February 17, 2009
Love was in
the air on Valentine’s Day at St. John’s University as more than
100 couples who met at St. John’s and later married gathered in St.
Thomas More Church on the Queens campus on Saturday, February 14,
2009 for a special Mass that included a renewal of their marriage
vows as part of a beautiful Blessing of the Couples
The Mass was concelebrated by St. John’s University President
Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M.; Rev. Joseph V. Daly, C.M., '73G,
'75GEd, Assistant to the President; Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M.,
Executive Vice President for Mission and Branch Campuses; Rev.
Kevin G. Creagh, C.M., '91SVC, '04PD, Associate Vice President for
International Sites and Alumni Chaplain; Rev. John A. Kettelberger,
C.M., Director of Residence Ministry and Rev. Peter Goldbach, C.M.,
a long-time member of the Vincentian community at St. John’s who
recently celebrated his 97th birthday.
In his homily Fr. Creagh noted that “Marital love is proof that
God is in our midst. Today we celebrate people who choose to
serve and honor their spouse.” He reminded the couples that
“…marital love is a reflection of God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness
and a striking reminder of His love for us…a love that lasts
Harrington thanked the alumni for “…beginning a great new tradition
at St. John’s. Today we celebrate the uniqueness of St.
John’s that brings us all together.” He urged them to “feel at
home in St. Thomas More Church and come back often to participate
with us in Sunday Mass at St. John’s.”
Fr. Harrington happily noted that many of the couples present
had been married by Fr. Daly in the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel,
which served as the spiritual home of St. John’s prior to the
construction of St. Thomas More Church.
During the ceremony each couple stepped forward to receive an
individual blessing from the concelebrant of their choice, many of
whom had been personal friends for many years.
Following Mass each wife received a red rose for Valentine’s
Day, after which these very special couples strolled across campus
to enjoy a Champagne Reception in Marillac Terrace, where they were
welcomed by Bill Schaeffer '73CBA, Director, Office of Alumni
Relations. “As we gather today…let us be very thankful for
the University that helped lead us to the wonderful love of our
lives, and hope that we can celebrate that love for many years to
come,” said Schaeffer who, along with his wife Linda '73C shared
College Couple status with the guests.
For many couples this was their first time back on campus in a
number of years, and they were surprised by how much the University
had changed since their last visit. “The campus is really
beautiful,” said Joseph D’Agostino '79P. “There really have been so
many changes since [my wife] Sonja '79P and I graduated.”
Guests appreciated the opportunity to publicly reaffirm their
love for one another while acknowledging the role that St. John’s
played in bringing them together. “Today brings back a lot of
memories,” noted Michael Spedalle '81CBA while enjoying the
reception with his wife Kathleen '84SVC and their children.
“It’s fun to come back, see the campus and show my children where
Mommy and I met…which happens to be right here in Marillac
“It’s really great to see the turnout today,” said Jennifer
Marciano Amato '99SVC, '02L. “It makes you realize how many
people met and fell in love at our University.”