On Sunday, September 25, the Canterbury community gathered in the Chapel of Our Lady to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit—its first Mass of the year—and officially install the 2022-23 Sacristans.
The Sixth Form students chosen for this key leadership position were John Bagg, Erin Flaherty, Luke Germain, Rhea Khazzaka, Lily LaVigne, Anne Melich, Patrick Pannasch, Amanda Regina, Ava Ruisi, Cadence Schneider, Liam Teeking, and Avery Trach. Each possesses the personal character, demonstrated faith, and leadership qualities necessary to serve as a Sacristan.
Head of School Rachel Stone P ’23, ’24 opened the service with remarks to the congregation. “I would like to take a moment to acknowledge this moment where we find ourselves together, in this beautiful and sacred space, gathered in fellowship and in support of your peers and children who are about to be installed as Sacristans,” she shared. “It is these very moments when we so powerfully and collectively affirm the mission of Canterbury; moments when we reflect together and support one another; when we seek opportunities to be of help, of counsel, and of service; moments when we lead with values and justice. These moments bring our interfaith community together and carry us forward with a shared love for our school each fall.”
She continued by addressing the Sacristans directly: “Last spring, you each spoke of your individual faith journeys, and while they all took different routes—some ignited by loss or difficult times, others sustained by family tradition that eventually became yours—you have asked to become Sacristans, the highest leadership position at Canterbury, because you want to live and share your faith. Now you must find ways to explain to others why a journey focused on spirituality, service, and love is worth the effort. Your job is not to convince others of what you know and believe; rather, it is to model your understanding of the role you play in the lives of others, to spark conversation about belief and faith, and to be leaders of spiritual growth. Inspire, not insist.”
Rachel concluded by encouraging them to “foster open dialogue and be the approachable, respected role models you all spoke about during your interviews. As you know, leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility, and none more so than the leadership granted to you today as Sacristans.”
The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Kevin O’Brien, the Vice Provost and Executive Director of the Bellarmine campus at Fairfield University. He teaches Catholic Theology, Catholic Social Teaching, and Ignatian Spirituality in Fairfield’s Department of Religious Studies. Born in Canada and raised in South Florida, Fr. O’Brien practiced law and taught high school before joining the Jesuits in 1996. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University, a law degree from the University of Florida, a Master’s in philosophy from Fordham University, and two advanced theology degrees from Boston College. As a Jesuit, he has taught at and served in the administration of Saint Joseph’s, Georgetown, and Santa Clara. He is also author of the award-winning book, The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life.
Dressed in traditional altar-server robes, the Sacristans sat together during the Mass. After the homily, Rachel invited the group of 12 to receive their Sacristan crucifixes and declare their statement of fidelity and service to the Canterbury community.
Congratulations to this year’s Sacristans!