Mass of the Holy Spirit Welcomes Back Loyola Students
Jesuit institutions around the world celebrate this 500-year-old tradition
Students, faculty and staff at Loyola University New Orleans will gather next month to partake in a nearly 500-year-old tradition celebrated at Jesuit schools worldwide.
That tradition—Loyola’s Mass of the Holy Spirit—is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 in Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6367 St. Charles Ave.
Loyola Vice President for Mission and Identity the Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J., will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist.
“The Mass of the Holy Spirit allows the greater Loyola community to welcome God’s spirit into our hearts as we begin the new academic year,” Daffron said. “It’s a joy-filled celebration of song, dance, music, and prayer and is a tradition at Jesuit schools around the world.”
The Mass, an important and long-standing observance at Loyola, is celebrated at the beginning of every fall semester. 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 invited to attend and sit with their affiliated club or organization (wearing their club T-shirt or uniform), floor of their residence hall or classmates. The entire university is invited to attend.
At Loyola, students — many of whom hail from Loyola’s acclaimed College of Music and Media — participate in the Mass as dancers, orchestra members, and singers. And in a beautiful tradition unique to Loyola New Orleans, approximately 200 yards of bright red fabric comes out from behind the crucifix and altar down into the sanctuary to encircle the congregants. The fabric, which spans the width and length of Holy Name church and surrounds all present, represents the embrace of the Holy Spirit.
“Throughout the year, at Loyola University New Orleans, we welcome people of all faiths to our Masses,” said University Minister Ken Weber, pointing to the spirit of inclusion and diversity at Loyola. “Culturally, we all understand that we are all one together, we are here worshiping together, and we are worshiping the same God, regardless of the style.”
See Loyola's beautiful Mass of the Holy Spirit