Mass of the Holy Spirit is a tradition shared by others

Jesuit institutions throughout world begin year in same manner.

Eye Staff Reporter

At the beginning of each school year, nearly 1,400 Ignatius students cram themselves into pews of the cathedral, hoping beyond hope that they will not succumb to fainting in the 90-plus- degree heat. Yet there is something beautiful about this particular Mass – not only is it one of the few times during the year when the entire school is gathered together donning blue blazers, but the Mass of the Holy Spirit has a wonderful history that Ignatius students may not realize. Within the opening week of school, tens-of-thousands other Jesuit students are cramming into their own spaces to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at cathedrals, local parishes, and school gymnasiums.

The history of the Mass of the Holy Spirit reaches back to the very first Jesuit school established 462 years ago. Jesuit schools have always been acclaimed for their academic prowess. Therefore, according to Father Welsh, the Holy Spirit as the bringer of wisdom is “the perfect fountain of inspiration, to which students might turn to for assistance throughout the school year.” The Mass of the Holy Spirit is celebrated at the beginning of the year so that students might turn to the Spirit’s aid as they prepare to take upon new areas of study.

At St. Ignatius High School, the Mass of the Holy Spirit has been an integral part of our Jesuit heritage. Originally the Mass was held at St. Patrick’s, until the student body outgrew the seating space and moved to the St. John’s Cathedral. Accompanying our Mass of the Holy Spirit is the Freshmen Walk, which has become both an outwards sign of tradition and initiation.

It’s also a visible witness to the community.   Clevelanders recognize who these young men are and what institution and values they stand for. “It feels great to become part of an Ignatius tradition,” freshman Matt Ivancic says.  “Walking alongside my classmates gave me great expectations for the next four years.” While the Mass of the Holy Spirit may be celebrated in cathedrals, local churches, and gymnasiums, one spirit is celebrated and is present in each ceremony. As a Jesuit tradition, the Mass becomes the representation that the Holy Spirit is part of our Jesuit education.

And yes, it is a truly beautiful celebration.