For the first time in 55 years, Jesuit High School celebrated Baccalaureate Mass at historic Sacred Heart Church in downtown Tampa on May 22.
With the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Jesuit’s new on-campus chapel, currently under construction, the school returned to its roots for the Class of 2017’s final Mass.
Sacred Heart Church was completed by the Jesuits in 1905 and is the oldest Catholic Church on Florida's west coast. It was built adjacent to Jesuit High School, which was originally known as Sacred Heart College when the school was founded downtown in 1899.
From 1912 through 1962, Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated for 51 consecutive years at Sacred Heart. For the next 54 years, from 1963 until last year, St. Anthony’s Chapel on Jesuit’s Himes Avenue campus – where the school had moved in 1956 – hosted the annual Baccalaureate Mass.
For this year only, with the Chapel of the Holy Cross under construction as part of Phase I of the school’s Campus Master Plan, Jesuit returned to the gorgeous, 112-year-old Sacred Heart Church in the heart of downtown. Monday's special Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart was celebrated by school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J.
The 173 members of Jesuit’s Class of 2017 became the first in generations – and for the foreseeable future – to celebrate Baccalaureate Mass at Sacred Heart.
Several hundred excited family members packed the pews, while Jesuit’s chamber orchestra, under the direction of Nina Wegmann and Dominick DiCarlo, provided a beautiful backdrop to the unique event.
Graduation is Tuesday (May 23) at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa.
Please see two photo slideshows below from Baccalaureate Mass.
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