Rain started falling as Edward Peck, vice president of mission and ministry for John Carroll University, welcomed an overflow crowd to JCU?s annual Mass of the Holy Spirit at 9 a.m. on Sept. 6 at the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, across the street from campus. The Mass is a tradition at the start of each academic year at Jesuit high schools, colleges and universities.
This year?s Mass was special because it preceded the installation of Michael Johnson as the 25th president of John Carroll and its first non-Jesuit president.
Celebrant for the liturgy was Father Brian Paulson, SJ, provincial, Midwest Province. Homilist was Father Thomas Pipp, SJ, rector of the Jesuits at Schell House and in Cleveland. There were nearly 20 concelebrants, including Father Raymond Guiao, SJ, president of St. Ignatius High School; Father Karl Kiser, SJ, Gesu pastor; Father Mark Latcovich, president-rector, Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology; Father Michael Sheeran, SJ, president, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities; and members of the Jesuit community and the JCU community.
Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez, Bishop emeritus Anthony Pilla and Bishop Neil Buckon, auxiliary bishop, Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and vicar for the Western half of the US Vicariate, were in attendance.
?I have it on good authority that the rain will end by 11,? Peck said, indicating the installation ceremony for Johnson, would take place after Mass outdoors on campus, as planned.
The entrance procession included members of JCU student organizations, club sports, varsity sports, faculty, staff and other representatives, fraternities and sororities. The students processed in holding large red votive candles and lined the walls of the church as the clergy entered.
President Johnson?s family, including his wife, Jill, and three adult sons, Alexander, Andrew, and Thomas, sat in a front pew.
Music was provided by the university choir with Cynthia Caporella, director of liturgical music and musical arts, and an instrumental ensemble.
Father Pipp began his homily by mentioning the recent news about clergy sex abuse and how this and actions by some Church leaders have hurt many people. He apologized to those who were hurt and quoted a statement from Bishop Perez that said how he was ?deeply disturbed, saddened and angered? by what happened. Father Pipp said he feels the same way and noted that the actions of the risen Lord are alive in the world.
?We depend on the mercy of God,? Father Pipp said, adding that the Lord will protect those who depend on us.
He said this is an exciting time at John Carroll, a time of joy as a new president is installed. Father Pipp noted that the Jesuits on the West Coast decided to have their summer priestly ordination at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in San Ysidro, California, a town about a mile from the border of Mexico. Four men were ordained in the church where border patrol officers, police and people from both sides of the border are among the congregants.
?The church is a place of encounter and welcome for all,? Father Pipp said. ?There are no barriers in the proclamation of the Gospel.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, became intensely dedicated to education, something which continues today through the Jesuit schools. Father Pipp said his vision lives on with the focus of helping souls for the greater glory of God and striving for the greater good.
At John Carroll, Father Pipp said there are many opportunities to serve. He told the students they are the future leaders ?and your servant leadership is needed.?
The Universal Prayer was recited in English and languages of members of the JCU campus community