Baccalaureate Mass for the 170 graduating seniors in Jesuit High School's Class of 2019 will be long remembered as the first celebrated in Jesuit's magnificent new Chapel of the Holy Cross.
Blessed and dedicated in August, the beautiful, 950-seat, heart-of-campus chapel brought Baccalaureate Mass back to Himes Ave. on Tuesday (May 28), following a two-year hiatus due to the new chapel's construction.
It was a special night and a wonderful Mass celebrated by Bishop Gregory Parkes. The 170 soon-to-be graduates came together one final time for Mass inside the chapel they had watched take shape in the center of campus during their sophomore and junior years.
In his homily, Bishop Parkes told the class to continue to strive to be 'Men for Others' living the school motto AMDG – For the Greater Glory of God. The class is pictured on the homepage (and below) on the steps of the chapel with Bishop Parkes immediately after Mass.
The past two years during construction, the Classes of 2017 and 2018 had returned to Jesuit's roots for Baccalaureate Mass – Sacred Heart Church downtown. Sacred Heart was completed by the Jesuits in 1905 and is the oldest Catholic Church on Florida's west coast. Jesuit'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. Tuesday marked the beginning of a new era, as the Chapel of the Holy Cross will host Baccalaureate Mass for decades to come.
Several hundred family members and supporters packed the pews of the new chapel Tuesday, while Jesuit's chamber orchestra, under the direction of Nina Wegmann and Dominick DiCarlo, provided a beautiful backdrop to the amazing event from high above in the chapel's choir loft.
Graduation is Wednesday (May 29) at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa at 8:00pm.
View below a photo slideshow from Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2019.