Manresa Staff Spotlight: Rev. Lito Salazar, S.J.

In his third year with the Manresa Scholars Program, Fr. Lito Salazar, S.J. continues to bring an important essence to the character and values of this living-learning community. He says, “My presence to the Manresa community is that of an adult witness to genuine human living and loving. In particular, it is that of a vowed religious man, a Jesuit and priest.”

As the as the House Master and Executive Director of Campus Ministry, Fr. Lito defines his Manresa identity as “simply a pLito_280_2_for_website.jpgriest or minister who leads Manresa participants in prayer, preaches in Church, gives talks on Jesuit history and Ignatian spirituality, helps RAs and RDs plan and execute programs and service projects, or is available for consultation and advice on matters of faith and reason, personal and academic.” On top of this, he is an essential voice in our Reflecting programs within the Shared Expectations model. Keep an eye out for a few of his programs in the fall such as “Reflection in the Botanical Gardens,” or “Spirituality and Dreams.”

Additionally, Fr. Lito holds weekly Mass in Loyola Hall’s St. Ignatius Chapel on Thursdays at 9:00pm with an optional social gathering afterwards in his own apartment. He explains, “To those who seek more than a passing engagement, those who enter into conversations of depth in Loyola 302, I hope to embody for them the personal and inter-personal meaningfulness of life, where success and achievement are compatible with suffering and disappointment because it is oriented to something bigger than ourselves, more loving and more forgiving than we can ever imagine. That meaningfulness translates directly into a life of generous service and of trying to make a difference to a broken world and a suffering human community.”

In welcoming the Class of 2021 Scholars to the Manresa Program, Fr. Lito says, “My great desire is for Manresa Scholars to experience something of what Ignatius of Loyola experienced during his less than a year sojourn in that small Catalan town: a totally transformative experience, the beginning of a new life, a turning point. I want to see the Manresa residential program become a staging point for their lives to be marked by depth of thinking and imagination (intellectual, affective), passionate living (virtuous, disciplined), and always being in love (committed, self-sacrificing).”

Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018

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An Introduction to Shared Expectations

As members of the Manresa community, your living-learning experience is enhanced by authentic participation in shared activities. The Shared Expectations programming model is a way for Scholars to better understand and embrace four key Jesuit values: Learning, Sharing, Serving, and Reflecting.

Manresa Scholars are required to attend at least one program from each category during each semester, but most often, Scholars find themselves coming back for more to engage their intellectual interests and personal passions.

Learning
Programs produced and led by the in-house, live-in Manresa tutors allow students to fulfill their Learning requirement. Beneficial seminars introduce incoming freshmen to college life and the upcoming professional world. Examples include “Email Etiquette: Presenting Yourself Well,” “Writing Your First College Paper,” as well as multiple exam
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Sharing
Through professor led dinner-colloquia or guest lectures, Scholars are able to bother themselves intellectually, outside of the classroom. The programs can link up with themes of the Manresa Seminars, generate discussions on the role of Jesuit values in the world, or present ideas focused on the lives of millennials themselves. Previous topics include “Social Media and the Search for Self,” and “Love,” a Keyword Colloquium with Fordham President, Father McShane (see photo, courtesy of Zach Asato).

Serving
Serving programs tend to leave a significant impact on the Scholars, as service-learning work within a different environment allows for a unique experience. Whether serving food to the homeless in the city, or participating in a park clean-up in the Bronx (see photo), Manresa Scholars develop a better understanding and appreciation of the communities outside of Fordham’s campus.IMG_2944.jpg

Reflecting
This category allows Scholars to explore their relationship with topics such as ethics and justice, and connect more deeply to the spiritual values of the Manresa Program and Jesuit education. These programs are often coordinated in partnership with Fordham’s Campus Ministry and our resident Jesuit Housemaster, Father Lito Salazar, S.J., creating valuable connections for Scholars to carry on beyond their year in Manresa.

Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018

Manresa’s Finest: Nicole Benevento

Over the past four years, Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017, has been an integral part of the Manresa community. She entered the Program as a freshman participant, served as its Intern as a sophomore and junior, and as live-in Tutor her senior year. Our community has truly benefited from her positive energy, dedication to student success, and Ignatian grit and kindness.

Benevento aspires to a career in the publishing industry following her internships with America Media, Fordham University Press, and Penguin Random House. She’ll take the skills and lessons learned from ManDSC_0004.JPGresa. Nicole notes that “Manresa helped me to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, and I plan on having that newly-found confidence exude in my interviews and during meetings and interactions throughout my publishing career.”

Amid countless Manresa programs, she notes NYC Urban Immersion as her most memorable. The experience of volunteering at nearby soup kitchens and with homeless youth, and staying at Fordham Bedford Housing in the Bronx, ignited her passion for bridging the gap between rich and poor. In true Ignatian spirit, Nicole became bothered by inequality. “It was such an incredible experience because we were not only reflecting on the injustice in the world, but also witnessing it firsthand. It set something off inside me…it was the first time I really understood how privileged I am compared to others, and it didn’t sit well with me,” said Benevento.

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Benevento turns to the famous Babe Ruth quote for inspiration: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Nicole earned a double major in English and Italian and minored in Marketing, and served in Campus Ministry and on the boards of the Fordham Club and as vice president of Fordham’s chapter of the National Jesuit Honor Society Alpha Sigma Nu. “You will meet amazing people, form lifelong friendships, and create lasting memories if you take the initiative. College may seem overwhelming, but trust me, in the end each moment is so worth it,” said Benevento.

The Manresa Community wishes Benevento the best. Thank you, Nicole, for your service to Fordham. We look forward to having you back to share your experiences and wisdom with future Manresa Scholars.

Anja Asato, FCRH 2018
Manresa Programming and Marketing Fellow, 2016-2017

NYC Urban Immersion Service Project

Manresa Scholars hold the values of service, learning, community, and reflection to high regard, and this doesn’t change when classes let out for vacation. The annual NYC Urban Immersion Spring Break is a unique opportunity for Manresa Scholars to take part in a 2-day program focusing on service and living in the Jesuit tradition.

Program highlights included volunteering within the Bronx community, a visit to St. Nicholas of Tollentine Church and Parish Center, and morning prayer walk through the New York Botanical Garden. The program was co-led by Dean Parmach and Manresa Tutor Nicole Benevento. Loyola Resident Director, Matt Dishman, shares his experience below.



As the Resident Director to Loyola Hall, I had the pleasure of observing eight freshman students sacrifice the start of their Spring Break to participate in an immersion experience that intentionally made them feel uncomfortable. These students signed up for the annual Manresa Scholars Urban Immersion experience, not knowing what they were getting themselves into.

On the first night, these eight students learned they were going to have to, “live simply.” This included only taking one shower, sleeping on the floor, eating just enough, and carrying the same bottle of water for an entire weekend. Dean Parmach, who facilitated our weekend, stated the goal was to experience dissonance in “our heads, hearts, and hands” – and that’s just what we did.

The goal of living simply was to reflect the thousands of New Yorkers who are less privileged than the typical Fordham college student. Throughout Urban Immersion we explored this idea through community service, spiritual engagement, personal experience, reflection, discussion, etc.

One of the most unexpected yet impactful moments of the weekend came when walking the High Line. Our team had just watched a meaningful documentary on the Chelsea area and the topic of gentrification. On our final morning, we found ourselves walking where the documentary was filmed (which was not a part of our original schedule). To see the contrasting socioeconomic neighborhoods featured in the documentary firsthand left an evident impact on me and the students of our group. Below is a photo of our team in said neighborhood and on the High Line:

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We walked away from the weekend cold and exhausted, all very excited for a typical Spring Break.

Integrated Learning Community Spotlight: West Wing

The Manresa Scholars program is not the only Integrated Learning Community (ILC) on campus that engages the academic, spiritual, and social components of students’ lives. The West Wing ILC for Ignatian Leadership and Civic Service is a program for sophomores, many of whom were in the Manresa Program as freshmen. Learn more about an exciting service opportunity that West Wing Scholars took part in this semester.


A group of West Wing Scholars headed to St. Francis Xavier Parish Mission recently in search of a meaningful opportunity to learn and serve the Manhattan homeless community. We arrived on site to help Xavier with one of its most important outreach programs– their Sunday meal.

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Image source: XavierMission.org

Throughout the afternoon, the Fordham group was separated and placed into different stations. Some of us greeted guests at the door, handed out trays with meals, or helped clean. When asked about his experience, West Wing Scholar (and former Manresa Scholar) Neil Joyce said, “Serving meals at St. Francis Xavier was a humbling, humanizing experience. It is an experience that teaches one to be forever grateful of the countless liberties they have, while also serving as a call to action to volunteer and serve for and with others.”

WW Scholar Rosalyn Kutsch echoed these sentiments by saying that “Volunteering at Xavier was a startling and valuable reminder of the importance of stepping outside of the comfort we make for ourselves and engaging with the unfamiliar. Most importantly, this work serves to remind use that at the end of the day, we are all humans who all need a little extra help sometimes.”

WW Scholar Brian Daaleman (another former Manresa Scholar) added that those he interacted with “served to remind [him] that those trapped in the cycle of homelessness each have their own unique story and are not just another statistic. Our service also provided a physical representation of the immediacy and gravity of this issue that sadly is often neglected.”

Each job we were given and interaction we experienced was full of meaning and purpose, bringing us closer to the Jesuit tradition of serving those in need as men and women for and with others.

Monica Olveira, FCRH 2018
West Wing ILC Intern, 2016-2017

Emily Mohri, FCRH 2017
West Wing ILC Resident Assistant, 2016-2017


Jesuit Education and Social Justice Symposium

During the spring semester, Manresa Scholars have the opportunity to enroll in the Manresa Spring Symposium, a one-credit course that explores the themes of Jesuit education and social justice. Intellectual discussions are fused with service-related initiatives for an enriching experience that builds upon the Fall Manresa Seminars.

The symposium grows out of the collaboration between Manresa faculty, Jesuit-in-residence house master, residential life staff, and the Office of Mission Integration and Planning and its Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice. Both on and off-campus, the symposium emphasizes respectful dialogue, reflection, and action in the Jesuit educational tradition.

Each week, the Scholars meet for an engaging guest speaker, or to participate in an off-campus service program. Course highlights include roundtable discussions with retired Jesuits at Murray-Weigel Hall and the facilitation of an after-school program at a Bronx Grammar School.

This week, Scholars examined the following question: What is a Jesuit education supposed to do for college students and the world? Scholars engaged in thoughtful discussion following an interactive presentation by guest speaker, Ms. Joan Cavanagh (center in below photo), from Fordham’s Campus Ministry.

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Manresa Fall Semester Highlights

The Manresa experience is filled with academic, spiritual, and personal growth. This past semester, Manresa Scholars had the opportunity to attend over 35 programs focusing on the five Shared Expectations: Sharing, Collaborating, Serving, Reflecting, and Learning.

These evening and weekend enrichment programs are carefully planned to complement what Scholars learn in their Manresa Seminars, while providing additional opportunities for them to come together as a community.

 

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Manresa Scholars took a trip into Manhattan for kayaking on the Hudson River during the first weekend of the semester.

 

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Manresa Resident Assistants, Resident Tutors, and Jesuit Housemaster Fr. Lito Salazar, S.J., enjoyed the Manresa Welcome Picnic, an annual tradition.

 

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Scholars spent a Sunday volunteering at St. Francis Xavier parish, serving food to those in need.

 

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Dean Robert Parmach, the Program’s Faculty Director, took a group of Scholars to explore Central Park on a Friday afternoon.

 

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VP for Mission Integration and Planning Fr. Michael McCarthy, S.J., led a dinner colloquium on the topic of “Immersion,” in which Scholars discussed being part of both the Fordham and Bronx community.

 

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Scholars visited Bartow-Pell Park in the Bronx twice this semester to clean up the park grounds and assist with their annual Harvest Festival for young children.

 

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In collaboration with Campus Ministry’s Ignatian Week, Dean Parmach and Fr. Lito led a colloquium on “Unpacking the Millennial Digitized Mind” to prompt reflection on how social media impacts the ways we think and interact with others.

 

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The Manresa Community celebrated the end of the semester with a formal Christmas Party.

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