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Northwest Catholic High School Marks New School Year With New Tradition

Blessing the new school year at Northwest Catholic High School, as well as two new administrators, roughly 575 students and 90 staff celebrated the high school's first Mass of the Holy Spirit Friday morning.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is a Jesuit tradition that dates back to the 1500's and is celebrated at schools and universities to bless students, teachers and staff and invoke the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as they enter the new school year.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair challenged students to live a life of faith, hope and love during his homily.

"The world wants you to believe, wants young people to believe, that science explains away religion. That the Bible ultimately is just a myth, that religion is a cause of violence in history in the world, that the church is anti-woman and either outdated or unrealistic about human sexuality," Blair said. "As a Catholic School, Northwest Catholic must rise to these challenges and proclaim Gospel truths and you, the young men and women who hear them are challenged to take them to heart."

New school president and head of school Christian Cashman and new academic dean Christopher Stuck were blessed toward the end of the mass and received blessed Jerusalem crosses and were commissioned adding another layer to their call to work. New staff receive the blessing to mark their new jobs.

"The idea was that every member of the community comes together at the beginning of every year to have that invocation of the spirit, a blessing on every single activity and I think what's unique about that in the Catholic school context is not just academic," Cashman said in an interview. "Its academic, it's spiritual, it's physical, it's a blessing over every possible activity we would have. ... It's a great way to sort of set the tone for the year and ask a blessing on the school."

Students returned to school on September 5, Cashman said, and he brought the tradition from Fairfield College Preparatory School, where he was a teacher before starting at Northwest Catholic on July 1.

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