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Mass of the Holy Spirit Celebrates New Academic Year

Mass of the Holy Spirit Celebrates New Academic Year

Above: Quinn Panos '28 was one of six students who the School in Prayers of the Faithful

On the morning of Wednesday, September 13, St. John’s Prep students, faculty, staff, and guests joined Catholic schools and colleges around the world to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit, an opening-of-school tradition that dates back to the 16th century.

Community members filed into the Ray ’67 and Dianne Carey Fieldhouse inside the Mahoney Wellness Center to be greeted with remarks by Head of School Dr. Ed Hardiman P’19 ’21 ’26 who spoke of the difference between wisdom and knowledge. 

Wisdom is quite distinct from the knowledge we gain in our classes or through research. Wisdom is about coming to understand a deeper purpose, who we are and who we are called to be. Through the gift of wisdom we come to see a deeper purpose and meaning in our lives and find a deeper purpose and meaning for the work we do each day,” he said. “Over time, through the gift of wisdom, I have come to see that God is not a puppeteer who controls the events of our lives. Rather, God is the one who is with us when we are having a challenging day and a friend or stranger offers a kind word. God is the one who is with us when we doubt ourselves and somehow find the courage to succeed.”

Father Jim Ronan, a member of the St. John’s Prep Class of 1962 and chaplain at the Prep, echoed the quest for wisdom and understanding who you are in his homily. He told the story of himself as a young man who struggled through his freshman and part of his sophomore year in college when he received advice from his advisor. “If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.” 

He then walked through the congregation, asking students what was the one question he needed to have asked himself. Students said, “find what you’re passionate about,” or “what brings you joy,” but it wasn’t until a student answered, “Who am I?” that Fr. Jim responded, “that’s it!” 

Each person in this field house is unique,” Fr. Jim said. “There is no fingerprint like yours, no iris just like yours.” He continued to say that each person is created to be a unique expression of God’s love, and that answering that all-important question—who are you—allows you to live the Xaverian value of humility by recognizing your own gifts and talents and being ready to receive the gifts and talents of others. 

In closing, Dr. Hardiman and Principal Dr. Keith Crowley congratulated the 2023 National Merit Semi-Finalists from the senior class, Innes Boesch and Elliott Adams. About 1.5 million juniors from more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the PSAT. This year’s pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of Massachusetts high school seniors who took the exam.