The words of Cardinal Newman, whose book The Idea of a University is the classic defense of liberal arts education, were invoked often during this year's Mass of the Holy Spirit.
In his address at the Mass, Brother Ronald Gallagher, Saint Mary's president, argued for the union of the intellectual and spiritual in higher education. Focusing on the church's guiding document regarding higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, he described this integration as both a challenge and an opportunity.
To underscore the necessity of combining the two traditions, he drew on a quote from Newman: "I want the same roof to contain both the intellectual and moral discipline. â€¦ I want the intellectual lay person to be religious, and the devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual."
During his address, Brother Ronald announced that on October 27, Saint Mary's will host a symposium on Cardinal Newman, who was beatified about one year ago, and he invited the community to take part in the "dialogue about faith and reason."
Students, staff members and faculty in their academic regalia took part in the Mass, which is an 800-year-old tradition marking the beginning of the academic year. The message of interfaith and cultural diversity was on display as international flags hung throughout the chapel, and leaders from Christian, Sikh, Muslim and Hindu religions offered prayers. A contingent of visiting students from Osaka University added to the international flavor of the service.
Father Salvatore Ragusa's homily focused on the importance of finding the fire within. He spoke of the spark that ignited the work of Mother Teresa and Saint John Baptist de LaSalle and added: "Today that same Spirit has been given to each of us, people of every race, language and way of life."
He encouraged students to take a moment from their busy schedules to listen to the spirit within and remember, as Cardinal Newman said, that "God has created me to do some special service; God has committed some work to me that has not been committed to another; I have a mission!" He concluded with a call to action, saying: "Where's your fire? Where's your passion? What has been given you to do that no one else has been asked to do? Find that fire."
Teresa Castle and Kathryn Geraghty
Office of College Communications
View photos of the Mass of the Holy Spirit by Max Crowell '13.