It is 8 a.m. on a November Friday and I am waiting for one of John Aragona’s junior theology classes to join me in the Queen of All Saints Chapel for Eucharistic Adoration.
Adoration is a time to come together to adore the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and to give thanks for all the goodness in our lives. Both extremely important given the challenges that surround us in this most trying of years. It also is a time to help members of the Class of 2022 prepare for Junior Mass – a tradition at Gibbons for more than 70 years.
“Our treasure on earth,” is this year’s theme for Junior Mass, which is about community. The Mass will be held at 7:30 p.m. on November 12 at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.
Gathering at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral is the physical manifestation of our desire to create an authentic community as is praying together at Adoration for the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our juniors,
The evening will include a beautiful liturgy, celebrated by Fr. Daniel Oschwald, Gibbons’ chaplain, and a congratulatory ceremony. One by one, the students will step onto the altar when their names are called to receive a certificate; some students also will receive a special ring they ordered or an item of their choosing that may include a family heirloom or religious symbol. Fr. Oschwald will bless these gifts on this special evening.
Gathering at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral is the physical manifestation of our desire to create an authentic community as is praying together at Adoration for the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our juniors, according to the description of Junior Mass on the school’s website.
When asked about the mission of Junior Mass Aragona described it as spiritual communion through the Eucharist. “Our Catholic faith teaches that through the Eucharist we experience the physical presence of Christ directly in our lives,” he explained. “Junior Mass is an opportunity to live the Cardinal Gibbons witness to the dignity of each member of our community – parents, students, and educators.”
Community and spiritual communion are reinforced as students in theology classes gathered in the chapel for Adoration in the days leading up to Junior Mass. Juniors also felt their time together helped prepare them for the Mass.
“The ability to be in unity with other people my age as we grow in Christ is truly something that one shouldn’t take for granted,” Aidan Sessler ’22 said. “Adoration has brought my theology class together as a community and prepared us for Junior Mass by giving us an image as to what to expect from being together with our entire Junior Class as we celebrate the Christian faith…”
Clair Kenefick ’22 said she is looking forward “to connecting with all of the other juniors while uniting together in Christ.” She added that while this year Junior Mass will be different, “faith and community are more important now than ever.”