Mass of the Holy Spirit Sets Spiritual Tone for New Year

Posted September 3, 2019 / Last updated September 6, 2019

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Fr. Fronk, S.J., incenses the Gospel.

It is a time-honored Jesuit High School tradition to begin the year in prayer with the Mass of the Holy Spirit. This year, the Mass was celebrated on Friday, August 30; and it featured special guests from the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans organizations.

View the Photo Gallery of the Mass of the Holy Spirit

The Mass followed the dedication of the Gayle & Tom Benson Arena, so Mrs. Gayle Benson, a woman of deep faith and trust in God, took the opportunity to join students, faculty, and staff in prayer. In the Chapel of the North American Martyrs, Mrs. Benson was joined by Saints and Pelicans team president Dennis Laushca ’87, vice president for communications Greg Bensel ’80,  and vice president of business operations Steven Pate

Concelebrating the Mass are Frs. David Paternostro, S.J., Donald Saunders, S.J., Paul Shaughnessy, S.J., and Frank Reale, S.J.

Students wore coat and tie to mark the solemn occasion, and Fr. Christopher Fronk, S.J., served as the principal celebrant of the Mass. In opening his homily, Fr. Fronk shared how happy he was to hear a US Navy commander use the phrase cura personalis in a recent naval conference address. The Ignatian-Jesuit characteristic of cura personalis is Latin for “care for the whole person.” After summarizing this in his homily, Fr. Fronk then looked to students in the congregation.

“The question I am going to ask you right now is, ‘Are you ready to meet your Maker?’ If you aren’t, you need to think about that, not out of fear, but out of faith. If you’re just doing the bare minimum, that’s not enough. You can do better. You know that…it’s between you and God.”

Fr. Fronk continued his homily reminding students of this difficult truth: “If you go through life doing everything you want to do and not listening to God, don’t expect him to be all that welcoming when you come face to face with him.” He then shifted the focus back to the Mass of the Holy Spirit. “We’re asking the spirit to bless us, to guide us, and everything we do here at Jesuit High School guides us to one goal—the salvation of our souls.”

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is not just a school tradition, but a practice that began in 1548 at the first Jesuit school in Messina, Sicily. Many Jesuit high schools and universities throughout the world celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of every school year. This Mass has been a Jesuit tradition for decades and helps to set the spiritual tone for the new school year.