Merrimack College’s Mass of the Holy Spirit Brings Excitement to Start of Academic Year

This year, the College’s traditional mass at the beginning of the fall semester was held on the Feast Day of St. Augustine, Merrimack’s patron saint.
Photo of Fr. Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., preaching at Mass of the Holy Spirit.
Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., preached the importance of St. Augustine's teachings at this year's Mass of the Holy Spirit.

One wouldn’t expect a priest to stop a mass for an impromptu dance party, but that’s exactly what Fr. Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president for mission and ministry, did during Merrimack College’s Mass of the Holy Spirit on Aug. 28.

“I am so excited today,” he said addressing the congregation gathered on Sullivan Quad, including student-athletes donning t-shirts representing their respective teams.

“But the challenge I’ve been struggling with all summer is finding a way to get all of you as excited as I am,” he continued. “I realized that I could not possibly do that, at least not by myself. And so I decided to do what is a very Augustinian thing to do – I asked for help.”

And with that, dance music rang out from the loudspeakers and Merrimack College’s cheerleading team popped up from behind Fr. Dlugos and rushed the aisles chanting, “W-A-R-R-I-O-R-S!” and “When I say ‘Tolle,’ you say ‘Lege!’”

“It looks like that worked,” Fr. Dlugos said with a chuckle as the cheerleaders returned to their seats.

During the rest of his homily, Fr. Dlugos mused on how St. Augustine, Merrimack’s patron saint, was someone to cheer about. This year’s Mass of the Holy Spirit, coincidently, was held on the Feast Day of St. Augustine.

“In the process of knowing God and knowing himself, Augustine learned and then taught us that both are best accomplished with the company of others,” he said, “with friends and community, just as we are at Merrimack College.”

St. Augustine believed that communities were meant to encourage each other toward goodness, truth and justice, explained Fr. Dlugos.

“It is great for us to cheer for all that,” he concluded. “It will be even better if we do our best to walk this journey together, following the advice and guidance of the one we are so blessed to have as our patron saint.”

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