Opening the new academic year by celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit is a longstanding tradition at Sacred Heart. The tradition continued on Friday, September 5, when the entire seminary community—seminarians, faculty members, lay staff, resident priests, and administrators—gather together in the main chapel for the 12 PM Mass. The community joined rector and main celebrant Msgr. Todd Lajiness in entreating the Holy Spirit to bless the coming school year and all the endeavors of the seminary and its students.
The Mass of the Holy Spirit is the occasion for another important yearly ritual. After the homily, new faculty members, full- and part-time, are called by the dean of studies to approach the altar and stand before the congregation. There they place their hands on the Gospels, offered to them by the rector, and make a Profession of Faith and a complementary Oath of Fidelity.
The profession is an expanded version of the Nicene Creed, wherein the faculty member “accepts everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals,” while giving “religious submission” to the authority of the pope and College of Bishops. The oath asks of a person “assuming on office to be exercised in the name of the church” to “always preserve communion with the Catholic Church” and to “hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety.” Both pledges the Holy See requires of those who are teachers of theology and philosophy in seminaries and “teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines pertaining to faith or morals,” in keeping with Canon Law 833 and the 1989 directives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Making the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity this year were Fr. Mathias Thelen, a priest of the Diocese of Lansing who will assist in seminarian formation; Dr. Ilaria Ramelli, Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair of Dogmatic Theology and Christology; and Karolyn Surmont, part-time instructor of theology.