The 144th annual Mass of the Holy Spirit took place last week at Saint John’s Catholic Church and helped to kickoff Creighton’s annual Mission Week.
This mass is a tradition among Jesuit University’s in which the university comes together to thank God and look towards a new academic year renewed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
At the start of the mass, Vice President of Mission & Ministry, Eileen Burke-Sullivan, addressed the crowd in her call to worship. Burke-Sullivan discussed how this mass calls upon the Holy Spirit to, “inspire pursuit of truth in the upcoming academic year.”
From there, the processional hymn was played while the choir, Jesuits, flagbearers, and others walked together to the front of the church to begin the mass. The Rev. Hendrickson S.J., president of Creighton University, presided over the mass and started off with a quick joke about being able to wear red only on this day without the implication of supporting University of Nebraska.
Next, the mass proceeded as a normal mass would, with Hendrickson addressing our hope-filled future, the theme of Mission Week, in his homily. Finally, ice cream followed the mass outside of St. John’s where three different flavors were offered. “Ice cream brings people together,” said sophomore Morgan Allen of the Heider College of Business.
After the mass, Hendrickson was perusing the ice cream festivities and graciously agreed to answer some questions concerning his thoughts on the mass. To start, when asked about the huge turnout to the mass he not only said it was a “packed house,” but he was excited to talk about how happy he was with those who showed up. “What a tremendous amount of leadership from Creighton,” Hendrickson said. “A lot of deans were here from business, arts and sciences, health professions and just so many students, which was great,” said Hendrickson.
How do priests prepare for a mass. That is a question everyone is dying to know. “Praying, […] typically that is what the priest does,” Hendrickson said. In hindsight, this seems like an obvious answer.
Finally, it was time to get down to business. Why is this mass so important? What’s special? What affect does it have on Creighton? “My hope is that it continues to define who we are as an institution,” Hendrickson said. “We can come together to pray, to sing, to talk about what’s meaningful to us and it helps reinforce our sense of identity”.
For sophomore Morgan Allen, she felt the same way. “The fact that it was midafternoon, classes were canceled so no one felt pressure to be there or not, the Jesuits were there, it was a mass specifically for the holy spirit, and it wasn’t a typical Sunday night student mass, but it was one that we all came together to start the year off strong, “she said when asked what made it special to her.
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Grace Liberati said that she attended the mass because, “it is a time for reflection. I am able to pause the busyness and chaos of the day to simply be immersed in the mass and it’s a very peaceful and calming experience.”
To end the interview, Fr. Hendrickson stated that he believes this mass, “is inviting to people who aren’t Catholic and aren’t part of this faith and that they come to be apart of the community”.
This mass is a great tradition at Creighton and as the Fr. Hendrickson said himself, “It’s just a part of who we are at Creighton and the hope is that it’s as inclusive as ever.”