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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Traditional Masses start off Marquette’s spiritual year

Photo by Elena Fiegen
The Mass of the Holy Spirit took place at the Church of the Gesu.

New students gathered for their first two Masses on Marquette’s campus this week: the New Student Convocation Mass and the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

“(I came to Mass) because it was a good sendoff with my family,” Sarah Haus, freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said at the Convocation Mass. The Convocation Mass and the Mass of the Holy Spirit, which were held Aug. 22 and 25, were both an ending and a beginning for new students.

The Convocation Mass, or “Family Mass,” is a tradition that has existed since the university’s founding. Some Mass attendees said they felt a great sense of community and voiced their faith in the Jesuit message.

“(Mass is) always a good feeling, kind of grounding,” Colleen Stephany, a freshman in the College of Nursing, said at the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

Luke Hupke, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he chose Marquette because of its engineering program and its Jesuit education. Coming from a Jesuit high school, Hupke is familiar with Jesuit education and said he appreciates it.

Lauren Walsh, a freshman in the College of Nursing, and her parents also came to the Convocation Mass.

Walsh’s father, Tom, said the Jesuit, Catholic community — as well as Marquette’s nursing program — were the family’s primary reasons for choosing the school.

Fr. Frederick Zagone, acting vice president for Mission and Ministry and the celebrant of both Masses, voiced his thoughts on the community’s goals for the Masses.

“(People attend the Masses) because (they) see that value of praying at the start of the year,” Fr. Zagone said. “It shows the importance of prayer in our campus community. We thank God for what is to come. Mass is a meal. We thank God for this meal.”

Fr. Zagone added that prayer is crucial to Marquette’s identity.

“What do Catholics do? They pray,” Fr. Zagone said. “(Catholics) send out prayers of petition and thanks.”

Fr. Zagone said the petitions in the Convocation Mass’s case were for a good, intellectually fruitful semester, and that the thanks were for the student’s life and his or her efforts.

Fr. Zagone said he was disappointed that attendance has decreased recently, and Campus Ministry used to need to set up a monitor in the Church of the Gesu’s basement to accommodate the crowds. He said he was still optimistic about the tradition though, and was specifically pleased with the ministry’s new promotional materials.

“I know that stickers are a big thing now … for your laptops,” Fr. Zagone said. He said he was enthusiastic about getting new students involved in the community.

Haus said she chose Marquette because it was welcoming and inclusive.”

Inclusion is within Marquette’s mission. “A Catholic and Jesuit education at Marquette is marked by … a deep commitment to the well-being of the whole human family,” according to the university’s website.

Fr. Zagone addressed this sentiment of inclusivity in regard to the Masses.

“I think it is exciting to be the leader of prayer, (and) seeing everyone join in,” Fr. Zagone said. “Part of the attraction to being a priest is having the opportunity to share your faith. It’s humbling, you know — there’s this high expectation for you to say something profound, which I hope I succeed at.”

University President Michael Lovell also offered some reflection at the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

“Beginnings provide a great opportunity to reflect on what’s important to us,” Lovell said. He added that where one spends his or her time is an important indicator of what is important to them, and said he advocated for students to find the time to enrich their spiritual lives through discipline and practice.

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