Social Justice

“Today our prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ – for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.”

-Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., twenty-eighth Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Part of McQuaid Jesuit’s mission is inspiring young men to “a life-long commitment to justice.” Driven by this mission we seek to make students aware of important social issues and how they can respond. We educate students about the different types of injustices in the world and what should be the Catholic, Ignatian response. The heart of this work is to make sure the human dignity of all people is fully recognized by a faith that does justice.

Please check out some pictures of students and staff in action at last year’s Middle School Walk for Justice, our new Climate Club, our St. Joseph of Arimatha Pallbearer Ministry, and this year’s Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice. You can also find information about the on-campus groups that embody this important work in the paragraphs and drop down tabs below.

The Arrupe Society

The McQuaid Jesuit Arrupe Society is intended to be the focal point for all student social justice activities. Father Arrupe  famously challeneged Jesuit students to be “men and women for and with others.” Arrupe Societies, named in his honor, in secondary schools, colleges, and universities around the world have been formed to carry out Jesus’s message.

The Arrupe Society works in our local community and reaches out to our global community. In Rochester, the Arrupe Society has sponsored outreach to men and women who have experienced homelessness, visits to the House of Mercy, St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, and other activities. They also manage the Arrupe Food Pantry, a ministry that partners with local nonprofits to provide food to refugee families and promote encounter between students and their new neighbors. The Arrupe Society also sponsored the latest Thanksgiving Food Drive that collected over 1,400 food donations, with some of the donations going to support the Pantry’s work.

Our global outreach is expanding by furthering our partnership with the Working Boys Center in Quito, Ecuador. Last year, students began a micro-finance project to support entrepreneurs at the Center. Enough money was raised to give loans to six women. These loans have funded small businesses such as selling different street foods or creating jewelry to sell.

For more information or to get involved with the Arrupe Society please contact Mr. Tom Greiner.


This weekend trip is open to a limited number of McQuaid juniors and sophomores who are members of the Arrupe Society.  The ISN Arrupe Leaders Summit invites emerging student leaders from Jesuit high schools and parishes nationwide to deepen their understanding of “a faith that does justice,” share ideas and resources for social justice programming, and become empowered to effect positive social change in their local and global communities. For more information, contact McQuaid Jesuit’s Director of Service and Justice, Mr. Patrick Flaherty.

Students on Capitol Hill during the 2019 IFTJ

This weekend trip is open to a limited number of McQuaid Jesuit high schoolers. The Ignatian Teach-In for Justice is an annual gathering for members of the Ignatian family (Jesuit institutions and larger church) to come together in the context of social justice and solidarity to learn, reflect, pray, network, and advocate together. It is a place where people are empowered, re-energized, inspired, challenged, and supported by a community that sees faith and justice integrally linked. The conference is held annually in Arlington, VA, across the river from Washington, D.C., so the weekend also involves the opportunity to see sights and monuments in the capitol.

Begun over 20 years ago, the IFTJ has a rich history rooted in honoring the Jesuits and their companions who were martyred in El Salvador in 1989. The weekend conference attracts a wide array of distinguished speakers such as Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Fr. James Martin, SJ, and Fr. Bryan Massingale to name a few. These speakers challenge students to become agents of change in their own communities. The conference ends on Monday with an advocacy day where students have the opportunity to meet directly with their legislative representatives on Capitol Hill. For more information or to attend the IFTJ, contact McQuaid Jesuit’s Director of Service and Justice, Mr. Patrick Flaherty. You can also learn more by going to the IFTJ’s website.

Begun in October 2015, the Walk for Justice is an annual Middle School event that raises awareness around the issue of homelessness. Middle School students raise money and collect supplies for St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, a local Catholic Worker house that serves the poor, homeless, and needy of Rochester. Students walk from McQuaid Jesuit to St. Joe’s where they celebrate Mass with men and women affected by homelessness. You can see some pictures from the most recent Walk, held on October 10th, 2018, in the photo gallery above.

The Knights for Life are McQuaid Jesuit’s focal point for all life issues. The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. To support this position, educate their peers, and promote advocacy, the group sponsors various events for the school community.

Previous work by the Knights for Life include the Break for Life Conference. This conference brought hundreds of students together to address a variety of life issues, including but not limited to abortion, capital punishment, the environment, poverty, migrant issues, and euthanasia.

If you are interested in attending this year’s March for Life please follow the link for this flyer. You can sign up with Our Lady of Mercy or St. Mary’s Church in Canandaigua. Students attending will miss the Friday of exam week and must complete any exams they would miss before attending the March that Friday.

Founded by Riley Benner, ’16, the McQuaid Ballers is an innovative service program that has its roots in working to reduce the recidivism rate within the New York State Juvenile Detention system. The original goal of working with juveniles in detention was to assure that once a child left a correctional institution they would not reenter the system. Today, McQuaid Ballers partners with Hillside Family of Agencies here in Rochester but the goal of mentoring at-risk youth to help them stay out of the criminal justice system is still the same. To achieve this goal, McQuaid Jesuit students commit to mentor fellow  on a weekly basis. Mentoring includes “balling” with the residents, sharing a meal, and discussing healthy life choices. By doing so, students “develop winning relationships” with the residents at Hillside.

Students who participate in Ballers earn service hours and can even complete their Capstone Service Project with the program. Please contact Mr. Dan Brady with questions.

The St. Joseph of Arimathea Pall Bearer Ministry was founded in the spirit of St. Joseph of Arimathea who assisted with the burial of Jesus. Begun by Ian Gonzalez, ’16, the ministry was started with the core belief that no person should die without being prayed for or mourned. The seventh Corporal Work of Mercy clearly states we need to care for the dying and bury the dead.

Currently, McQuaid Jesuit high schoolers serve as pallbearers at the funerals of individuals who have passed away while in poverty, homelessness, or simply without any friends or family. Student pallbearers pledge to serve with respect and professionalism to honor the dignity of the deceased. Through these experiences students learn to offer sympathy in the face of loss and a greater understanding that God will care for us at every stage of life.  For more information or if you are a funeral home director that would like to work with the Ministry, contact Mr. Patrick Flaherty.

McQuaid Jesuit uses its strong connections to the local nonprofit community to address the most pressing material needs of the marginalized. Throughout the year McQuaid Jesuit holds donation drives benefiting different causes and local charities. These drives include:

  • The Middle School Walk for Justice collects donations of clothing and personal hygiene supplies to support the homeless at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality
  • The whole school takes part in our Thanksgiving Food Drive collecting canned goods to benefit House of Mercy and St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality. This past Thanksgiving we raised over 1,400 canned goods in support of these organizations!
  • McQuaid gets in the Christmas spirit through our Christmas Blessings Project. Starting in early December, this project raises donations for some of the most needy members of the Rochester community.
  • During the Lenten season the Middle School Campus Ministry participates in Catholic Relief Service’s (CRS) Rice Bowls program. Our students collect money to send to CRS to support its development programs across the globe.