Here, a day late, are a few photos and an article from Siena College News office about the “Blessing of the Brains” prayer service from 10pm on Reading Day Tuesday night. Below are some photos from the Siena College News office of me and some students from the event. There are more photos of the event with other friars and students available here.

Blessing of the Brains

By Siena College News
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More than 400 Siena students packed Serra Hall at 10 o’clock on the eve of final exams for the “Blessing of the Brains” prayer service. Students hope the blessing will help them succeed on their upcoming tests.

“Offering the ‘Blessing of the Brains’ at the end of each semester is part of who we are and what we claim to be as a Roman Catholic college in the Franciscan tradition. And it is a lot of fun,” said College Chaplain, Fr. Greg Jakubowicz, O.F.M.

The Office of the College Chaplain started the late-night prayer service in the mid 1990s under the direction of Br. Michael Harlan, O.F.M. For many years it was held at 11 p.m. and was aptly dubbed “The 11th Hour.” The service was designed to be an enjoyable way to help students replace their end-of-the-semester stress with a positive mindset.

“There’s nothing like the fear of failure to bring students to their knees and to remind them of the power of prayer,” joked Fr. Bill Beaudin ’76, O.F.M. Fr. Bill served as College Chaplain from 2002 to 2009.

The tradition has evolved, and starting last year, became known as the “Blessing of the Brains.”

“During the blessing, the Franciscan Friars place our hands on the heads of each Siena student as we pray for the gifts of wisdom and right judgment for the student. It is part of the richness of our faith that we can rely on such prayer,” said Fr. Greg.

Friars Brian Belanger, Dennis Tamburello ’76, Walter Liss, Linh Hoang and Daniel Horan joined Fr. Greg for the blessing and the service, which included music from the Chapel Choir under the direction of Kate Kaufman Burns.

“Addressing our students’ anxiety over final exams with a word of encouragement, a gesture of blessing, and the assurance of God’s care and concern for them brings our Catholic faith into the rhythms of the academic year and into the real lives of our students,” said Fr. Bill.


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