A new school year presents many emotions; some good, some challenging and some just in between. As the University of San Diego’s first full week concluded, Thursday’s Mass of the Holy Spirit, a traditional fall semester-opening event, provided a soothing dose of perspective and a renewed spirit amongst the campus community present.
“We felt grateful to be recognized, especially in such a holy space and definitely one of the most beautiful buildings on campus,” said Yasamin Mahallaty, USD senior and Associated Students Executive Board vice president, about The Immaculata, where the mass took place. Mahallaty was one of more than 35 student officers recognized during an installation ceremony near the end of mass. Most Reverend Robert Brom, Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego delivered a special blessing to the new officers.
“The (Mass of the Holy Spirit) really is a great opportunity to bring people together from all walks on campus, students, faculty, staff, administrators … everybody,” Mahallaty said.
Indeed, inside one of San Diego County’s largest churches, the Mass of the Holy Spirit, organized by University Ministry staff, displayed many visible examples of USD’s solidarity:
• There were students representing different on-campus organizations that served as banner bearers — Clifford Abbott ’14 (NROTC), Brittany Conger ’13 (Athletics), Jimmy Trumbull ’13 (Interfraternity Council) and Sara Padilla ’14 (United Front Multicultural Center).
• The gift bearers were Alvin Javier ’13, the recipient of the Paul Fitzpatrick Memorial Award, and Julie Wright, a library assistant in Copley Library who received the Manuel Hernandez Staff Employee of the Year award.
• Edward Luck, the new dean of the Kroc School of Peace Studies, and Center for Christian Spirituality Director Cara McMahon each gave a reading.
• Faculty, staff and administrators participated as ministers of the Eucharistic.
Monsignor Daniel Dillabough’s homily heartily encouraged solidarity among the campus community. He urged everyone to “check your pulse. This year, make it your mantra and don’t let fear get to you.” He spoke of the words found on USD’s coat of arms, Emitte Spiritum Tuum — Latin for Send Forth Thy Spirit — and said that one’s spirit needs to work when fear is present. “It’s the enemy of one’s intimacy with God and fear is a barrier to solidarity. Let us all draw closer in solidarity with each other.”
Dillabough praised student leaders, noting specifically all Torero Squad representatives who came back to campus in August, worked hard and reached out to all new members of the campus community and helped support them. He noted the “spirit was alive” amongst all who cook, clean and beautify the campus and provide support to all.
Wright, who has been an employee at USD for 20 years — the first 10 years were spent working in USD’s Print Shop — said her faith is very important, especially the strength it provides, and attending the Mass of the Holy Spirit is one of many reasons why she has great fondness for where she works. The new year, featuring the return of students and the positive energy it provides, is equally pleasing.
“I always love to work with and support our students,” Wright said. “It keeps us fresh; it’s wonderful to engage with the students in current time.”
— Ryan T. Blystone