Catholic Scholars Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner

By Vincent J. Crespo, Senior Catholic Scholar

November 30, 2021

As we sat down to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, I was reminded of the meal I shared with my family away from home. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, all of the participants in the Catholic Scholars program had dinner as a group for the first time since the pandemic began. We reconnected with friends, shared stories of our times together prepandemic—and most importantly, used this moment to meet other scholars from outside of our cohorts.

The Catholic Scholars program has always been my home away from home. My fellow scholars were the first people I met on campus; we instantly became a family. We attended classes, shared meals, went to church, and practiced our faith together. We learned how our faith urges us to be advocacy for all people and prepares us for being Vincentian and faithful alumni.

This program has always been a safe place to share our Catholic beliefs and find support when needed.

Sharing our meal together on that Sunday evening after the 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Thomas More Church brought back all of the memories we made and trials we endured. It was amazing to once again be a part of such a faithful and blessed group of people. For many of us, this dinner was the first time seeing each other since the start of the pandemic; it was an opportunity for us to be thankful for everyone who offered their support during a very challenging time. We also took the time to think and reflect about those who do not have the privileges and resources we are blessed to have.

At the dinner, I learned more about the individuals in other cohorts. This was actually the first time I met the younger scholars, many of whom have only been on campus for a few months. This gave me an opportunity to connect with them and offer advice on everything from finding their way around campus, discovering organizations, and discerning their career goals.

One of the greatest strengths of the program was the support network it provided to me both spiritually and academically. I will never forget the kindness and guidance I received as a freshman in the program. I feel like it is my responsibility to pass that on to the younger scholars. I would not be in the position that I am in today without the mentoring of others. 

This pandemic has been a trying time for all of us. We had to physically separate when we needed each other the most. The Thanksgiving dinner with the Catholic Scholars was a reminder of the good times we shared together as an organization and offered a glimmer of hope for the future. 

For many of us, readjusting to in-person classes, attending virtual networking events, and working on our future career goals has taken an emotional toll. As we approach final exams, this meal we shared together (for the first time in what has felt like forever) was refreshing. It reminded us of the strength that is found when we come together in faith as a community.