Dear Members of the Fordham Community,
I want to invite you to my favorite part of the academic year. For almost five centuries, since 1548 in Sicily, Jesuit universities have begun their fall semester with a Mass of the Holy Spirit. It is the moment we remind ourselves that the purpose of our work is so much bigger than the immediate tasks before us. And as we celebrate with 170 other Jesuit universities worldwide, we remember that we are part of an ancient and global tradition.
We have an exciting academic year ahead of us, and as I welcome you to campus—or back to campus—I invite you to two celebrations and hope you come to both. First, an interfaith prayer service at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, August 31, at 4:30 p.m. on the Plaza; and then the Mass of the Holy Spirit in the University Church at Rose Hill on Sunday, September 11, at 5 p.m. The University Choir will pull out all of the stops (that’s actually an organ metaphor, so it’s literally true here).
We are proudly a place of unabashed faith for people of every faith. We are a community that delights in the common themes of the world’s great religions—empathy and generosity, welcoming the stranger, celebrating fundamental human dignity. We do that not by diluting our different faiths into an ecumenical mush but by learning from each other’s rituals.
And for those of you not part of a religious tradition, or who have chosen otherwise, I hope you’ll come and be inspired by the rituals humankind have engaged in for millennia. We know that you come to many of the same values from a different source and appreciate your deep respect for what makes Fordham so special. We are grateful that, in an increasingly secular world, you connect with us as our full selves here, as people of goodwill of all faiths and none.
I hope to see you there, and to get to know you at the receptions thereafter.
All my best,