Notre Dame’s inaugural Gold Mass set for Nov. 15

Author: Nina Welding

Gold Mass
Gold Mass

The inaugural Gold Mass for scientists and engineers will be celebrated at 5:15 p.m. Nov. 15 (Wednesday) in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.


Rev. Terrence P. Ehrman, C.S.C., assistant director of the Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing, will preside and preach.


Named for the color of the hoods worn by individuals graduating with a Ph.D. in science, the Gold Mass is also associated with St. Albert the Great, the patron saint of scientists.


While the Gold Mass is a new tradition at Notre Dame, the initial Gold Mass for scientists and engineers was held on Nov. 15, 2016, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Mass was established by the Society of Catholic Scientists, an idea that grew from a seed planted in a 1988 letter from Saint John Paul II, then pope, to the Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory. In that letter the pontiff wrote, “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.”


The oldest Mass for professions, the Red Mass for lawyers and lawmakers began in the 13th century. The White Mass for health care professionals and Blue Mass for law enforcement were introduced in the 1930s.


In addition to the Gold Mass, activities celebrating the pairing of faith and science in answering society’s grand challenges include a reception in the galleria of Jordan Hall of Science at 6:15 p.m. and an Edison Lecture, which will be held at 7:15 p.m. in Jordan Hall of Science, Room 101.


The lecture will address the question of the compatibility of faith and science. The featured speaker is Jonathan I. Lunine, the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences. A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Lunine is also a founding member and current vice president of the Society of Catholic Scientists.


All events related to the Gold Mass — the Mass, reception and Edison Lecture — are free and open to the public. People of all denominations and faith traditions are welcome to participate.

For more information regarding the Mass and the lecture, visit