On Jan. 10, Saint Leo University students, faculty, and alumni came together to mourn the loss of and remember student Nicholas Cusson at a Mass and candlelight vigil in his honor.
University Ministry Mentor Tiffany Fettig began the service by requesting that the attendees begin with a few moments of quiet reflection for Cusson. Chaplain of University Ministries Father Kyle then said a memorial mass in Cusson’s honor outside of the Saint Jude Chapel.
Following the Mass, Cusson’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity brothers were invited up to the podium to speak about their departed brother as candles were passed out and lit.
Saint Leo student and TKE fraternity president Josh Carpenter stated that Cusson was one of the best friends he ever had. He spoke of a recent conversation that he had with a fellow brother in which they both agreed that “He was the best of us,” referring to Cusson and the fraternity. Carpenter went on to say that Cusson’s friendship and ability to always make others laugh will be greatly missed.
Saint Leo University and TKE alumnus John Agnello then thanked the crowd for coming. Agnello shared that he hadn’t realized how loved Cusson was and the impact he had on others until now. He said he believed that this loss was going to take a long time to get over, but that it is in God’s hands now and reminded everyone that Cusson would only want everyone to be happy.
Over one hundred people attended the Mass and vigil, including University President Dr. William J. Lennox, Jr., students and other members of the campus Greek Life community, faculty and staff members, University Ministries staff, and several Saint Leo and TKE alumni.
“Let us take our brother into a place of peace,” concluded Father Kyle. He also offered his condolences to the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and emphasized the support of the entire Saint Leo community during their time of grief.
“I think this said a lot about him [Cusson] and I think the words that were said tonight about him always bringing a smile to everybody and always reaching out and being a friend says an awful lot about a person. It characterizes what we’re trying to do here at Saint Leo with our sense of respect and community,” said Lennox.
“Seeing all the people that came out is really nice because I don’t think people would’ve really noticed how many Nick actually did touch and whose lives he made better, even if it was just for one moment. I think as a chapter, we’re all just happy that people came out and supported us when we needed it, so I’m very thankful,” said Saint Leo student and TKE brother Joey Fernandez. “Going forward, I think it’s really just about taking it day by day. We’re all remembering Nick in our own ways and we’re going to continue to remember him and cherish the memories we have,” continued Fernandez.
Following the service, many approached the fraternity brothers to offer their condolences and support. Additionally, attendees were encouraged to contribute to a “memory jar” made for Cusson’s friends to share stories of their time with him. Most of the TKE brothers stayed long after the service ended to share memories about Cusson with one another.
For anyone who would like to donate to the Meal Train account that’s been set up for the Cusson family, visit https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/7n4y42/donate/.