After all of Wednesday’s events, I started Thursday morning quite early (well, for a college kid) by heading down to Culpepper’s. Culpepper’s is a small bakery right around the corner (well, it’s a bit of a walk, but incredibly worth it). I won’t lie – I had breakfast at Culpepper’s every single morning in the week leading up to graduation.
Seriously. If you’re ever in the Worcester area, just try their iced coffee and blueberry scones. I didn’t like iced coffee before I tried it at Culpepper’s. It’s magical.
My day began so early because I had to help out setting up for the Baccalaureate Mass. I was fine in the morning – to me, it was just any other Mass. But when I started packing again (aaaah packing), I realized that this was my last Mass as a student on the Hill. I’ve been so involved in campus ministry since day one, and it just didn’t seem real.
The Mass itself was beautiful. We had wonderful weather, and everything went so smoothly.
The Baccalaureate Mass is kind of an inversion of the Mass of the Holy Spirit. It’s held in the same location (up at the Hart Center Lawn). While the Mass of the Holy Spirit ends with Lift High the Cross, the Baccalaureate Mass begins with it. It’s a way of reminding us that this is the culmination of our time at Holy Cross.
We use the same style of procession – faculty, student ministers, and all the Jesuits process in amid colorful banners. This time, the seniors process in before the faculty and sit together as a class instead of at the Mass of the Holy Spirit, where we sat with our families.
I served as a Liturgical Coordinator along with Bill, Kevin, Jake, John, and Jordie. Some people asked me why I wanted to serve instead of enjoying my last Mass at Holy Cross. Honestly, it would’ve felt weird to not participate.
I was also honored when Paul asked me to serve as a lector at the final Mass. This is how I really became involved in Liturgical Ministry, so, again, it just felt right. And, please don’t mind my sunglasses. It was really sunny, and my mother is still upset at me for wearing them while reading.
It honestly didn’t hit me until after Communion. At the Mass of the Holy Spirit, our parents bless us. At Baccalaureate Mass, we turn around and bless our parents as a way to thank them for the past four years. I started crying when we blessed Fr. McFarland, though. Since we’re Fr. McFarland’s last graduating class, we thought it was fitting to bless him at the Mass. Well, he started crying, and we all started crying. I think it says a lot about a man when nearly 700 seniors start crying on his account – the man, the Jesuit, the President. Fr. McFarland has done so much for our beloved college, and it doesn’t seem real that he’s leaving.
And then, like that, the Mass was over.
As you all know, Liturgical Ministry has been a big part of my life at Holy Cross. I just couldn’t believe that it was over so quickly. Even Fr. Vodoklys, my Latin professor from Freshman and Sophomore years, asked me what I was going to do without Liturgical Ministry. I plan to be involved with the Catholic Chaplaincy next year at Oxford, but the community at Holy Cross was something very special. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it’s going to be very difficult to replace that group.