While Mercyhurst College traditionally opens each school year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit and a college picnic, this year's service will be special — a Mass held in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the day students first walked through the doors of Old Main on Sept. 20, 1926.
At 11:20 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, the Mercyhurst community will gather in Christ the King Chapel to honor the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy and the academic mission of the college.
"The liturgy celebrating the opening of this academic year connects the College's past with its future and consecrates the seriousness of our shared academic mission — to not only teach and train our students in their respective disciplines, but to reaffirm the mission and values of the founding Sisters of Mercy," explained Dr. Andrew Roth, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college. The dean's office serves as host to the annual Mass.
Roth said the Sept. 20 Mass will incorporate many facets of the college. Music and dance will be provided by students from the Creative Arts division, readings will be given by members of the college community, and the liturgy will be concelebrated by the campus minister, the Rev. James Piszker; the Most Rev. Michael Murphy; the Most Rev. Donald Trautman and more than a dozen priests who have served Mercyhurst over the past seven decades. In addition, the Sisters of Mercy will be in attendance as the college celebrates its growth — from the 25 students it welcomed that first day 75 years ago to the more than 3,000 enrolled today.
As always, the Mass, which attracts approximately 600 students, faculty, staff and friends of the college, will be followed by an all-campus picnic before classes resume in mid-afternoon.