Georgetown University, Georgetown Law, Mission and Ministry

Georgetown University
Georgetown University, in the historic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., was founded in 1789, by John Carroll, a Jesuit, and cousin of Charles Carroll, the only Roman Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. Georgetown University is the oldest Roman Catholic and oldest Jesuit University in the United States and is home to fifty-eight members of the Society of Jesus.

Georgetown’s most notable alumni, such as former U.S. President Bill Clinton, have served in various levels of government in the United States and abroad.
Click to see a few of the alumni.

School of Foreign Service
The School of Foreign Service is the largest school of international relations
in the world and the oldest in the United States. Research institutes include
the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and Woodstock Theological Center
and Library.

Georgetown University Law Center (
Georgetown University’s law school (Georgetown Law), the first law school
established in the United States by a Jesuit institution of higher learning,
was begun in 1870. It is the second largest law school in the U.S. Since it
is located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown Law is close to federal govern-
ment agencies, courts, and the Supreme Court.

Student Life
Less than 60 percent of Georgetown’s student body is Catholic. Georgetown
has a Buddhist clergyman and a full-time rabbi. It was the first U.S. college
to have a full-time imam, to serve the over four-hundred Muslims on campus.

The student body is generally religious and volunteer minded, and more than
four-hundred freshmen and transfer students attend a nonreligious Ignatian
retreat annually.

Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit Identity

    The Core Curriculum.
    All Georgetown students are required to take two courses in Philosophy
    and Theology.

    The Mass, the Sacraments, and Other Religious Services
    The Georgetown community celebrates the beginning of each new school
    year with the Mass of the Holy Spirit…

    The Mass is celebrated two times a day during the week in Dahlgren Chapel, and daily and on Sundays at the Medical Center’s Hospital Chapel and the Law Center’s St. Thomas More Chapel. In addition, daily Mass is celebrated three times a week in the Medical School’s St. Ignatius Chapel. Daily Mass is televised throughout the Georgetown Hospital…

    Crucifixes and Religious Symbolism.
    The University has placed a wide variety of crosses and crucifixes, with descriptions…in all Main Campus classroom buildings, with the exception
    of the Bunn Intercultural Center, where there are rotating symbols of the
    various faith traditions represented on campus.

    Interfaith and Ecumenical Liturgies.
    The Office of Campus Ministry provides opportunities for interfaith prayer and dialogue throughout the school year.

    Events include interfaith dialogues, Hallelujah Shabbat, Interfaith Seder, an interfaith art exhibit, and the Inter-faith Baccalaureate Service.

    Retreat Programs.
    Georgetown’s nationally recognized retreat programs…with specific retreats available to students of Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish faiths. Programs range from overnight experiences…to Five-Day Ignatian retreats.

Mission and Ministry of Georgetown University
Each year the Office of Mission and Ministry orients new faculty, staff, students and Board members to the Catholic and Jesuit character of the University and offers a variety of seminars and programs to promote our religious mission…
Some of the University’s values: (

    Contemplation in Action
    St. Ignatius believed that prayer and reflectivity…become a way of entering into union with and praising God. Contemplation is a critical dimension of the spiritual life and it is reflected in Georgetown’s commitment to prayer, worship and retreats…

    Educating the Whole Person
    St. Ignatius…promoted the development of the spiritual, intellectual, artistic, social and physical aspects of each person…

    Faith and Justice

    In 1965, following the 31st General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits made a significant institutional commitment to “the service of faith
    and the promotion of justice.”

    Women and Men for Others

    …the impressive commitments of our graduates to serve in organizations such as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps International, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps.

    Interreligious Understanding
    Reflecting themes from the Second Vatican Council, the 34th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus made a significant commitment
    to ecumenical and interreligious
    engagement and understanding.

    As the Georgetown University community comprises a wide variety of religious traditions, our Office of Campus Ministry supports Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim chaplaincies, a variety of affiliated ministries, and numerous interreligious events and services.

    In addition, the University sponsors the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding; the Program for Jewish Civilization; the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; the Catholic Studies Program…

    Community in Diversity
    The University supports the diversity of our community through a variety of resources that include the Diversity Action Council, the Center for Minority Educational Affairs, the Patrick F. Healy Fellows Program, the Coordinator
    for LBGTQ Community Resources and a wide array of student cultural and performance groups.

    Campus Ministry (
    Upcoming events Summer 2008
    Jul 31, 12:10pm-1pm: Feast of Saint Ignatius/Celebration of Final Vows
    Aug 24, 9am: New Student Orientation Mass
    Aug 24, 9am-11am: NSO Protestant Worship Service and Breakfast
    Aug 24, 10am-12pm: MSA Welcome Freshman Brunch
    Aug 26, 12pm: Mass of the Holy Spirit

    Jesuit Heritage Week (
    January 27th – February 2nd
    Sunday, January 27, Opening Mass
    Monday, January 28, Spiritual Exercises talk, Rev. John O’Malley, S.J.
    Tuesday, January 29, Daily Mass with the Jesuits
    Wednesday, January 30, Guided Meditation with Rev. Tom King, S.J.
    Thursday, January 31, Daily Mass with the Jesuits, Guided Meditation…
    Friday, February 1, 24-Hour Eucharistic Adoration
    Spend time in prayer during Eucharistic Adoration, co-sponsored by the Georgetown Knights of Columbus.

Some People involved in the discussions of faith and religion on Georgetown’s campus in recent years:
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop of Washington
Fr. Gerald O’Collins, S.J., Gregorian University
Anglican Bishop Kenneth Cragg
Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet
E.J. Dionne Jr., Columnist, The Washington Post, Sr. Fellow, Brookings Inst.
Dr. Dorothy Height, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)
Sister Helen Prejean, Death Penalty Activist, author of Dead Man Walking
Francis Eugene Cardinal George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago
Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for relations with states, Vatican City
Archbishop Pedro Meurice Estiu, Santiago, Cuba
Patriarch Alexei II, Russian Orthodox Church
Rev. John O’Malley, S.J., author of The First Jesuits
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome
Msgr. George G. Higgins, Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace
Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Muslim American Spokesperson
Fred Kammer, S.J., president, Catholic Charities USA
Antonin Scalia, 1957, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Georgetown in the news:
Diversity; Social Justice and Ignatian Spirituality

Catholic Georgetown University to Fully Fund Campus Gay Center
Co-president of GU Pride, Scott Chessare, responded by exclaiming “We won!”
By Hilary White Washington, DC October 30, 2007 (

Jesuit spirituality, Social Justice Priorities for Georgetown’s lay president

“…In the three years since he was chosen to become head of the nation’s oldest Catholic university, DeGioia, the first lay person to take on the task, has been an indefatigable advocate of Catholic identity and Ignatian spirituality…

“DeGioia believes the Washington-based Georgetown University is in a unique position to place before students, faculty and the wider social-political arena Roman Catholicism’s unyielding demands for human rights and social justice.

“These are at the core, he says, of Ignatian spirituality.

“Jesuit Fr. Julio Giulietti, director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and formerly on the faculty at Georgetown, said flatly: “DeGioia knows the Spiritual Exercises
[of Ignatius] from his soul.”


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