Mass of Thanksgiving to honor the Sisters

Elizabeth Shewan, Staff writer

The Sisters of Mercy are a diverse and dynamic group of women that have been the true the driving force behind Mercyhurst since its conception.

To honor all of the Sisters of Mercy and their contributions to the university, Mercyhurst will host a Spring Mass of Thanksgiving on April 16 at 3 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel.

“All that we have been, all that we are, and all that we will be, we owe to them. The Spring Mass of Thanksgiving is our opportunity to come together as a community and honor the vision and inspiration of the Sisters,” said President Michael Victor in a press release about the upcoming mass.

Bishop Lawrence Persico, of the Catholic Diocese of Erie, will preside over the Mass, and the Sisters of Mercy will serve as readers, Eucharistic ministers and gift bearers.

“While there have been celebrations that have coincided with Mercy Day and Foundation Day, I believe that this celebration is somewhat unique in the history of Mercyhurst, at least since I have been here,” said the Rev. James Piszker, Mercyhurst University chaplain.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit in September is a way to welcome students in faith and community each year, but there was no similar event to close the school year.

“This Mass of Thanksgiving was conceived as a bookend event to the Mass of the Holy Spirit. It was an opportunity to honor the Sisters of Mercy for their vision and uncompromising support of the institution from its inception,” said Piszker.

The Mass of Thanksgiving was the answer to establishing a tradition of hosting a prayerful gathering in the spring, and honoring the Sisters of Mercy as a whole.

It is also an opportunity to honor Sister Lisa Mary McCartney’s many years of dedication to Mercyhurst. She is the current vice president for mission integration, but she is stepping down from full time work this year.

“We don’t know exactly what this will look like in future years,” said Greg Baker, Ph.D, director of Campus Ministry, “And it may not even be a Mass every year, but we’re looking at doing some kind of prayerful gathering every spring where we really focus in on this Mercy tradition and what it means for us now, for students, for employees. You don’t have to be a sister to be caring for this tradition.”

Students, faculty and staff are all encouraged to come to the Mass of Thanksgiving as well as attend the reception afterward.