This week, we celebrated our Ash Wednesday with a very special mass dedicated to alum Neil Fingleton who passed away last week at the age of thirty-six. It was a bittersweet time as we welcomed many of his friends, classmates, teammates, and his Worcester surrogate family. Neil will be loved, remembered, and missed always at Holy Name. He was an extraordinary individual who had a positive impact on everyone that he met.
As we mourn Neil and enter the Lenten season, we recognize that we can always do a better job of being accepting of one another regardless of race, ethnicity, or country of origin. We must always be open to welcoming new students, faculty, and families into our Catholic community. As we told the students at mass, Neil was our first international student; he had a very thick accent, and, for him, it was impossible to simply blend into the crowd. However, Neil was embraced by the Holy Name community and by all of the City of Worcester to the point where he considered this his second home.
We have made it a point at Holy Name to honor Neil and his passing by reflecting on who we are as a Christian, Catholic community and how that should manifest itself in our interactions with one another. And we will use the example that Neil set of always being friendly, open, kind, and welcoming to others as we move forward.