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ND celebrates opening Mass

Emily Schrank | Wednesday, August 25, 2010

University President Fr. John Jenkins urged students to follow the humble example of Blessed André Bessette during his homily at Notre Dame’s annual Opening Mass Tuesday evening.

Students, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the start of a new academic year in the Joyce Center and were invited to attend a picnic dinner afterward on DeBartolo Quad.

Blessed André Bessette, who will be canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in October, entered the Holy Cross Novitiate in 1870 and served the other members of his order in Montreal as the porter or doorman.

“This simple man didn’t have great plans, but simply watched the door and waited,” Jenkins said. “He viewed each person who came through that door as a call from God to compassion.”

There are various doors through which certain people and events come into our lives and we must watch these doors with compassion and attentiveness, he said. 

“As we get on with the exciting and invigorating work of this semester, I hope you all remember the simple brother from Montreal,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins also stressed the importance of quiet prayer in the midst of busy lives. He said the Mass readings remind us that we must listen to what the Holy Spirit says to us. 

“So much in our world and nation is about achieving goals and solving problems, that we risk becoming our own master,” Jenkins said. “Notre Dame especially is a place where we should make time for quiet reflection and prayer.”

During the Mass, students and faculty offered petitions in Chinese, French, Swahili, Irish, Italian and Spanish.

University Provost Thomas Burish delivered closing remarks after Communion.

“A University is a place of conversation, a place where people come to seek the truth together,” he said. “I wish to welcome back those returning to the conversation.”

Burish also spoke about the Notre Dame family and entrusted new students with the task of carrying on this wonderful tradition and keeping it alive for others.

“I hope you all learn what this place is about,” he said.

The Mass closed with the traditional singing of the Alma Mater.

“It really is a great way to start the year,” sophomore Kara Ryan said. “It reminds us of why we are here, who we are among and what it means to be a member of the Notre Dame family.”