The Mass of the Holy Spirit Brings Opportunities to Remember, Serve and Celebrate

One of the traditions shared by Jesuit institutions is the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit, which is held annually on Jesuit campuses to mark the beginning of the academic year. The tradition dates back to 1548 when it was celebrated by the first Jesuit school in Messina, Sicily.

This year’s Mass of the Holy Spirit at Saint Peter’s University was held on Wednesday, September 11, a date which also marked the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. On this day, students, faculty and administrators came together at St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church for a special liturgy in which Rev. Luis A. Tampe, S.J., delivered the homily and Rev. Andrew N. Downing, S.J., presided over the Mass. After the liturgy, the entire community came together for a food truck lunch outside of the Mac Mahon Student Center.

“Joining together as a community in prayer is a wonderful reminder that we are supported by those around us and by God,” said Christine Boyle, director of campus ministry. “Regardless of what comes our way this year, through the intercession of Holy Spirit and upheld in prayer, by those supporting us, we can overcome and accomplish so much.”

While the Mass of the Holy Spirit traditionally serves as a means to reinforce Jesuit values and bless students in their academic endeavors for the coming year, this special date also served as a way to recognize the members of the alumni community who were lost in the events of September 11. Saint Peter’s asked that the community continue to pray for these alumni members, their families, the community of first responders who have died and those who continue to battle 9/11 related illnesses, and for all victims of violence.

The recognition for 9/11 as a National Day of Service continued in the afternoon when members of the Saint Peter’s alumni community joined students to volunteer their time in the Saint Peter’s Food Pantry and Clothes Closet where they repurposed food, clothes and toiletries for those in need.