Mass of Holy Spirit Celebrated on Sept. 11


Scott Strazzante

As the city remembers Sept. 11 in this memorial at Ground Zero, Fordham University will have its own memorial at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle and the Robert Moses Plaza. (Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune/ MCT)



As the city remembers Sept. 11 in this memorial at Ground Zero, Fordham University will have its own memorial at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle and the Robert Moses Plaza. (Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune/ MCT)

Fordham University will celebrate its annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, which falls on Sept. 11.

“This year the mass coincides with the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11 and we also want to remember the Fordham families that suffered loss, but also ponder about how we could ask the Holy Spirit to help us live in a peaceful trusting way,” Fr. John McDonagh, the new director of Campus ministry at FCLC said. “This is open to the community, and is a chance for everyone to come together.”

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is an annual Catholic tradition that, according to Fordham’s website, “is offered to invoke wisdom and guidance in the coming school year.”

The Mass, which begins at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 in the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, will be paired with a “Remembrance of 9/11.” An Interfaith Prayer Procession and light ceremony will follow in the Robert Moses Plaza.

“Students will be given candles in church and bring these lights over to Robert Moses Plaza where we will gather,” Fr. McDonagh said. At the Interfaith Prayer Procession students of different religious faiths will participate and share their experience of Sept. 11.

While Fr. McDonagh will lead the Catholic blessings to represent Christian traditions, members of FCLC’s Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and Jewish Student Organization (JSO) will “recite how their traditions try to make sense of the 9/11 horror.” The two confirmed

student speakers are Nusrat Jahan, FCLC’ 13, and president of MSA, and Emelie Amar-Zifkin, FCLC’ 13, and vice president of JSO.

“I think it’s great to have shared experiences that everybody will be able to see different perspectives and viewpoints that maybe they wouldn’t have considered before,” Jennifer Morano, FCLC’12, said of the ceremony.  “I think it will be interesting and enlightening for someone, Muslim for example, to speak about their experiences with 9/11.”

Fr. McDonagh said, “While of course I am very happy to lead the prayer, I am very happy that students are interested to cheers the prayer and lead it for their colleagues, their classmates.”

Jahan, who will be presenting various Islamic prayers regarding loss, forgiveness and peace from the Quran thinks the ceremony is a good idea.

“I’m glad Campus Ministry has reached out to all religious clubs on campus because, [Sept. 11] being 10 years, it is very important for us to commemorate and remember it together regardless of our religious backgrounds,” Jahan said.

FCLC’s Sept. 11 memorial will also include a bell ringing ceremony where students will read the 39 names of the Fordham Community directly affected by Sept. 11. “They are sons and daughters of faculty and staff as well as parents of students,” McDonagh said. Fordham’s Chamber choir led by Robert Minotti, M.D., and FCRH’s ROTC color guard will also be in attendance.

Fr. McDonagh said that faculty, staff and students not part of the Fordham family ten years ago will have the opportunity to add their names to the Book of Names, a collection of names of those impacted by the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago. It will be available at a podium placed on the plaza the day of the ceremony, but students from United Student Government (USG) will be tabling and recording names prior to Sept. 11.

The evening will conclude with the Fordham Community Reception at 9:30 p.m. in Robert Moses Plaza. Guests will have ice cream and desert at the reception and be joined with neighbor schools: John Jay College, NY Institute of Technology and Juilliard.

Fr. McDonagh said that this ceremony “is not limited to remembering but also asking God, to renew our perception of our sisters and brothers and to help us live on this planet with peace with one another.”