by Gerardo Martinez Cordeiro
Boston College has been my home for four years now. The statement may be deceivingly simple, but it is charged with paradoxes and contradictions that make it, just as anything else in life, beautiful.
Boston College has given me great friends and wonderful opportunities that I have not had anywhere else. It has given me the liberties to pursue my academic desires and to connect with people from different parts of the world and with different experiences of life. Every day, from day one, has been full of excitement and has been special in some way. Perhaps it was a coffee date, a 4Boston reflection, a Sons of St. Patrick meeting, a class discussion or a late-night talk with my roommates, but every day has had something that made it unique and worth remembering.
My favorite part of Boston College, the part I have treasured the most since the beginning and that I know I will miss the most upon graduating will always be the 11 AM daily Mass at St. Mary’s Hall. That has been a constant in my collegiate life: taking a break from everything going on around me. A break from the hustle and bustle of students deeply engaged in their studies, and indeed from my own academic obligations; the music and the sounds and the conversations; and from the friendship of others and the meaningful connections in my life. I do this in order to be close to God, if only for half an hour. Upon entering the Chapel, it is impossible to not feel at ease. I feel as if all my problems, all my worries, all my concerns rest outside the doors of that Holy place.
I center myself as I take a seat—always in the same spot, three rows forward from the side entrance. I sit down and suddenly no one else is in the room. It is Christ and I, just the two of us. I close my eyes, not knowing what to say. In experiencing the Mass on a daily basis, I get to know God closer. I understand, everyday more and more, the answer Pope Francis gave to the faithful in an audience to the question of why to attend Mass. We do it because of all we get, because of all we need. It is not about fulfilling an obligation and to render unto God that which is His. Rather, it is a way of achieving that peace of mind, that energy that empowers us to be better men and women for others. It is a truly beautiful moment in which God Himself chooses to be with us, present in physical form through the Eucharist. That is such a beautiful thing, that I must apologize for not having the appropriate lexicon to express myself. The amount of love I have found in that Chapel is unlike anything I can explain.
I have had the best years of my life at Boston College. The memories and the friends I have made here will accompany me as I move on with my life, but the thing that will forever be engrained in my heart and in my mind is the experiences I have felt in that Chapel in St. Mary’s Hall, and that pillar of my time in Boston College that has been daily Mass. It has, without a doubt, been my greatest support.