Mission Week asks “Who is my neighbor?”


Rev. Douglas J. Leonhardt, S.J. presides over the Mission Week mass this past Sunday, Feb 19, 2012. Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/[email protected]

The Good Samaritan parable’s idea of “Who is your neighbor?” is the theme for Marquette’s annual Mission Week, with events aimed to answer that question by encouraging students, staff and the public to explore the Catholic and Jesuit tradition at the university’s core.

The Rev. Douglas Leonhardt, associate vice president of Marquette’s Office of Mission and Ministry, celebrated Mass and delivered the homily to kick off Mission Week Sunday evening at the Church of the Gesu. He was scheduled to hold the Mass with University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz, but Pilarz was unable to officiate due to illness. Leonhardt was excited for the week’s events.

“Mission Week calls the community to reflect on the mission of Marquette as a Catholic Jesuit University from different perspectives,” Leonhardt said in an email. “This year it is through the lens of the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke’s Gospel. From this parable comes the theme of Mission Week.”

With a variety of events occurring each day of the week, Leonhardt said students, faculty and the public can choose which event is right for them and see what they can do to make a difference.

“We will focus on our neighbors who are local, national and international,” Leonhardt said. “We will reflect on and examine how we can network with the neighbors to connect, support and learn from them.”

The week’s events are highlighted by keynote speaker Bernard Amadei, founding president of Engineers Without Borders, who will speak today (Tuesday) at 4 p.m. in the AMU ballrooms. Ash Wednesday services at the Church of Gesu and Chapel of the Holy Family will also be held, and Phil Nyden, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University in Chicago, will speak Thursday about combining university and community knowledge in research. Thursday, there will be a screening of the work-in-progress documentary “Old South” by College of Communication professional-in-residence Danielle Beverly.

The Rev. Edward Mathie, director of Campus Ministry, attended another event, a discussion Monday morning on the hookup culture in the U.S. by Jennifer Beste, associate professor of theological ethics at Xavier University in Cinncinnati.

“The conversation was terrific,” Mathie said. “She was absolutely marvelous. … She has been working on this for seven years or so at Xavier and what she has is fresh data from listening to students. This is incredible.”

Beverly has been working on “Old South” for three years. Two College of Communication seniors, Ciara Jones and Sade Hood, who are assisting in the production.

The documentary follows the second-oldest black neighborhood in the state of Georgia as it faces gentrification by a University of Georgia fraternity that holds an annual antebellum parade and flies a Confederate flag both during the parade and outside its house.

Beverly noted that since she began her filming process, the fraternity has been instructed to take down its Confederate flag after the parade stopped in front of an all-black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, which was celebrating the foundation of its chapter.

The fraternity was secretly given money by the university to occupy the land three blocks from campus, but one four-generation family refused to give in to the buyout and “leads the fight to indicate why it’s hurtful,” Beverly said.

After showing a few clips from the film, there will be a discussion and reception.

“I’m eager to hear people’s reactions,” Beverly said. “It’s about a university and their ignoring of the very community they live in. … If any real change will occur, it will be with the young people.”

Ed. note for logo: This story is part of a Marquette Student Media collaboration for Mission Week. Check online later in the week for coverage from Student Media Interactive on the Tribune’s website, and from the Marquette Journal.