University of San Diego

09/14/2019 | Press release | Archived content

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The Mass of the Holy Spirit, the traditional early school year service, took place on Thursday, Sept. 12 in The Immaculata. A large contingent of the University of San Diego campus community - students, administrators, faculty, staff and alumni - welcomed the new semester with Rev. Monsignor Daniel J. Dillabough '70, presiding.

Dillabough's welcome included an acknowledgement that Mass was taking place not only at The Immaculata, but also on the land of the Kumeyaay Nation.

Mass had multiple significant moments, even a new campus voice - Father Michael Higgins, TOR, president of the Franciscan School of Theology (FST) - delivering the gospel reading, Luke 6: 27-38. This past summer, the FST relocated its operations as a graduate-level school to the USD campus from Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. The school is currently located adjacent to the St. Francis Center for Priestly Formation.

Dillabough's homily connected the gospel reading - which spoke of having love for all, even one's enemies - to his thoughts one day after the 18-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy.

He reminded the audience of the power of prayer as 'a hospitable gesture by which we invite our brothers and sisters into the center of our hearts. To pray for others means to make them a part of ourselves. To pray is to enter into deep solidarity with all. So that in and through our prayer they, like ourselves, might be touched by the healing power of God's spirit.

'Prayer,' he continued, 'is also for those who we might consider our enemies as we follow the gospel mandate and pray for the conversion from hurt and violence to love and peace for others and for ourselves.'

Following communion, USD President James T. Harris gave a talk that echoed the earlier first and gospel readings and Dillabough's words.

Assistant Vice President for Student Life, Cynthia Avery, EdD, read the names of all 2019-20 undergraduate and graduate student leaders, from Associated Students Government to Graduate Student Council and the respective graduate school. This ritual at ther end of the Mass of the Holy Spirit is meant to be a blessing for all student leaders and each is presented with a special USD pin.

New Associated Students Government President, Marion Chavarria Rivera, enjoyed the Mass of the Holy Spirit, an event she's now attended three times. She was pleased to hear Monsignor Dillabough's land acknowledgement and she appreciated President Harris' talk, but when her name was called among the student leaders, that's when she knew it was a special moment.

'I've attended it before when Will Tate and Natasha Salgado were both (ASG President) … It's a really interesting experience being in this position because I don't know that I would have seen it as I do now,' she said. 'This time I felt the acknowledgement of who I am which was really nice and also the pressure a little bit of 'oh, I'm officially in my role now' but I'm really grateful I got to do it. I think it's a great way to acknowledge all of the student leaders, too.'

- Ryan T. Blystone