Calling on the Holy Spirit


Elizabeth Shewan, Contributing writer

Mercyhurst celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 22. Hundreds of students and staff gathered at 11:15 a.m. in Christ the King Chapel to worship together. But what is the Mass of the Holy Spirit?
“The Mass of the Holy Spirit is a tradition that goes back to the Jesuit tradition, where they would begin the academic year by calling upon the Holy Spirit to inspire them and enliven them during the academic year,” said Rev. James Piszker, university chaplin. “The Jesuits are a religious order, the Society of Jesus. They are probably most well known for their intellectual pursuits. They own and operate quite a few colleges and universities in the United States and around the world.”
In the past, the Mass has featured impressive celebrants to preside over the Mass, and this year was no exception. The celebrant for the Mass was Richard G. Malloy, an author, Jesuit priest and vice president for university mission and ministry at the University of Scranton. His work as a priest has taken him to many places, including Alaska, New Mexico and Yellowstone National Park.
“It brings the community together,” said Piszker. “It’s an opportunity to get together, to show ourselves as a community, praying together and then eating together.”
And indeed, attendees of the Mass filled the chapel, the foyer, and spilled into the hallway. Many of Mercyhurst’s sports teams came in their jerseys and sat together, and the Mass featured the Mercyhurst Concert Choir, instrumental musicians and the Liturgical Dance Ensemble.
“It was such a unique and inspiring Mass,” said Trisha Shulik, a freshman. “It was incredible to see such a large part of the school community together celebrating the Mass.”
This year the Mass was celebrated several weeks into the year in order to coincide with Mercy Week on campus, which culminated with Mercy Day on Saturday, both the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy and the anniversary of the day in 1827 that Catherine McAuley opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland.