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Mass of the Holy Spirit Welcomes Back Loyola Students

Loyola press release - September 4, 2015

Rev. Ron Mercier, S.J., the first provincial of the new U.S. Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus, will serve as homilist
Students, faculty and staff at Loyola University New Orleans will gather next week to partake in a nearly 500-year-old tradition celebrated at Jesuit schools worldwide. That tradition—Loyola’s Mass of the Holy Spirit—is celebrated at the beginning of every fall semester to pray for God's wisdom and inspiration through the experiences of the new academic year.

Mass is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 in Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6367 St. Charles Ave. All 11 a.m. classes will be cancelled so that the entire Loyola community can attend the celebration.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is an important and long-standing observance at Loyola and other Jesuit institutions nationwide. The tradition dates to 1548, when St. Ignatius Loyola founded the first Jesuit school in Messina, Sicily, eight years after he founded the Society of Jesus religious order.

All students are expected to attend and sit with their affiliated club or organization (wearing their club T-shirt or uniform), floor of their residence hall or classmates. Faculty and staff are also requested to attend. While the Mass does not include an academic procession, seating for faculty and staff will be reserved at the front of the church.

Loyola President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., will serve as the principal celebrant.

Wildes, who entered the Society of Jesus in 1976 after graduating from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., holds advanced degrees in theology and in philosophy and received his Ph.D. from Rice University in 1993. His professional work is in the field of bioethics. He was a member of the Department of Philosophy and a Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, where he also held an appointment at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a member of the Department of Philosophy at Loyola and teaches undergraduate and law students each year. He is the sixteenth president of Loyola University New Orleans.

The Rev. Ron Mercier, S.J. will give the homily.

Mercier, who was named last year the first provincial of the new U.S. Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus, leads the unified New Orleans and Missouri Provinces. From 2006-09, he served the Jesuit provinces of Maryland, New England and New York as first executive director of the Jesuit Collaborative, an initiative in Ignatian spirituality. Mercier has also served as associate professor of ethics in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University.