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Photos: <br>The 2019 Christmas Dinner

Photos:
The 2019 Christmas Dinner

Posted: December 20, 2019

“Our purpose tonight is to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world and to express our gratitude to our friends and benefactors, through whom God’s love has been extended to our college and to our faculty, staff, and students,” said President Michael F. McLean at Thomas Aquinas College’s annual Christmas Dinner. “We are grateful for your friendship, generosity, and support.”

The December 7 gathering in downtown Los Angeles was a festive celebration among many of the dear friends who have given generously to the College and its students over the last year. The evening consisted of excellent food, good company, and joyful music to mark the occasion.

  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Appreciation Dinner 2019
    Slideshow: Christmas Dinner

“We are grateful for the students, who eagerly pursue our program, and we are grateful for our faculty, who teach them with such devotion and dedication,” said Dr. McLean. “We are grateful for our alumni, who bring such credit to the College, the country, and the Church, and for our chaplains, who minister to our spiritual needs. We are grateful to our Board of Governors, whose gifts of time, talent, and treasure make the work of the College possible, and to our parents, who faithfully and generously entrust their children to us, confident that those young people will grow in knowledge and love of God and in intellectual, moral, and theological virtue.”

Dr. McLean also gave thanks for the opening of the College’s New England campus this past year. “It is a joy for us to be able to offer our program of authentically Catholic liberal education to these students in the snowy east who otherwise would be unable to benefit from it,” he said, thanking “those who have rallied around and supported our New England expansion and whose generosity has made this expansion possible.”

After toasting the guests, Dr. Michael F. McLean introduced Richard A. Grant, president of the Dan Murphy Foundation, who read St. Luke’s account of the Nativity. Elizabeth Coffey and Paula Grimm (’08) then performed various vocal selections, accompanied by pianist Jonathan Culbreath (’17), before leading the room in singing several traditional Christmas carols.

Before calling up chaplain Rev. Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J., to offer the benediction, Dr. McLean took a moment to thank the College’s longtime events coordinator, Patti Harmonson, who is transitioning to part-time work at the end of the year and devoting herself to planning the College’s 50th anniversary gala in 2021. “Let us express our thanks to Patti for the good work she has done for the College for many years,” he said.

In his benediction, Fr. Buckley cited Mrs. Harmonson as one of “the three wise women” — the others being First Lady Lynda McLean and Director of College Relations Anne Forsyth — who play a vital role in the College’s success. “Over the years, before coming to work each morning, it seems that Patti Harmonson must place an equal mixture of charm and efficiency in a blender and drink it down,” he joked. “The effect is substantial, as is evidenced in the success of the banquet we are now leaving. Patti will be retiring soon and will be sorely missed by all. Bless her.”

In conclusion, the chaplain prayed, “We ask You to look with kindness on all those who were here with us in years past at this annual celebration and whom You have since called to yourself, hopefully to share in the eternal banquet where one day, through Your generosity and mercy, we shall join them to learn the full meaning of Christmas.”

Sanjay Adhikari (’18)

“When I first came here, since I am not a Catholic, I was nervous, because it’s a different culture for me, but people have been so friendly, so charitable. It is such a blessing to live in this community, where people care about you. You make strong friendships that last a lifetime.”

– Sanjay Adhikari (’18)

Kathmandu Nepal

“I was moved and edified by your remarkable fidelity to St. Thomas Aquinas. Your academic program proposes an original way of training men and women capable of reading, thinking and interpreting tradition correctly.”

– Marc Cardinal Ouellet

Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

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