Sunday, March 7 marked the start to a new tradition at Fairfield University in which the newly elected Fairfield University Student Association President and Vice President received a blessing ahead of their inauguration. 

Juniors Tyler Heffern and Cailyn Fiori were announced the winners of the 2021 FUSA Presidential and Vice Presidential Election on Feb. 23. Yesterday, they received a blessing from the Director of Campus Ministry, Reverend Paul Rourke, S.J. at the Egan Chapel Of St. Ignatius Loyola towards the end of the 5:00 p.m. mass. 

Current FUSA President and Vice President Vincent Gadioma ‘22 and Tobenna Ugwu ‘22 were thanked by Rourke for their service to the Fairfield community during their tenure as president and vice president. 

Rourke feels this new tradition aligns well with Fairfield’s Jesuit and Catholic tradition. 

“The blessing is a way of celebrating our student leaders and of asking God’s help and guidance for them as they prepare to assume their leadership of FUSA,” Rourke said.

Gadioma also referenced this new tradition in a comment said to The Mirror

“I am excited for this new tradition of a mass blessing to welcome the new FUSA leadership, and am looking forward to working with Tyler and Cailyn as they transition into their new roles,” Gadioma said. “[Ugwu] and I will continue to serve the students to the best of our ability, and will always be an available resource for the both of them.”

Ugwu echoed this sentiment stating that he and Gadioma will be a resource for the president and vice president-elects should they need anything. 

Heffern and Fiori expressed their excitement about taking on these new positions next year and continuing to work with Gadioma and Ugwu. Fiori stated she was “excited to start preparing for next year along with [Heffern] under the guidance of [Gadioma] and [Ugwu]. 

Both Heffern and Fiori thanked Rourke for his blessing. 

Heffern stated, “I am grateful that Father Rourke asked us to participate in this blessing, and thank him for beginning this new tradition for FUSA leadership.”

 Rourke discussed some of the reasons behind starting this new tradition.

“When we inaugurate a new president of the university, begin the academic year, or host a significant campus event, we normally begin with a prayer asking for God’s help and blessing,” Rourke said. 

“As you may have seen with President [Joe] Biden’s inauguration, invoking God’s blessing is a long-standing and venerable tradition for government leaders.” 

The transition process between the two administrations will take place until the FUSA Presidential Inauguration on May 2.

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