“As we come together tonight for a Christmas dinner, we thank and bless You, Lord and God of all,” began California Chaplain Rev. John Mary Chung in his invocation at Thomas Aquinas College’s 2022 Christmas Dinner. “We thank you for your abundant blessings on this college. You are lavish in bestowing all Your good gifts upon us.”

The December 4 gathering in downtown Los Angeles’ California Club was a festive celebration for 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.

“It is to all of you that we at the College welcome and give our thanks for your continued spiritual and financial support,” said Chairman of the Board of Governors Scott Turicchi, who welcomed guests and then introduced President Paul J. O’Reilly, who offered a toast of gratitude. “The College’s financial strength depends on your generosity, which funds our program of financial aid,” said Dr. O’Reilly. “I want you to know, on behalf of all our students: We are deeply grateful for your kindness. May God bless you.”

After toasting the guests, Dr. O’Reilly introduced Admissions Director Jon Daly, who read St. Luke’s account of the Nativity, recalling the angel’s glorious pronouncement to the shepherds who were tending their flock. “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people,” he said. “Today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” Student siblings Michaela (’23), Paul (’24), and Sasha Lessard (’26) then performed various vocal selections, joined by Richard Seeley (’22) and accompanist Justas Maknickas (’24), before leading the room in singing several traditional Christmas carols.

“We are gathered here as family, as friends, and every one of us is very committed to preparing the hearts of so many young people to receive Jesus,” said California Chaplain Rev. Jorge Jesus Lopez, who offered the final benediction. “We share the mission of St. John the Baptist, preparing the hearts of young people to receive Jesus. For that reason, we have to celebrate! For that reason, I am very, very glad to have shared with you this evening.”