To celebrate University-wide leadership, faculty and student leaders were honored and blessed at the annual opening school mass on Sept. 26 in Alumni Hall.
Students from various athletic teams and Student Government, Inc., were among the hundreds of faculty and administration present during the event.
CAUSE, Haraya, Habitat for Humanity, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and athletic team captians were among some of the honorees represented during the mass.
“The mass was really to congratulate them in all the ways they have spread the message of St. Vincent de Paul, but to also keep up the good work,” Tori Migliore, resident campus minister, said.
Students were given a pin to commemorate their duties as leaders on campus and were blessed by the whole congregation through the words of the Rev. Donald. J. Harrington, C.M., who presided over the ceremony in Alumni Hall.
“We ask you [God] to bless these pins, emblazoned with the University crest, and the students who will wear them, to embody in their lives your core values in which St. John’s stands,” Fr. Harrington said.
Students said the leaders deserved the mass to honor the work they do for the St. John’s community.
“I think it was a very beautiful ceremony, and I think it is very important to recognize how hard students work,” Jaqueline Tejada, a criminolgy and psycholgy major, said. “I think it was well deserved.”
“As a student leader I think it was a great opportunity to be recognized because we do a lot of hard work,” Mercy Sanchez, a junior representative of CAUSE, said.
The mass also celebrated the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, which was Sept. 28, and to motivate students to follow his ways of kindness towards others.
David Graziano, a senior in the College of Professional Studies, spoke during the homily, explaining his experience in the St. John’s Vincentian community during the evening of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was standing in a room with a bunch of RAs and we were told that we had to have Manhattan students sleep in our rooms,” he said. “And the RAs just opened up their rooms to these students. It was amazing, the feeling that we were helping the best that we could.”
Many students walked away with a positive message and the motivation to continue the work that they do.
“As a student leader it looks like you kind of set yourself up for ridicule or just being plain different, and that isn’t easy most of the time,” Angela Hernandez, a sophomore representative from the St. Vincent de Paul Society, said. “To be recognized, definitely, was the motivation to keep us going in times of difficulty.”
“It was very inspiring, and it tells you how much you can do to help others even by just extending your hand to someone who needs your help,” Sanchez said.