Celebrate Spirit!

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Celebrate Spirit! 2020

Celebrate Spirit! is the official welcoming event to the new school year and part of a long tradition dating from European universities in the Middle Ages. At the Celebrate Spirit! Mass, we call on God’s Spirit for inspiration and blessing as we begin a new academic year. Learn more about the tradition.

Was virtual this year: Sept. 10, 2020 at 12:35 p.m.

Theme: In Solidarity

The Pope defines intergenerational solidarity as the notion of the common good extended to future generations. He comments that: “Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us” (#159), adding that our very dignity is at stake. (based on Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si: On care for our common home)

Understanding solidarity:

“[Solidarity] is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the 
common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”
—St. John Paul II, On Social Concern (Sollicitudo rei Socialis), no. 38

Titans Together in Solidarity


12:35 p.m. — Welcome and Introduction to Detroit Mercy community 

Video reflections on Solidarity and a Call to Action:
Elaine D. Webber, Clinical Associate Professor in the College of Health Professions
Batoul Shinawah, 3rd Year Student, Biology Major
Nancy G. Calleja, Ph.D., LPC, Professor & Chair, Department of Counseling & Addiction Studies
Call to Action Talk:
Nicholas J. Schroeck,
Associate Dean of Experiential Education, Associate Professor of Law, Director, Environmental Law Clinic

1 p.m. — Virtual Mass of the Holy Spirit / Special Blessing for all students and employees (Presider: Fr. Gilbert Sunghera, SJ)

Student Spirit mission grants

These grants are new this year. Your student organization may receive funds for an event or program that lives out Solidarity this year. Registered student organizations are invited to apply for a microgrant to help fund an event, or series of events that promote the mission of the University, the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, or the Apostolic Preferences of the Jesuits. Organizations can request up to $500 to fund their project/event. Applications are due by September 30th at noon. Contact Dan Greig (greigda@udmercy.edu) for more information or questions. Apply here.

Healing Wall

Everyone is invited to contribute their prayer, name, thought for the Healing Wall.

In living out our Detroit Mercy Mission, we live out solidarity by naming and seeking healing for injustice in our nation and world.

healing wall

Carole MorisseauCarole Morisseau, a Detroit-based educator, participated in the University of Detroit Mercy's Fulbright Hayes Group Project Abroad to Brazil in 2018 along with several University faculty and K-12 educators from Detroit. Her culminating project from this experience is Healing Wall, currently a four-panel exhibit. Together, in 2020, beginning at Celebrate Spirit and continuing throughout the year, the University community will build panel five, and retain it as a way to engage in dialogue, reflection, and healing about the history and impact of racial violence in the United States.

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    Healing Wall Instructions

    “Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not
    make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose...The
    entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us.”
    Pope Francis, Laudato Si

    1) Take a ribbon from the EMPTY ribbon basket.

    Write the name of an individual killed by racial or systemic violence or injustice. This can someone you love, know, or know of. They can be from anywhere.

    2) Silently or aloud, Say their name.

    Name the system in which they were killed or brutalized. Reflect on their lives. Reflect on ways to act/advocate for/ or to change the system. Pray for change. Pray for justice. Pray for healing.

    3) Drop the ribbon into the COMPLETED BASKET.

    Please Do NOT TIE the ribbon onto the panel. The artist will drop by the chapel periodically to arrange the ribbons.

    Add more names virtually by emailing ministry@udmercy.edu.

healing wall
Celebrant of Celebrate Spirit! mass
clip art Celebrate Spirit in Solidarity

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    Mass of the Holy Spirit tradition

    Celebrate Spirit!, the official welcome to the new school year for Detroit Mercy faculty, staff and students, is part of a long tradition dating from the founding of the great European universities in the Middle Ages. These institutions would celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the start of a new school year. Following this tradition we call on God's Spirit for inspiration as we begin a new academic year. This festive event gathers the entire University community together to rededicate ourselves to Detroit Mercy's mission, to renew friendships, and to welcome new members.

    Eucharistic Liturgy (the Mass)

    Every Mass follows the same general form, and the Mass of the Holy Spirit is no exception. We gather to listen to some portion of the sacred story handed on in the gospels and other sacred writings. Then we bring forward bread and wine, symbols of our gifts received and shared with all in need. The priest, an ordained representative of the entire church community, prays over and shares those gifts in a holy communion with God and with one another. In the "missa," or "sending," at the end of the mass, the people disperse to their ordinary lives strengthened for the task of carrying what they have heard and shared to the rest of the world.


    A procession is symbolic movement through time and space. Our processional banners carry medallions of major world religions:


    • the Star of David (Judaism),
    • the cross (Christianity),
    • and the Star and Crescent (Islam) represent the three sister-communities who trace the origins of their faith to Abraham.
    • The Yin-yang symbol (Confucianism),
    • the Dharma Wheel (Buddhism),
    • and the Om (Hinduism) represent the great religions of the East.

    All faiths recognize the reality of the transcendent and attempt to engage believers with Ultimate Reality. The medallions are a sign of welcome to every expression of Spirit in this celebration as we move together through this coming academic year.

    Liturgy of the Word

    The Liturgy of the Word is a time of listening to some portion of the Bible, reflecting on it through prayer, song, and preaching, and then offering prayer for the needs of the church, the world and the local community.

    Liturgy of the Eucharist

    The word "Eucharist" comes from the Greek word for "thanksgiving." The gathered community first brings forward bread, the staff of life, and wine, a festive drink. We place these symbols of our life and joy into the hands of the priest, a chosen representative of this community and of the larger Church. He calls down the power of the Holy Spirit over the gifts, recalling the story of Jesus' own gift to us and asking that God transform them. Then with Jesus and the community he gives thanks to God. Our great "Amen" at the end is the sign of our acceptance of all that we have said and done together.

    Communion Rite

    In the communion rite believers share the consecrated bread and wine which makes Christ present within each of us and all of us together. Through this communion we become Christ's living Body present in time and space. Before we approach the holy table, we pray together as brothers and sisters and offer one another a sign of the peace we hope to realize in this communion.

    Interested in more information on the Mass?

    If you would like to learn more about the liturgy and its historical origins, or about the meaning of the Eucharist (communion), check out these web sites: