Last Friday our school community gathered for our opening Mass of the Holy Spirit. Our celebrant was Father Ray Ball, the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Concord and our former chaplain. Father Ray, as always, started off his homily with one of his classic corny jokes ("That's nacho cheese" was the punchline so you can get a sense!) but then went into a very poignant story about his pet German Shepherd relating it to the Good Shepherd. Following Communion he blessed San Damiano crosses that we in turned distributed to all the freshmen. Each year we present each class with a symbol of our faith and we decided to distribute crosses to the freshmen. We used to present them with their Bibles that they use for theology class but with the iPads now being used for that purpose, we decided to give them the cross. Mr. Mailloux '72 gave one to each freshmen as they were called up. Following this, Father Ray blessed the cross that Mr. Smith made over the summer that now hangs in our gym.
Immediately following Mass we all headed outside to publicly pray for peace in Syria. Pope Francis called upon all people to pray for peace in a very public manner for all the world to see. Ms. Foley of our theology department sang "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and we all then prayed the Prayer of St. Francis for peace. As Ms. Foley was singing four students (one from each class) carried a cross in procession that we then placed at the front of the school to stand as symbol of hope and peace over the weekend. The prayer service was brief but it was very moving to be gathered together in unity with the pope and millions of others. The Union Leader covered our prayer service and you can read their article here.