A Sept. 7 ,2011, Catholic Standard (Washington, D.C.) article reported on Catholic University's annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, the official opening of the fall semester, and this year, the official kick-off of the University's celebration of its 125th anniversary. The Mass was held on Sept. 1, 2011, in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. See the article below.
From: Catholic Standard Date: Sept. 7, 2011 Author: Maureen Boyle The Catholic University of America began its new academic year by invoking the gifts of the Holy Spirit and challenging its community with a call to serve with virtue those in need. "If you go to Jesus first, He will transform your service into acts of charity," said CUA President John Garvey, following a Sept. 1 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.President Garvey announced a campus-wide service campaign to mark the university's 125th anniversary. In the Cardinal Service Commitment, members of the university community will strive to perform 125,000 hours of charitable service by April 10, 2012 - the date in 1887 when Catholic University was founded by papal decree."This is why we begin the year with the Mass invoking the Holy Spirit," said homilist Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who also serves as CUA chancellor. "It is the Holy Spirit that nudges us to understand more clearly what it is we are asked to do, accept and live, and it is certainly the light of the Holy Spirit that guides us along a coherent path through life." More than 2,000 people, including students, faculty, and staff attended the noon time liturgy. Cardinal Wuerl was the main celebrant for the Mass, with 75 archdiocesan and religious priests serving as the concelebrants, several of whom wore red vestments to signify the Holy Spirit.Cardinal Wuerl told the CUA community that they are the Lord's modern-day disciples and need to proclaim the Gospel to the world. "In the Sermon on the Mount, we hear of a new way of life and how it involves the merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who mourn, the peacemakers, the poor in spirit. Here we learn of the call to be salt of the earth and a light for the world," he said. "...Everyone on this campus is challenged to envision a world where not only the hungry are fed, the thirsty are given drink, the stranger is welcomed and the naked are clothed, but almost most amazingly sins are forgiven and eternal life is pledged," said the cardinal.In his comments, President Garvey explained that expressing the virtue of charity is a "uniquely Christian" way of celebrating the university's anniversary."The virtues aren't just accessories to the intellectual life. They are integral to it," he said."We lay the groundwork for becoming doctors and lawyers, physicists and authors," Garvey said, adding that those pursuits "are a search for the truth - an effort to come closer to God."President Garvey concluded his remarks recalling those Pope Benedict XVI delivered during his visit to the university in 2008:"'Do we accept the truth Christ reveals? Is the faith tangible in our universities and schools? Is it given fervent expression liturgically, sacramentally, through prayer, acts of charity, a concern for justice, and respect for God'screation? Only in this way do we really bear witness to the meaning of who we are and what we uphold.' "By demonstrating Christian charity, Garvey said the 125th anniversary is "an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to being a Catholic university."CUA has nearly 100 service opportunities available for its students to perform acts of charity - from St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home to nearby Catholic elementary schools to various shelters and food banks. The students are asked to log on to www.cua.edu/125 and report any hours they give to the disadvantaged, the Church or the community.CUA sophomore Brenda Tedrick, an engineering major from McKeesport, Pa., said the Mass was a great way to kick off the new school year. "The cardinal's homily was very inspiring. I think it's important to begin by focusing our efforts on prayer and the Holy Spirit. It shows us what matters the most and will help us throughout the year," she said.Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father Nkadimeng Thabang, who is a CUA graduate student in theology, concelebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit. He said he was moved to look out from the shrine's main altar and see the church filled with the faithful. "For Catholics it is a great tradition of the Church to say, "Come Holy Spirit," he said. "It is He who enlightens us and when we invoke the Holy Spirit, we receive the great gifts of knowledge, which is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit."