Annual Mass of the Holy Spirit Takes Place on Campus
August 30, 2011 – The university community gathered on Healy Lawn Tuesday to kick off the academic year with prayer and reflection during the Mass of the Holy Spirit.
“Universities across the ages have begun their academic years invoking the help the wisdom of the Holy Spirit,” said Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., recently appointed Georgetown’s vice president of mission and ministry.
O’Brien presided over the afternoon Mass, while the new Jesuit community rector, Rev. Joseph Lingan, S.J., delivered the homily.
Knowledge and Clarity
Lingan told the audience of students, parents, faculty and staff that he hopes they feel as welcomed as he did when he joined Georgetown over the summer.
In his homily, Lingan asked listeners to think about “Why you are here?”
“The complete or full answer to why you are here is not fully known by you or any of us at this point,” he said.
By the end of the academic year, he said, the answer to that question should take shape.
“The days ahead will allow us to acquire a deeper [spiritual] knowledge and clarity,” he explained.
New Religious Leaders
Georgetown President John J. DeGioia welcomed O’Brien and Lingan before the Mass, and explained their new leadership roles.
He also introduced two other new members of Georgetown’s religious community – the Rev. Bryant Oskvig, who will lead the Protestant chaplaincy and Rabbi Rachel Gartner, the Jewish chaplaincy director.
“It’s truly an honor for me to welcome all four of them to this level of service to Georgetown,” DeGioia said.
The president also told incoming students in the audience about the liberating experience each might find at Georgetown.
“Your lives here might best be understood as experiment in freedom,” DeGioia said. “Freedom understood not in relationship to constraints, not the newfound freedom of being away on your own for perhaps the first time. It’s an interior freedom grounded in another gift – God’s unconditional love for us.”
Mass attendees continued Welcome Week activities by heading to the other side of the lawn for the traditional Welcome Back Jack BBQ. For a schedule of activities visit the Welcome Week website.