“Colégio Loyola” 80 Years of Jesuit Presence in Education in Minas Gerais, Brazil

On March 25, Colégio Loyola, in Belo Horizonte (Brazil), celebrated its 80th anniversary. Over the years, thousands of people have helped to give form and meaning to the dream of visionary Jesuits who, in 1943, laid the foundation stone of the College: teachers, collaborators, children, young people and their families, priests, brothers and Jesuit students, all gave of themselves to build a trajectory of success, conquests and accomplishments. Currently, Loyola has 2400 students. From Kindergaten to High school and around 130 employees, and is recognized as one of the most important educational institutions in the state of Minas Gerais.

Two celebrations marked the date. The first of them was held on the anniversary day, with the presence of educators, former students, friends of educational institutions and civil society, who attended the mass presided over by the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, Dom Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, and concelebrated by Jesuit priests from other works of the Society of Jesus. The second celebration brought together the students’ families, on March 27, at Teatro Pe. Francisco Rigolin, at Loyola College.

On his speech at the end of the commemorative Mass, the general director of Loyola College, Fr. Mário Sündermann, SJ, highlighted that the greatest asset that the institution had and still has, over the course of eight decades, is the life of each child and adolescent entrusted to the school, in a process of co-responsibility for training and education. “Fathers and mothers who entrust their children to our principles and tradition are invaluable partners. The collaborators of this house, in its most diverse levels, from the pedagogical team that deals daily with the students to the support professionals, in the most diverse areas, are educators who make the Loyola tradition alive. College friends, students’ families, our neighborhood and all those who are part of Loyola’s life are valuable companions in our mission to educate”, he added.

A series of activities are scheduled to mark the 80th anniversary celebrations. In February, the Ignatian Formation Day was held for employees, and the Interactive Historical Exhibition was inaugurated, which can be visited until the month of July. On April 10th, the Easter Mass was celebrated and, in May, there will be a cycle of debates for students, families and employees. In June, the traditional festival promises to gather thousands of people and, closing the semester, the Olympics will be held. The second semester will begin with the Ignatian Week, followed by the Pilgrim Look, when students will visit partner institutions to learn about the social work carried out.  Afterwards, they will paint images on the walls of Loyola, with themes related to the human and Christian values ​​perceived in the institutions visited. In November, the already traditional Culture Week will move the school, with interdisciplinary productions from all classes, from Kindergarten to High School. Finally, in December, a big party will bring together all employees at the Mineirão stadium, an important symbol of the history of Belo Horizonte.

Photos: Fabiano Aguiar