Mass from the Third-Person Perspective

by Jack Long


Few colleges give students the chance to see priests spilling off of a stage, but that was not the only thing to be thankful for at Boston College’s Mass of the Holy Spirit.

In keeping with its Jesuit identity, the BC invited students to begin the year with a Mass on September 7, presided by the University’s President, Fr. William Leahy, S.J. All the elements of a traditional Mass were present, with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, a collection, the Real Presence of the Living God, and all of the normal components. What made this liturgy unique among Masses was its focus on the Holy Spirit, the often-neglected Third Person of the Trinity. 


Fr. Peter Folan, S.J. centered his homily on a comparison between the energy of a child and the Holy Spirit, wherein the child pretended to be a walrus and thrashed around in the same manner as the Spirit excites and inspires those who allow it to act. With this creative image, Fr. Folan used the following quote to explain how the Spirit can speak to those who listen: “If I profess with the loudest portion and the clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point that the World and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity.” He assured his listeners that if they sit next to the Spirit, He will move them to address “that little point.” 


At the conclusion of the Mass, Father Leahy lit a candle representing the flame of the Holy Spirit. With his parting words, he stated that Boston College’s community was meant to serve a sign of the Kingdom of God, and asked that God bless “all that we are, and all that we do.”

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