Saint Leo Community Joins in Prayer for 2023-2024 Academic Year, Those Affected by Hurricane Idalia
Mass of the Holy Spirit Welcomes New and Returning Students, Faculty, and Staff
The Saint Leo community gathered on Thursday, August 31, for the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrated in the Saint Leo Abbey Church at University Campus. The tradition of Catholic universities and colleges celebrating a Mass of the Holy Spirit dates back to 16th century Europe.
The August 31 Mass gave the community the opportunity to join in prayer for the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year as well as praying for those affected by Hurricane Idalia. Members of the Benedictine Monks of Saint Leo Abbey, the university’s Music Department, and University Ministry helped in the celebration of Mass.
Dr. Ed Dadez, university president, noted that it was an unusual start to the school year thanks to the hurricane: “I feel like I should start off by saying ‘welcome back.’ It’s not your typical start of an academic year. I don’t remember any time when I was in college where you went to school one day, took two days off, went to school for two days, had the weekend and then Labor Day off.”
Dadez thanked the Student Affairs staff and all who helped during the hurricane during which more than 150 students were sheltered on campus. The university community joined in prayer for those affected by the storm.
In his homily, Abbot Isaac Camacho, OSB, also welcomed the students — new and returning. “Your time in the university is a time to discover who you are,” he said. “You may discover what is the field that you love. You have talent already. God has given you gifts. And you will discover how to use them.”
The abbot, who also is a 1995 graduate and a member of the board of trustees, told the students, “when you finish your studies, you will see that you have grown, you have expanded what you were when you started.
“Please follow what is in your heart, and use the gifts that God has given you,” Camacho continued. “Be faithful to who you are.”
Dadez said, that as a Catholic university rooted in a 1,500-year Benedictine tradition, “we dedicate ourselves to the Holy Spirit and seek God’s guidance, grace, and protection as we embark on a journey together here at Saint Leo University. Each year is special as we welcome new students, faculty, and staff to our Saint Leo family. We remember that God is present with us.”
The university president discussed the Benedictine practice of “radical hospitality,” noting that everyone is welcome at Saint Leo. “This is something that we are very proud of,” he said. “We need to strive to live our core value of community. We need to assist our new students, staff, and faculty in succeeding at our university. Please join me this year in ensuring that everyone feels welcome and a part of our campus community. It will make a world of difference. Let us together embark on a year’s journey, trusting that God’s spirit leads us as we continue to grow in greatness. Make a difference in your life as well as those around you.”
Everyone is welcome to join the Benedictine Monks of Saint Leo Abbey for Mass. Student Mass is celebrated at 7 p.m. on Sundays, during the academic year. In addition, Saint Jude Chapel, located under the clock tower at the Student Activities Building, is open for meditation and prayer.
Monday – Friday: noon and 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Student Mass