This week I sat down with Rev. Thomas Pesci, S.J., and asked if he had a few words of wisdom to share with the student body.
Originally from Philadelphia, Pesci entered the society of Jesus in 1968 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1979 at Old St. Joseph’s Church.
Throughout his 47 years as a Jesuit, Pesci has held a vast array of positions.
Pesci worked as hospital chaplain at Georgetown University Hospital, was president of the Jesuit Rockhurst High School in Kansas City and Loyola High School in Baltimore and served as a vocation director and campus minister at Georgetown Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C.
Pesci has been Minister and guestmaster of the Jesuit community at The University since January 2013.
As Minister and guestmaster, Pesci deals largely with the administrative tasks of ensuring a healthy and stable environment for the Jesuits residing at Campion Hall.
Pesci’s position requires great patience and sensitivity to the needs of the community and a dedication to the welfare and well-being of those under his care.
In response to my inquiry about any advice he might want to share, Pesci expressed a desire that students reflect upon the questions that they personally have for themselves. He conveyed this desire in relation to the National Public Radio (NPR) project of “This I Believe.”
“At the heart of this message lies the question of what motivates us and enkindles us to get up and move in the morning,” Pesci said.
He continued, “Wouldn’t it be great if every student could reflect on this question, on the question of personal belief, and at the end of their four years here present the president of The University with an individual statement at graduation?”
I was very impressed with this question, or rather, this proposition, as I had never really given it much thought.
What if every student did have to give such a statement at graduation?
Pesci elaborated, saying, “The purpose of a Jesuit education is to continually challenge us to examine not only what we learn academically, but what we hold onto in our hearts and more specifically, what we incorporate into our actions. It is a question of using our head, heart, and hands.”
He also gave me some advice for the senior class and graduating class of 2015 specifically. He encourages these students to attempt reflection in the coming weeks.
He asked, “Can you sit down during Senior Week owning the challenges of the past and looking forward in hope to what the future holds?”
Furthermore, he encourages graduating students to take some time to sit down with an elder or mentor before graduation and engage in a spiritual conversation, solidifying and reflecting over their time at The University.
This could even come in the form of confession, which Pesci described as “an adult conversation about where I have been and where I am going, all under God’s grace.”
Pesci ultimately asked members of the student body to examine how they will look at The University as a spiritual home as they go through the rest of life.
While we may be here just a short time, are we using this time to grow in knowledge of ourselves and of each other? More specifically, are we moving through our Jesuit education continually reflecting upon the essential question of where we have been and where we would like to go in our path toward God?
The University can aid academic and spiritual growth if we let it challenge and shape us along this path.