“How do you pray?” It is a question with no correct answer or definition, a question the Rev. Jim Collins S.J. asked many in order to create his “I Pray” campaign. Collins’ campaign comes to life in the Campus Ministry hallway of the Lombardo Student Center. His creation includes 16 photographs of students and faculty to represent the “culture of prayer” in the JCU community. As Collins and the Campus Ministry staff chose the candidates to be featured, they looked for essential subjects who make up our “John Carroll mosaic.”
Collins’ idea was quickly turned into reality with the generosity of the Xavier-Nichols Foundation. Upon hearing about his “I pray” campaign, the foundation was more than willing to help promote the holistic well-being of the University. Another key component to the development of this project was photographer and editor Mike Richwalsky. Richwalsky helped personalize and create the final image of each candidate’s poster. It was his contribution that helped each candidate’s prayer style come to life with his realistic backdrops.
This is the first phase of what Collins hopes to make a three-phase project. He wants to expand on his idea by adding two more “I pray” hallways on campus. Whether they’re displayed in the Dolan Center for Science and Technology, by the Center for Service and Social Action or by the Religious Studies department, he hopes to promote JCU’s mission as a Jesuit Catholic University.
Administrative Assistant Barbara Kingsbury said, “The photos and statements are so powerful and really touched my heart and soul.”
This is the exact reaction Collins was hoping for. The “I Pray” posters are there to represent the candidates’ “personalized encounters with the Divine,” said Collins. The 16 posters represent prayer styles, which vary anywhere from conventional to non-traditional.
Collins encourages the entire JCU community to walk through the “I Pray” hallway and experience the showcase of others’ private prayers.
“[These] posters are meant to celebrate the gift of prayer and join the conversation about being contemplatives in action,” he said.