Eat, Sleep, Pray: Spring Hall Chapel invites students to celebrate Mass where they live
Students filter into the chapel in Saint Louis University’s Spring Hall with an air of joy. Hellos are exchanged as friends check in. Then the music strikes up and the atmosphere is changed. Together, the students and priest join in solemn but joyful, attentive worship. This is a residence hall Mass.
While other residence halls at SLU have converted spare rooms into prayer spaces, Spring Hall’s chapel is the first to be built for the sole purpose of holding Mass.
Perhaps that’s why this Mass, which takes place every Tuesday at 9 p.m. during the school year, is one of the most popular. Robby Francis, campus minister for Spring Hall, said more than 100 students attended one feast day Mass.
“I learned that night that we can fit about 70 students in the chapel,” he said. The intimate chapel, meant for small groups, was packed even once chairs were removed.
The Campus Ministry Experience
Residence hall masses happen Tuesday through Thursday nights on SLU’s campus. It’s just one part of the Campus Ministry experience in the halls, which include one-on-one encounters with students and larger ministry events.
For some students, campus ministry activities are a continuation of high school involvement in prayer or youth groups. For others, like freshman nursing major Sydney Smith, it’s a completely new experience.
“I didn’t go to Catholic school, so I never really had experience with campus ministry,” she said. But meeting upperclassmen and connecting with them in prayer has been a formative part of her college experience so far. “It’s a time where you’re thrown into a lot of situations you never had to question before,” she said. “So to find role models and find people to help you through that is really big, and I think campus ministry is one of the places where people find those connections.”
Finding a Community
In Spring Hall, the Mass is vibrant and alive with music, food and friendship that last long into the night.
“It’s one of my favorite evenings,” Francis said. “It’s the latest evening I end up being here, but it is that sense of community, seeing that residence hall community come together.”
Many students feel the same.
“There’s something really special about worshipping with your friends each Tuesday night," sophomore Nick Bernard said. “It’s a moment to check in with that community. Everybody is so engaged, nobody is there because their mom is making them.”
Many students attend Mass week in and week out – and they choose to make that commitment no matter what their week looks like. They exit the chapel renewed, refreshed, and ready to look at the rest of the week with new eyes – all without having to leave the building.