Mission and Values


A Bird Preaches to St Francis by Kelly Latimore

"A Bird Preaches to St. Francis" by Kelly Latimore. Used with permission.

The Mission of Gonzaga Explore is to invite high school students to deepen their relationship to God in imagining and discerning vocations in ecology, theology, and leadership in care of our church, our human family, and our common home.

In animating Pope Francis's Laudato Si', Gonzaga Explore offers opportunities for transformative experiences and relationships that enable them to see the connections between ecology, theology, and leadership, empowering them to respond creatively and compassionately to contemporary ethical challenges as emerging leaders in their communities, thereby fostering new and profound ways of being in union with God, with people, and with our planet.


ECOLOGY: Ecological Conversion

A bull moose stands in a grassy area of Turnbull WIldlife Refuge near Cheney, Washington.

The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature.
St. Hildegard of Bingen, 12th century Benedictine nun, philosopher, and mystic

Ecological conversion is not just living more sustainably; it's a profound transformation of the way we understand and experience our existence as humans in relationship to the Earth and to all living beings. "Various convictions of our faith can help us to enrich the meaning of this conversion. These include the awareness that each creature reflects something of God and has a message to convey to us, and the security that Christ has taken unto himself this material world and now, risen, is intimately present to each being... Then too, there is the recognition that God created the world, writing into it an order and a dynamism that human beings have no right to ignore. I ask all Christians to recognize and to live fully this dimension of their conversion." (Pope Francis, Laudato Si', 221)


THEOLOGY: Theological Dialogue

Mist-laden mountains

When the vastness of God meets the restriction of our own humanity, words can't hold it. The best we can do is find the moments that rhyme with this expansive heart of God.
Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ

Theological dialogue emerges through an encounter between religion and culture. It acknowledges that God is beyond any person's ability to fully comprehend or attain, so we must listen with humility to the logos in others while honestly sharing our own logos with others to mutually grow closer to a deeper truth. "A theology which is in dialogue with other sciences and human experiences is most important for our discernment on how best to bring the Gospel message to different cultural contexts and groups. The Church, in her commitment to evangelization, appreciates and encourages the charism of theologians and their scholarly efforts to advance dialogue with the world of cultures and sciences." (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 133)


LEADERSHIP: Missionary Discipleship

Water flowing over rocks in the Spokane River

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
St. Francis of Assisi

The joy of Gospel impels the Christian to go out into the world and the margins, not to proselytize or impose, but in the hope of genuine encounter for the good of the other because of the recognition of humanity's intrinsic interdependence and oneness. This requires a radical disposition of humility, deep listening, service, solidarity, and kinship as well as theological foundations on a faith that does justice, an understanding of one's own spiritual gifts and calling, and the grace and desire to find God in all things and in all people. "Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are 'disciples' and 'missionaries', but rather that we are always 'missionary disciples'." (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 120)




In alignment with Gonzaga's Office of University Ministry and the Society of Jesus, we ask God for the graces to live out our Values in the Universal Apostolic Preferences:

Universal Apostolic Preferences

To learn more about our Universal Apostolic Preferences, please visit www.jesuits.global/uap.