Catholic Studies alumni gathered on Aug. 17 for the first event of the newly-formed Catholic Studies Alumni Committee. The event, a Mass and a barbecue, drew about 50 graduate and undergraduate alumni and family members as well as Catholic Studies faculty. Father Michael Keating, a Catholic Studies faculty member, and Father Matt Pratscher, a Catholic Studies alum ’04, presided at the Mass.

Committee coordinator Chris DuFresne ’04 said that the group was formed by alumni who wish to continue fostering the Catholic Studies sense of community after graduation. The committee plans to host up to four events each year.

DuFresne noted that alumni from almost every year since 1993, when the Catholic Studies program started, were present at the first event. Such events allow graduates to reunite with old friends and make connections with new ones. As committee member Katie Martinson ’06 put it, “It was wonderful to be reconnected with this community. The reunion brought to mind how influential the Catholic Studies Department was in my college experience and continues to be in my life.”

Martinson added that the committee’s events will provide opportunities for continued Catholic formation after graduation. They will encourage graduates to contribute to the development of the Catholic community both at St. Thomas and in the Twin Cities. Current Catholic Studies students also will benefit: “The committee’s activities can help them see how a degree in Catholic Studies can be used to serve the Church in a wide variety of ways,” Martinson said.

Theresa Klein ’06, also a founding member of the committee, especially enjoyed seeing so many former students gathered together and now in various walks of life, from new graduates to business professionals to recently ordained priests to parents with young children. “The Alumni Committee serves a very important mission to keep Catholic Studies alumni connected to the university and each other, and to offer continued opportunities for spiritual and intellectual growth beyond the classroom,” she stated.

For more information about the Catholic Studies Alumni Committee or if you have ideas for events, contact Chris DuFresne at Chris@ChrisDuFresne.com.