December 11, 2009
On Monday, December 7, 2009 alumni and friends of St. John’s
University gathered with students, faculty and staff for the
19th Annual Winter Carnival on the Queens campus. The spirit
of Christmas was in the air as arriving guests delighted in the
sights and sounds of a campus festively decorated in red and white
lights, the traditional St. John’s colors, while an exciting laser
light show played across the façade of St. Augustine
Guests contributed new, unwrapped toys to be distributed by St.
John’s Bread and Life to needy children throughout the greater New
York metropolitan area.
The evening began as the University family gathered for Mass in
St. Thomas More Church, during which principal celebrant and
homilist Rev. John A. Kettelberger, C.M., Director of Residence
Ministry urged everyone to recognize the love of God in every
aspect of the Christmas season. Fr. Kettelberger noted that
Christmas becomes more meaningful when we invite Jesus into our
lives and reminded everyone to make the simple prayer, “Come, Lord
Jesus, come” a part of their holiday preparations.
Following Mass the celebration moved outside to the Great Lawn
for the lighting of the University Christmas tree by Rev. Donald J.
Harrington, C.M., President, St. John’s University and Patrick
McBurney ’10C, President of Student Government, Inc. As the
tree came ablaze with lights, guests enjoyed a display of
spectacular Grucci fireworks as the pyrotechnics surged into the
starlit winter sky.
One of the highlights of the Winter Carnival was the popular
Santa tent, where families could have their child’s picture taken
with Santa Claus. The evening ended with a dessert reception
in the newly-opened D’Angelo Center, the magnificent hub of student
life on the Queens campus.
Alumni were happy for the opportunity to return to alma mater
with their families to participate in this traditional and popular
celebration. “I’m out here with my grandchildren for all the
festivities,” said Kurt Mietzner ’71MBA. “It’s a great way to
kick off the Christmas season.”
“We come here every year,” agreed Stephen Yesko ’96MBA.
“We love to see all the growth and development, and the school
spirit that’s on display tonight is really tremendous.”
The diversity of activities designed to reflect both the
religious and secular aspects of the holiday season was greatly
appreciated by many alumni. “I think it’s a wonderful
evening, especially coming on the eve of the Feast of the
Immaculate Conception.” noted Rev. Robert E. Lauder. “We have
the Mass, which is beautiful, and then we have this really fun
evening where we light the tree and have these terrific
“Tonight is a great celebration of what’s always been so special
about St. John’s,” said Alice C. Heron-Burke ’75C, ’77G.
“It’s wonderful to see every segment of the University family
coming together to celebrate Christmas at a place that obviously
means so much to us all. At the bottom line, that’s what St.
John’s is all about.”