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Loyola University New Orleans Senior Honored By Archdiocese

Loyola press release - May 18, 2016

Order of St. Louis Medallion awarded to Loyola senior Jacob DeRusha and Loyola Board of Trustees chair John Finan Jr.

Loyola University New Orleans senior Jacob DeRusha, ‘16, of Corrales, N.M. has received one of the Archdiocese’s greatest honors. DeRusha, a hip-hop artist with a passion for youth ministry, received the Order of St. Louis Medallion from the Archdiocese of New Orleans on Sunday, May 1 at a ceremony held at St. Joseph Church on Tulane Avenue. DeRusha is the third Loyola student to receive this honor since 2012.

“The Medallion is given as a tangible expression of our appreciation to Catholic lay men and women in good standing for their many unselfish contributions of time and talent to the life of the college ministry,” said the Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, in a letter to Loyola.

“Jacob is a remarkable student and talented musician who has employed all his strengths and talents to advance the glory of God,” said Loyola Vice President of Mission and Ministry John Sebastian. “As a Jesuit university, Loyola adheres to the motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriem, all for the greater glory of God, and we are pleased to see Jacob leading the Wolf Pack and continuing our tradition of ‘men and women with and for others.’”

A self-described international hip-hop artist, DeRusha has been making music for over nine years. He found a passion for youth music ministry after playing a show at a church in London. The 21-year-old, who graduates Saturday, May 21, is a senior Music Industry Major and Catholic Studies Minor at Loyola University New Orleans. His hope is that through hip-hop music he can give a different perspective to the Catholic youth of today.

Each year since 1965, the St. Louis Medallion is given by the Archbishop of New Orleans to members of the laity who have made outstanding contributions of their time and talent to the Church. The St. Louis Medallion is one of the most cherished awards presented by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and can be received only once in a person's lifetime. Each church parish within the Archdiocese is allowed to nominate one person per year for this honor. As of 2011, area campus ministry programs have been allowed to recognize an active student.

DeRusha has been active in University Ministry programs throughout his time at Loyola. He served as Rector of the university’s annual Awakening Retreat, planning four retreats in Spring 2016. He also participated in the Ignacio Volunteers Urban Immersion program, exploring inequality through the lens of social justice in the city of New Orleans and engaging in direct service at Holt Cemetery. For several years, DeRusha has traveled throughout the United States performing hip-hop music and speaking to groups of youth at Catholic retreats and conferences.

Aiming to infuse his passion among thousands of other youth, DeRusha has helped to lead major Diocesan youth events, performing, speaking and leading workshops around the Deep South. DeRusha has performed his praise music at Praise Fest on the Bayou in New Orleans and at youth retreats in more than 10 cities, including New Orleans, Houma, Morgan City and Lafayette, La., as well as Lubbock, Rayne and San Antonio, Texas and Albuquerque, N.M.

“Jacob surely rocked the house as a keynote at our DCYC and went beyond as the MC. Jacob uses his talents to bring the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ to the young church authentically and with joy," said Oscar Guzman, Diocese of Amarillo Youth Director.

“Jacob DeRusha is foremost a proclaimer of Christ, and it is easily seen through the Spirit moving through his movements and words. Bringing Christ to hip hop is a difficult task, but honoring the Word and the idea of #TeamLove allows for God’s message to be heard in the genre with Jacob’s talent,” said Matthew Aguilera, youth director of St. John XXIII Catholic Community in Albuquerque.

At the May 1 ceremony, Loyola University New Orleans Board of Trustees Chair John Finan, Jr. and his wife Patricia also received the Order of St. Louis Medallion. The couple was nominated by their home church parish in Madisonville, La.

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