Mass of the Holy Spirit


Father McShane delivers a sermon at the Mass of the Holy Spirit at Pope Auditorium. (PHOTO BY ANA FOTA/THE OBSERVER)


Members of the Fordham Lincoln Center community gathered Thursday, Sept. 10 afternoon in Pope Auditorium to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit. Students, staff and faculty members were in attendance, including Keith Eldredge, dean of students at Lincoln Center, Dorothy Wenzel, director for the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD) and Joseph Desciak, associate dean of freshmen of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC).

The Mass of the Holy Spirit, while not specified on the regular Church calendar, is a tradition of Jesuit institutions, Fordham included, dating back to 1548. Organized by Campus Ministry, the event “aims to gather the Fordham community at the start of the academic year to thank God and call upon the Holy Spirit,” Father Grimes, dean of FCLC, said.

Father McShane says a prayer during Mass. (PHOTO BY ANA FOTA/THE OBSERVER)

The Holy Spirit is “the third person of the trinity, and is generally associated with wisdom and knowledge,” Grimes continued,  “so we invoke the Holy Spirit upon the school as we begin a new year.”

The celebration began with a procession held by members of the faculty, followed by a sermon held by Father Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University. The event was accompanied in song by the FCLC Choir, conducted by Will Mulligan, associate director of liturgical music.

In his sermon, Father McShane discussed the importance of “letting mercy reign” throughout the Fordham community’s upcoming year, and challenged the FCLC community to think differently about various recent events, saying: “we, the members of this community are challenged in a special way to find a way to bring the seemingly utopian dreams and vision that god has for the human family to bear on and to transform the world.” He also added: “A year of violence, intimidation, against that background listen to what the gospel talks about. This gospel, this world, there is an unbelievable chasm between the two. Keep the newspapers in one hand and read the gospel in the other and let the newspapers learn from the gospel and the bible.”

“Keep the newspapers in one hand and read the gospel in the other and let the newspapers learn from the gospel and the bible.”–Fr. McShane

At the conclusion of the mass, Father McShane asked all faculty to turn towards the students in attendance and bless them, wishing them good luck in their upcoming school year.

Members of Campus Ministry begin the ceremony. (ANA FOTA/THE OBSERVER)
Members of Campus Ministry begin the ceremony. (ANA FOTA/THE OBSERVER)

Many students felt empowered by the mass and what Father McShane had to share. Laura Gerkis, FCLC ’16 said: “This is actually, even though I’m a senior, my first time attending the Mass of the Holy Spirit, and I’m just so uplifted. It makes me feel like this is going to be a great year.” Colette Lanzon, FCLC ’19, a new member to Fordham said: “The mass really helped me feel welcomed to the Fordham community not only in an academic sense, but in a spiritual, and emotional sense that the professors, as well as Father McShane considered me part of the community.” Nick Endo, FCLC ’16, and member of campus ministry felt that the mass 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.”