In January each year, the Society gathers to celebrate a Mass followed by a Brunch. The Mass traditionally falls on either the Solemnity of the Epiphany or the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
The Solemnity of the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the three wise men to the Infant Jesus. It recognizes the revelation of God in his Son as human in Jesus Christ. It is said that this feast of Christ's divinity completes the feast of His humanity.
The Baptism of the Lord Mass is celebrated to commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, an example of the continued manifestation of the Lord, as Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to bring forth children of God. The feast of the Baptism of the Lord allows us to again encounter the truth of the Lord’s incarnation, as it offers to us the institution of the sacrament of baptism. Liturgically, it brings to a conclusion the season of Christmas.
The Mass is traditionally celebrated at St. Patrick Church, followed by a brunch (often referred to as the January Brunch) held at a nearby venue. The January Brunch traditionally focuses on members of the academic community, counting among its speakers many university presidents and professors. In recent years, the January Brunch speakers have included:
- Rev. Kevin F. O’Brien, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University, who also oversees the largest campus ministry in the country and has written extensively about Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit formation.
- Rev. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., President of Assumption University in Ontario and CEO of the Salt and Light Media Foundation based in Toronto, who was a member of the Holy See Press Office staff and served as one of the official Vatican spokespersons during the historic papal transition that included Benedict XVI’s resignation and election of Pope Francis.
- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, a patristics scholar and professor at the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary’s seminary in Houston, Texas, who is also a former Episcopal bishop, married, and was tapped by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, which was was established to welcome groups of Anglicans seeking to become Catholic as a group while also retaining aspects of their Anglican heritage and liturgical practices.
- Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., President of Marquette University, and former President of the University of Scranton, who is an expert in medieval and Renaissance literature, and has taught courses on a variety of subjects at several Catholic universities.
Through the January Brunch, the Society strives to help brunch participants to connect (or re-connect) with DC-area alumni. The Society especially encourages its new members to attend the January Brunch, where they may meet JCS leadership, learn more about the Society, and participate afterwards in a photograph for new members.
St. Patrick Church, where the annual January Mass is traditionally celebrated.
Elizabeth Meers (JCS President) and Petch Gibbons (Vice Chair, JCS Membership Committee) pose with new JCS members at the 2014 January Brunch following the Baptism of the Lord Mass.
Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi, JCS Chaplain,
delivers his homily at the Baptism of the Lord Mass.