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Celebrate Spirit!

Celebrate Spirit! Mass

Celebrate Spirit! is the official welcome to the new school year for Detroit Mercy faculty, staff and students. The service takes place in the Student Fitness Center on the McNichols Campus. Celebrate Spirit! welcomes people of all faith traditions to ask God's blessing on the new school year, a tradition going back to the Middle Ages.

If interested in volunteering (Eucharistic ministers, hospitality, ushers, altar servers, set-up, clean-up, etc.), please contact Anita Klueg, director of University Ministry at or 313-993-1560.

See you in the fall for Celebrate Spirit! 2017: Driven to Serve


    Mass of the Holy Spirit

    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 the U'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:


    Celebrate Spirit! 2016 Recap

    Schedule of Events

    11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
    Mass of the Holy Spirit presided by Gerald Cavanagh, S.J. welcoming people of all faith traditions to ask God’s blessings on the new school year. Phil Cooke, S.J. will lead the homily. The theme is "Competence, Compassion and Conscience." The guest speaker will be Ms. Crystal Windham '02, Director of interior Design, General Motors Corp.

    1:00 p.m.
    Picnic / Student Organization Fair
    The Student Organization Fair, to acquaint students on ways to get involved in students activities, will be held around the Fisher Fountain. The picnic is sponsored by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

    2:30 p.m. - McNichols Campus classes resume

    Note: The McNichols Campus class schedule will be changed on Sept. 15 to accommodate Celebrate Spirit! attendance. Also, food service in The Loft and Titan Dining Room will be closed from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Celebrate Spirit! is co-sponsored by the College of Business Administration, celebrating 100 years, and University Ministry!

    Guest Speaker: Crystal Windham

    Crystal Windham earned a bachelor’s degree from the College for Creative Studies and an MBA in 2002 from the University of Detroit Mercy’s College of Business Administration. She is the first African-American woman to have become a Director of Design at General Motors, where she has designed the interior of Cadillacs and Chevrolet passenger cars and small SUVs, including the Impala, Malibu, G6 coupe, and other models. She also spent a year on assignment at the GM Europe Design studio in Germany, where she worked on the Opel. In her spare time, she has served as a mentor for College of Business Administration students, as well as a member of the College’s Alumni Board and its Board of Advisors.

    Windham’s work and community service have been widely recognized by the industry. Her awards include the 2013 Urban Wheel Designer of the Year, the Emerging Leader Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s Global Automotive Summit, and inclusion among the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry by Automotive News.

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