By Steve Vivona
On May 4 the University community gathered for a special
presentation discussing the progress of the construction of St.
Thomas More Church. Hosted by Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President
of St. John's, the presentation was followed by a tour of the
church, which is scheduled for completion this fall.
During his standing room only presentation Fr. Harrington noted
the excitement and enthusiasm with which this project has been met
by the University community. "We've had the opportunity of watching
as this beautiful edifice arose in our midst," he observed.
"This is really the culmination of a great dream," Fr.
Harrington said, adding that when the Master Plan for the Hillcrest
campus (now the Queens campus) of St. John's was drawn up a
freestanding church was planned on precisely the same location as
where it is now being built half a century later.
Dr. Julia Upton, RSM, Provost, gave the assembly an overview and
history of the project from its inception. Ground was broken for
St. Thomas More Church during a special ceremony on October 1,
2002, after a mass in the chapel, and construction began the
following May. On September 12 of last year the foundation was
blessed, and last April the cross was placed on top of the
"We really have been very cognizant that this is a University
Church," Dr. Upton stressed. "From the very beginning we've had
that as a primary focus, emphasizing something different than a
regular parish church." For example the Church's four primary
stained glass windows represent how Jesus appears as teacher in the
Dr. Upton explained that in the narthex there is a 10-foot tall
mosaic detailing the entire history of the Vincentian community
designed by artisans in Florence, Italy. There are also three
separate shrines within the Church honoring the Blessed Mother, St.
Thomas More and the victims of September 11.
Following the presentation anyone who was interested was treated
to the first University-wide tour of the church.