New Beginnings

Two Jesuit schools celebrate the opening of impressive new buildings

Xavier High School in New York City and the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass., marked new beginnings this fall, each celebrating the opening of impressive, new buildings that will serve the needs of today’s students while deeply connecting them to the Ignatian charism.

The Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center, located in West Boylston, Mass., was dedicated on Sept. 10 and will be a spiritual focal point for the College of the Holy Cross, offering expanded retreat opportunities and new programming for mindfulness and reflection for those of all faith backgrounds and traditions.

The center—the first building to be completed as part of “Become More: Campaign for the Future of Holy Cross”—was named for Thomas P. Joyce, a native of St. Louis who attended Holy Cross and, throughout a successful business career, established strong ties with the College as a longtime trustee. Mr. Joyce is a former chairman of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, and was the first layperson to head Chicago’s oldest hospital, which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy. Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, Fr. Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, Holy Cross president, led students, faculty, staff and alumni through the main building, reading a prayer in each room.


Fr. Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, blessing The Thomas P. Joyce ‘59 Contemplative Center

“Our approach to the educational experience is based on the Jesuit vision of developing the entire individual—body, mind and soul,” said Marybeth Kearns-Barrett ’84, director of the chaplain’s office at the College of the Holy Cross. “The Joyce Center will be a place for renewal—both individually and as a community.”

Also in September, the Xavier High School community gathered to celebrate the opening of Xavier’s new six-story, 33,000-square-foot addition, Fernandez-Duminuco Hall. The new building marked the first expansion of the school’s footprint since 1965. Its name honors lead donor Mike Fernandez ’72, a Cuban-born, Miami-based businessman and philanthropist, and his mentor, the late Fr. Vincent Duminuco, SJ, Xavier’s 45th headmaster.

Mr. Fernandez explained the pivotal role that Fr. Duminuco played in his life. “What he talked about was ethics, honesty, integrity, caring for others, humility and gratitude,” Mr. Fernandez said. “[Xavier] is the place that I think made me who I am today, so doing something in memory of Fr. Vincent Duminuco was something that I felt had to be done.”

Key features of the academic building include a multi-use space that will house theatre productions and assemblies; a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) classroom complete with 3D printers and power PCs; a music wing with a band room, ensemble room, private practice rooms and soundproof recording studios; a collaborative student activity space; and 11 classrooms, 6 offices, and 2 conference rooms.

The dedication ceremony on Sept. 15 took place in Keenan Commons (named for former Xavier President Fr. James Keenan, SJ) of Fernandez-Duminuco Hall. A dedication Mass followed in the Church of St. Francis Xavier. Bishop John O’Hara, the vicar for Lower Manhattan and Staten Island, was the main celebrant, with concelebrants including Fr. John Cecero, SJ, provincial of the USA Northeast Province.


Main celebrant Bishop John O’Hara, the vicar for Lower Manhattan and Staten Island, with concelebrants including Fr. John Cecero, SJ, provincial of the USA Northeast Province.

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Eastern Point Retreat House, a grand house located on the Atlantic shore in Gloucester, Mass., has been welcoming retreatants since 1958.