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SMC kicks off year with Mass

Katie Kohler | Monday, August 29, 2005

Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff kicked off the school year with high participation in an Opening Mass for the 2005-06 Academic Year Sunday afternoon in a full to capacity Church of Loretto.

Father Kenneth Molinaro presided over the ceremony and was assisted by many Saint Mary’s students through singing, reading, liturgical dancing and acting as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. Both the Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir and the Liturgical Choir sang and several students contributed to the music ministry through playing instruments and participating in the Handbell Choir.

Molinaro welcomed the entire community to another academic year at Saint Mary’s and blessed the College, praying for another successful school year in all aspects.

Molinaro’s homily – which referenced Sister Madeleva Wolfe’s book “Conversations with Cassandra – who believes in education?” and the former College president’s ideas of the importance of “educating women and transforming lives” – coincided with the special Votive Mass readings, which for the most part dealt with the Holy Spirit present among the students. He said the Holy Spirit would transform the students into leaders.

Father Molinaro also encouraged the students to recognize their faults in an attempt for a more complete sense of self-knowledge. He concluded by illustrating how the women of Saint Mary’s and their ideals are transformed over the course of their time at the College, saying that students enter “with the ideas of girls, but leave with the ideas of women.”

College President Carol Mooney also spoke near the conclusion of the liturgy, to give her opening remarks and hopes for the school year. She, too, spoke about the readings and gave her thoughts on their significance for this year.

Mooney said many of the images of the Holy Spirit in the Bible are abstract, such as that of a “spirit of truth.”

“I think it is hard for us to relate to a ‘spirit of truth,’ as the Bible puts it, because it is abstract and gives no sense of the power of God,” she said.

Mooney went on to say her favorite image is that of the dove, which is painted on the ceiling of Loretto. She said the flying dove is special in that its presence can be seen, heard and even felt by people – when its heart beats, it emanates warmth and wind can be felt when a dove flaps its wings.

Mooney also made Biblical references to fire and wind, calling them tangible, powerful images not as abstract as that of a “spirit of truth.” She urged the congregation and students especially to recognize that “the Spirit is always with us.”

Mooney began her closing remarks using excerpts of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “God’s Grandeur,” which makes references to nature and fire and fit perfectly with the many Holy Spirit references throughout the afternoon. Similarly to Molinaro, Mooney also ended by welcoming the students to another academic year – with hopes that it will be as successful as years past.