February 16, 2010
On Saturday, February 13, 2010 more than 125 alumni couples
gathered in St. Thomas More Church on the Queens campus for the
second annual Blessing of the Couples ceremony. The event began
with a Mass that included a special blessing and renewal of the
couples' marriage vows.
Mass Photo Gallery
Reception Photo Gallery
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 Chaplain, St. John's School of Law; Rev.
John A. Kettelberger, C.M., University Chaplain; Rev. Tri Minh
Duong, C.M., Campus Minister, Athletics and Rev. Peter Goldbach,
C.M., a long-time member of the Vincentian community at St. John's
who recently celebrated his 98th birthday.
Serving as principal celebrant and homilist, Fr. Kettelberger
reminded the couples that "Marriage is both an ordinary and
extraordinary thing. The words are ordinary, but the
relationship that they signify is extraordinary because the Lord is
the invisible partner in every marriage. You repeat your vows every
day by the way you live your lives and love each other…with
kindness, gentleness, compassion and forgiveness, as God loves
Fr. Harrington noted the pride that St. John's has for the
exceptional women and men who have made a lasting difference in the
world as husbands and wives, heads of families, parents and
grandparents. "Tonight we celebrate the women and men who have gone
forth from the University to live lives of great fidelity," he
said. "We celebrate with you tonight, and we have much to
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.
A highlight of this joyful event was the presentation of the
Fidelitas Award to
Jeanne K. ('70 Ed, '80MBA) and
Paul M. Carroll '69CBA, '71MBA, '80PD,
Margaret L. ('70Ed) and
Peter P. D'Angelo '78MBA, '06HON and
Eleanor B. ('70Ed) and
Michael G. Devlin '70CBA, '74L. The Fidelitas Award is
presented to alumni couples who have demonstrated exceptional
fidelity and love for each other and St. John's.
"I'm very humbled to receive this award," said Paul.
Carroll. "This University is an important part of my life,
and I'm proud to see what St. John's has done for so many people,
all around the world." Jeanne Carroll noted that "As with
many St. John's graduates, we were the first of our generation to
go to college. I think of my parents, and how they sacrificed
to send me to this wonderful Catholic university. Paul and I
will always be a part of the St. John's family."
Peter D'Angelo was quick to acknowledge that this award was
particularly special to him because, "…it's for both of us.
It reflects Peg's and my life together, our commitment to each
other as well as to St. John's. That combination really makes
it extra special for us."
"St. John's is so important to my husband and to me," agreed
Margaret D'Angelo. "To be recognized by our University is
such an honor, and this is even more special, because it
acknowledges our life together as well as our commitment to St.
For Michael Devlin, receiving the Fidelitas Award was a reflection
of his and Eleanor's commitment to the University's unique
Vincentian mission, and "…reflects the things that really make me
happy, such as being married to Ellie and being a part of the great
St. John's family. The St. John's mission is fantastic, and
we're both happy to support the University we love so much."
"Receiving the Fidelitas Award is such an affirmation of our faith
and our love for each other," agreed Eleanor Devlin. "St.
John's has a great mission and wonderful ideals, and my husband and
I try our best to live up to those Vincentian ideals every
Following Mass, these very special couples enjoyed a reception
in the D'Angelo Center Ballroom, where they were welcomed by Bill
Schaeffer '73CBA, Director, Office of Alumni Relations. "As
we bask in the love of our devoted spouse," said Schaeffer, "let us
thank God for the blessings that He showers upon us on a daily
basis, and let us never forget the University that we love, each in
our own way, through a host of yesterdays, a wonderful today, and
an endless sea of tomorrows."
For many couples, this was their first time back to St. John's in a
number of years, and they were grateful for the opportunity to
return to the University that means so much to them. "We
haven't been back to campus for years," said Anthony J. Battista,
M.D. '76C. "St. John's is important to us because that's
where my wife [Maryanne L. Cristiani Battista '77P] and I
met. Friends of ours attended this event last year and told
us how lovely it was, and so we decided to come and see for
ourselves. We're glad we did!"
"It's a tremendous experience to come back with my husband
[Aurelio Gelardi '47CBA] and take part in this wonderful Mass and
ceremony," remarked Theresa Frawley Gelardi '51CBA. "My
husband and I made a lot of lifelong friends over the years because
of St. John's, and I've worked extensively with
other St. John's alumnae to support the University. We both
love everything about St. John's."
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. "We were married about five
months ago and we think it's important to support our alma mater,"
said Audrey Walsh Smith '08L. "This is a really nice event,
and it's important for us to stay an active part of the St. John's
"Our parents went here and we met here," noted Brian G. Smith '08L,
"and some day Audrey and I hope to have children who will go here
and keep the St. John's family tradition alive."
Although both from Queens, Jill Buttner O'Sullivan '98CBA and John
O'Sullivan ‘98CBA didn't become a couple until they were halfway
around the world as part of their study abroad experience during
their junior year. "We really didn't know each other on
campus, and only became friends during our study abroad program in
Budapest, Hungary," said Jill. "We started dating once we got
back home and were married last June. I guess you can say
that our relationship really began with an international twist to
it. St. John's is, and always will be, very important to us."