As a testament to the University’s commitment to service, faculty, staff, and retired Loyolans will head out of their 9-to-5 spaces and into the city to perform community service tasks at local charities for the annual Ignatian Service Day on Friday, July 26. Each year, Loyola holds the Ignatian Service Day in celebration of the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

This year, Loyolans will volunteer at Misericordia in West Rogers Park and at Catholic Charities Early Childhood Development’s multiple centers on Chicago’s south and west sides.

Chris Murphy, the director of staff mission formation and the faculty/staff chaplain, says he has seen slow, but steady growth in volunteer numbers since the first outing in 2005. Currently, 141 volunteers are registered online to participate, 25 of which will head over to Misericordia, and the rest will spread out among the Catholic Charities sites.

“We encourage our students so often to be about service to others,” he says. “This is a way for faculty and staff to demonstrate that.”

Most volunteers at the Catholic Charities’s sites will work on indoor painting projects, Murphy says, to “refresh classrooms” for the coming academic year. Some of the more artsy volunteers may channel their inner Picasso for the window painting project that is meant to “make the rooms more decorative and engaging” for the two- to six-year-olds that inhabit the space.

At St. Mary of Celle, the Catholic Charities site in Berwyn, Loyolans will put on a small children’s carnival because there is less of a need for painting, Murphy says.

In addition to the Day of Service, faculty and staff are also donating school supplies, hygiene products, toys, and other items that Catholic Charities Early Childhood Development centers have expressed a need for.

Having spent 13 years at Loyola and eight years putting on the Ignatian Day of Service, Murphy still takes great pleasure in this day that pays homage to the University’s Jesuit values.

“I think what excites me is to come in contact with so many Loyolans across so many departments who are engaged and committed and good spirited. You get to hear a lot of comments about why people like being at Loyola,” he says. “That spirit is what captures my heart.”

But the celebration does not stop on Friday; the University will honor the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola on Wednesday, July 31. A Mass will be held in Madonna della Strada at 11 a.m., and afterward, all are welcome to join in the annual picnic on the East Quad at 12:15 p.m.

Many years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote, “Love ought to be put more in deeds than in words.” The Ignatian Day of Service is the University’s attempt to manifest the teachings of its namesake.

For more information on Ignatian Service Day, click here.