September 27, 2005
Queens, NY -- Asking students, faculty and staff to answer St.
Vincent de Paul’s call “to seek God” through their work, Rev.
Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s University,
joined the campus community today in celebrating Opening School
Mass at the University’s year-old St. Thomas More Church.
Delivering the Homily at the annual Mass, Fr. Harrington said
the Church’s presence on campus symbolizes the role faith can play
in academics, the professions and every form of work in which
students, faculty and staff engage.
“Let us remember,” Fr. Harrington said, “that St. Thomas More
Church stands in the middle of our campus. It is a clear
statement: we can bring God to every place on campus, to every
place in our city, nation and world.”
Bishop Alfonso Aristizabal Cabezas, C.M., served as chief
celebrant at the Mass, which marked several significant events for
St. John’s. For example, the Mass celebrated the Feast Day of
St. Vincent de Paul, founder of the Vincentian Order. The
Vincentians established St. John’s in 1870 and continue to guide
the University today.
The Mass also included the blessing and setting of the “Date
Stone,” a boxlike stone to be placed in the facade of the
Church to mark its official completion. During the blessing, Fr.
Harrington offered special thanks to John Brennan '63C, ‘66L,
’93HON, and his wife, Anita, whose generous $10 million gift made
the Church possible.
Three members of the campus community filled the hewn center of
the stone with commemorative items:
- Rosemarie McTigue, of the Vincentian Center, placed the Mass
card for the late Thomas Brennan, who lost his life in the attacks
on the World Trade Center. It was the gift by Thomas’s parents that
made the Church possible.
- Elizabeth Corr, of Campus Ministry, placed a Sunday Mass
program from the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, where the St.
John’s community worshipped prior to the new Church’s
- Keon Wilkie, a student, placed a book on the Church’s
The stone also contains items on the death of Pope John Paul II,
the work of Pope Benedict XVI, a University bulletin and
On a more personal note, Fr. Harrington noted that Opening
School Mass coincided with his 40th anniversary in the Vincentian
order. That anniversary moved Fr. Harrington to invoke St. Vincent
de Paul’s reflection on the value of faith in one’s work.
“People focus on getting the job done, either to be successful
or to move on to pleasure,” said Fr. Harrington. “But, you don’t
merely do your work to get the job done. Do it to ‘seek and find
God.’ Always have your antenna up for God. Listen for his
We invite you to relive the joy of Opening School Mass by
viewing our Photo