Jesuit High School's Class of 2018 experienced a special Baccalaureate Mass on Tuesday night (May 29), as the 182 graduating seniors celebrated at historic Sacred Heart Church in downtown Tampa with Bishop Gregory Parkes.
With the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Jesuit's new on-campus chapel, completing its two-year construction this summer, the school returned to its roots for Baccalaureate Mass for the second straight year - and just the second time in the past 56 years.
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 through 2016, St. Anthony's Chapel on Jesuit's Himes Avenue campus – where the school relocated in 1956 – hosted the annual Baccalaureate Mass.
For 2017 and 2018 only, with the Chapel of the Holy Cross under construction as the school completes Phase I of the Campus Master Plan, Jesuit returned to the gorgeous, 113-year-old Sacred Heart Church in the heart of downtown.
Several hundred family members and supporters 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 Wednesday (May 30) at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa.
Please view photo slideshow below from Baccalaureate Mass.