At Masses on Sundays, current students can typically look around and spot their peers in the seats; however, on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m., the seats were instead filled with alumni, both recent and those who graduated long ago.
This was the annual Alumni Advent Mass that is put on by the Fairfield County Alumni Chapter of the Alumni Association each year on the first Sunday of Advent.
President of the Fairfield County Alumni Chapter Joseph Delaney ‘03 MBA ‘04, who organized the Mass, as well as the reception with Santa afterwards in Bellarmine Hall, shared his thoughts on the event.
“I believe it’s a great opportunity for alumni to stay connected with the values they learned at Fairfield U,” said Delaney. “The spirituality of attending Mass reminds us of the Jesuit values we learned about. And it’s a great way to stay connected with families in the University community. Meeting Santa is a great way to start the holiday season.”
Delaney also described the event as “a great way to reconnect with Fairfield.”
The Mass was presided over by Rev. Charles H. Allen, S.J.
The reception with Santa occured in Bellarmine Hall this year, rather than Alumni House, which is where it is usually held. At the reception, they had refreshments and food, as well as activities like coloring for the children to do while they waited to see Santa.
First-year Lauren Casieri looks forward to the day she can bring her children to the reception.
“My parents are always proud to talk about their colleges, but their colleges have never really had anything to include alumni and their kids, so I think that would be a cool thing to bring my kids to someday,” Casieri commented.
Like every local alumni chapter during the holiday season, the Fairfield County Alumni Chapter asked that each family bring a teddy bear to the reception for the Teddy Bears with Love Drive, according to Delaney.
Sophomore Chelsea Proehl, who co-coordinated the drive, commented, “I’m here for the children. It’s a great event, we got 70 to 80 families this year.”
Delaney said that 170 people registered for the event, which included 93 adults and 77 children.
Jeanine Braun ‘84, who has brought her daughter to the event to see Santa before and decided to come again this year, commented, “My daughter really loves to see Santa and see all the decorations. It’s really great, and the Mass is really nice. It’s one of my favorite places to come to Mass when I can come back.”
“It’s huge because it brings back nice memories but also it kind of makes you think of sending your kids back here if you can,” Braun continued. “I had a really great experience at Fairfield, so I would love to be able to share it with my little girl someday.”
Another mother who brought her children, Cristina Dieguez-Kuo ‘99, added, “My kids love seeing Santa here and we always go to the Alumni Advent Mass. It’s always good to see other alumni, every time we come I come with my college roommate and we always run into people we know, so it’s a great way to keep that alumni community.”
“This is a really wonderful way to see Santa as opposed to going to the mall to see Santa,” Dieguez-Kuo continued. “It feels more like a family environment.”
One couple that came to the event, Tom Corbett ‘07 and Molly Corbett ‘07, explained that they met at Fairfield University. They brought their young son to the reception to see Santa Claus.
“The two of us are both alumni and we met here, so I think it’s important to bring him back to share in this part of our background and history,” Tom explained.