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Father Brian Paulson, SJ, provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit Province, distributes the Eucharist to a St. John's Jesuit student during the Mass of the Holy Spirit.
Jesuit Schools Mark New Academic Year with Masses of the Holy Spirit

October 8, 2015 — Each fall, Jesuit schools kick off the beginning of the school year with the Mass of the Holy Spirit, a cherished tradition that began at the first Jesuit school in Messina, Sicily, in 1548.

St. John’s Jesuit High School & Academy in Toledo, Ohio, began celebrations for its 50th anniversary on September 4 with its Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by Jesuit Father Brian Paulson, provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit Province.

Mike Truesdell, president of St. John's Jesuit, said the Mass was a wonderful way to begin a new school year, as well as mark the school's anniversary.

"This Mass of the Holy Spirit served as a perfect example of our Jesuit, Catholic identity," said Truesdell. "Alumni attended in person as well as via the Internet. St. John's Jesuit represents a special community indeed!"  

That same day, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas celebrated its Mass of the Holy Spirit. Faculty member Chris Knight noted that the Mass is “where the community gathers to thank God for the gifts of creation, salvation and for formation. It is also the time in which the whole community seeks intercession, guidance and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for the year.”

Jesuit College Preparatory School celebrating its Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 4. Photo: Jesuit College Preparatory School

Father Ronald Mercier, SJ, provincial of the Jesuits’ Central and Southern Province, celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit for Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida. Each year, Fr. Mercier visits every school in the province, which includes six colleges and 12 high schools.

Fr. Mercier, center, celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit at Jesuit High School in Tampa.

The following week, Fr. Mercier also celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit for Loyola University New Orleans, along with Loyola president, Father Kevin Wildes, SJ (video below).

At Jesuit High School of New Orleans, Father Anthony McGinn, SJ, celebrated the Mass, inviting “the school community to embrace humility and gentleness.”

Fr. Anthony McGinn, SJ, accepts the offerings from Jesuit High School of New Orleans students Andrew Terrebonne and Stewart Talbot.

On August 28, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School alumnus Michael Martínez, SJ, professed first vows to the Society of Jesus at the school’s Mass of the Holy Spirit, after entering the Jesuits as part of the Antilles Province (Cuba, Miami and Dominican Republic) two years ago.

“I am eternally grateful for the wise and simple people that have gratuitously accompanied me in my passion for God and God’s Kingdom in my vocational discernment,” said Martínez, who will move on to graduate studies at Loyola University Chicago.

“It is a blessing for our students to witness the first vows of a young alumnus and a wonderful way to begin the academic year with enthusiasm and renewed energy,” said Father Pedro Suarez, SJ, Belen’s president.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, celebrated Georgetown University’s Mass of the Holy Spirit this year.

Meanwhile, Georgetown University’s Mass of the Holy Spirit had a special guest: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. Cardinal Wuerl received an honorary degree at the university last September.

Fordham University student Nick Endo said the Mass of the Holy Spirit resonated with him on a personal level: “I really appreciate that it’s a Jesuit tradition shared by Jesuit universities around the world — I did it back in my Jesuit high school, and my sister has it at her Jesuit university. It’s a reminder that I’m part of something bigger.”

Fr. Joseph McShane, SJ, president of Fordham University, celebrates the Mass of the Holy Spirit. (Photo by Ana Fota/The Observer)

[Sources: Midwest Jesuits, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Jesuit High School, Jesuit High School New Orleans, Belen Jesuit Preparatory SchoolFordham Observer]

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