WJU students and staff travel to D.C. for social justice gathering

  WJU News
  Tuesday, November 6, 2018 3:18 PM
  Service, WJU News, Student Services, Academics

Wheeling, WV

This past weekend, 18 students and employees from Wheeling Jesuit University traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 21st annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) gathering.

This annual Catholic social justice gathering is the largest of its type in the United States and attracts attendees from over 135 Jesuit and other Catholic universities, high schools, and parishes in the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, Spain, and El Salvador.

The gathering serves as an opportunity for members of the Ignatian family to connect with one another and address timely issues through two days of educational presentations, speaker sessions, and networking events. The attendees are able to learn, reflect, pray, and advocate in the context of social justice and solidarity.

The 2018 theme, Discipleship at the Crossroads: The Courage to Journey Together as an Intersectional Community, invited participants to journey to the intersections of today’s most pressing and timely justice issues. The attendees were encouraged to meet new people and listen to ideas and perspectives that may differ from their own.

“By attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice gathering, we were able to learn how to live our mission as a Jesuit Institution, accompany those living on the margins, and to learn how to ignite change in our local community,” said Colleen Ryan Mayrand, director of the WJU Service for Social Action Center.

The 2018 presenters included Bishop George Murry, S.J., former chair of the USCCB Committee Against Racism and Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown in Ohio, Nichole Flores, Ph.D., Latinx theologian and faculty member at the University of Virginia, The Peace Poets, a collective of artists that celebrate, examine and advocate for life through music and poetry, Joanna Williams, director of education and advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative, and Fr. James Martin, S.J., bestselling author and editor-at-large at America Magazine.

“It was a powerful experience seeing over 2,000 young people listening to talks, networking, and making plans to create a more just world. Students spent the weekend learning, and then on Monday met with members on Capitol Hill to discuss things they want changed,” Ryan Mayrand said. “It was so inspiring to see young people using their voice, and putting their faith into action. I am excited to see what this group of young people will do next.”

Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the country offering 25 majors and concentrations, 15 minors, and six graduate programs. The University provides a Jesuit, Catholic, liberal arts education, and our affordable programs unite the Jesuit tradition of intellectual excellence allowing students to receive an education for life, leadership and service with and among others. The 65-acre campus is situated on the Ohio River 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, and two hours east of Columbus, in Wheeling, WV.

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