On Sunday, September 10, the Canterbury community gathered in the Chapel of Our Lady for the first Mass of the school year, which also happened to be the first service celebrated by Father Brendan Horan, S.J. in his new role as Resident Chaplain.
The Mass of the Holy Spirit included the installation of the new Sacristans—Sixth Form students whose extraordinary actions and accomplishments led to their selection last fall to one of the most respected and highly regarded leadership positions at Canterbury.
Introducing our 2023-24 Sacristans:
These Saints demonstrated the faith, character, and leadership qualities required for the position, and throughout the year they will help organize retreats, offer daily reflections and prayers at School Meeting, and inspire everyone in our interfaith community to participate in service opportunities.
In her remarks during the service, Head of School Rachel Stone P ’23, ’24 delivered an important message to the Sacristans. “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 because you want to live and share your faith,” she said. “Now you must find ways to explain to others why a journey focused on spirituality, service, and compassion 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. To inspire, not insist.”
Rachel concluded by encouraging them to foster open dialogue and continue to be the approachable, respected role models they spoke about during their interviews for the position. “As you know, leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility,” she told them. “And none more so than the leadership granted to you today as Sacristans.”
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.
A Connecticut native, Fr. Horan recently came to campus after having taught political science at Fordham University and serving as one of two pre-law advisors for undergraduates in arts and sciences. He was also a member of the founding faculty at the first Jesuit school in Nigeria and holds advanced degrees in philosophy, theology, education, and law. “I am very excited to come to Canterbury and be a part of the community and tradition here,” he said of his new position. “It is such a wonderful environment!”
Another recent arrival to campus—Trevor Fanning, the School’s Director of the D’Amour Center for Faith, Service & Justice—was attending Mass for the first time in his new role as well. Trevor returned to the hilltop after having served on the faculty in 2004-2005. His impressive background in diversity and service immersion work includes 20+ years in locales such as Haiti, Ecuador, and Lourdes.
Trevor described the chapel as the “heartbeat of our community” and encouraged everyone to visit often. “Please know that all are welcome. It does not matter what faith background you come from, if any at all,” he said. “This is a sacred space for you as well, and I invite you to participate as you feel comfortable. Use it as a time for reflection and prayer with your peers. Everyone belongs in this space.”
Welcome, Trevor and Fr. Horan, and congratulations, Eddie, Ruari, Cam, Bradley, Ella, Nick, Ava, Amanda, Dom, Sean, Geoffrey, and Caroline!