I think a lot of people come with disparate views on how Loyola’s Catholic identity will affect their daily life. As a non-Catholic I have to admit this was a concern when I was looking at schools. But working with someone from Ministry last night reminded me just why I love them so much.
Catholicism at Loyola is like cat content on the internet: it’s there when you want it, but you can go as long as you like without noticing it it too. That’s why I like the Jesuits: they care about service and eduction, not pushing any agenda. Every priest that I have had the pleasure to meet (and I have had the pleasure to meet quite a few through my various work-study jobs) has always had the same attitude.
They are here on a mission of service and education. They are so happy to be there for any student with questions about their faith, and they are always excited, engaging, and gracious whenever I’ve wanted to clear up questions about their faith. But they never judge you for not being Catholic, and if you don’t bring it up then they won’t either. I respect that, a lot.
But if you do happen to work with them, you’ll find that they are some of the nicest people in the world. Not just the priests, but the other people involved in ministry too. I met with Steven Betancourt last night from Sacramental Life, the Director of Liturgical Music. He and I are working together to put on an event in the Madonna Della Strada Chapel. He is always so accommodating and easy to work with. I sometimes worry about how my department’s events will run once I leave with all my specialized knowledge and connections with other departments, but he reassures me that at least concerning the Chapel we will still be OK.
So for you non-Catholics out there thinking about Loyola, don’t worry. I have had a great time here and really enjoy the Catholic presence. But unless you actively search it out, the only reason you’ll know you’re at a Catholic University is that you get extra time off for Easter, they call it Christmas Vacation instead of Winter Break, you have to take 2 religion classes (any religion) and you’ll hear the church bell toll on the hour.Tags: Catholic, Faith, Madonna Della Strada, Ministry, non-Catholic, Priests, Steven Betancourt