The Circle of Companions: Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ

The following article was originally posted by Midwest Jesuits (new window) and can be found online he (new window)re.

Father Mark Luedtke, SJ, encounters Christ wherever he goes.

“I believe we meet Christ in places both familiar and new throughout our lives,” he explains. “I am confident that wherever we go, Christ is already there, seeking our companionship in his work.”


Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ

Today, Fr. Luedtke meets Christ in the halls of Loyola High School of Detroit, where he has served as president since 2012. Loyola opened its doors in 1993, in response to the city’s alarming dropout rate of high school males. For the last six years, every Loyola graduate has been accepted into one or more colleges or universities. Since 2003, the school has partnered with local businesses and non-profits to give upper-level students work experience and an opportunity to assume some financial responsibility for their education.

 Fr. Luedtke blesses a statue of St. Ignatius at Loyola High School in Detroit.

Fr. Luedtke blesses a statue of St. Ignatius at Loyola High School in Detroit.

“It has been a blessing to share in Loyola’s mission to bring a sense of wholeness to the lives of our young men and, through them, to their families and this city,” says Fr. Luedtke. “With our faculty, staff, families, and benefactors, we nurture a culture of hope and academic success for young men who often come from challenging academic or social backgrounds. We prepare them to be men of Christian love, justice, and service, who act with integrity, compassion, and courage.”

In his role, Fr. Luedtke strives to engage each person “where he or she is.

“The Ignatian educational method recognizes that God is present in all of our experiences — in the highs and lows, the exciting and the mundane. I believe the first and best question I can ask anyone is, ‘How are you?’ My formation in the Society prepared me to ask the big questions, but also to engage people where they are, to help them learn, grow, and be who God is calling them to be.”

A Chicago native and Saint Ignatius College Prep alum, Fr. Luedtke earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. During secondary and postsecondary studies, he was impressed with the Jesuits’ spirituality and way of life, as experienced in the classroom, on retreats, and while on service trips in Peru and Nicaragua. “Those years gave me the first sense that I had a vocation,” he says.

Although he went on to work in retail management for six years, the idea of a vocation in the Society kept coming up. “In whatever I was experiencing, I would hear the question, ‘What if you were a Jesuit?’ Finally, I decided I’d better explore the question in earnest.”

His first step was a ten-week, 16,000-mile trip around the country, “to give myself the space to explore what God really had in store for me,” he recalls. By the time he returned home, he was on a path that ultimately led him to enter the Society in 1999.

During his formation, Fr. Luedtke earned a master’s degree at Loyola University Chicago, taught Hebrew Scriptures and Christian ethics at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, and studied at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in California. After he was ordained in 2010, he spent three semesters interning at Jesuit high schools in Sacramento, San Francisco, and New York, before his assignment at Loyola.
“I am where God needs me,” says Fr. Luedtke. “My work leaves me ‘good tired’ at the end of the day — I do not know where all the energy went, but I cannot wait to get up and do it all again. I am grateful to our benefactors, who not only support the Society’s ministries, but who also support our growth and ability as individuals to minister to others.”

Men like Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, dedicate their lives to the works of the Church. Only with your prayers and support can they bring God’s love to the world. Visit the Midwest Jesuits’ website to learn more (new window).

Mission and Ministry