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

Following the example of Jesus and embracing Fr. Arrupe’s call, a commitment to justice and awareness about important social issues are key components of a McQuaid Jesuit education. Through service students encounter the marginalized. With a focus on social justice, students are challenged to consider the forces that make people marginalized through school events and clubs. Students are encouraged to go beyond mere curiosity and consider ways that issues of injustice can be confronted or resolved.

Below you will find information on many of the on-campus groups that embody this important work and some of the events held at McQuaid to highlight social injustices, educate students, and give back to the community.

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 and colleges and universities around the world have been formed to carry forward this message of Jesus.

The Arrupe Society sponsors outreach to men and women who have experienced homelessness, veterans, visits to the House of Mercy, St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality,and other homeless shelters, the Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, etc. For more information, 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.

This weekend trip is open to a limited number of McQuaid Jesuit juniors and seniors. 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.

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 address students attending about their work in different fields of social justice and offer advice on how to create real change. The conference ends on Monday with an advocacy day where students have the opportunity to gain experience in talking directly with their legislative representatives on Capitol Hill about issues important to them. 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, McQuaid Jesuit’s “Walk for Justice” seeks to raise awareness in the community around issues of homelessness. Each year, students in the Middle School raise money and collect supplies for St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, a local Catholic Worker. During the Walk, students carry the collected supplies to St. Joe’s where they then celebrate Mass with men and women who have experienced homelessness. A highlight of the event is the House of Mercy’s Gospel Choir leading the community in song.

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 the annual Break for Life Conference. This popular conference draws over one hundred students each year and addresses a variety of life issues, including but not limited to abortion, capital punishment, the environment, poverty, migrant issues and euthanasia.

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 juveniles 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.

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 juniors and seniors serve as pall bearers at the funerals of veterans and/or persons who have experienced homelessness. Student pallbearers pledge to serve with respect and dignity. Students learn to offer sympathy and support to others and offer hope in the face of death. Before and after servin as pall bearers, students gather for prayer and reflection with a member of the faculty/staff. The ministry currently operates during normal school hours. For more information, contact Mr. Joseph Mulholland.