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A Celebration of Faith and Knowledge: The Mass of the Holy Spirit and Opening Academic Exercises at St. Paul’s College

The Mass of the Holy Spirit and Opening Academic Exercises at St. Paul's College

September 28, 2023 — 

On Sunday, September 24, 2023, St. Paul’s College’s Christ the King Chapel became a place of profound reverence and joy as students, faculty, staff, alumni, and distinguished guests converged for the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit and Opening Academic Exercises. This cherished tradition marked the commencement of a new academic year, fostering a celebration of faith and the recognition of outstanding members within the community.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit was presided over by the esteemed Father Mark Filips, a beloved figure within the college’s spiritual leadership.  Concelebrating with him was the recently welcomed Father Wajira Nampet, SJ, a valuable addition to our spiritual community. 

Joan QuiltOne of the highlights of this year’s Mass was the blessing of a Cross Quilt, a magnificent creation generously donated by Joan Neal. The quilt, a symbol of unity and faith, was a testament to the spirit of generosity and community that defines St. Paul’s College. The quilt will reside at the entrance of the Christ the King Chapel.

Following Mass, the campus transitioned to the Opening Academic Exercises, presided over by our Dean of Studies Dr. Dilantha Fernando. The College had the honour of awarding Entrance Scholarships and Scholarships to deserving students, recognizing their dedication to learning and commitment to achieving their academic goals. These awards are a testament to the College’s support for its student members’ pursuit of knowledge and personal growth. Among the recipients were:

  • Ellen Dryden Finlay Entrance Scholarship awarded to Gabrielle Denis
  • Jesuit Entrance Scholarship awarded to Elle Wood, Benmet Ayele, Caleb Pereira and Nason Guinto
  • The Leta and Larry Lee Entrance Scholarship awarded to Mitchell DeJong
  • Paul’s College Alumni and Friends Association, Inc. Entrance Scholarship awarded to Nefertiti Onyiuke, Francis Ajusto, Liam Galaugher and Diego Lopez-Pereyra
  • The Ayotte Prize for the Study of Faith and the Environment awarded to Kevin Tachie
  • Patrick Burke-Gaffney Prize in Mathematics awarded to Melani Fernando
  • Todd Davison Memorial Scholarship awarded to Zachary Wynne
  • Elizabeth Desmond Prize in Medieval History awarded to Lyndy Bushey
  • and Chris Palahicky
  • Diane Dowling Memorial Scholarship awarded to Collin Habon, Hritik Punj, Serena Werbowesky and Chris Karvelas
  • Martin Kavanagh-Gaultier La Verendrye Fellowship awarded to Jacinta Palud 
  • Eileen M.G. LeSarge (SPC ’69) Scholarship awarded to Jessica Tsai 
  • The Dr. Y.C. Ma Scholarship awarded to Anthony Kaus
  • The Archbishop Leonard J. Wall Scholarship awarded to Emma Caronte and Erin Ashton
  • Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem Ecumenical Scholarship awarded to Hazel Garcia
  • Denny-Newman Strong Prize awarded to Evan Adair and Juan Pablo Garcia Recio
  • Karl Schilling Memorial Prize awarded to Kevin Wurtz 

Farah Noreen








In addition to these scholarships, the June Dutka Ignatian Leadership Prize was presented to two exceptional individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities: Farah Noreen and Cory Frederickson. This award not only recognizes their outstanding contributions to the Ignatian tradition but also inspires others to follow in their footsteps. (you might want to include the presentation of their ILP statements)

Vice-StickA symbolic moment during the Opening Academic Exercises was the passing of the Vice-Stick Bat from Bridget Scott to Emily Leskiw. This tradition symbolizes the continuity of leadership within the student body and the passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

Following the proceedings, a reception was held in Hanley Hall, where alumni, students, and staff had the opportunity to come together, socialize, and strengthen the bonds that make our St. Paul’s College community so unique. 

The Mass of the Holy Spirit and Opening Academic Exercises this year was a remarkable and inspiring event that brought together the spiritual and academic dimensions of our community to celebrate both faith and knowledge. As we embark on this new academic year, we carry with us the blessings and inspiration of this memorable day.

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