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Mercy Day celebrated on campus Sept. 24

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mercyhurst University will celebrate its Mercy and Catholic heritage with a pair of special events on Thursday, Sept. 24, traditionally observed as Mercy Day. Sept. 24 is both the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy and the anniversary of the day Catherine McAuley opened the House of Mercy on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827.  

The day begins with the Mass of the Holy Spirit, the traditional spiritual opening for each academic year. That evening, Mercyhurst will mark the Year of Consecrated Life with a panel discussion titled “Religious Life: Crossroads or Crisis?”

Daniel P. Horan, OFM, will celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at 11:15 a.m. in Christ the King Chapel. A Franciscan priest of the Order of the Friars Minor, New York Province, he is completing his doctorate in theology at Boston College and is a teacher and recognized author and public speaker. He previously celebrated and preached at the Mass of the Holy Spirit at Mercyhurst in 2013, in addition to presenting a well-received lecture on Pope Francis.

The university’s Concert Choir and instrumental musicians and the Liturgical Dance Ensemble will take part in the Mass. As has become tradition, faculty members and students from around the world will take turns reading verses of the Pentecost Sequence in their native tongues.

Morning classes will be shortened on Sept. 24 and midday classes canceled to enable the whole community to participate in the Mass and in a picnic to follow. Weather permitting, the picnic will be served outdoors on the front lawn of Old Main, with entertainment by Mercyhurst’s marching band.

In the evening, Fr. Horan will join a monk and two women religious to discuss the religious vocation and its prophetic challenges. The discussion on “Religious Life: Crossroads or Crisis?” begins at 7 p.m. in Mercyhurst’s Walker Recital Hall.

In designating 2015 as The Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis called the Church to a special yearlong focus on the life of reli­gious sisters, brothers and priests and asked those living the consecrated life to "wake up the world" with their testimony of faith, holiness and hope.

The other panelists joining Fr. Horan to share their perspectives on vocations and the future of religious life include:

  • Sister Anne Curtis, RSM, a Sister of Mercy, a councilor on the leadership team of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. She has served with NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C.

  • Brother Anthony Weber, OCSO, a Trappist monk of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, Our Lady’s Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, New York. He serves as vocation director for the abbey, which is a cloistered community.

  • Sister Charlotte Zalot, OSB, a Benedictine Sister of Erie, a liturgist and musician who has taught children, novices and college students. She holds a master’s degree in music and a doctorate in liturgical studies, specializing in sacred arts.

The panel discussion is cosponsored by the William C. Sennett Institute for Mercy and Catholic Studies and the Office of Mission Integration. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D., at