Fr. Steven DeMaio ’03 had been back to his alma mater before, but his recent return on the Saturday before Easter was particularly special for him.
“It was a blessing coming back to Canterbury to celebrate the Easter Vigil. It was my first one as a priest,” he shared. “Realizing that it has been 20 years since I graduated was a surreal moment. I give thanks to God for the journey I have been on!”
Born and raised in Sherman, Connecticut, Fr. Steve attended James Madison University in Virginia, earning a degree in Business Management with a minor in Spanish. In 2009, he was sent to Zambia for six months to work on a project, and it was there that he met the Salesians of Don Bosco and began to consider the priesthood. He entered formation in 2010 and was ordained a priest in June 2021.
One of Fr. Steve’s Salesian brothers, Fr. Paul Chu, co-celebrated the Easter Vigil with him, and it was truly an inspiring ceremony. It began with the blessing of fire outside the Chapel of Our Lady, where the Paschal candle was lit. The congregation then entered the dark church and lit their individual Easter candles.
Fr. Steve was genuinely moved by the experience. “It was so beautiful to start the Mass outside with the sun setting and everyone around the bonfire,” he said. “Then to see the Chapel all lit up by the candles was such a great way to celebrate the Resurrection.”
Inside, Performing Arts Department Chair Sarah Armstrong sang the Exsúltet (Easter Proclamation). Canterbury Sacristans Lily LaVigne ’23, Amanda Regina ’23, and Avery Trach ’23, along with Sarah’s husband Dylan Armstrong, assisted with the service and readings.
By the end of the evening, it was clear Fr. Steve was delighted to be back on the hilltop and could not wait for his next visit. “Everyone is so welcoming. I am always grateful to remain a part of the Canterbury family.”
A special thank you to our student photographer extraordinaire Alexander Avedisian ’25 for the gorgeous images of the celebration.