Hundreds gathered Thursday to celebrate the life of a beloved Vermont priest and educator.
Rev. Michael Cronogue was a fixture on the campus of St. Michael's College in Colchester for more than 30 years.
Father Cronogue died October 13 at age 68, after suffering a medical emergency in his campus office.
In addition to his long tenure as a professor and college trustee, Cronogue was the former director of campus ministry at St. Michael's College, and a leader of the society of St. Edmund.
Many St. Mike's students encountered Cronogue through the campus organization he founded in 1990, called MOVE – the Mobilization Of Volunteer Efforts.
According to MOVE's website, nearly 70 percent of students participate in the service organization in some way before they graduate. The site notes that figure is the highest participation rate of any campus organization.
Friends, colleagues, students, and alumni attended a funeral Mass for Cronogue Thursday afternoon on the college campus. It was so well-attended, guests were parking in a nearby field, with college staff and Colchester police officers helping direct traffic.
The services were streamed live online, for people who could not attend.
"There’s been over 100,000 Facebook signatures on his bereavement page—his funeral page," Bishop Christopher Coyne of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington told necn before the service. "That's just the kind of response that you're seeing. As the president of the college said, I didn't realize how many lives he touched until people just started calling me and seeing me and talking about him."
In addition to his work on campus, Cronogue volunteered with causes across Chittenden County, including the Ronald McDonald House of Burlington and working with the homeless through the Committee on Temporary Shelter.
Cronogue was buried in the Merrill Cemetery at St. Michael's College, across the street from campus.