Honoring Religious Holidays

May 10, 2019
Observing Holy Days on campus

The end of spring semester on campus is always filled with excitement as students ready for finals, seniors prepare to graduate, and year-end festivities fill calendars. For the Office of the Chaplaincy, Passover and Holy Week celebrations add significance to this already meaningful time of year.

On Friday, April 19, the Chaplaincy and Jewish Life hosted a first night of Passover Seder. The week-long celebration of Passover commemorates the Exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egyptian slavery. The Exodus from Egypt is a central event in the identity of the Jewish people. Each year Jews recount the story of the Exodus through a traditional Seder meal with the goal of feeling as if each person was personally redeemed from Egypt. Nearly 100 students, faculty, and staff were in attendance for the participatory ritual meal, including President Ronald A. Crutcher and Dr. Betty Neal Crutcher.

The Chaplaincy also observed Good Friday on April 19 with a service held at 12:30 p.m. in the Chapel.  The Rev. Dr. Craig Kocher, University Chaplain, presided together with the Rev. Mr. Tom Mullen, Catholic Chaplain, and the Rev. Jamie Lynn Haskins, Chaplain for Spiritual Life. Student lectors read the last seven words of Jesus, and student musicians led the congregation in hymns and beautiful music in observance of this most somber day of the Christian calendar. The service concluded with the extinguishing of the Christ candle and the draping of the cross in anticipation of the burial and vigil of Holy Saturday.  

In celebration of Easter, the Chaplaincy held the eighth annual Easter Sunrise Service at 6:15 a.m. on April 21 in the Columbarium and Memorial Garden. The Rev. Dr. Craig Kocher presided, and student leaders from the weekly Kairos contemplative service read scripture and led the prayers and music.  The Columbarium Garden looked beautiful at sunrise, and all in attendance placed a flower in the living cross to signify Christ¿s resurrection and new life.

Catholic Campus Ministry also celebrated an Easter Sunday Mass on April 21 that featured one student who received the Sacrament of Confirmation and two children of a faculty member who made their First Communion. The regular presider, Father Ernest Bulinda, was assisted by the Rev. Dr. John R. Donohue, S.J., who is the great-great uncle of the First Communion children.

Even now as we have celebrated the milestones of Baccalaureate and Commencement and have bid farewell to our students for the summer, our attention turns to supporting our Muslim community during Ramadan and ensuring religious observance opportunities for all communities throughout the year.