Jesuit High School celebrated Baccalaureate Mass for the 191 graduating seniors in the Class of 2023 on Tuesday (May 23) evening in the beautiful Chapel of the Holy Cross on campus.
It was a special night and a wonderful Mass celebrated by school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. The 191 soon-to-be graduates – graduation is the next night, Wednesday (May 25) at 8:00pm at the Straz Center downtown – came together one final time for Mass inside the grand chapel. The Class of 2023 experienced all four years with Holy Cross Chapel, the school's spiritual centerpiece, as it was completed during the fall of 2018, the year before they arrived at Jesuit.
The class is pictured on the homepage with Father Hermes on the steps of the chapel immediately after the Mass.
Baccalaureate Mass has long been a tradition at Jesuit. In 2017 and 2018, due to the chapel construction, the school had returned to its roots for Baccalaureate Mass – Sacred Heart Church in downtown Tampa. Sacred Heart was completed by the Jesuits in 1905 and is the oldest Catholic Church on Florida's west coast. Jesuit High School's Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated for 51 consecutive years at Sacred Heart, from 1912 through 1962.
For the next 54 years, from 1963 through 2016, St. Anthony's Chapel on Jesuit's Himes Avenue campus – where the school relocated in 1956 – hosted Baccalaureate Mass. In 2019, the Chapel of the Holy Cross hosted Baccalaureate Mass for the first time. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated outdoors on campus in Oliva Courtyard adjacent to Holy Cross Chapel.
Several hundred family members and supporters attended Tuesday's Mass, while Jesuit's musicians, under the direction of Nina Wegmann and Adrian Quesada, provided a beautiful backdrop to the amazing event from high above in the chapel's choir loft.
View below photos from Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2023. More Baccalaureate Mass photos are posted on the Facebook page Jesuit High School of Tampa.