As Prep began the school year—a year that celebrates both the 150th anniversary of Saint Peter’s Prep and the 500th anniversary of the conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola—perhaps no single event was more meaningful than the Mass of the Holy Spirit, a tradition at Jesuit schools worldwide since 1548.

The Mass took on particular significance as the entire Prep community gathered in one place for the first time since COVID-19 forced the initial move to virtual learning in March 2020. Fourteen Jesuits and one diocesan priest, all either Prep alumni or current or former members of Prep’s faculty and administration, joined the celebration, including four of the five living Jesuits who have served as Prep’s president (pictured below).

Prep’s 28th and current President, Michael Gomez, Ed.D., ’91, is Prep’s first-ever lay president. Prior to Mass Dr. Gomez posed with the five of his six living predecessors who participated in Prep’s Mass of the Holy Spirit. From left: Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J. (25th president, 1994-2006), Rev. Joseph P. Parkes, S.J., ’62 (21st president, 1979-1986), Rev. James F. Joyce, S.J. (24th president, 1990-94), Rev. Kenneth J. Boller, S.J. (27th president, 2013-19) and Rev. Robert E. Reiser, S.J. (26th president, 2006-13)

Fr. Parkes was the celebrant for Mass. In his homily, he expressed deep gratitude for the growth he experienced at Prep—both as a student and later as president—and for the many gifts Prep has given in its first 150 years, both to its alumni, and to the world through the work of its alumni. Fr. Parkes also offered a challenge: “May this year be the greatest year in the history of Saint Peter’s Prep, and may these four classes be the greatest classes that ever graduated from Saint Peter’s Prep. God bless you.”

Fr. Parkes’ full homily, along with other memorable moments from the Mass, can be found in the video below.

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After Mass, students and adults alike were invited to Keenan Field for a carnival in celebration of Prep’s sesquicentennial. The festive atmosphere underscored the gift of having the entire school community back on campus each day, and helped set the tone for what promises to be a truly special year at Grand & Warren.

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