Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SXU graduating seniors commissioned to faith-based community service

Commit to Mercy Volunteer Corps and Archdiocese of Chicago for one year

Chicago May 5, 2010) In the “spirit of mercy” tradition for which Saint Xavier University is renowned, three graduating seniors recently committed to total immersion one-year community service efforts with non-profit organizations via the Mercy Volunteer Corps and the Archdiocese of Chicago.

(L to R) Patricia Smith, Mark Piper and Regina Byrnes Commissioned at student Mass.

Regina Byrnes of Streamwood, Ill., Mark Piper of Stoughton, Wis., and Patricia Smith of Markham, Ill., will live a simple in-community lifestyle at their ministry sites where they will work and pray together with the people they serve. The three graduating seniors were commissioned to the Mercy Volunteer Corps and service to the Archdiocese by the University at its final Sunday evening student Mass, celebrated by Fr. Robert Barry, O.P., on May 2 at McDonough Chapel. They were commissioned by Fr. Barry, Director of Campus Ministry Esther Sanborn and by Director of MercyCare at Saint Xavier Sister Mary Loftus, R.S.M.

“This thoughtful commitment by Regina, Mark and Patricia is a response to the Gospel call to give one’s energy to extending the message of Jesus in today’s age,” said Loftus. “We are so grateful for young people such as these, who are willing to serve and who exemplify the mercy spirit that is at the core of Saint Xavier University.”
Byrnes, Piper and Smith will graduate from Saint Xavier during commencement ceremonies on May 16 at the Shannon Center, 3700 West 103rd St. Their volunteer service work begins in the fall, following an orientation retreat.

• Byrnes, a nursing major, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from the Saint Xavier School of Nursing. She will go to St. Mary’s Community and Health Centers, a Sisters of Mercy ministry that provides a variety of community services in Savannah, Ga.
• Piper, a political science and pastoral ministry double major, will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Saint Xavier College of Arts and Sciences. He will serve at Amate House, an Archdiocese of Chicago ministry where participants help at parishes and schools in the city and participate in a formation program that encourages them to understand and explore the link between Christian faith and service.
• Smith, a sociology and religious studies double major will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Saint Xavier College of Arts and Sciences and serve with Project H.O.M.E. a Sisters of Mercy ministry that works with homeless people in Philadelphia, Pa.

“I've always wanted to do some type of mission work, especially after helping people in the nation of Belize, which was another Mercy Volunteer Corps service project that I participated in last year,” said Byrnes. “Service work just makes sense to me.”
"I'm looking forward to moving on from Saint Xavier,” said Piper. “I will be taking the core values with me, in particular that of service, and also the mission statement that seems to have left an indelible mark on my character, as I am looking forward to serving the common good, as wisely and compassionately as I know how."

“Religious Studies courses have encouraged me to carefully consider my own Catholic tradition and the deeper understanding of the call to Christian discipleship” said Smith. “This understanding has been greatly influenced by the University’s Catholic and Mercy heritage, which inspires students to recognize the sacredness and dignity of every human person and to serve humbly and compassionately.”

Mercy volunteers serve in education, health care and social services in 12 U.S. cities plus international locations. For more information, visit the Mercy Volunteer Corps Web site or contact Sister Mary Loftus, R.S.M. at Saint Xavier MercyCare at or (773) 298-3125.



Jay Foot, Executive Director of Media Relations
O: (773) 298-3937
C: (773) 617-3632

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