March 26, 2009
School of Education held its Carol Gresser Forum last evening
with Bishop Frank J. Caggiano serving as guest lecturer.
Bishop Caggiano, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn
addressed faculty, students and alumni, on a topic dear to the
nearly 160 in attendance, the importance of Catholic
Following the presentation, St. John’s University Provost, Dr.
Julia A. Upton, RSM, presented Bishop Caggiano with the
Centennial Medal, awarded by the School of Education during its
centennial celebration to those who have made key contributions in
the field of education.
Bishop Caggiano was welcomed to the podium by Jerrold
Ross, Ed.D., Dean of The School of Education and Carol Gresser,
former President of the New York City Board of Education. His
inspiring talk focused on his reflections of the strategic planning
process he has been spearheading for the Diocese of Brooklyn on how
to preserve the vision of Catholic elementary education within the
diocese, especially during this time of great change in the
education system throughout the country.
The goal, he said, is to “not only to preserve, but to re-imagine
what Catholic elementary education could be in the 21st century.
The first step in this process is to ask the important question,
‘what is this mission of Catholic education that we wish to
Bishop Caggiano outlined what he believes are the factors that are
often mistaken for those that make Catholic education unique. A
quality education, service to the poor and disadvantaged, a safe
environment, discipline, and the teaching of the Catholic faith are
all things that are found in Catholic schools, but, according to
Bishop Caggiano, are not unique to those schools and can be found
in many other types of institutions.
“Catholic education exists because it is in direct
response to a divine command,” Bishop Caggiano explained.
“Jesus of Nazareth…he made it clear it is a mandate to teach the
good news to all people of good will. The mandate at the
heart of all Catholic education is to proclaim a person, more than
catechism and creed; it is an event, which we believe is the person
of Jesus, the Lord.”
Piecing this together, Bishop Caggiano shared will reveal what is
unique to Catholic education.
“The answer is the word ‘And’. The genius of Catholic
education is never ‘either/or’ but always ‘and.’ God and human,
reason and faith, individual and community.”
“It’s more than reading, writing and arithmetic…it’s more than
pedagogy and methodolocy, it’s an encounter that is meant to
transform a human life.”
Following his lecture, Bishop Caggiano took time to answer several
questions about the Diocese of Brooklyn’s strategic plan and how it
will affect the schools, the students and their families and the
teachers and administrators, all the while reassuring those in
attendance that Catholic Elementary education in the Diocese will
The School of Education at St. John’s University established the
Carol Gresser Forum in 1998. Held twice a year, the forum is
named for the former President of the New York City Board of
Education and Queens resident, who now serves as a professor of
education at St. John's.
Interested media representatives can contact Elizabeth Reilly,
Assistant Director of Media Relations at St. John’s University by
calling (718) 990-6185 or e-mail inquiries to email@example.com.