Many people fear dying before they have a chance to leave a mark on those around them. The St. Joseph of Arimathea Society, a new club on campus, has the goal of ensuring that everyone deceased has someone to remember them even if they did not leave this kind of mark.The club founder and President John Hirschauer ’18, along with the Vice President Christian Kabbas ‘18, started the club to provide dignity to the passing of all people, according to Kabbas.According to Tess Griffin ‘20, who is a member, the club also provides support to those who have lost loved ones.
Kabbas explained how the Fairfield chapter of the St. Joseph of Arimathea Society, a national organization with chapters at many Catholic colleges and high schools in the U.S., has made their main goal to remember the forgotten and marginalized deceased through prayer and fundraisers. Thus far, the group has taken several trips to Connecticut Valley Hospital Cemetery to pray for the hundreds of unmarked graves of deceased patients. Additionally, the group has made prayer service visits to Newtown Village Cemetery in Newtown, Conn. where many of the victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting are buried.
“On top of this,” said Kabbas “we had our first major fundraiser this year in the form of a charity wiffle ball tournament to benefit [the] TEARS Foundation, an organization that helps bereaved families defray funeral costs for children.”
The club raised $60 for the foundation and intends to raise more in upcoming fundraisers, Kabbas said.
According to Treasurer Robert Fredette ‘18, the society accomplishes their goals by “serving as pallbearers at funerals for the less fortunate or elderly, holding prayer services at local cemeteries to ensure the dead are never forgotten as well as organize fundraisers for funeral costs for parents with deceased children.”
“We have made great progress in both of these goals but there are always ways we can grow and do more great things,” Fredette continued.
The Fairfield chapter of the St. Joseph of Arimathea Society was founded during the spring semester of 2016. After researching other chapters of the St. Joseph of Arimathea Society, Hirschauer reached out to Kabbas along with the club’s other officers Co-Vice President Drew St. Germain ‘18 and Fredette, suggesting that they begin one at Fairfield.
“Many of us have experienced loss in our personal lives, and we all believe that everyone, no matter the circumstances, deserves respect in their passing,” commented Kabbas. ”We all bought into the mission from the get-go and are proud of the work we do.”
The club has monthly meetings to discuss plans for services and fundraisers.
Kabbas has found the club to be successful thus far.
“Our goal is to honor those who have been forgotten and marginalized on any scale,” he said. “We’ve been able to accomplish this through all of our efforts, whether it’s a prayer service in Newtown or raising money for the TEARS Foundation. In small steps, we accomplish our mission.”
Kabbas also commented on the fact that the mission of the St. Joseph of Arimathea Society fits in well with the Jesuit values of Fairfield.
He said, “Through small acts of kindness, compassion and reverence, we work to help those who can’t help themselves. That’s a truly rewarding experience.”