On the evening of September 8, Benedictine students, faculty, and families gathered in Raven Memorial Park to celebrate a very special birthday. As volunteers handed out t-shirts and sweet treats, the marching band played “Happy Birthday” and “Ave Maria” in honor of the Queen.
For four years now, Benedictine College has held a birthday party in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The tradition started in 2018, five years after President Minnis first had the college consecrated to the Blessed Mother. While he could not attend this year, President Minnis sent his regards.
Father Ryan Richardson, college chaplain, said a blessing to kick off the festivities. He attended the celebration with his parents and was delighted to see students and families gathered in honor of Mary.
“I don’t know another campus that loves Mary more than we love Mary here at Benedictine College,” said Fr. Richardson. “I think this celebration is just a natural consequence of all the other Marian devotions we have here. We put Mary at the center of everything.”
Families of students and faculty attended the event. As the band played, children enjoyed bouncy castles and an obstacle course erected in the park.
Dr. Matthew Muller, a theology professor at Benedictine, brought his family to the festivities. As an alum and current faculty member, Muller loved to see how the college has grown in its devotion to Mary.
“I graduated in 2016 and became Catholic while I was here. It’s a blessing to see how it’s grown,” said Muller. “The fact that we have not just the students, but the families- you know, everyone is invited to this- reflects that community we’ve built around the Catholic faith.”
The festivities continued well into the evening. As the sun set, families returned to their homes and students drifted off to their dorms, leaving another Marian feast day celebrated in true Benedictine fashion.