Wednesday, June 27, 2012

St. Bernard hosts Annual Alumni Reunion

St. Bernard celebrated a busy weekend recently at their annual alumni reunion.  Activities began on Thursday evening when golfers and friends gathered in the Garden Room at Ave Maria Grotto for a golf reception.  Individual golfers received their team assignments and had the opportunity to meet other players.  Traditionally, teams “bid on a monk” at this reception, raising funds for the school by vying for the best golfers among the monks of St. Bernard.  Fr. Jacob Amos, OSB, served as director of the tournament and was very pleased with the number of golfers participating.

Eighty golfers took to the greens at Cullman Municipal Golf Course to participate in the St. Bernard and Cullman Dodge Open Golf Tournament on Friday, June 22.  Over $1,750 in cash and prizes were awarded to the winning teams.

“To do a tournament of this size requires much work and detail,” Fr. Jacob said.  “It’s a huge undertaking, but we had some great sponsors and volunteers who made it all come together.”

A delicious lunch of barbeque chicken and ribs, potato salad, baked beans and banana pudding was served under the tent where awards were presented.  

Festivities continued for reunion participants on Friday evening with a fiesta party held in the Fazi-Richard Athletic Center.  Classmates and their families renewed acquaintances while feasting on a Mexican-themed dinner provided by Buena Vista restaurant of Cullman.
On Saturday morning, guests were treated to a Waffle Bar in the school Dining Hall, presented by Chef Andy and crew.  Alumni and families strolled around the campus to get reacquainted with their alma mater and to revisit favorite school haunts.  Many former students were found in the Administration building, looking at the class photos, which date back to 1928.  Numerous stories were told of campus antics and dorm escapades. 
An informational town hall meeting took place in the Brahma Room of the school, delivered by Fr. Marcus Voss and Abbot Cletus Meagher.  Attendees were thanked for their loyal support and told about all the accomplishments St. Bernard students have achieved in the past year, as well as the progress the Abbey has made in capital improvements.  Abbot Cletus announced the launch of The Clairvaux Society, a planned estate gift program, and invited alumni to participate.  A pasta bar lunch was provided in the Dining Hall, again hosted by Chef Andy.  Many alumni took the opportunity on Saturday afternoon to attend the Vigil Mass held in the Abbey Church.

An unexpected highlight of the Saturday afternoon mass was the renewal of wedding vows by Bob (class of 1958) and Peggy Stewart, currently of Haymarket, VA.  Bob and Peggy were actually celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary that very same day, and at the suggestion of Fr. Marcus Voss, OSB, renewed their pledges during the Vigil Mass, with Abbot Cletus Meagher, OSB, officiating.

The culmination of the reunion was held on Saturday evening with a dinner of Beef Wellington.  Alumni and guests were served by current students and junior monks of St. Bernard.  Gorgeous table decorations of silver and black, provided by Cathy Gray and family, set the stage for this special evening, honoring the classes of 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007.   St. Bernard has operated, in their 121-year history, a college, a junior college, a seminary, a high school, and a preparatory school at various times throughout these years.  

The prep school class of 2002 opened their time capsule, revealing old pictures, posters, class assignments, and other memorabilia; the capsule was resealed with additional items, to be opened at a future reunion in 2027.

A member of the college class of 1973, Ron Rooks, proudly shared his recent induction to the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame by showing Fr. Marcus Voss his award; Ron was given a 4-yr. basketball scholarship to St. Bernard, and was proud to say that he was “the first black athlete to be recruited by Coach Charlie.”   Guests were entertained by a slide show of pictures taken during this year’s reunion, as well as a special tribute slide show to the classes of 1971-1974, created by alumnus John J. King, college class of 1973.  A silent auction, hosted by Joyce Nix, provided further entertainment in addition to music and dancing, courtesy of Universal Sound DJ.

Sunday morning found many alumni embracing and making promises to “meet again next year.”  An Omelet bar was presented in the Dining Hall with Chef Andy manning the griddle, followed by mass with the monastic community in the St. Bernard Abbey Church.
Fr. Marcus Voss, Director of Development at St. Bernard said, “I always look forward to this weekend.  It is a great time to have our alumni back on campus, to visit with them and have them reconnect with their Alma Mater.”

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