Opening Mass marks new academic year
Katie Perry | Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Thousands of Notre Dame faculty, staff and students flooded the Joyce Center Tuesday evening to celebrate the beginning of another school year at the Votive Mass led by University President Father John Jenkins.Jenkins, who served as homilist for the event, called on students to seek inspiration for “fresh insight, creative endeavors and moral and spiritual growth.” Citing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, council, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord – the first-year president called for students to be more open to the inevitable difficulties that lie ahead in the coming school year.”To receive these gifts we must become more receptive … and aware of our own neediness,” Jenkins said. “We may have to dismantle present understandings and comfortable charities.”Questioning a career path, experiencing the uneasiness of first arriving at Notre Dame and facing academic difficulties can all lead to fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to everyday struggles, Jenkins said.”God’s gifts sometimes come in strange forms,” Jenkins said, citing confusion, loneliness and strife as some unexpected feelings in which one can find these gifts. “It is negative moments like these that can lead to new and positive insight.”At the conclusion of his first homily as Notre Dame president, Jenkins reminded students to have open minds and hearts to hardships along the way which may later reap greater, more positive rewards.Many students were excited about opening Mass, not only because it marks the beginning of another school year, but because of the tradition of the annual event.”I love going to opening Mass. It brings me back to the first Mass I went to as a freshman, which always reminds me of how lucky I am to go to Notre Dame,” said junior Claire McArdle. “You look around the JACC and see students sitting together, representing every dorm. I love that there is school unity and that faith is yet another factor that unites the student body. It is an inspiring way to start the school year.”Following Mass, Basilica Rector Father Peter Rocca urged students to participate in Jenkins’ presidential inauguration from Sept. 22-23, calling it a “historic event.” As part of the celebration honoring Notre Dame’s third president in 53 years, he invited students to attend an academic convocation as well as the actual inauguration ceremony and ball.