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Loyola welcomes all at Mass of the Holy Spirit

By Loyola University on Thu, 08/25/2022 - 10:05

Loyola’s must-experience Mass is a breathtaking celebration, Jesuit institutions around the world celebrate this 500-year-old tradition

(New Orleans, Aug. 24, 2022) Come one, come all! Loyola University New Orleans is in full swing planning its Mass of the Holy Spirit, an annual signature event and a breathtaking celebration. At this year's Mass, attendees will experience the university’s incredible artistry, diversity, and spirit of inclusion. All are welcome. 

(This video shows highlights of the beautiful Mass of the Holy Spirit at Loyola New Orleans in 2017.)

“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,” said the Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J. interim president. “It’s a joy-filled celebration of song, dance, music, and prayer and is a tradition at Jesuit schools around the world. In true city spirit, Loyola New Orleans brings to our sacred tradition special creativity and culture.” 

Mass of the Holy Spirit takes place this year at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 8, 2022 in the historic Holy Name of Jesus Church, with Loyola’s award-winning choir and a full orchestra. Prayers of the faithful will be read in various languages, including in Arabic and Hebrew.  Musical selections include a spiritual and a hymn in Spanish to represent the strength of our Black and Latinx communities. All 11 a.m. classes are canceled, so students and faculty may attend. Alumni and online students and faculty are also welcomed to view the Mass on YouTube. 

“For nearly 500 years, Jesuit schools and universities around the globe have taken part in the traditional Mass of the Holy Spirit, which brings together the school community as we share our hopes for the coming year,” said Associate Director of Student Life and Ministry Ken Weber. “It's a time for us to come together, appreciate and celebrate one another, regardless of faith or spirituality. This year’s Mass is designed to emphasize that Loyola is the sum of all its parts and we are all equal and important within our campus community.” 

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. 

While Jesuit schools and universities around the world partake in this sacred tradition, Loyola New Orleans is the only one among the 28 Jesuit universities and colleges in the U.S. to have a college devoted to music, our 100-year-old College of Music and Media. Our Mass is a must-see, special event, at which attendees from all corners of the university experience the joy and hope a new school year brings

Students participate in the Mass as dancers, orchestra members, and singers. And in a beautiful tradition unique to Loyola New Orleans, bright red banners emerge from behind the altar and are carried into the sanctuary to encircle the congregants. Approximately 200 yards of bright, red fabric spans the width and length of the enormous and beautiful Holy Name of Jesus Church - surrounding all present and representing the embrace of the Holy Spirit.

This year, student representatives from varying organizations and ministries of varying faiths will bring to the altar gifts symbolizing their contributions to Loyola, as well as their hopes for the coming year. Student athletes, including representatives of our 2022 NAIA National Champion Basketball Team, will also be included in the Mass, which is designed to bring the campus community together as we usher in a new academic year.