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Cardinal celebrates campus ministry confirmations at cathedral

By Mark Labbe Pilot Staff
Posted: 4/22/2016

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Cardinal O'Malley anoints MIT student John Bell with Sacred Chrism during the celebration of confirmation with campus ministries April 16 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe

SOUTH END -- Harvard University student Russell Pekala said he wanted more than what the clubs at Harvard had to offer.

He said he felt the other organizations were "focused around individualistic goals." He sought something that focused on wide-ranging goals and morality, and found what he was looking for in the Catholic Church.

He decided to be confirmed, and was alongside about 30 others during a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, April 16.

Like Pekala, each person receiving confirmation was connected to the campus ministry of a local college or university, including: Harvard University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Wellesley College, Northeastern University, Emmanuel College, Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University were represented.

The archdiocese's Director of Campus Ministry, Msgr. William Fay, told The Pilot that the Mass was, "an opportunity for college students, who for one reason or another, missed an opportunity in their younger years, their high school years, to receive the sacrament of confirmation. So, they would have through a period of catechesis, some training at the particular college where they happen to be do their study, through the campus ministry office."

"It's an annual event. The cardinal, in April of every year, celebrates the Mass. He loves doing it, he's got a great commitment to campus ministry and college students," he continued.

In his homily at the Mass, Cardinal O'Malley talked about the difference between finding happiness and simply having fun, noting that a person has reached maturity when "they know the difference."

"Now don't get me wrong -- there are some people whose entire life is one long pursuit of having fun, and they're some of the most miserable and self-absorbed people that you could ever image. True happiness comes when we have love in our lives," he said.

"And I don't mean love defined by Hollywood or rock music or the soap operas, but love as Jesus teaches us from the cross; the laying down of one's life for one's friend, for one's family, for one's community, for humanity. That is love, and that is the love that brings happiness," Cardinal O'Malley continued.

He offered his hopes to the recently confirmed that they will decide to pursue a vocation.

"The grace of confirmation helps us to live a call to that holiness. It also helps us to discern our own individual vocations. We hope that some of you will perhaps have a vocation in the priesthood, to consecrated life as a brother or sister," he said.

Adelaide Davis, another person who was confirmed, said that it was something she had "always meant to do," but didn't have time in high school due to her classes and sports.

"I think faith is really important in your life, just because the world is always changing, and especially in your twenties, when I feel like my life changes every day," she said, adding that her faith helps her see that "what's meant to be will be, and that as long as you are strong and love each then everything will work out in the end."