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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week?

“Do you really attend a Catholic university?”
One of my professors posed this question to the class the other day. We were discussing the day off from school scheduled for March 31st in honor of Cesar Chavez day. And although Loyola Marymount University has always scheduled this day off in respect of a Mexican-American civil rights activist, many students and faculty question the rational behind this day off from classes instead of Holy Thursday or Easter Monday.
Loyola Marymount University does not give students off these two respected holidays in the Catholic faith. Holy Thursday and Easter Monday traditionally are recognized as days of the Holy Week leading up to and following Easter. As a Catholic institution, LMU states that they set the example of promoting faith in their mission. However, if this was the case, would they not recognize the importance of honoring those two days instead of the March 31st “holiday” which most of the student body sees as a day off from classes where they can either party or sleep the whole day? Does LMU not uphold their standards as a Jesuit institute by honoring the Catholic faith of the student body by giving those two days off to reflect and prepare for Easter?
For the past few years that I have attended Loyola Marymount University, I have constantly struggled to decide whether I should fly back from my Easter visit with my family on the east coast on Easter Monday—thus missing a full day of classes—or fly back to California on Easter? I am a very hard, diligent worker; however, my answer for the past three years has been: miss classes on Easter Monday and enjoy the holiday with my family on Easter Sunday. Sitting in Baltimore-Washington International airport on Easter Sunday does not sound too appealing, especially when I dread the almost seven-hour, uncomfortable flight back into LA. Our fellow Jesuit Universities, which are also academically acclaimed throughout the country, such as Boston College, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Gonzaga University, Loyola of Maryland, Loyola of Chicago, St. Joseph University, and Xavier University are just to name a few of the twenty-eight Jesuit Universities that have Holy Thursday and Easter Monday off. The other nineteen universities have Easter Monday off as well, and there is only one Jesuit University that has neither Holy Thursday nor Easter Monday off…correct! Loyola Marymount University!
The last few weeks of senior year of high school as I decided between two universities, and a university in the south and Loyola Marymount University. I chose LMU because of its Catholic faith and their mission. I believed that by continuing to attend a Catholic school, I would foster and build my faith, as I grew older. I was comfortable being in a setting where I was able to attend mass with my peers and be involved in the Catholic atmosphere that other public universities around the country lacked. However, upon arriving to LMU, I have been wondering the same question my professor asked our class, as each year passes, “Is this really a Catholic school?”
I am truly disappointed that after many years of students and faculty asking the administration why we have a day off such as Cesar Chavez day and not Holy Thursday or Easter Monday, they have not addressed the question or fixed the problem. I do not understand why giving those two days off so students can celebrate Easter with their families instead of rushing back to campus on Easter is a difficult task to accomplish. Students hurry back just so they can attend classes by Monday morning, thus putting stress on the student. The twenty-seven other Jesuit Universities around the country seem to avoid this problem.

- Monica Augustyn

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