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College begins year with mass

Caitlin Housley | Thursday, August 25, 2011

When Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney addressed the crowd at the College’s Opening Mass on Wednesday morning, she stressed the importance of educating both the mind and the heart.

“This is a community in which I see ample evidence of the presence of grace, and of the human capacity to accept that grace and pass it on in love,” Mooney said. “Having the will to serve, the heart to serve, is wonderful. But without the skills to do so, we are of limited help.”

Nearly 700 students, faculty and staff congregated in O’Laughlin Auditorium during the Mass.

“To truly answer the call of the Spirit, we need more than a good heart,” Mooney said. “We must also make full use of our talents … Whatever our educational or professional paths may be, we must develop the necessary competencies to meet the needs of our neighbor, our community and our world.”

Mooney said events like the Dance Marathon, the 12 Days of Christmas project and Rebuilding Together are all signs that Saint Mary’s women possess those talents. Mooney encouraged the Saint Mary’s community to continue to work for others.

“Grace, the gift of the Spirit, is available to each of us,” she said. “It is poured out for us. It is up to us whether we respond to it.”

Fr. John Pearson, who presided at the Opening Mass, echoed Mooney’s thoughts in his homily.

“[Saint Mary’s is] where students learn not just skills, but who they are and their relationship to God and the world in which they live,” Pearson said.

He also called on the Holy Spirit to enter those areas of both faculty and student’s lives where they may not feel the most secure.

“We call on the paraclete because … who are we elders to claim the capability and responsibility to guide these young people in these many layers of searching?” He asked. “And how capable do you students, wise and confident as you feel one day, and inadequate and lost on another day, how capable do you feel to figure out all these things in your life on your own?”

While the campus of Saint Mary’s has changed quite drastically over the years since its beginning in 1844, Father John said one thing remains the same.

“What has not changed is the hope that all of us who come to this place will leave it better prepared to make our world one in which the love of God can be experienced as powerful through the love of these students and the faculty and staff who are privileged to be their guides,” he said.