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Loyola dedicates memorial Mass to Caitlin McDonald ’22

Loyola dedicates memorial Mass to Caitlin McDonald 22

On Sept. 22, members of the Loyola community gathered at the Alumni Memorial Chapel to celebrate the life of Caitlin McDonald ‘22, who tragically passed away in a jet-skiing accident this past July on Long Island. 

McDonald’s Messina mentors, rowing teammates, fellow peers, friends, and family were present at Sunday’s Mass given by President Rev. Brian Linnane, who attended McDonald’s funeral on Long Island this past summer. Linnane highlighted McDonald’s eulogy, noting the remarks it contained about McDonald’s positive experience at Loyola.  

“We are happy that she had such a wonderful experience at Loyola, and we miss her, we pray for her, and we pray for her family and friends who join us this evening,” said Linnane. 

Linnane referred to McDonald’s involvement on campus, including rowing and jazz ensemble, as an example of “squeezing the sponge”— an analogy frequently used by Linnane to encourage students to take advantage of, or squeeze, every opportunity they encounter at Loyola. 

While noting the tragic nature of McDonald’s passing, Linnane encouraged the assembly to focus on the “uniqueness of Caitlin” and her accomplishments — a uniqueness, Linnane explained, that is present in all people. 

“There are many persons who live a very long time and will not touch the lives of people in the way that Caitlin did,” said Linnane. “There are many students who will come through this university and not touch as many people as Caitlin did. That refers, that reminds us, of her unique and beautiful personality.” 

In closing the mass, McDonald’s mother, Joanna McDonald, was introduced and welcomed to speak in her daughter’s memory. McDonald spoke of the impact Loyola had on her daughter, reflecting on the “confident young woman” she and her family welcomed home at the beginning of the summer. McDonald’s mother applauded her embodiment of Loyola’s motto, “Strong Truths Well Lived,” referencing McDonald’s numerous accomplishments that she achieved within a singular year on Loyola’s campus. 

“She was genuine. Cait was authentic. What you saw is what you got. She never tried to be something she was not. For an almost nineteen-year-old in today’s world, we believe that’s a true accomplishment,” said McDonald. 

Jade Wehner ‘21 was McDonald’s Evergreen during her first year at Loyola. McDonald’s mother’s sentiments resonated with her, noting that she saw many of the same characteristics in McDonald during her time at Loyola.

“Her mom said that she fully embodied Loyola’s motto of Strong Truths Well Lived and I couldn’t agree more with that statement,” said Wehner. “She was loved by many on campus and I know she will be extremely missed.” 

The Counseling Center and Campus Ministry were both represented at the Mass and can be contacted by those who seek their assistance. Loyola continues to keep McDonald’s memory alive and her family and friends in their prayers, as the celebration of her life endures on campus and within the community.

Image Courtesy of Thomas A. Glynn & Son Funeral Home

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Loyola dedicates memorial Mass to Caitlin McDonald ’22