February 13, 2012
St. John’s University has always held a unique place in the
hearts of its alumni.
For many alumni couples, the 4th Annual Blessing of the Couples
was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their love for each
other and their University at a concelebrated Mass in St.
Thomas More Church on the Queens campus. “Today is truly a special
day,” said Principal Celebrant and Homilist Rev. John Kettelberger,
C.M. “Every one of the couples here today has made a lifelong
commitment to each other, and that is a wonderful example to each
Joining Fr. Kettelberger in offering a special blessing
and the renewal of vows to each individual couple were St. John’s
University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., Rev. Joseph
V. Daly, C.M. ’73G, ’75GEd, Rev. Patrick S. Flanagan, C.M., Rev.
Peter D. Goldbach, C.M. and Rev. James J. Maher, C.M. ’84C.
Eileen (’52UC) and Frank Heary ’52CBA met on the Schermerhorn
Street campus in downtown Brooklyn when Frank was pledging the Red
Knights Fraternity and needed a date for a college dance. Mutual
friends introduced him to Eileen, and once they realized how much
they enjoyed each other’s company, they started dating and were
soon planning to marry. Frank was drafted into the military soon
after graduation, and the couple was married ten days after his
Today, 57 years later, their attachment to each other and to St.
John’s has never been stronger. “St. John’s will always be
important to us,” said Eileen. “We wouldn’t have had all of these
wonderful years together if it wasn’t for St. John’s. We got a
great education and we got each other, and for that we’ll always be
grateful. God has been very good to us, and it all started at St.
It was a mutual enjoyment of St. John’s basketball that brought
Mary (’77Ed, ’80GEd) and Dennis Callahan ’73C together.
was playing on the women’s basketball team,” recalled Mary, “and
Dennis and I were introduced by the boyfriend of one of the other
girls on the team. We didn’t start dating right away because Dennis
was four years older than I and had already graduated. But it must
have been meant to be, because two years later, after I graduated,
we sat together at a basketball tournament and started going out
together. We were married in the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel right
here on the Queens campus.”
Dennis admits that he “…always wanted to go to St. John’s,
especially because of the men’s basketball games that were always
so exciting. Somehow, it seems really appropriate that I ended up
marrying a basketball player. We both got a great education at St.
John’s, and we’re enjoying a wonderful life together. Being here
[at Blessing of the Couples] is a nice way to show what our
University will always mean to us.”
Like many couples, Hannah (’09C) and Andrew Conti ’09CPS began
their relationship over a leisurely meal, not in an elegant
restaurant but in Montgoris Dining Hall on the Queens campus. They
were both living in the Residence Village and shared a commitment
to putting their Catholic faith into action by participating in
Campus Ministry activities.
“St. John’s was very formative for both of us,” noted Hannah.
“We were both very active in Campus Ministry and the Vincentian
life of the University has always been very important to us. Living
in the dorms meant that we were spending a lot of time on campus,
and being a part of Campus Ministry was the perfect way for us to
grow spiritually at the same time that we were taking advantage of
everything that St. John’s had to offer.”
The couple decided to get married a year after graduation, and
not surprisingly, chose St. Thomas More Church as the
“We had spent so much time together in that church during our
years at St. John’s that we couldn’t imagine getting married
anywhere else,” said Andrew. “St. John’s is a very special place
for both of us, and coming back today really brings back memories.
We even brought our baby with us! Might as well get him into the
St. John’s spirit s soon as possible.”
Following Mass the couples enjoyed a casual reception in the
Mattone Atrium of St. John’s School of Law.