Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 16, 2020 – Each fall the Caldwell University community gathers for the Mass of the Holy Spirit for the start of the academic year. This year students, faculty, and staff did the same on Sept. 16, just a little differently, outside, in the sunshine and COVID-safe but with everyone happy to be together thanking God for his blessings and asking for his guidance.
Father James Manos, the pastor of St. Luke’s Church in Ho Ho Kus, New Jersey, and a master’s alumnus of the university, was the celebrant. “We have all been going through a difficult time,” Father said, but “we still must continue the mission God has entrusted to us…the Holy Spirit empowers us in ways we never thought possible.”
“You put your hand in God’s hand [and], He leads you,” said Father. “Rely on the Spirit. Trust in the Spirit. That’s what carries us through.”
President Matthew Whelan, Ed.D. read the blessings for the university choir, Student Government Association officers, resident assistants, and fall athletes asking God to “be with all members of the Caldwell University community as we begin a new academic year.”
Through their masks, the university choir led by Dr. Laura Greenwald sang the Dominican Blessing.
Gabriel Johnson ‘23, Marcellus Ross ‘23, Ana Gonzalez Martin ‘21, and Paula Dits ‘22 were some of the student-athletes who attended and were very appreciative of the blessings and the chance to gather and pray. With “everything going on in the world,” it was a welcome message, said Ross, a member of the men’s basketball team. “Much needed,” said Johnson, also a basketball player.
“It was a good opportunity to connect with God and with each other in this special circumstance where we need each other’s faith and support,” said Dits, a member of the women’s basketball team.
It was “so beautiful to come together,” said Martin. She “loved how the priest shared his own experiences of being young” and learning that he had to cooperate with God’s spirit.
Director of Campus Ministry Colleen O’Brien was the lector.
Traditionally, the Mass of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of the academic year at a Catholic university.