Celebrate Spirit!

Celebrate Spirit event inside the Student Fitness Center with bright streamers

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Return. Renew. Reignite.

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.


Remembrance rocks in reflection garden11:30 a.m. – Ritual of Remembrance at New Reflection Garden (west of Life Science Building) / Procession
This year, we invite all our Detroit Mercy community to bring a rock or to write a name of someone who passed during this pandemic or a learning you want to remember on a rock at the Remember Bowl in the new Reflection Garden, west of the Life Science Building. The garden is a project with Detroit Collaborative Design Center in the School of Architecture and thanks to a gift from the Brolick Family.

12 - 1 p.m. – Celebrate Mass of the Holy Spirit (Fitness Center)
Presider: Fr. Patrick Kelly, S.J.
At the Mass, we will include a blessing on all essential workers on our campuses. All are welcome!

Free t-shirt!
The FIRST 200 attendees at Mass and all volunteers will receive a free t-shirt.

1 p.m. –  after Mass – Boxed Lunch
All attendees will receive a FREE boxed lunch.

Student Org Fair has changed days
There will be no student organization fair after Mass. The new Titan Fest will be Friday, Sept. 10 from 3-7 p.m. and features food trucks, fun outdoor activities and the student organization fair.

Healing WallHealing Wall
Part of our Celebrate Spirit! 2019 theme of solidarity, "Healing Wall V" was completed this past year by artist Carole Moriseau as we remembered and prayed for healing and justice in our nation and world.

Class Schedules

Class schedules are usually shifted for the day so everyone can participate in the Celebrate Spirit! activities. See the typical schedule adjustments (subject to change).

Our Celebrate Spirit Tradition

Celebrate Spirit! is the official welcoming event to the new school year and part of a long tradition dating from European universities in the Middle Ages. At the Celebrate Spirit! Mass, we call on God’s Spirit for inspiration and blessing as we begin a new academic year. Learn more about the tradition.

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    Mass of the Holy Spirit tradition

    Celebrate Spirit!, the official welcome to the new school year for Detroit Mercy faculty, staff and students, is part of a long tradition dating from the founding of the great European universities in the Middle Ages. These institutions would celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the start of a new school year. Following this tradition we call on God's Spirit for inspiration as we begin a new academic year. This festive event gathers the entire University community together to rededicate ourselves to Detroit Mercy's mission, to renew friendships, and to welcome new members.

    Eucharistic Liturgy (the Mass)

    Every Mass follows the same general form, and the Mass of the Holy Spirit is no exception. We gather to listen to some portion of the sacred story handed on in the gospels and other sacred writings. Then we bring forward bread and wine, symbols of our gifts received and shared with all in need. The priest, an ordained representative of the entire church community, prays over and shares those gifts in a holy communion with God and with one another. In the "missa," or "sending," at the end of the mass, the people disperse to their ordinary lives strengthened for the task of carrying what they have heard and shared to the rest of the world.


    A procession is symbolic movement through time and space. Our processional banners carry medallions of major world religions:


    • the Star of David (Judaism),
    • the cross (Christianity),
    • and the Star and Crescent (Islam) represent the three sister-communities who trace the origins of their faith to Abraham.
    • The Yin-yang symbol (Confucianism),
    • the Dharma Wheel (Buddhism),
    • and the Om (Hinduism) represent the great religions of the East.

    All faiths recognize the reality of the transcendent and attempt to engage believers with Ultimate Reality. The medallions are a sign of welcome to every expression of Spirit in this celebration as we move together through this coming academic year.

    Liturgy of the Word

    The Liturgy of the Word is a time of listening to some portion of the Bible, reflecting on it through prayer, song, and preaching, and then offering prayer for the needs of the church, the world and the local community.

    Liturgy of the Eucharist

    The word "Eucharist" comes from the Greek word for "thanksgiving." The gathered community first brings forward bread, the staff of life, and wine, a festive drink. We place these symbols of our life and joy into the hands of the priest, a chosen representative of this community and of the larger Church. He calls down the power of the Holy Spirit over the gifts, recalling the story of Jesus' own gift to us and asking that God transform them. Then with Jesus and the community he gives thanks to God. Our great "Amen" at the end is the sign of our acceptance of all that we have said and done together.

    Communion Rite

    In the communion rite believers share the consecrated bread and wine which makes Christ present within each of us and all of us together. Through this communion we become Christ's living Body present in time and space. Before we approach the holy table, we pray together as brothers and sisters and offer one another a sign of the peace we hope to realize in this communion.

    Interested in more information on the Mass?

    If you would like to learn more about the liturgy and its historical origins, or about the meaning of the Eucharist (communion), check out these web sites:


    Class schedule change

    In order for everyone to participate in the activities planned for Celebrate Spirit! the class schedule on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021 will be adjusted to create a free period from 11:20 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Afternoon classes will be held at the regularly scheduled time starting at 2:00 p.m. We look forward to your participation at the event.

    Faculty that normally teach their classes on Thursday need to adjust their plan of instruction and inform their students of the changed schedule for this one day only. Most class periods in the morning will change from 75-minute to 50-minute periods or as noted below for those classes that are not normally 75 minutes. All classroom assignments remain the same as the normal class time.

    Morning classes that normally meet
    8:00-8:50 will meet 8:00-8:50

    8:00-11:50 will meet 8:00-11:20

    8:00-12:30 will meet 8:00-11:20

    8:30-9:45 will meet 8:30-9:20

    9:00-9:50 will meet 8:30-9:20

    9:00-10:30 will meet 9:00-10:30

    9:00-10:50 will meet 9:00-10:50

    9:00-11:30 will meet 9:00-11:20

    9:00-11:50 will meet 9:00-11:20

    9:00-3:50 will meet 9:00-11:20

    9:30-12:30 will meet 9:30-11:20

    9:55-11:10 will meet 9:30-10:20

    10:00-10:50 will meet 9:30-10:20

    10:00-12:30 will meet 9:30-11:20

    10:00-12:45 will meet 10:00-11:20

    11:20-12:35 will meet 10:30-11:20


    2020: In Solidarity

    In 2020, Detroit Mercy students and employees gathered in both socially-distanced and virtual solidarity for our annual Celebrate Spirit! celebration, Sept. 10. Gilbert Sunghera, S.J. led the University community in an inspirational homily and names were added to a Healing Wall as we welcomed in the new academic year.

    2020 theme: In Solidarity

    The Pope defines intergenerational solidarity as the notion of the common good extended to future generations. He comments that: “Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us” (#159), adding that our very dignity is at stake. (based on Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si: On care for our common home)

    “[Solidarity] is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the 
common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”
    —St. John Paul II, On Social Concern (Sollicitudo rei Socialis), no. 38

    New Student Spirit mission grants were announced for events or programs that live out Solidarity. Also, the University community built a panel of a Healing Wall as a way to engage in dialogue, reflection, and healing about the history and impact of racial violence in the United States. The Healing Wall was a project of Carole Morisseau, a Detroit-based educator, who participated in Detroit Mercy's Fulbright Hayes Group Project Abroad to Brazil in 2018 along with several University faculty and K-12 educators from Detroit.  Everyone was invited to contribute prayers, names, and thoughts for the Wall.

healing wall
Celebrant of Celebrate Spirit! mass