Fairfield University President Mark Nemec, Ph.D announced the renaming of Alumni House Saturday morning in front of a large crowd of Fairfield community members gathered at St. Thomas Aquinas Church for a memorial Mass in honor of Rev. Charles H. Allen, S.J.

Space was always the biggest consideration whenever we came together to honor or celebrate Charlie. It was so good of St. Thomas Aquinas to offer us their parish—our only other option would have been Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater!

Fr. Gerald Blaszczak

Fr. Allen, who passed away on January 17 at the age of 81, shared a deep bond with members of the Fairfield Prep, University and town communities.

Prior to his retirement in May 2020, he served as the University’s Alumni Chaplain and as a special advisor to the University President. He also served as the chaplain to the Fairfield Police and Fire Departments, who honored him before the Mass with a large American flag displayed outside the church.

“Space was always the biggest consideration whenever we came together to honor or celebrate Charlie,” joked Fr. Gerald Blaszczak in his homily. “It was so good of St. Thomas Aquinas to offer us their parish—our only other option would have been Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater!”

Fr. Blaszczak led the community in recalling the warm qualities of the late Jesuit. The large crowd, he said, was indicative of the impact had by a magnetic individual who was “completely filled with nothing less than the Spirit of God.”

“He really did give his heart to so many people,” said Blazsczak.

Following Communion, Christian Cashman and Nemec, the presidents of the Prep and University, respectively, offered their memories of Fr. Allen. Both men currently serve as the first lay presidents of their respective institutions.

“When I became the president of the Prep, Fr. Allen was one of the first people that I corresponded with,” said Cashman. “As part of his advice, he encouraged me to always remember the ‘five Bs’ of public speaking: ‘Be brief, brother, be brief.”

“Fr. Allen always encouraged the boys at the Prep to be young men for others, to live their lives ad majorem dei gloriam.”

Pictured above is the Alumni House at Fairfield University. (Photo courtesy of Fairfield University Alumni Facebook)

President Nemec noted Fr. Allen’s excellent relationship with not only current Fairfield students, but with Fairfield alumni as well.

“In recognition of this fact, it is my pleasure to announce that Alumni House will be renamed in his honor as the Charles H. Allen, S.J. Alumni House.”

The announcement was met with a long round of applause by the congregation.

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