Mass of the Holy Spirit: Refreshment and Renewal

Every year, we begin the school year by partaking in the Mass of the Holy Spirit. If you’re like me, you’ve attended the Mass before; it’s a sort of reunion where we come together as a faith community to start the year off right. And, if you’re like me, you might not take the time to reflect on what this Mass means beyond the mark of new classes, meetings, and other tasks that accompany the new academic year. This year, I’d like to challenge myself, and all of us, to take a moment to think about what this Mass means in our own lives at Georgetown, and how we can continue living an inspired life as the semester progresses.

To begin, if you’re new to our Georgetown family, I hope that you found the Mass of the Holy Spirit as welcoming as I did my first time. This Mass is a celebration of a new year, and that newness begins in each of you: students, staff, and faculty. I believe that the Holy Spirit can always fill us with this refreshment, and I see the new members of our community as one of many manifestations of that revival. To our returning community, welcome back – we are at last getting into the routine of the semester! I hope that you have taken a moment to appreciate the beginning of a new season on the Hilltop. While we may not look forward to everything that this brings, let us also recognize the blessings that we encounter in our daily routine.

Rev. Howard Gray, S.J., Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry, served as celebrant for this Mass.

Rev. Howard Gray, S.J., Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry, served as celebrant for this year’s Mass of the Holy Spirit.

This year’s Mass of the Holy Spirit differed in some ways from the ones I’ve attended before. The Mass was moved inside due to heat conditions, and McDonough Gym set a new physical scene. We were also blessed with a new Interim Vice-President for Mission and Ministry, Fr. Howard Gray, and a new homilist, Fr. Jerry Hayes. When it came down to it, though, the message of the Mass remained true to what it always has been. The Gospel tells of Jesus bestowing the gift of the Holy Spirit onto the apostles, something that happens to all of us in our lives. It’s easy to think that only a chosen few are endowed with talents, gifts, or wisdom; even Jesus’ own disciples struggled with this. However, this Mass reminds us that we are all called in our own way. We don’t have to understand that call right now, but we shouldn’t dismiss the contributions we make to this world. Perhaps more importantly, each of us carries the Spirit with us, however we define it. Whether it’s our passion for a certain subject, a desire to help others, or a religious call, there is a spark inside all of us that drives us to share the gifts we possess.

As we find ourselves fully submerged in the busy-ness of the new year, I encourage you to keep your fire alive. It is easy to forget this message of renewal and inspiration that we heard just a month ago. Yet, if we stop and actively remember the words of the Gospel, of President DeGioia, of Father Gray, and of Father Hayes, we should feel once more the Spirit within us. Then, in the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, we can stay the course and set the world on fire.

This article was written by Alexis Larios, C’18.