Monthly Archives: September 2015

IPS Professor Speaks About Experience at White House and the Pope’s Address

IPS Professor Marian Diaz made a quick trip to Washington, D.C. with her husband Miguel Diaz who is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and is currently The John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service at Loyola’s Hank Center.

“We were at the event where the Holy Father was received by the President at the White House. That was very exciting.”

Very exciting, but very early. “We had to be there bright and early Wednesday morning, but it was very well organized going through security and the weather was fantastic.”

IPS Professor Marian Diaz and her husband Miguel Diaz,  former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
IPS Professor Marian Diaz and her husband Miguel Diaz

After waiting for a few hours for the Pope to arrive, the site of his vehicle driving up was something to see, recalls Marian. “I was aware that he was riding in a Fiat because of his arrival the day before at the air force base, but seeing that Fiat pull into the drive way of the White House was just stunning. The enormous black security cars around it just dwarfed it.”

The ceremony itself was very formal. There was not a big processional, but there were a number of bishops, cardinals, the current Ambassador to the Holy See, the Vice President and other VIPs in attendance. The anthems for the Holy See and the U.S. were played and all U.S. armed forces were represented.

President Obama spoke first followed by Pope Francis. Upon conclusion, they made their way to the balcony of the White House and waved to the throng of people.

“It was just exciting to hear the Holy father’s remarks and the President’s remarks and have them be so well aligned in terms of issues they were addressing. Having worked at the nexus of the U.S. administration and the administration of the Holy See for so long, I’m just really happy to see them working together in a more constructive way on concerns we have in common.”

5356D72B-83AE-4E84-A716-FEC6340586BADE9D5178-C0CB-4002-89D3-E7705FACBA2E copy

Marian has done a lot of work on Laudato Si’, the encyclical on the environment, so she was pleased with what she heard about uniting the environment and social issues. Rather than keeping labor, private property, the basic rights of humanity, etc. separated, Pope Francis is “now showcasing all these issues and economic issues in a package which also considers our environment,” noted Marian. “He’s calling us to respond to the cries of suffering creation around us and to really respond to that, but not in a way that the issues remain isolated. He wants these to all be seen as human issues in developing what he calls an integral ecology. There’s a great urgency that I think he brings to these questions, along with our president and I just hope we will have some constructive actions moving forward.”

Years ago, Marian had a realization that environmental issues had to be addressed now and the sooner, the better.

“I really agree with the line ‘we can’t leave it until the next generation.’ I had this moment when my kids were younger and I was driving them to school, listening to another news program about the environment and I said to them, ‘kids this is the issue for your generation.’ Then I realized, no that’s wrong. This has to be the issue for my generation. It has to be addressed now. We just can’t wait.”

Moving forward, “I’ve seen a change in our government’s approach in dealing with these issues and also in terms of the Holy See, in the way that they see the need to partner with other religious entities, with secular society and with other governments in coming to a solutions for these problems. So I see them more open to collaborating and partnering and that’s really encouraging.”

Pope Francis and President Obama on the front lawn of the White House
Pope Francis and President Obama on the front lawn of the White House

Marian went on to discuss the excitement and anticipation that follows the Pope wherever he goes.

“At the White House itself, the crowds were controlled and everything was structured, but you could tell that people really wanted to be there. You could definitely feel the energy and the excitement.”

Pope Francis is frequently called the people’s Pope and is loved by many people even those outside of the Catholic faith. Marian sheds some light on why she thinks that is.

“His first Apostolic Exhortation is called Evangelic Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. He’s happy! He exudes joy and he encounters people gladly and happily,” Marian exclaimed. “And you have the sense that when he encounters people one on one, he wants to be present to them.”

People appreciate when they feel seen, heard and acknowledged and Pope Francis knows how to engage with people.

“It doesn’t mean everybody is going to agree with him on everything, but when someone’s there that you feel you could relate to and that you are heard, it makes a big difference,” said Marian.

While in D.C., Marian also noticed an uplift in the hopes and spirits of those who fight for social justice.

“For people who work on justice issues, he’s really reinvigorating them by giving them new hope and new energy. People who have worked on issues year in and year out… and, given the tone in Washington and the lack of progress, I can just imagine how easy it would be to give up. His presence, his message, his authority and his openness I think, hopefully, will energize Washington and people to really start making progress.”


**Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Revel in the Revolution with 8th Day

The 8th Day Center for Justice held its annual Revel in the Revolution event this past weekend. This year’s theme, “give light and people will find the way,” came from civil rights activist Ella Baker.

Burning System front
The keynote speaker was Reverend Doctor Otis Moss III, the current Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. He is also an accomplished author, speaker and activist. His speech for the event was truly enlightening and motivating. He told stories of those who came before us that helped pave the way for us, such as Vernon Johns and Martin Luther King, Jr. “There’s always somebody making a track to the river’s edge. We didn’t show up brand new like nobody’s ever done justice work before.” Among the other themes in his words, he said ministry needs to be about prophets and not profits. His powerful witness and engaging voice led to a standing ovation.

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

During this annual event, 8th Day Center for Justice also honors worthy recipients with the Mary Elsbernd, OSF Award. The award recognizes those who embody passion for inclusive love and justice, build relationships of nonviolence and cooperation, and use imagination to create new ways to bring systemic change.

In connection with IPS, Mary Elsbernd, OSF was the visionary behind the Master of Arts in Social Justice that began at IPS nearly 10 years ago.

This year The People’s Law Office (PLO) was the recipient of the 5th Annual Mary Elsbernd, OSF Award. The PLO has been fighting for civil rights for over 40 years, representing groups like the Black panthers, political prisoners, LGBTQ activists, members of the Palestinian community and many more. Most recently, the PLO won a Reparations Ordinance in Chicago for victims of police torture. The PLO also brought the audience to its feet, applauding the great work it does.

The People’s Law Office

One of the coordinators for the event, Scott Donovan, is an IPS alumnus. He received his MA in Social Justice and Community Development (SJCD) in 2013. Originally from New Jersey, he decided to stay in Chicago after graduation since he was able to find work that aligned with his knowledge, interests and passions. “It felt like a natural extension of my career arc, both professionally and personally to stay here,” said Scott.

Scott began his role as the Development Coordinator for 8th Day this past January. He leads fundraising, grant writing and resource initiatives at the center.

“I had known about 8th day since Chris Eagan (another IPS alumnus) did his Magis internship program at 8th day… Then when I saw they had posted the development position, I thought that those specific skills were something I wanted to develop within myself, so I went for it and here I am.”

Scott Donovan, 8th Day Development Coordinator
Scott Donovan, 8th Day Development Coordinator

It seems that Scott has found a job that is never boring and allows him fulfill his passions and career goals.

Each day is very different,” noted Scott. “I like the consensus model we operate on. Structurally we are a flat model, so we have no hierarchy, no supervisor or boss. We make decisions as a group which affords each of us a lot of independence and flexibility to pursue our passions and interests and see how those specific interests can support the center.”

The skills he learned at IPS have helped him succeed in his career by building a strong foundation to build upon.

“There were a few classes that I took at IPS that certainly guided me towards this specific development position. I took fundraising and grant writing, which I very much enjoyed and learned a lot there. The classes and professors that stood out most to me were the ones that got us on the street level,” Scott added. “[They] took the theory or the literature that we were reading and demonstrated to us those ideas in the real world.”

Scott went on to mention community organizing and development classes and former IPS professor Susan Rans “who was very instrumental in bringing forth the true mission of SJCD to [him], and from there [he] was able to find like values between 8th day and the values [students] learned at IPS.”

Looking back on his time at IPS, Scott recalls attending a research conference in San Diego where he and his classmates presented their research project that they had been working on all semester long.

“That was an incredible experience and a great opportunity to travel there,” commented Scott. “When I think of studying at IPS, I think of the times when I got out of the classroom and was able to visit different community centers and meet different folks out in the neighborhoods.”

Scott emphasized that he appreciated and took advantage of any and all opportunities to leave the classroom and learn from the city itself.

Scott definitely uses the various skills he learned at IPS at his new job, especially grant writing, but he also learned something else that is quite valuable:

“I think the overall mindset of open-mindedness, patience and trying to connect with another person as deeply as possible and glean from them what their true desires are for themselves, for their neighborhood, for their country… I try to keep that with me each day, both professionally and personally.”

Scott concluded with giving some advice for current and future IPS students:

“Just apply yourself. Make the most of your time there. Make the most of your colleagues and classmates,” said Scott. “Another high point of my time was being able to meet my classmates and hearing about the work they’re doing and be able to connect to that work through them. So I would say for folks at IPS now, just to call upon your classmates.”

From everyone at IPS, thank you 8th Day for all the work you do for social justice!

Loyola IPS faculty, graduate assistant and students at 8th Days’s Revel in the Revolution

**Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Lectoring with Spirit

IPS and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies recently co-sponsered the “Lectoring with Spirit” workshop.

This workshop was important because it served as a reminder that it is vital to be prepared and to think everything through in advance. When the sacred texts are read clearly and emphasized properly and passionately, those in the pews can fully understand the meanings of the messages.

The event was facilitated by Kevin E. O’Connor, Certified Speaking Professional. He led the 70 attendees in practical thinking and skills exercises that taught them ways to make the sacred scripture come to life for members in their parishes.

The Parish Leadership and Management Programs at IPS often holds workshops on various topics and we would love for you to join us at the next one! For more information, please visit our Parish Leadership and Management page or contact coordinator Mark Bersano at the IPS office.

Also keep an eye out on IPS social media…

**Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

IPS Hires New Student Worker

We would like to welcome Christopher Morales to the IPS team as a student worker! Christopher is just beginning his college career and has many admirable goals for his future. At IPS, we are happy to help Christopher and other students learn more skills that will help them on their journey.

Continue reading below to get to know a little more about him.

Christopher Morales

Where are you from? My Hometown is Chicago, primarily raised in the Humboldt Park area.

What do you like to do in your spare time outside of school and work?
A few of the things I like to do in my spare time are play sports, spend time with friends and family, visit my high school (Chicago Bulls College Prep.) and lead the cross fit also known as fit bulls class for a few class periods.

What is a fun fact or story about you?
A fun fact about myself is that I’ve played the violin for Chicago Bulls College Prep throughout my four years of high school.

What are you studying in school?
I am currently a part of Arrupe College of Loyola University of Chicago. This is a program designed to help build college success. The students of Arrupe College study their first 2 years there which will get you an associate’s degree. If any student wishes to further their education they can do so by transferring to any four year institute in Illinois, so that all of their credits can be transferred over; therefore, at Arrupe College I am only studying my general education courses. After Arrupe College I plan to transfer over to Loyola University of Chicago and major in criminal justice with the hopes of becoming a police officer.

What are a couple of your future goals?
One of my future goals is to become a police officer and to slowly work my way up the chain of command. I also want to own a house by the age of 24. I want to graduate with a bachelor’s degree because I will then be the second one in my entire family to have graduated from college with a degree.

What made you apply for this student worker position?
I was offered this job position by Gina Lopez due to how well my admission interview went for Arrupe College. I then contacted Gina back and accepted the position. Thus far, this has been a great experience and I am sure that I will continue to build my knowledge throughout IPS.

What are you looking forward to learning and accomplishing while working at IPS?
I am looking forward to accomplishing the task at hand on a daily basis and being able to work with this industry. I have only done this type of work one time prior to this one and I am enjoying every minute of it. This work is beneficial for skills and functions that I will need to know about later in life and I am really grateful for having the opportunity to work with IPS.


**Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.