Be Men and Women of Communion

September 18, 2019
Most Rev. J. Mark Spalding celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit at Aquinas College August 28. Fr. Mark Chrismer, right, and Fr. Gervan Menezes (not pictured) with students of Aquinas College. Photo by Sr. Mary Justin Haltom, O.P.

Most Rev. J. Mark Spalding, center, celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit at Aquinas College August 28.
Fr. Mark Chrismer, second to right, and students of Aquinas College stand with the bishop after Mass.
Photos by Sr. Mary Justin Haltom, O.P.

On August 28, 2019, the Feast of St. Augustine, the Aquinas College community gathered for the Mass of the Holy Spirit to start off the academic year.

Most Rev. J. Mark Spalding, Bishop of Nashville celebrated the Mass. Amid a standing-room-only crowd, students, faculty, and staff heard the bishop’s reflections on communion.

 “…When we have a certain insight into God’s plan, how God is calling us and directing us, when we have an insight that leads us to the truth: [it is] the work of the Holy Spirit in our life!” the bishop said.

“There are so many things that are in our world and in our own life that cause a separation in us – a spinning away from one particular point, or person, or community…And it is a work of the Holy Spirit when things are brought together.”

As a sign of communion, Fr. Mark Chrismer, chaplain for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, and Fr. Gervan Menezes, chaplain of University Catholic concelebrated the Mass.

Both priests serve the collegiate Catholic community in Nashville – Fr. Chrismer, through his ministry to the Dominican Sisters, and Fr. Menezes, through his diocesan ministry at Frassati House to all Catholic college students in the area.

Speaking to the college’s students and faculty, Bishop Spalding recalled that when one community is united with another, the Church is built up as a work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Bishop Spalding picked up on a key point in the college’s strategic plan, Sent To Witness. The plan affirms the role Aquinas graduates are called to in society, as the college prepares and motivates them “…to be at the service of communion within families, schools, parishes, and society.”

This spirit of communion, for each human person, starts in communion with God.

The bishop continued, “So as we go through this year and we go through our life, we do pray, Come, Holy Spirit, Come! Come down upon me! Just like you come upon simple gifts of bread and wine.”

He emphasized how each person’s response to the gifts of the Holy Spirit enables them to help others to be in relationship, building up communion.

“Build the community of the Church. Show them the Holy Spirit is active, alive in your mind and in your heart, and then you build up the communion of the Church,” he said.

The bishop offered encouragement with his spiritual challenge: guiding all to listen to Jesus, the Man of Communion.

 “. . . We believe in the Man of Communion, the One that promised, here: I am with you, I will teach you! Listen to my words, see what I do and live your life in imitation of ME! I am never going to leave you alone. As individuals and as Church, I will send the Paraclete, the Advocate to be with you, for you, and that Advocate continue to teach you to be in communion. Who do we believe in? Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.”

After the Mass, students, faculty, and clergy gathered for fellowship over lunch in Breen Hall.