Mass of the Holy Spirit not given by President

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August 30, 2001

The 2001 Mass of the Holy Spirit was not performed by the University President for the first time on Wednesday. John J. DeGioia passed the duty of presiding over the school-wide mass to Brian McDermott, S.J.

After the Communion ceremony, DeGioia shared reflections on the University’s Catholic tradition. “This tradition of beginning the school year with Mass is our way of honoring the spirit that animates this community,” DeGioia said.

DeGioia spoke of the “blocks of knowledge” that students would face during their time at Georgetown.

“We confront blocks through courses … [and]the texts we assign. We cultivate in students a respect for community.”

A large group of students and faculty gathered on Copley lawn Wednesday to hear the Mass. Students expressed mixed reactions to the University President not performing the traditional mass.

“There was something missing … I have been to the Mass of the Holy Spirit for the past two years, and with Father O’Donovan gone, you don’t feel like it’s the beginning of the school year,” Adeline Wong (SFS ‘02) said.

Georgetown University Student Association Vice-President Brian Walsh (CAS ‘02) said that he thought the University took the appropriate actions for the situation.

“I think the appropriate people were there. I don’t think it is necessary for Georgetown to have a Jesuit president as long as we have a strong Jesuit community to back it up,” Walsh said. “Father McDermott did an excellent job with the homily … I think [the University] did a good job and handled it well,” he added.

DeGioia also addressed the first-year students Sunday during New Student Convocation. In his speech, DeGioia challenged the first years “to care for those that no one cares about, but everyone knows they should.”

DeGioia told the students to think about the choices that they will make in their first few weeks at Georgetown. “You will make choices about who you permit to influence you … who accompanies you … and who you will help,” DeGioia said. “[You will make] choices about practices … Practices provide for us the playing ground for the formation of ourselves,” he said.

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