More than 800 faculty, staff and students from Spring Hill College came together on the first day of class to participate in the Mass of the Holy Spirit, a longstanding campus tradition.
This year’s Mass was held under a large, white tent on Rydex Commons, with St. Joseph Chapel as the iconic backdrop. Participants were invited to come together as a community and ask the Holy Spirit to guide them throughout the academic year as individuals and as a community.
The homily, presented by Rev. Philip Steele, SJ, rector of the Jesuit community, focused on the new school year and on individual members of the community, including those who had returned as well as new faces among the crowd, coming together to make The Hill a home.
“If we are honest, we need to acknowledge how deep is the yearning within us to belong, to find our place, to find our ‘peeps,’ to feel at home,” Steele said. “And all of this is gift and grace: we cannot just close our eyes and wish that a new and unfamiliar place becomes home. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to forge a place of comfort, acceptance and safety, which is what a home is.”
And that was the challenge issued for all in attendance. Steele encouraged the community to use its strengths, gifts and the generosity and joy of God to help make this happen. And, in closing, he focused on the challenge that St. Ignatius gave to us all to set the world on fire. “That is what our experience on this Hill must prepare us to do. That is the flame that we pray the Spirit will ignite in our hearts and in our temporary but wonderful home, Spring Hill College.”
After the Mass, participants were invited to share a picnic lunch. Read Steele's thoughts behind the message he delivered during the Mass of the Holy Spirit.