Marquette Wire

Mission Week brings humanitarians to campus

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To reconnect with and honor the Jesuit and Catholic principles that Marquette was founded on, the university is celebrating Mission Week from Feb. 4 to 8.

Mission Week, an annual campus event since 2002, is designed to give the Marquette community a chance to connect with individuals who are living out the call to serve others around the world.

This year’s theme, “The World Is Our Home,” comes from a reinterpretation of a quote by the Rev. Jerome Nadal, a friend and representative of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who said “the whole world becomes our home.”

“(The Rev. Nadal) encouraged Jesuits to really see the face of God in many different corners of the world and to make themselves available for all kinds of service in a variety of cultures,” said Stephanie Russell, Marquette’s vice president of mission and ministry, who was involved in the planning of this year’s Mission Week.

The Opus Prize, one of the largest humanitarian prizes in the world with $1 million given to the winner, has been awarded annually for the last 10 years. All of the award winners from the last decade will be represented on campus during Mission Week. Two deceased prize winners will have family members visit in their place, and one individual who could not attend will be represented by someone else from her organization.

Russell said the invitation to all the prize winners came out of Marquette’s own positive experience hosting the prize when the Rev. Trevor Miranda received the honor in 2005.

Don Neureuther, special assistant to the vice president of University Advancement and the executive director of the Opus Prize Foundation, said this is the first time all of the Opus Prize recipients will meet each other.

“They are very interested in learning from each other,” he said.

Russell said the recipients were looking forward to engaging in a conversation with each other and with the students and faculty here. All the Opus Prize recipients work in fields regarding modern social justice issues such as health care, women’s rights and education.

“The message they communicate through the inspiration of their lives is that these are things that we can do,” Russell said.

The Rev. Douglas Leonhardt, associate vice president of mission and ministry, said there is a lot Marquette students can learn from the Opus Prize recipients.

“The end goal could be a greater awareness of our brothers and sisters spread throughout the world leading to some fire in our belly to reach out to others and let them experience their rights to food, education, health care and respect,” he said.

At least one Opus Prize recipient will be represented at every event throughout the week.

For Neureuther, the week represents a chance for the community to learn from the Opus prize recipients. He said students today recognize that ordinary people can make a difference in the world around them, and that the humanitarian representatives will reinforce that idea.

“There’s a big recognition here at Marquette about the importance of service both domestically and internationally,” he said.

Leonhardt said he is particularly looking forward to the keynote discussion Thursday night, where all the recipients will be interviewed together by Ambassador Mark Dybal, who was recently appointed Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“We usually don’t have that many heroes and saints in one room,” Leonhardt said.

Neureuther said he hopes as many students as possible can attend the events. Registration online is required for most events.

“I really encourage people to take advantage of this one in a million opportunity,” he said.

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