Celebrate Spirit!

Celebrate Spirit! Mass 2018 shot of dancers

Celebrate Spirit! Logo

Celebrate Spirit! 2019

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019

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.

Following the Celebrate Spirit! Mass will be the annual picnic and student organization fair in Kassab Mall.

Mass of the Holy Spirit

11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Student Fitness Center
Presider: Gilbert Sunghera, S.J.
Reflection: Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, special assistant to the president for Mission Integration. See her bio below.

Picnic/Student Organization Fair

1 - 2:30 p.m.
Fountain Lounge & Kassab Mall
Enjoy some food and check out the many student organizations that are available for Detroit Mercy students.


Like to sing? Open choir rehearsals will be held in the St. Ignatius Chapel in the Commerce & Finance Building at the following times:

  • Thursday, Aug. 29 – 12:45 to 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 5 – 12:45 to 2 p.m. 

Important notes

To accommodate Celebrate Spirit! and the picnic on Sept. 12:

  • The McNichols Campus class schedule will be adjusted.
  • The Loft & Titan Dining Room food service areas will be closed from 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Student looking up in crowd at Celebrate Spirit! 2018
Students holding processional banners before Celebrate Spirit! 2018 ceremony begins.
Celebrant of Celebrate Spirit! 2018: Fr. Pat Kelly, S.J. '83
Procession into 2018 Celebrate Spirit!

    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:


    More about our speaker: Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos

    Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos earned her doctorate in Systematic Theology from the University of Notre Dame.She has been involved in Jesuit Higher Education for almost 30 years, having taught most recently at Seattle University, where she was an Associate Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department and inaugural director of the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, a role that enabled her to discoverher passion for collaborating with others to create opportunities to explore Catholic intellectual and wisdom traditions and their implications for the issues of our day. Her work in the US has shifted her interests to include Fil/Fil-Am theology, Catholic social traditions and Catholic higher education in the US.She is also a spiritual director, trained in the Ignatian tradition.