By: Aidan Burgess ‘23
On Thursday, November 4th, over 150 junior class members gathered in the Activity Athletic Center to celebrate their faith in an evening of food and recollection. The Culinary Club exceeded all expectations. They presented various delectable options to “build your own burger” with beef patties, buns, cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, curly fries, and caesar salad.
Following the BBQ dinner, attendees were led by Mr. Foley ’93 into the Hearst Auditorium. Mr. Foley began the evening by explaining that God wanted everyone there for a reason, that there was something God wanted to communicate with us, and that we should be open and listen to God’s message this evening. Students selected a colored candle and took their seats, awaiting the presentation of faith talks. The evening’s first speaker was Mr. Gregory Saporita ‘02, who shared a personal experience about a beloved surfing coach named John. Mr. Saporita described a difficult time at home. He enjoyed spending time with John and his wife, who often invited him to stay for dinner. A highlight of the friendship was when John gave Mr. Saporita his surfboard as a gift — an item Mr. Saporita still uses and cherishes to this day. Unfortunately, John sadly and unexpectedly passed away about a year later, which caused Mr. Saporita great sadness.. Mr. Saporita then went on to discuss his more recent friendship with a 90-year-old neighbor. At first, the fellowship was limited to watching Sunday Giants football games at the neighbor’s home, each enjoying their own reclining chair. Then the elderly neighbor began to give lists to Mr. Saporita for items he needed at the grocery store. This caused frustration for Mr. Saporita, who was busy with his own family and young children. Mr. Saporita sought guidance from Mr. Chicavich ‘98, who encouraged him to pray on the situation and pray for the neighbor in need. While on that phone call, Mr. Saporita looked out his home window and saw two rainbows — a rare event — but one that he saw as a sign. Perhaps the surf coach and friend John’s example of helping Mr. Saporita when he was in need impacted Mr. Saporita to help his elderly neighbor by providing him companionship.
The next talk was presented by Mr. Peter Vanderberg, who shared details about his college choices and career path. Although waitlisted at Boston College, his top choice, Mr. Vanderberg, decided to attend Fordham University to study archaeology and hoped to be a crew team member. However, early on at Fordham, Mr. Vanderberg decided archaeology was boring and was not what he wanted to pursue. He decided to leave the crew team, and his father lost his job to make matters worse, causing uncertainty of how the college might be paid. Mr. Vanderberg bypassed this challenge by joining the Navy ROTC (NROTC) and eventually went on to Navy Flight School. After his first few flights, he realized that flying wasn’t for him, leading him to switch to Surface Warfare Officer School. Mr. Vanderberg then joined a Navy ship assignment and sailed across the world. Having completed his time in the Navy, Mr. Vanderberg chose to be an English teacher and landed at Chaminade High School. Mr. Vanderberg shared with the audience that God has a plan for each one of us. While it might not seem evident at first, we must stay the course and put our faith in God to guide us.
The last speaker of the evening was Mr. Michael Dolce ‘99, who provided a very emotional recounting of a difficult period in his life.
“Get Colorized” concluded with quiet prayer followed by Eucharistic Adoration led by Fr. Peter ‘86 and closing remarks by Mr. Foley. Juniors exited the auditorium inspired by the lessons learned through the Faith Talks, knowing that God’s plan may not always be clear. Still, we must trust in both good times and bad that God loves us and has a plan for each one of us.