Faculty, staff and students gathered Sept. 14 for the Mass of the Holy Spirit held annually at the beginning of the academic year.
Celebrant Father Andrew Njoku spoke about how the Holy Spirit gives one a “spirit of strength … and consoles us, lifts us and guides us.” Referring to the Gospel reading in which the risen Jesus comes to the frightened disciples and gives them the message “Peace be with you” and takes away their fears, Father Andrew said the Holy Spirit wants to remove the fears of students and faculty at the start of the academic year.
Referring to the second reading from Corinthians in which St. Paul reminds the people of their different gifts, talents and charisms and that “all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ,” Father Andrew said, “That is what Caldwell represents to me, unity in diversity,” different nations and cultural backgrounds coming together. He told those gathered to interact with one another, to benefit from the diversity and to learn from it. “Harness that diversity.” He also encouraged the students to share their talents and not to allow those talents to become dormant because when they do, they are not using them for God’s glory. God gave them special talents, charisms and graces and they should use them well, said Father Andrew. “Ask the Holy Spirit to direct, guide, bless and empower you.”
Caldwell University President Matthew Whelan read the prayers for members of the community including the University chorale, Student Government Association officers, fall athletes, resident assistants and peer ministers.
Junior Toniaanne Poccia said the Mass was beautiful, and she appreciated how Dr. Whelan led the prayers for the student organizations, doing “a great job of recognizing each of their responsibilities.”
Music was provided by the University chorale under the direction of Professor Laura Greenwald, with Tatyana Rodriguez as cantor and Eric Olsen as accompanist.
Catholic colleges and universities traditionally hold the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the academic year to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and inspiration.