Communion in Every Sense
The St. Norbert College office of alumni and parent relations designs alumni events with three aspects in mind: Norbertine, liberal arts and social. Spirituality falls within the Norbertine focus, so a Mass or a prayer service is often an integral part of the event.
Signature alumni events like the Wedding Party, Junior Knights & Days, Family Weekend, Golden Knight Celebration and Mass & Brunch events all include a liturgy. Prayer services are held during Alumni College, the Alumni Awards Dinner & Ceremony and other affinity reunion events.
“We include a Mass in our events because we want to incorporate our Norbertine heritage and values into our events,” says John Sabo ’07 (Alumni & Parent Relations). “The mission of the college states that we provide an educational environment that fosters intellectual, spiritual and personal development. The mission of the college doesn’t end when you graduate, but continues with you as an alumnus or alumna.”
Alumni Mass & Brunch, revived in 2008 with the assistance of John Dooley ’93, Beth Lunow ’95 and Billy Falk ’08, serves as an example of a social gathering that features a spiritual element. The event, at its inaugural location at Marquette University, draws alumni from the Milwaukee area as well as northeast Wisconsin. Alumni Mass & Brunch has since branched out to Chicago and Minneapolis, areas in which large numbers of SNC alumni reside.
These events are just a little bit different than the typical happy hour or tailgate because a Norbertine attends along with the alumni staffers, says Sabo. “It’s just something that’s more family-oriented. It’s got a little more substance behind it.”
The Rev. Jim Neilson, O.Praem., ’88 celebrated Mass at this year’s Milwaukee event, May 4, with assistance from Scott Wiese ’85, a Catholic deacon.
“It’s always a joyous occasion as those attending have a strong connection to the college and many times the participants are men and women I’ve had in class, so it always has the tone of a happy reunion,” says Neilson.
“Father Jim is great and brings with him an energy and an obvious and genuine love for the college and for his ministry,” says Deacon Wiese. “During the brunch we enjoy meeting alumni. There are usually people we know or remember from prior years, but it's also an opportunity to meet new people and to share memories and interesting stories.”
Jenny (Wehmeyer) Wiese ’84 regularly joins her husband for the Alumni Mass & Brunch. “It’s like taking Old St. Joe’s on the road,” says Deacon Wiese.
“When we were students, going to Mass together was a way for us to step away from the busyness and stress of college life and to stay grounded in things that really matter – faith, hope, love, our relationship with God and with each other, and being in community with other students, faculty and the world,” he says. “The Alumni Mass does the same thing. It grounds us in our love of God and connects us with the community of SNC, both the community on campus and the community of alumni.”
June 3, 2014