“Holy Harvard”

America Magazine: The National Catholic Review 
May 28, 2010

Francis X. Clooney, SJ
Director, Center for the Study of World Religions
Harvard Divinity School


May 27 was graduation day at Harvard, a splendid ceremonial event as well as occasion of myriad smaller personal and family instances of celebration and thanksgiving, as a truly global community descended upon Harvard Yard for the main ceremonies. But of still greater interest to me, this year as in other years, was the Divinity School’s Religious Service celebrating Commencement, held as usual the day before (May 26 this year) in the Yard’s Memorial ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ....

This service is a marvel of organization, generous inclusivity and coherent ritual order — a mix of greetings, prayersPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not., a faculty address, and readings and music from some at least of the various religious and cultural traditions present in the MTS, MDiv, and ThD graduating classes. It took about an hour altogether, and luckily so, since it was a steamy hot day in a Church mysteriously without air conditioning or open windows. Enormous credit is due to the Divinity School’s Office of Spiritual Life, and particularly to its Director, Rev. Kerry A. Maloney, and all those who worked with her.

[For full article, visit “Holy Harvard.”]