More than 1500 people gathered for Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by Bishop McManus and alumni priests and deacons. Students, alumni, benefactors and faculty celebrated the dedication of the new Founders Hall with tours, speaking presentations, and a luncheon on campus.
Many alumni representing the 1930s - ‘60s - who attended SJ on Temple Street in Worcester - came to Saint John’s to see the building dedicated to them. Current students with Pioneer legacies, including grandfathers who attended Saint John's on Temple Street, participated in the Mass.
During the Mass the bishop commissioned two dozen students as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. These young leaders of the Catholic community have committed themselves to ministering at Saint John’s and many of them have been involved in service work and retreats both independently and through Saint John’s.
Every year at the Mass of the Holy Spirit, the administration recognizes students who have exemplifyied faith and service to others with the Thomas Merton Award. Seniors Michael Sarkis
(Grafton) Matthew Stephens
(Paxton), and Anthony Mollica
(Hudson) received the 2015 Thomas Merton Award. This award was established by Jan and Peter O’Malley ’56
in 2010. Thomas Merton, for whom the award was named, was a Catholic monk whose writings examine the evolving relationship between reflective spirituality and one’s place in the dynamic outside world. Merton wrestled with how to be contemplative in a world of action.
Headmaster Michael Welch '78 remarked that each recipient is “coming to an awareness that what one does must be a means of both self-fulfillment and service to others. And through this, Saint John’s is a better place and a better community because of his stance in the school and his contributions within our community.” All three recipients of the award have been heavily involved in both the school and Campus Ministry service programs throughout their previous years at Saint John’s.
Following Mass, guests were invited to tour campus, including the new building. After Bishop McManus blessed the building and alumnus Wilfred Beriau '37 unveiled the sign on the renamed "Temple Street" on campus, guests explored the historical display in Founders Hall featuring Saint John's roots on Temple Street in Worcester. Tim Cooney '58 reflected on the impact his time at Saint John's had on his life, and current senior Peter Monahan, a fourth-generation Pioneer, shared his own story as a Saint John's student.
St. Francis Xavier Society members, building donors, and Temple Street "Golden Pioneers" (alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago) were invited to a luncheon, during which the town of Shrewsbury presented Saint John's with a proclamation recognizing the school's commitment to the town and dedication to providing a high level college preparatory education. The Massachusetts House of Representatives also recognized Saint John's High School and the dedication of Founders Hall, which will "only expand the school's mission to provde excellent education both academically and morally." A governor's citation in recognition of the dedication was also presented to Headmaster Michael Welch during the program.