Baccalaureate Mass for the 185 graduating seniors in Jesuit High School's Class of 2021 was celebrated Wednesday (May 26) evening in Jesuit's beautiful Chapel of the Holy Cross.
It was a special night and a wonderful Mass celebrated by school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. The 185 soon-to-be graduates – graduation is Thursday (May 27) at 8:00pm at Corral Memorial Stadium – came together one final time for Mass inside the grand chapel they had watched take shape during their freshman year, and then become the school's spiritual centerpiece during their sophomore year.
In his homily, Father Hermes 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 with Father Hermes immediately after Baccalaureate Mass on the steps of the chapel.
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'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. Last school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated outdoors on campus in Oliva Courtyard, right in front of the new chapel.
Several hundred family members and supporters attended Wednesday's Mass, 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 Thursday (May 27) at Corral Memorial Stadium on campus at 8:00pm.
View below a photo slideshow from Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2021, and below that is an additional slideshow.