Network Gathering Prayers

In The Spirit

Let us take a moment to collect ourselves, center ourselves, ground ourselves.
As partners in mission, and in the spirit of the Jesuit identity we share, let us pray:

In the spirit of "seeking God in all things," may we

-pause for a moment of contemplation by taking a long, loving look at the real - to recognize and honor the goodness in us and around us
-recognize the presence and power of God in our midst
-savor the consolation in our lives, including in being together this weekend
-learn from the desolation in the world as we call to mind the suffering and sin of so many, including ourselves
-be attentive and responsive to who God is calling and empowering us to be and to do
-creatively, compassionately, and courageously imagine that more is possible

In the spirit of Cura Personalis, may we

-be tender with ourselves and with each other, bringing respect to every encounter
-affirm the wisdom we have gleaned through our experiences, and generously share and receive that wisdom this weekend
-give ourselves 'margins for error' and not be afraid to speak because we 'might say something wrong'
-listen deeply, especially to views and voices that differ from my own, in seeking empathy and understanding as well as appreciation for diversity and inclusion

In the spirit of "Women and Men for and with Others," may we

-see ourselves as bridge builders, ambassadors of reconciliation, and peace-makers, especially in the face of so many hurtful divisions and unequal inequalities
-overcome the globalization of indifference by drawing near to others, doing our part to restore dignity, unmask racism, sexism, homophobia and every form of discrimination, violence, and injustice, and build partnerships marked by mutual honesty and trust
-work toward ever more inclusive solidarity and kinship

In the spirit of Magis, may we

-be enkindled by the fire - as Pope Francis defines Magis - "the fervor in action, awakening those who have become dormant" to shed ourselves of complacency and comfort, in order to recommit ourselves to the service of faith and the promotion of justice
-grow in affection for God, seek union with God, and deepen our devotion to what God desires for each one of us and for all creation
-develop prophetic imagination, practice prophetic discourse, and adopt the kind of actions - guided by goals and strategies that will foster agreement and accountability - that will inspire us to embrace prophetic leadership on our campuses and in our communities and homes
-in the face of so many reasons to be tired, distracted, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, or tempted to despair, may we choose to be witnesses of faith, hope, and love

May we do all of this as sisters and brothers united by love and justice A.M.D.G., for the greater glory of God.

- Written and offered by Dr. Marcus Mescher at the annual AJCU Faculty Conversations Conference at Xavier University, 2018.

The Places We Come From

Let's pause for a moment and recall that we are in God's presence.

God of all places,
You have gathered us together here in this place from across the heartland of our great nation.
From the Great Lakes to the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi Delta,
you have called us to share our stories, our experiences, our successes and, yes, our failures, as we seek to learn from one another, and through one another from You, how better to foster the mission of our institutions.

For though the places we come from are several and diverse, we are united by a common mission: to form our students to be men and women for and with others.
So we pray that you infuse our conversations with the spirit of your wisdom.
Fill us with a deep and constant gratitude for this group and for the many gifts you have bestowed upon it through the talents with which you have blessed each one of us.
And grant that, inspired by the magis, we may strive always to seek your greater glory in all of our colleges and universities.

- Offered by John T. Sebastian, Ph.D., 2015

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O' Holy One,
On this beautiful day
We thank you for this gathering of leaders--dedicated to higher education in the Jesuit tradition
We are comforted in your presence in our reflection, dialogue, companionship and networking, and
We are grateful for your blessings upon the food we are about to eat, those who prepared it and those who serve it.

- Offered by Debra Mooney, Ph.D., 2015

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Gathering Prayer

LEADER:  We call on your name, Lord of Creation, as we begin this day of prayer and reflection.

ALL:  Holy Spirit, we ask Your presence during our time together.  We ask You to help us mold and shape the ways we will work together as servants of Christ’s mission.

LEADER:  In 2020, Monika Hellwig wrote: We are the heirs and trustees of a great intellectual and cultural tradition founded on Catholic faith and enhanced by grace and by many centuries of testing for fidelity and authenticity. It is a trust not only for the benefit of the Church but also for the benefit of the world. The Catholic universities play a key role in bearing this trust with its treasury of classic deposits and its long-developed approach to life and learning. The conditions for fidelity to our trust have changed a good deal in the twentieth century. If we are still moving experimentally and are not always clear and successful in what we are doing, that is not from ill will or unconcern, but due to the uncharted nature of our situation. (“The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Catholic University” in Examining the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, vol. 1, ed. Anthony J. Cernera and Oliver J. Morgan, Fairfield, CT: Sacred Heart University Press, 2000), 18.)

ALL:  We ask Your blessing, Lord of Wonder, because You have brought us here to celebrate the many ways You have graced us with a love and understanding of our Mission in Higher Education.  We ask You to embolden us for the work that is yet before us and to enliven in us the energy and commitment to be successful in understanding the purpose and depth of our work.

LEADER:  Fr. General Arturo  Sosa urges us to remember that a Jesuit university has an evangelical orientation, because it is affected by what happens to human beings and creation.  Intellectual work in a Jesuit university is an apostolate of the Church because it is clearly and explicitly directed towards the construction of a world closer to the Kingdom of God:  where the values of justice, peace and love are cherished, where human life is considered as sacred, recognizing that there is a fundamental bond between human beings and God.

ALL:  Ever-living God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ; inspire our witness to Him, that all may know the power of His forgiveness and the hope of His resurrection; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

LEADER:  Fr. Sosa emphasizes that a Jesuit university, like any good university, must look outward to find its meaning in ‘people, themes and the problems of humanity, and, consequently, of the Church’.

ALL:  We ask You, God of all goodness, that your ways may be made clear, that Your plan be accomplished through our efforts and that You direct us toward all that is good for our universities, our cities and neighborhoods. 

LEADER:  We ask your blessing on our time together and let us pray together in the words of St. Ignatius:

ALL:  Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God. 


Written and offered by Fr. Dan McDonald SJ, on September 6, 2023 at the Province Colloquium of Presidents, Board Chairs, CAOs, CMOs and Rectors

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Final Blessing

We have come together in the spirit of working together to understand our meaning as universities.  Service, common vision  and relationships have focused this time together.  This day has brought back an awareness of identity in us, stirred the awakenings of new life in us which took place in our reflection and conversations.  This time has taken us into a vision for our roles in our institutions and leads us to action to accomplish that inspiration.


Let us give thanks for the geography of this Province which has shaped us.  The ways we have understood each other; the ways we share a common vision of our present and future, the days spent working with each other at AJCU events and the national meetings which have furthered our vision.  These geographies have shaped us and formed us.  For this we give thanks.


We remember our students and our aspirations for them to become people who engage ideas and culture, are thinkers who reflect on the important issues of our time, and are in a personal relationship with God.  That they agents of their future who meet others who change them, give them new life, challenge them, build their confidence.  For this we ask blessings on them.


We remember the professors and teaches who show our students  a deeper meaning to life, who inspired their faith life; those who have accompanied them with hope, give them courage to become the best person they can be.  For this we offer gratitude.


We remember the Staffs of our universities who showed all of us the meaning of service and respect.  For these people we offer gratitude.


And so, for this day that rekindles our awareness of the meaning of Jesuit and Catholic in our institutions, we ask that we become more aware of the awakening of God’s life in us and the inspiration which comes to us to engage further our identity and mission.

We ask that this life which grew in us will continue to grow more so and that what we received we will pass on to others.  All of this in the name of Jesus our Lord.


And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit continue to live in us and give us new eyes to see.



Written by Fr. Dan McDonald SJ, on September 6, 2023 at the Province Colloquium of Presidents, Board Chairs, CAOs, CMOs and Rectors

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Evening Grace

For the blessings you have bestowed upon these six centers of research and learning,

For the gifts and individual talents of these good people gathered together to serve you,

For all the history we have had together,

For all of the collaboration to come,

For the joys and sorrows that bind us ever closer,

For the trials we've overcome,


And for teaching us that we can do both great things

and small things with great love, and dedication.  Lord, we thank you.


And now we ask you to bless this food, our time together and this journey into deeper reflection and collaboration about what it means to be a Catholic and Jesuit university.


Written and offered by Fr. Dan McDonald SJ, on September 6, 2023 at the Province Colloquium of Presidents, Board Chairs, CAOs, CMOs and Rector

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