Monday, November 14, 2011

A Visit with Three Hurricane Katrina Survivors

Hurricane Katrina has been much on our minds at the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP), as all three LIEP reading classes are reading the book ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers.

ZEITOUN tells the true and captivating story of the Zeitoun family of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Two days before the hurricane, Mrs. Zeitoun and the Zeitoun children evacuated to Baton Rouge, while Mr. Zeitoun, owner of a house painting business, stayed in the city to oversee his own property and that of his clients. A week after the hurricane, Mr. Zeitoun was arrested and imprisoned for "looking suspicious." He fell into a "black hole" in the prison system. His wife and children, away from the city, knew only that his daily phone calls at noon suddenly stopped.

ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers

To help us understand better what it was like in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, we invited three Hurricane Katrina survivors to speak as a panel with our three LIEP reading classes. Each panelist had a unique experience:

  • One panelist was isolated with her ill husband in an uptown home surrounded with flood waters
  • Another panelist found herself on a rooftop with her two beloved dogs
  • Our third panelist remained in the city to be with her hospitalized mother and was taken by helicopter to the New Orleans Convention Center, where people were crowded to await help without basic necessities
Each panelist spoke in turn, sometimes with emotion and tears, about her experience of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood. Here are some of the most striking points in the panelists' stories:
  • Reasons for remaining in the city: Each panelist personalized some of the frequently heard reasons for not evacuating: the huge difficulty (or impossibility) of transporting an ill loved one for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the devotion to beloved animals for whom there were no evacuation facilities, the trust in decades-old houses that had withstood many hurricanes, the experience of having lived through hurricanes in the past.
  • The flood: Seeing the flood water rise so swiftly when the levees gave way on the day AFTER the hurricane was a great shock. One panelist spoke of the "visceral feeling" of watching the water rush up her driveway, and another told us that there was no water in her house after the hurricane but that the flood waters rose 12 feet -- up to the gutter of the roof -- on the next day.
  • Complete lack of certainty and information: All three panelists said that they were isolated from information sources. One panelist spoke of "the real uncertainty about what would happen from day to day," and another told us that her only source of information was her mother, who was watching the news reports in Virginia.
  • MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat: One panelist brought items from an MRE, or Meal Ready to Eat, to show us. Some New Orleanians received MREs from the military after the hurricane.
  • Destruction: One panelist made the destruction of the flood real to us by showing vivid photographs of her flooded home.
  • Help from friends and neighbors: All three panelists insisted that help came, not from government agencies, but from friends helping friends and neighbors helping neighbors. One panelist and her ill husband were eventually rescued from their flood-surrounded home by friends. Another panelist banded together with neighbors for help. Our third panelist found that customers of her father's neighborhood store recognized her and took her under their wing at the Convention Center.
  • Animals: One panelist said that it was "very painful to see elderly people forced to get into rescue boats but leave their animals behind to die." This panelist is pleased to have been part of the post-Hurricane Katrina lobbying group that has resulted in a Louisiana law requiring side-by-side evacuation of people and their animals.
  • Deaths: The panelists spoke of their sadness whenever they thought of family members, friends, and neighbors who died not long after Hurricane Katrina because of the physical and emotional toll taken by the high level of stress.
  • Preparedness: All three panelists spoke of the need for to be ready for an emergency. One panelist told us, "Save money. Be educated. Be prepared."
Hearing these intense personal stories by three people who lived through the days and weeks after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans made the storm and its aftermath very real to us.

A huge thank-you to our three panelists for sharing these personal experiences with us.

Our next post will tell you about a visit with Dr. Bethany Brown of Loyola's Criminal Justice Department. Dr. Brown will speak with us about the sociological aspects of Hurricane Katrina to help us understand how people respond in crisis situations.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Neighborhood Tour and Grammar Activity

LIEP Instructor Karen Greenstone
in her Halloween outfit
Many people in the neighborhood around Loyola University New Orleans decorate their houses and lawns for Halloween, sometimes quite elaborately. On Thursday, October 27, the Pilot Program students of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) took a walking tour of the neighborhood to observe and photograph these Halloween decorations. Upon returning to the classroom, the students used their observations and photographs in a grammar activity created by LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone.

First, we will show you some of the decorations in the neighborhood. Below are some photographs we took as we walked from house to house.

Nightmare on State Street
Spider in a tree
Halloween graveyard
Pumpkin in a pumpkin patch
Tree covered with a spider web
One lawn was filled with over two dozen skeletons, each with a creative name. Below are some of these interesting skeletons.

Bone Dry Skeleton
Deadly Glare Skeleton
Lazy Bones Skeleton
Till Death Do Us Part Skeletons
Skeleton Keys
After observing and photographing these Halloween decorations, the students returned to the classroom for the grammar activity. LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone asked them to write a description of what they had seen, using as many full and reduced adjective clauses, or relative clauses, as possible.

Below is the description composed by Pilot Program student Damesh Kirabayeva of Kazakhstan. The full and reduced adjective (or relative) clauses are underlined.

* * *

By Damesh Kirabayeva

Pilot Program Student
Damesh Kirabayeva
of Kazakhstan
This morning, my classmates and I had a walk along St. Charles Avenue. We saw a lot of houses decorated for Halloween. The first house that we saw had a gigantic spider climbing down from a tree and many old tombstones. Almost every house had a web covering the fence and trees and looking very scary. The most unusual decorated house we found on St. Charles Avenue. It was full of skeletons, and each one had a particular meaning. The skeletons, lying, sitting, or standing, all had a label with a description. Some of the descriptions had humor in their meaning, adding a little bit of fun to the scary creatures.

I noticed that almost every house looked similar to the previous houses, with hanging spiders, scary skeletons, screaming witches and their loyal black cats--and of course a little bit of humor in every front yard.  The only difference those houses have is the amount of money the owners spent on decorations. Obviously bigger houses needing more decorations must have required thousands of dollars to make their front yards look scary. Many of the owners seemed to have started preparing weeks before Halloween begins. Overall, this morning's walk made me realize that Halloween is taken seriously in New Orleans. I can't wait until the night when I will see all those kids wearing costumes and scaring everyone. Let Halloween begin!

* * *

Thank you, Damesh Kirabayeva, for sharing your description of the Halloween decorations near the Loyola campus and for using so many excellent full and reduced adjective clauses in your description. Thank you, also, to LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone for this fun and educational activity.

Our next post will return to our reading of ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers. We will tell you about an event related to this reading -- a panel discussion with three people who remained in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. These three Hurricane Katrina survivors will describe their experience for our LIEP students.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkins are a common sight at Halloween, often carved with scary or funny faces. On Wednesday, October 26, the students of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) prepared for Halloween by carving their own pumpkins.

Each student chose a pumpkin and a face pattern, drew the face pattern onto the pumpkin, carved the face, and scooped out the pumpkin's interior. Below, you see the students at work!

The students carve pumpkins together
Coco Zhang of China prepares to draw her face pattern
Luis Morales of Venezuela prepares to carve his pumpkin
Graciela Rodriguez of Venezuela gets ready to carve 
Elodie Lesage of France scoops out her pumpkin
James Zhang of China (left) and Edilberto Reis of Brazil (right) carve their pumpkins
After the work of carving, the students displayed their completed pumpkins. Below, you see the students displaying their work!
Coco Zhang of China with her carved pumpkin
Raul Amado of Panama with his carved pumpkin
Marietta Rivero-Quintal of Mexico with her carved pumpkin
Olena Kashirny of the Ukraine with her carved pumpkin
LIEP students with their carved pumpkins
Clockwise from top left: Kevin Li of China,  Luis Morales of Venezuela, Raul Amado of Panama,
Olena Kashirny of the Ukraine, Jinhee Lee of South Korea, Coco Zhang of China,
Edilberto Reis of Brazil

A huge thank-you to LIEP instructors Christina Indovina, Jess Haley, and Karla Sikaffy, who planned and oversaw the pumpkin carving. Christina and Jess also shopped for the pumpkins and carried them safely to our LIEP lounge on the third floor of Mercy Hall on Loyola's campus!
LIEP instructors Christina Indovina (left), Jess Haley (middle), and Karla Sikaffy (right)
Thank you to Christina, Jess, and Karla for creating this educational and fun pumpkin carving event and to the LIEP students for their enthusiastic participation!

Our next post will describe a Halloween grammar activity involving the home decorations in the neighborhood surrounding Loyola's campus.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our Visit with Chief Meteorologist Carl Arredondo

As mentioned in our previous post, our three reading classes -- Intermediate, Advanced, and Pilot (those students taking courses at Loyola University New Orleans as well as two credit-bearing intensive English courses) -- are reading the book ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers. This book tells the true story of the Zeitoun family of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina.

To gain a better understanding of hurricanes in general and of Hurricane Katrina in particular, we at the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) invited Mr. Carl Arredondo, Chief Meterologist at WWL-TV in New Orleans to visit us on Wednesday, October 26, and talk with us about hurricanes.

Mr. Carl Arredondo,
Chief Meteorologist
at WWL-TV in New Orleans
Mr. Arredondo told us that he was fascinated with weather even as a child. When a television meteorologist visited his sixth-grade class and talked to the students about forecasting the weather, Mr. Arredondo knew that this would be his career choice, too. Accordingly, Mr. Arredondo studied meteorology in college and eventually came to New Orleans in 1991 as a meteorologist for WWL-TV, where he is now Chief Meteorologist.

Mr. Arredondo explained that we are now in a cycle of greater hurricane activity that began in 1995. When asked how long we could expect this cycle to last, Mr. Arredondo replied that no one knows but that the previous cycle of greater hurricane activity lasted over forty years. Mr. Arredondo explained that, even within cycles of greater hurricane activity, there can be an odd year of lesser hurricane activity, and vice versa.

Mr. Arrendondo told us about two currently-used systems for predicting hurricane activity. One is the system used by Dr. Gray at Colorado State University. Dr. Gray makes his yearly predictions based on hurricane activity in years with atmospheric conditions most similar to those in the current year. This system is best at predicting numbers of hurricanes in a given year. The other is the system used by the Hurricane Research Center in Houston. This system makes predictions based on sun activity and is best at predicting where hurricanes are likely to make landfall in a given year.

Mr. Arredondo talked about the length of the yearly hurricane season -- June 1 through November 30, with the peak on September 10. He emphasized that storms can occur at any time, though, even outside the official hurricane season. He also showed us the six rotating lists of alphabetical hurricane names. Every six years, we use the same list of hurricane names, but when a hurricane is particularly destructive and memorable, its name is retired and replaced with a new name beginning with the same letter. This year, 2011, we are using the same list of hurricane names that we used six years ago in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina. However, there will never be another Hurricane Katrina! The name Katrina has been replaced with Katia.

Hurricane Katrina
Mr. Arredondo shared his own Hurricane Katrina experience with us. He showed us a video of his first return to his flooded home in Slidell, Louisiana, soon after the hurricane. He explained that the flooding of Slidell, a city to the east of New Orleans and of Lake Pontchartrain, was due to the tremendous storm surge. Mr. Arredondo told us that, just because a hurricane's strength lessens (Hurricane Katrina, at one time a Category 5 hurricane, had lessened to Category 3 when it passed through the New Orleans area), the storm surge does not lessen. After the storm surge pushed into the western part of Lake Pontchartrain, it slashed back forcefully into Slidell, flooding many homes there, including Mr. Arrendondo's. Mr. Arredondo said that one of his most difficult tasks after the hurricane was explaining to his children that all of their toys and belongings were gone.

Mr. Arredondo emphasized the importance of good preparation for the hurricane season. He stressed the importance of evacuation, of planning where we will go, and of giving that contact information to our family and friends. He also said that we should keep any important hard-copy documents in a case ready to take with us on evacuation.

Thank you, Mr. Arredondo, for giving us interesting and important information about hurricanes and for sharing your own hurricane experience with us.

In our next post, we will share with you our Halloween pumpkin carving!

Reading ZEITOUN and Watching STILL WAITING

This month at the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP), all three of our reading classes -- Intermediate, Advanced, and Pilot (those students taking two courses at Loyola University New Orleans as well as two credit-bearing intensive English courses) -- are reading ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers.

ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers
ZEITOUN tells the true story of the Zeitoun family during and after Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian, is married to a U.S. American named Kathy. Together, Kathy and Zeitoun run a house painting business. In 2005, at the time of Hurricane Katrina, they had four children: Kathy's son from a former marriage and three daughters of their own. The family practices Islam.

Before Hurricane Katrina, Kathy and the children evacuated to Baton Rouge, but Zeitoun stayed in New Orleans to protect his home and to oversee his clients' houses. About a week after the hurricane, he was arrested because, with his Arabic accent and swarthy appearance, he looked suspicious. He was imprisoned, with no way to let his wife know what had happened. All Kathy knew was that her husband's daily telephone calls at noon suddenly stopped. Zeitoun had been calling everyday at noon from a working landline in one of the Zeitouns' rental properties in the flooded city.

Zeitoun spent about three weeks in prison, undergoing sub-human conditions and humiliating treatment. He and Kathy tell their story in Dave Eggers' book ZEITOUN.

Members of the extended family
featured in STILL WAITING
To prepare for reading ZEITOUN, the three LIEP reading classes came together to watch the documentary STILL WAITING: LIFE AFTER KATRINA on Thursday, October 20. STILL WAITING shows how Hurricane Katrina has affected one extended African American family in St. Bernard Parish, the low-lying and heavily flooded parish just east of New Orleans. This extended family, with over 150 members, was left homeless after Hurricane Katrina. They received help from the one member of their close-knit family, Connie Tipado, who lived elsewhere -- in Dallas, Texas. The documentary shows the family's determination to return home and rebuild despite tremendous odds -- the complete destruction of their homes and towns and the slow response of the government to provide promised assistance.

After watching STILL WAITING, the students formed small groups composed of members of each of the three LIEP reading classes. Each group focused, first, on vivid imagery from the documentary. The students were especially impressed by these images:

  • Houses completely submerged in water up to the rooftops
  • The interior of a flooded church, with overturned pews, moldy bibles, and a grimy altar
  • Home-cooked food -- gumbo, jambalaya, sausage, sea food
  • The tiny, cramped kitchen in a trailer provided by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) as a temporary home
  • The family tree of this extended family, with branch after branch showing mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins
  • The large crowd of family members gathered for a meal at Connie Tipado's home in Dallas
After exploring these images, the students examined the forces pulling this extended family apart:
  • No homes to which to return
  • No services, such as police, fire fighters, mail service, banks, hospitals, schools
  • Fear that such a hurricane could happen again
  • Racism in St. Bernard Parish
  • Better job opportunities elsewhere
  • The lack of government help
Finally, the students explored the forces uniting this extended family:
  • Their love
  • Their habit of frequently visiting each other's homes
  • Their common faith and church community
  • Their many meals shared together
  • Their very desire to continue the unity built up by generations of togetherness
The documentary STILL WAITING gave us all a clearer picture of what people in and near New Orleans went through during and after Hurricane Katrina. With this in mind, we began our reading of ZEITOUN.

Our next post will describe our visit with Mr. Carl Arrendondo, Chief Meteorologist for WWL-TV, one of our local television stations in New Orleans. We will share with you how Mr. Arredondo gave us a better understanding of hurricanes in general and of Hurricane Katrina in particular.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reflections on Race

LIEP Instructor Christina Indovina
LIEP Student Grciela Rodriguez
The Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) Culture Class, taught by LIEP instructor Christina Indovina, has been exploring the various cultural groups that make New Orleans such a culturally rich city. The class has explored the early inhabitants of New Orleans--French, Spanish, Native American Indians (largely of the Houma Nation), African Americans (both slaves and free people of color)--as well as the current cultural communities of such groups as African Americans, Native Houma people, IsleƱos, Latinos, Vietnamese, whites of European ancestry.

As part of this on-going theme, the Culture Class has looked at race and what race has meant in the United States. As Christina says, "This topic is of particular importance in New Orleans because not only did the city once support a large slave population, but it also was home to large communities of Creoles and free people of color. As part of this exploration, our Culture Class went to the U.S. Mint in the French Quarter to view an exhibition titled 'RACE: Are we really so different?'" The exhibit contends that there is no physiological or DNA evidence for race, but that race is an invention of human minds. Race is a way that humans assign meaning to certain differences in physical appearance.

Below, LIEP student Graciela Rodriguez of Venezuela shares her experience of the exhibit: "RACE: Are we really so different?"

* * *
REFLECTIONS ON RACE by Graciela Rodriguez

History has shown us that people are different, so different that we had a world war because one person thought his race was better. Countries have fought bloody civil wars because of these differences, and many people have died. But are we that different? Who was the first to say that some race is better than another? What is race?

I don't know. We might look different on the outside because of the color of our skin or the shape of our eyes but we are all humans. Sometimes we forget that we already belong to a common group when we segregate ourselves. What we are doing is separating each one of us from the others. It is like a bag of candies--all the pieces are candies, different colors, different flavors, but all candies from the same factory.

* * *

Thank you, Graciela Rodriguez, for these important thoughts about race, and thank you, Christina Indovina, for raising this important issue in the Culture Class and for arranging this visit to the exhibit "RACE: Are we really so different?"

Our next post will introduce you to the common book that all three LIEP Reading Classes are currently reading--ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers. ZEITOUN tells the true story of the Zeitoun family during and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. To prepare for reading this book, the LIEP Reading Classes recently came together to watch the Hurricane Katrina documentary STILL WAITING. The book ZEITOUN and the documentary STILL WAITING will be the subject of our next post.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Orleans Architecture Scavenger Hunt

LIEP student Andy Uscilowski
LIEP Instructor Christina Indovina
Houses in New Orleans are different from houses in other cities in the United States. Christina Indovina, an instructor in the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP), recently took her Culture Class on a scavenger hunt to discover various types of typical New Orleans houses in the Marigny, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.

Christina's class chose the Marigny because it is filled with brightly-colored typical New Orleans houses and because it was populated by Creoles and free people of color in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The students found Creole cottages, shotgun houses (with rooms directly behind one another so that you could shoot a bullet straight through the front door and out the back door), camelbacks (shotguns with an additional story toward the rear of the house), and houses that did not fit into any specific category.

Below is an account by LIEP student Andy Uscilowski of Poland about his architectural findings on the scavenger hunt.

* * *


I chose this house because it is original and because it reminds me of a Polish house. Also, I like huge houses, so this building caught my attention. This building doesn't fit into any classification: it's not a shotgun or a camelback. It's just a huge unique house. Houses on the other side of the street are small. Most are just single shotgun houses, so this house "stands out from the crowd."

This house is big and unique as well. I like it, not only because of the size, but also because of the bright blue color. Once again, this house doesn't fit into any classification. The surrounding houses are pretty big, like this one, but none are so colorful.

The last building I photographed is a typical shotgun double. These colors remind me of a house from a fairy tale. I think that  the colors -- blue, white, and red -- are harmoniously arranged. Almost all of the houses on this street are single or double shotguns.
* * *
Our thanks to LIEP student Andy Uscilowski for sharing his architectural scavenger hunt findings with us and to LIEP instructor Christina Indovina for initiating this project.

Our next post will reflect on the Culture Class's visit to the U.S. Mint in the French Quarter, where they explored an exhibit titled "RACE: Are we really so different?"

The "Words to Live By" Project

LIEP instructor Jess Haley
Throughout the semester, students in the Advanced Listening & Speaking class of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) are exploring the English language through a vocabulary-building photography project called "Words to Live By." This post shares with you one segment of the project -- the segment focusing on Jesuit values.

Loyola University New Orleans is run by an order of Catholic priests called the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola in the 16th Century. A Jesuit education seeks to instill important values--the twelve ideals of a Jesuit education-- in the students. LIEP instructor Jess Haley offers this explanation of her class's project and of the project segment focusing on Jesuit values.

* * *

By Jess Haley and Her Advanced Listening & Speaking Class

All of us live in a world built of language. We are surrounded by words that guide us both physically (such as those found on traffic signs) and mentally (such as those found in advertisements). As members of our own culture, we largely take these messages for granted. Inundated with them as we are, we don't even consciously see them. But for visitors and learners in a new culture, these everyday symbols of our social grammar can become confusing.

In the "Words to Live By" project, students chronicle -- photographically, literarily, and verbally -- their exploration of this language. Students seek out, photograph, present to the class, and then discuss the words we live by this semester. Each week the project has a different theme, for example, Jesuit values, the Intensive English Program experience, traffic jams, humorous words, and New Orleans through adjectives.

Jesuit Ideals Marker
For their first "Words to Live By" project, the students visited Loyola's Peace Quad, located in front of the Danna Center (Loyola's student center). After a brief lesson in photographic composition, they were asked to look around for language. They identified words everywhere, but only a few noticed the gray stones in the center of the red brick sidewalk upon which they were standing. Each stone bears a Jesuit ideal, forming a path to the door of the library. These are words that Loyola students encounter every day but don't necessarily spend much time pondering. However, these words are important for international students, who may or may not understand what a Jesuit education means.

LIEP Advanced Listening & Speaking Class
The students read and contemplated all fourteen of the stones before choosing one that represented their personal ideals. They then photographed their chosen ideal, that is, they could photograph either the stone with its printed words or something else that represented the words to them. In writing and in a brief oral presentation, the students investigated the literal meaning of the words, the over-arching meanings of the expressions, and their own reactions to the words.

Here are some examples of the many ways the students chose to capture and articulate their Jesuit "Words to Live By."

Photo by Maximiliano Braga
Maximiliano Braga chose "Development of Personal Potential" as his favorite of the Jesuit ideals. Max discussed the literal meaning of the words and then stated that, for him, the development of personal potential required freedom to improve and explore his purpose. This was a freedom he felt while studying at Loyola. Max intentionally composed the photo from this angle and altered it digitally to imply the journey and direction of personal development.

Photo by Edilberto Reis
Edilberto Reis chose the Jesuit ideal of maintaining an international and global perspective, but he used a different strategy with his photograph. Instead of photographing the words on the stone, Betto took this picture of his classmate Luis Morales walking near a sign that reads "Part of the Pack." (Loyola's mascot is the wolf, an animal that lives, hunts, and plays in a pack.) Betto explained that the coincidence of seeing his friend and those words together was powerful for him. Luis is part of Betto's "pack," and together the words and the image of Luis exemplify Loyola's dedication to diversity and community.

Photo by Luis Morales
Luis Morales argued that all of the Jesuit ideals on the sidewalk stones were important to him, but he placed "Contemplative Vision Formed by Hope" in the center of his photo-montage because he said that he is a dreamer, always looking to the future. Luis explained that he lives in hope for a better future and that he has faith and hope that he is going the right way. He believes that everything will be fine as long as he meditates about what he wants and has hope for the future.

Photo by Raul Amado
Not only has this project already begun introducing students to new vocabulary, it has offered them a creative way to incorporate their learning into their daily non-academic lives without feeling school-like. The students can inquire about and interpret the sometimes puzzling words around them.
* * *
Our thanks to LIEP instructor Jess Haley and her Advanced Listening & Speaking class for sharing their "Words to Live By" with us.

Our next post will introduce you to interesting styles of New Orleans architecture through a project of the LIEP Culture class.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mass of the Holy Spirit

Catholic colleges and universities run by the Jesuit Fathers practice a beautiful September tradition of opening the academic year with the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

On Thursday, September 15, Loyola University New Orleans canceled all 11 a.m. classes so that all members of the Loyola community might attend this Mass if they wished to do so, including the international students of the Loyola Intensive Engish Program (LIEP). Before proceeding to a description of Thursday's Mass of the Holy Spirit, we will look at three questions:
  1. Who are the Jesuit Fathers?
  2. Who is the Holy Spirit?
  3. Saint Ignatius Loyola
  4. What is the Mass?
JESUIT FATHERS: The Jesuit Fathers are an organization of Catholic priests founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola, who lived from 1491 to 1556. The full name of the organization is the Society of Jesus, usually shortened to Jesuit. The special mission of the Jesuit Fathers is the education of high school boys and of college and university men and women. In front of the Danna Center (Loyola's student center) stands a stature of Saint Ignatius Loyola.

The Holy Spirit represented as a dove
HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit is God Within Us, inspiring us as we live our lives. The Holy Spirit is often represented as a white dove of peace. 

The Mass
MASS: Mass is the great prayer of the Catholic Church. During Mass, Catholics remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The climax of the Mass is the consecration of the bread and wine as the body and blood of Jesus and the receiving of this consecrated bread and wine in Holy Communion.


The Mass of the Holy Spirit at Loyola is not only a prayer but also a glorious pageant. It is held in the beautiful Holy Name of Jesus Church on Saint Charles Avenue.

Holy Name of Jesus Church
The Holy Spirit as tongues of fire
The Mass begins with the entrance of a long red streamer carried by two dozen students and stretching up and down the aisles of the church. Red is the color of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit's inspiration is often represented as fire. When the Holy Spirit first came upon Jesus' followers, observers saw tongues of fire burning above their heads.

Once the red steamer is in place, the faculty of each of Loyola's five colleges process into the church, carrying the banner of their respective colleges: College of Business, College of Music and Fine Arts, College of Law, College of Natural Sciences and Humanities, College of Social Sciences. Student organizations follow in procession, wearing their distinctive t-shirts.

Then come the Jesuit Fathers, robed in red vestments for celebrating Mass. Finally, Loyola's ballet students dance down the aisle in colorful tulle skirts. During this procession, the organ resounds and the Loyola Choir sings, as they do throughout the Mass.

When all the Jesuit Fathers have reached the altar, the Mass begins. We pray for God's blessing on our academic year, listen to Bible readings, observe the consecration of the bread and wine, and if we are prepared to do so, receive Holy Communion. We enjoy the uplifting music of the Loyola Choir and the Genesis Gospel Choir.

Then, the final blessing is given, and we depart to carry on our lives and work with new inspiration.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is an Ignatian tradition. Our next post will highlight a project of the Advanced LIEP Listening & Speaking class, focusing on the Ignatian values that a Jesuit education strives to instill.