University to celebrate annual feast

Maddie Chera

In keeping with the tradition established in 1996, this year’s St. Thomas of Villanova Day will be held on the Thursday following Labor Day, Sept. 8. A shortened class schedule will allow for all students, faculty and staff to join in the annual celebration of community outreach, which is central to the Augustinian ideal.The festivities will begin with the blessing and dedication of the new St. Thomas of Villanova statue outside of the monastery at 12:45 p.m. and will be followed by a 1:30 p.m. liturgical celebration in the Grotto, presided over by Rev. Edmund Dobbin, O.S.A., and Rev. Donald Reilly, O.S.A.After the Mass, there will be an academic convocation in the Pavilion, featuring a number of faculty speakers, who will discuss their academic experiences and how these link to the community as a whole. According to Dr. John Immerwahr, coordinator of the convocation, “It is the centerpiece of the whole St. Thomas celebration. It is the time when the University tries to celebrate the academic mission of the University and communicate that vision to our new students.”Following this, the University’s various student organizations will parade from the Pavilion to Austin Field. All groups are welcome, and a $250 prize will be awarded to the most spirited organization. At the parade’s destination, the festival dinner will begin at 4:30 p.m., with accompanying student music and dance showcase. The dining halls will be closed and the food will be served free of charge, to further encourage student attendance.Freshmen are required to be present at the day’s events, but the faculty, staff and students who have worked to organize the day also want the upperclassmen to get excited about the day and visit whichever events appeal to them. The event’s aim is to join the various groups of Villanovans, as well as the historical, spiritual, academic and social facets of the school in a single celebration. Coordinators of the event hope to see a successful outcome, considering that portions of the past two celebrations have been cancelled due to inclement weather.Besides attendance, there are other ways to get involved with the celebration. A food drive from the Tuesday through Thursday of that week will be held to put into action the Augustinian tenet of serving others. Community members are encouraged to bring in non-perishable food items to the Connelly Center, where they will be collected and distributed to area soup kitchens.In addition, volunteers are needed on Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, to set up tables and chairs and monitor food tables at the festival dinner (contact Steve Cauterucci: 9-4423) and to assist with decorations (contact Elisa Hibbs: 9-4897).