Gesu celebrates 125th anniversary

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Gesu celebrates 125th anniversary

Gesu is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Gesu is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Photo by Elena Fiegan

Gesu is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Photo by Elena Fiegan

Photo by Elena Fiegan

Gesu is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

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Church of the Gesu kicked off its year-long celebration for its 125th anniversary with a special blessing and reception in the lower church Jan. 27.

Since 1894, Gesu has been a place of worship for Marquette students and the Milwaukee community according to the Church of the Gesu website.

Rev. Jim Flaherty, pastor of Gesu, said the anniversary is a chance to celebrate Gesu and the generations of support from the community.

“It’s an opportunity to look back in gratitude of all the people that have worshipped at Gesu and look forward in hope for the next 125 years of service in the church,” Flaherty said.

Throughout the year, Gesu will host several events to help celebrate the anniversary. Previous Gesu pastors will be presiding over Masses followed by receptions in the lower church gathering space. Tours of the church and lectures on Gesu’s pipe organ and architecture will be offered throughout the year. The anniversary will close Nov. 3 with a mass celebrated by Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

Gesu was dedicated Dec. 16, 1894 by bringing two Jesuit parishes—St. Gall’s and Holy Name Parish— into one, the Church of Gesu, according to the website.

The church is located in the heart of Milwaukee and is centered by the Ignation value of Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam—to the greater glory of God, according to the website.

Since Gesu does not have a specific neighborhood to draw from, the church has a diverse community that includes support from Marquette University students.

Students often serve as readers, Eucharistic ministers and hospitality ministers at the various Mass times. Flaherty said students and young people are the future of the church.

Flaherty said he hopes becoming involved at Gesu will encourage students to help out at their own home parishes.

He said parishioners have rich pride in the parish and the heritage.

Chase Hawkins, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and a liturgy assistant said Gesu has been an important part of his faith journey in college.

“I find it fitting that I get to celebrate such a huge milestone during my last year at Marquette,” Hawkins said. “I think this incredible anniversary makes Gesu even more special because it is amazing to think of all the people — young and old, parishioner and visitor, Catholic and non-Catholic — who have prayed in this church throughout the last century and more.”

Emily Haag, a freshman in the College of Engineering, attends Mass every Sunday and said the 125th anniversary is a testament to the success of the Jesuit mission and the strong faith community at Marquette.

“Every Sunday, priests find a way to give homilies that are relevant to some aspect of life,” Haag said.

Haag said the first time she went to Mass at Gesu, she was overwhelmed by the beauty of the church combined with the voices of the liturgical choir.

Gesu’s impact goes beyond Marquette’s campus.  The parish provides religious education classes for children, and on Sunday mornings, those in need of food can receive a Breakfast Bag before the 9 a.m. Mass. Parishioners and volunteers serve food on Saturday evenings for the Gesu/Midnight Run Soup and Sandwich Meal.

“We hope to build upon the good and holy labors of our forebears in faith at Gesu to keep service of the Gospel message vital and vibrant within and beyond our sacred worship space, and for many years to come,” Flaherty wrote in the Jan. 27th church bulletin, which is a written announcement.

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