Tag Archives: Gonzaga

Called to serve

By Contributor Angie Funnell

Angie Funnell

One of my favorite quotes is from St. Francis of Asssisi, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our preaching is our walking.”

I am indoctrinated under the holistic, Jesuit, Catholic teachings of Gonzaga University. When I studied abroad in Italy in the fall of my junior year at Gonzaga, a Chinese proverb on the wall of our cramped smelly gym read, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

Throughout my life I have acknowledged service is a core principle of my nature. I have witnessed the anguish of tears from a homeless boy lost in the depth of a city searching for hope, compiled dirt under the scorching sun of Tijuana to build a roof over a families head and rocked a compromised baby girl to sleep in a township — these are stories. Though heart-rendering, why do we choose to allow these stories to play an integral chapter in our own stories?

I have called myself a Christian my whole life. I attended church, led a bible study and prayer groups, invited the spirit to worship with my guitar. Yet, eight years after my baptism (to date this Easter), I find myself searching for the meaning behind the identity of ‘Christian’ or ‘Catholic.’ Why is it that we lose ourselves in an identity we are born into? Do we choose to be born into this identity, or does it choose us?

Brokenness fills the pews, loneliness reaches the alter, and sin captivates our souls. We are insecure in our own abilities. In an article, Staying for Tea, Aaron Ausland said, “It is critical to be honest about your own needs and vulnerabilities, to generate opportunities to receive in the places where you serve, to become mutually indebted and to develop real relationships that help you operate at eye-level with the community.”

We indulge ourselves with coffee dates, which I am at fault to, and keep up to date with the momentous events of our lives; yet why are we silenced? A roommate shared with me one evening, “Catholics are very quiet… we are hush-hush about a lot of issues trying to protect our identities, making sure we look pretty in the pew Sunday night.” Christ calls us to be brothers and sisters united in a holy, intimate love. He calls us to brotherly love, with conviction. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us,” read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

In my final semester at Gonzaga, I am deciphering His calling for my life, post-grad. When we were building sand castles in the playground sand pit we were asked what we want to be when we grow up. Now that the time has come, in my vulnerability, my soul longs to serve. Assistant Director of University Ministry and Gonzaga Alumni Michelle Wheatley said, “In terms of the Catholic Church’s view on service, I was always raised to believe that service isn’t something that we do but something that we are, by nature, because of our identity. God’s love inherently contains a mission in it—a mission to love our neighbor, and especially those who are least accounted for in our society.”

We are created to be relational human beings. What we think or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do.
When we serve one another, we are not serving for them, but with them. Our identities cannot be aligned with a religious regiment of life that we do not preach to ourselves. Christ does not call us to be silenced by the injustice in our lives, He calls us to convict one another of truth and pour selfless love into each other. We share our stories with one another as an act of service.

Young seminarians find joy in religious life

By Eli Francovich
The Gonazaga Bulletin

On the “ideal morning,” Louis Cunningham wakes up before 7 a.m. The 19-year-old freshman goes to chapel and prays before he is joined by other young men for morning prayer. Then they eat breakfast together head to Gonzaga.

This willingness to give up something that most 19-year-old freshmen consider holy and mostly untouchable — sleep — is what Cunningham’s life is all about: sacrifice. He says that “small things done out of love” can change the whole world.

Priest collar/Flickr photo by quinn.anya

Cunningham is one of 13 seminarians at Bishop White Seminary. These men live and pray together, while simultaneously attending college. Although there are undeniable similarities between the men of Bishop White — a love for God and a willingness to live that love every day —  they are by no means identical.

“No two stories are the same, especially in the seminary,” Cunningham said.

BWS was founded in 1952 by the Catholic Diocese of Spokane. Named after the second bishop of the Spokane Diocese, it’s a diocesan priest seminary, which means it is where priests who want to work in the community come to study. Despite its close proximity to GU (across the street from College Hall) it’s a separate institution, according to the Rev. Steven Dublinski, rector of Bishop White Seminary.

Dublinski, who has been rector for eight months, said however, that GU and the seminary have a close working relationship. The university gives seminarians a tuition break of around 20 percent. The seminary also buys its electricity from GU and is part of the university’s phone network. Not all seminarians attend GU, but Dublinski said the goal is that eventually they will all graduate with a degree in philosophy from there.

“It’s a little like living in two different worlds,” Justin Leedy, another seminarian, said.

This constant switch is vital to becoming a diocesan priest, he said. It trains them to keep their life focused on God, while interacting in the community on a daily basis.

“It’s hard, because it’s really easy to become two different people — to compartmentalize — and that is something that we’re warned against often,” Leedy said. “The temptation in priesthood is to go between, you know, sitting at home drinking booze, watching TV and then going out and putting on a pious face.”

Dublinski said the main goals of the seminarian life are to engage in ministry that will help seminarians to discern their vocation, to provide service to the community and to build leadership skills. This mix teaches them how to balance their lives, much like a diocesan priest does.

Cunningham is relaxed as he sits, sipping something, which turns out to be hot water (his Lent sacrifice: anything and everything not water). He has short light-brown hair, which is slightly parted. He is 19 years old but seems much older. The hustle and bustle of Starbucks on a Monday night doesn’t disturb his mannered composure, nor deter him from talking candidly about his faith. Cunningham, who is from Renton, emphasizes the importance of appearing normal and being able to relate and function in the broader world. He said the constant back-and-forth movement that seminarian life demands will only help.

“It’s great for discernment because I’m able to actually address the real world,” he said. “At Gonzaga I can address marriage, which is a good thing. I can see happy couples and be like, that’s beautiful.”

Cunningham said he suspected he wanted to be a priest in the eighth grade. This suspicion didn’t keep him from having a normal high school experience though, he said.

“You know, I didn’t go to raves, I didn’t do crazy things, but I was a high school kid,” Cunningham said.

He dated, he said, “the nicest woman I ever met,” but always felt drawn to something different, prompting him to enroll as a seminarian two years ago.

This life of sacrifice might seem strange when viewed from the outside. However, those involved are happy with their chosen lives.

“There is something deeper; there is something more real than the next party,” Cunningham said.

This belief seems to be echoed by those who have stuck with their commitment.

Sister Mary Eucharista of the Sisters of Mary Mother and the Church is full of joy. A graduate philosophy student at GU, she has been a nun for 30 years. Although the decision to become a nun was difficult, she said, she hasn’t regretted it.

“It broke my heart,” she said, “because I had a lot of plans.”

Eucharista, who taught literature at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Spokane, now lives at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. The retreat center is located south of Spokane, surrounded by fields and woods, and is a peaceful place. Her day, like the seminarians’, starts early.

Although it’s a stressful schedule, she loves every moment of it, she said.

“I’m so excited getting my education,” she said. “I don’t care about the stress.”

Although overall she said she thinks that GU does a good job of transmitting its Catholic-Jesuit roots, she does think the message needs to be more evenly distributed.

“I’m pretty unique,” she said. “I’m shouting Jesus Christ all over me.”

But for students who want to deepen their faith, she encourages them to get “spiritual direction” from someone in Campus Ministries, or even talk to her.

“I think kids are seeking but don’t always have answers,” she said.

Jeffrey Ball, 24, has a similar view. A public affairs graduate from Seattle University, he is working at Gonzaga Preparatory School and living in the Jesuit housing on campus. Unlike the Bishop White seminarians, Ball is a Jesuit novice. This means, among other things, that he takes a vow of poverty in addition to vows of chastity and obedience.

“To me this life really makes sense,” he said. “There is a certain depth … it is very grounding.”

The enrollment at Bishop White is a decrease from last year, Dublinski said. However, it’s not a significant drop and overall seminary enrollment is steady. In the last 30 years, he said, there have been at most 20 to 21 seminarians. According to an 2011 report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, seminary enrollment has actually increased nationwide by 4 percent. All told there are 3,608 post-baccalaureate U.S. seminarians in 2011. Three-quarters of those enrolled were studying for the diocesan priesthood.

Eli Francovich is a sophomore at Gonzaga University. After graduating from high school he traveled extensively in India and Europe. These trips opened his eyes to vastly different types of people and cultures and infused within him a deep respect and enjoyment of diversity. He was managing editor of the award-winning North Idaho Community College student newspaper, The Sentinel, and currently writes for the Gonzaga Bulletin, where this story first appeared.

BRIEF: Anti-corruption activist to speak at Gonzaga

By Tracy Simmons

Betancourt/Wikipedia Photo

Columbian author  Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by rebels and spent six years living in captivity in the Columbian jungle. She’ll tell her story of persecution and activism at 7 p.m. on March 28 at Gonzaga’s McCarthey Athletic Center.

She’ll discuss her ongoing efforts to free more than 700 people who remain hostages in Colombia.

The lecture is part of the Presidential Speaker Series.  Tickets for the event are $10 for the public, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for students and employees of any educational institution and can be purchased  online.

Gonzaga to break ground on $14 million retail, parking facility

This week Gonzaga University announced plans to break ground this spring on a new four-level, $14 million mixed-use facility with a ground-floor campus bookstore, meeting rooms and flexible space designed for dining and future retail, as well as 650 parking spaces. The building will occupy the block bounded by Hamilton and Cincinnati Streets and DeSmet and Boone Avenues.

In addition to providing attractive dining and retail space for students and area residents, the structure will accommodate attendees of campus events and provide the parking infrastructure necessary to build a University Center within the next few years.

Construction of the new facility precedes eventual demolition of the COG (Center of Gonzaga) and its adjacent parking lot to make way for construction of a new University Center at that location. Campus planners are evaluating components and functions of a University Center, including its size, scope and uses.

A university bookstore, facing Cincinnati, will be relocated from the COG to fill approximately 16,000-square-feet of ground-level retail space in the new mixed-use facility. The new structure also will accommodate an additional 20,000-square-feet of ground-floor retail space facing Hamilton.

“Initially, the flexible areas facing Hamilton will be used for academic conferences and meetings, special events and other general uses,” said Chuck Murphy, Gonzaga’s vice president for finance. “Upon demolition of the COG, student dining will be temporarily located to this area of the facility. When the University Center is completed, it will become leased retail space.”

The University also is working to create space on campus for parking that currently impacts residential streets in the Logan Neighborhood nearest to campus, Murphy added.

The new facility underscores Gonzaga’s commitment to environmentally sensitive construction, with a design that aims for LEED certification through careful selection of materials, energy systems and more. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides third-party verification that buildings are designed and built using strategies to increase performance and reduce waste.

Partial funding for the new facility has been secured through private donations, and will be sustained through income from a combination of leased space and parking fees.

The new mixed-use facility — the first major construction project on campus since completion of Coughlin Residence Hall in August 2009 — is expected to be operational by January 2013.

Desmond Tutu to speak at Gonzaga commencement

Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the subject of a new biography. For use with RNS-TUTU-QANDA, transmitted Nov. 3, 2011. RNS photo courtesy HarperOne.

Nobel Laureate Desmond M. Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, will be the keynote speaker at Gonzaga University‘s senior commencement May 13.

Tutu has been a  voice for justice, peace, truth and reconciliation throughout his ministry. He retired from public life in 2010 but accepted Gonzaga’s invitation after being inspired by the global activism of Gonzaga’s students, faculty and alumni, he said.

“I am always inspired and awed by the idealism and altruism of young people. I was swept off my feet at the projects they described in the [Gonzaga students magazine] One World. So I am honoured to accept your kind invitation . . . to share in your 125th year celebrations and 2012 Commencement exercises,” Tutu wrote.

Tutu retired as archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa in 1996. In 2010, the Archbishop Emeritus announced he would limit his public appearances to spend more time with family.

He is scheduled to speak during graduation at 10 a.m., May 13 in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

Desmond Tutu speaks in Hartford in 2010/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh will present Tutu with Gonzaga’s honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony.  Admission is by invitation-only to ensure adequate space for Gonzaga’s graduating seniors and their families.

McCulloh said he is delighted to welcome Archbishop Tutu to Spokane as part of Gonzaga’s 125th Anniversary celebration. McCulloh, in his correspondence with the archbishop, recalled his time as a Gonzaga undergraduate as Tutu and Nelson Mandela waged a South African anti-apartheid battle on the world stage.

“As an undergraduate during the mid-1980s, I was actively involved with our own campus efforts against apartheid in South Africa,” McCulloh wrote. “Many of us watched your tireless efforts from half a world away and were overjoyed when you received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Years later, my awareness of that time led me to visit Cape Town as part of our recent efforts to connect our students with opportunities for study abroad in Africa.”

McCulloh described Tutu as “a living exemplar of Gonzaga’s historic commitment to the ideals of equality and a free society as a Catholic, Jesuit and humanistic University,” McCulloh said. “We are honored and humbled that Archbishop Tutu has chosen to be with us and our graduates for Commencement. He is certainly among the most prominent moral icons of our time.”

Speaker to discuss future of grizzly bears

Tracy Simmons

Grizzly bear expert Jeff Gailus will be the guest lecturer on Feb. 22 for the  Environmental Studies Speaker Series at Gonzaga University. The Canadian conservation author will read from his book “The Grizzly Manifesto” and discuss the future of the animals in the United States and Canada.

“If you care about wild bears and wild lands, read this book,” said Sid Marty, a recent recipient of the Grant MacEwan Literary Arts Award and one of Canada’s most celebrated environmental writers.

“The Grizzly Manifesto”  was among five finalists for the 2010 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.

The free event is open to the public and is titled, “A Grizzly Tale of Two Countries: Grizzly Bear Management and Recovery across the Medicine Line.” It will be at 7 p.m. in Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium at Gonzaga.

Gailus has developed an unparalleled knowledge of grizzlies from following them from Yellowstone National Park through the Canadian Rockies to the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area (pronounced musk-quah-ke-chee-kah). He has spent hundreds of hours researching grizzlies and guiding people through their habitat.

Gailus has taught writing at both the University of Oregon and the University of Montana, where he completed a master’s degree in environmental studies. He lives in Montana where he teaches university field courses for the Wild Rockies Field Institute and Wildlands Studies.

He is finishing his next book, “Little Black Lies: The Global War on Truth in the Battle for the Tar Sands,” which is slated to be published in the fall.

 A related piece “The Most Dangerous Game” can be read online.

Gonzaga ranks No. 2 nationally for alumni serving in Peace Corp

News Release

Gonzaga University has climbed one spot to rank No. 2 nationwide among small colleges and universities whose graduates serve in the Peace Corps. Twenty-six Gonzaga undergraduate alumni are serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, lifting Gonzaga’s historical total to 298 alumni with Peace Corps service.

In 2011, the federal agency announced Gonzaga had moved up four spots to No. 3 nationwide with 23 undergraduate alumni volunteers. The 2012 Peace Corps rankings tie Gonzaga’s previous all-time high from 2008 (when the University also was ranked No. 2). The full top 25 rankings for each school size category – plus all-time and graduate school rankings – are available on the Peace Corps website.

The Peace Corps’ small universities category includes schools with approximately 5,000 undergraduates. Gonzaga also is among a select group of some 80 schools nationwide to offer a Master’s International program in collaboration with the Peace Corps. In 2008, Gonzaga’s Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA/TESL) program became a partner in the Peace Corps Master’s International program.

Gonzaga alumna Leslie Otto recently returned from service as a girls education and empowerment volunteer in the West African nation of Burkina Faso.

“The women in the village needed a way to generate their own income so that they could afford medicines for their family and food,” Otto said. “So I taught the women how to take the shea butter that they make and turn it into soap to sell. The soap not only brought in money to the women but it also brought down the cost of soap because the women were able to make it cheaper than the soap sold in the village shop.”

Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams said colleges and universities prepare thousands of talented undergraduate and graduate alumni for Peace Corps service each year. These alumni apply their skills and knowledge to promote peace and friendship and improve people’s lives worldwide. Educating people for others is a component of Gonzaga’s mission.

“Every day, volunteers make countless contributions to projects in agriculture, education, the environment, health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, small business development and youth development,” Williams said. “I would like to extend my gratitude to all colleges and universities for their continued support of the Peace Corps and public service.”