Ignatian spirituality and come together.

This year, this took place during the week of Jan. 29-Feb. 2. Preparation for the event started in Dec. 2023, though the theme of the week has been known for the entirety of last semester amongst the Campus Ministry department.

Titled “Called to Become: Reflection in Action,” the theme surrounded the practice of reflection, calling us each to reflect on the person we are becoming while at JCU. In the introduction email for the week, it is described by Edward Peck, vice president for University Mission & Identity, as “a time to reflect on our passion and purpose, on what gives us joy, and on the world’s greatest needs.”

The week offered daily activities for reflection to students. Some of the activities offered included a traditional Catholic Mass, yoga and Ignatian reflection, a student program called “Talk & Tacos: Who Are You Called to Become?” as well as a lunch and learn event called “Called to Be More: An Ignatian Approach to Goal Setting.”

Looking at the week’s history, Shelby Smyth, the assistant director of Campus Ministry, helped to shed some light. “It started out as Jesuit Heritage Week where it was a lot more focused on the Jesuits and “why are we named John Carroll?” But, in more recent years, it transitioned to being more generally about our mission as a Jesuit school rather than focusing specifically on the Jesuits.”

This emphasis on Ignatian spirituality and key phrases has shaped the various themes of Mission Week. This year, the theme of “Called to Become: Reflection in Action” was centered around the key Ignatian themes of reflection and discernment. Some past Mission Week themes have included themes of interreligious dialogue and caring for the common home. Themes are chosen in relation to what is going on at JCU as well as in the bigger world.

Looking at the actual week itself, Smyth shared that her favorite event of the week took place on Monday where there was a table set up in the Atrium, and all people in the JCU community were invited to sign a big poster in response to the question of “who are you called to become?”

Smyth shared that she especially liked that “it was a flexible event in that anyone who walked in the Atrium could participate. It didn’t matter your role, if you were a freshman or senior, if you had little involvement in our department or a lot. Everyone really loved to take part in [answering] ‘how is John Carroll helping you figure out who you are called to become?’ We had a lot of beautiful responses on our billboard.”

She further shared that “it was at the beginning, so it set the tone for the rest of Mission Week that everyone is called to discern what this looks like for you and is called to be a part of our mission.”

When talking to students, one aspect of the week that stood out was the Masses offered. When asked what her favorite part of the week was, Charlotte Stibley ‘27 described the Mass.

“I liked how he [the priest] made us feel like we are together, like a family, helping each other out,” shared Stibley. After this experience, Stibley is enthusiastic to attend another Mission Week Mass next year.

Becca Cigany ‘27 also shared her thoughts on the week, saying that she enjoyed Mass, especially the week’s Murphy Mass because “it was cool to see the community come together.”

Looking towards the future of Mission Week, Smyth shared her goals. “My big goal is to just continue that excitement so that way each year people find how to reinvest themselves or recommit themself to the mission. Even if you’ve been working at John Carroll for 20 years, how are you still being a part of that mission?”

Smyth further expanded on her goals by sharing the importance of Mission Week. “On our hard days, we all lose sight of where we fall in that, so I think it’s a good reminder of why we chose to come to John Carroll for undergrad, why we choose to work here. It’s mainly because of our mission, so for it to be a constant thing we talk about year round rather than just during the week would be my goal.”

Lastly, Smyth expressed her gratitude for anyone who participated in and/or helped plan and brainstorm for the week. She thanks the students and staff for their involvement and helping to generate excitement.

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About the Contributor
Bella Congelio, Campus Events Beat Reporter
Bella Congelio is a sophomore English major from Elyria, Ohio. She has a concentration in professional writing and is minoring in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. In addition to being a campus beat reporter for The Carroll News, she is a member of the Sweet Carrollines and the Theater Club. In her free time, Bella is always reading a book, loves to cook and bake, and is always listening to music.

Comments (1)

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    Paul Kantz ‘63Feb 12, 2024 at 10:32 am

    Bella, nice recap on Mission Week. It is good to see student and faculty attention and consideration to the spiritual topics and activities mentioned. Too many institutions have surrendered to secularism. Glad to see JCU pushing against the trend and keeping true Jesuit education alive.