Feast Student Bursary Fundraiser Celebrates 20th Anniversary October 2nd
St. Jerome’s University (SJU) is getting ready to celebrate! At 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 2, 2021, members of the community will be gathering online for the 20th Anniversary of its Feast of St. Jerome. The annual Feast event honours the University's Patron Saint, while raising funds for student bursaries.
Featured guest speaker this year is The Honourable Graydon Nicholas, a member of the Order of Canada; the former Lt. Governor of New Brunswick; and current Endowed Chair of Native Studies at St. Thomas University, New Brunswick. The celebration also includes the presentation of the University’s 2021 John R. Sweeney Award to Steven Lubczuk, a Kitchener-Waterloo lawyer and managing partner of Miller Thomson’s Southwestern Ontario offices.
“We are grateful to have The Honourable Graydon Nicholas speaking at our 20th Anniversary Feast event,” noted SJU’s President and Vice Chancellor, Peter Meehan, “During this celebratory year for Feast, we are reminded that it is also a time of great change. His Honour’s insight into the roles of universities in reconciliation with Indigenous people will provide another opportunity for reflection and also help guide us as an institution for the future.”
Moving Feast to an online format this year because of pandemic has been challenging in a community that thrives on in-person connections at events. Feast event organizer and SJU’s Director, Advancement and Donor Relations, Viola Poletes-Montgomery is encouraged that people will recognize that students have suffered during pandemic, being unable to obtain employment, or living in households where there is job loss and university expenses are a monumental and overwhelming challenge.
“There has never been a more important time to celebrate the Feast legacy of giving to our students at SJU,” stated Poletes-Montgomery. “The need for student financial support has increased exponentially because of pandemic. This is an opportunity to ease that stress on our students.”
Historically, the event is held in person on campus with a liturgy in the Notre Dame Chapel, prior to a reception, dinner, guest speaker and presentation of the John R. Sweeney Award, the University’s highest honour recognizing Catholic Leadership. The University was unable to hold the event last year due to pandemic gathering restrictions, making this year’s fundraising and celebration efforts that much more significant.
“We all missed Feast last year, and particularly the award presentation” stated Poletes-Montgomery. ”Steven Lubczuk joins a list of Sweeney Award recipients who have demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments, including The Honourable Paul Martin, Dick Callahan, and last year, the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic Essential Workers. We are looking forward to honouring Steven in this way on October 2nd.”
Registration in advance and no later than Friday, September 24th, for the online 20th Anniversary Feast of St. Jerome is required. The cost of a ticket for one attendee viewing is $125. The ticket price for two attendees is $240, which includes the added benefit of a Celebratory Fall Harvest Basket valued at $80. The event’s online access information will be provided during the registration process. All proceeds from the evening go toward student bursaries.
The Feast of St. Jerome is generously sponsored by the Diocese of Hamilton, Dana Hospitality, The Catholic Community Foundation of Waterloo Region, and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.