February 01, 2008
St. John’s University’s Vincentian Chair of Social Justice
Lecture and Vincentian Convocation, both highlights of the annual
Founder’s Week celebration, convened
yesterday at the school’s Queens Campus.
The day began with the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop
of Brooklyn, serving as the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice
keynote speaker lecturing on the growing concern surrounding
immigration in the world today. The speech was given before a
capacity crowd of St. John’s faculty, administrators, students and
friends, in the Belson Moot Court Room of the University’s School
of Law. The lecture was titled “Vincentian Beyond Borders: Building
a Civilization of Love.” And, as a part of the Vincentian
Convocation gala celebration later in the day, eight members of the
University and local community, who have embodied the Vincentian
principles of excellence and service, were honored at St. Thomas
Founder’s Week features workshops, presentations, book
discussions, films and service opportunities that reflect upon the
legacy of St. Vincent de Paul, founder of the Vincentian Community.
The Vincentian’s established St. John’s University in 1870
“I have a very personal devotion for St. Vincent de Paul which
comes from my many years as a Catholic Charities worker,” said
Bishop DiMarzio. “I have a statue of St. Vincent de Paul in my
office given to me over 20 years ago and each day I look on that
face and it reminds me of someone who understood what social
justice was about. Vincent had a heart that burned for charity and
justice in the world.”
J. Harrington, C.M. welcomed Bishop DiMarzio and had nothing
but praise for his lifetime commitment to serving immigrants and
the children of immigrants.
“Bishop DiMarzio is someone well versed and firmly committed to
helping those individuals (immigrants) for whom we have been
founded,” said Rev. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s
University. “We are especially blessed to have as our Bishop an
individual who knows so well the needs of this population.”
At the Vincentian Convocation later in the evening, Rev.
Harrington, C.M. conferred honorary degrees to Immaculee Ilibagiza,
a Rwandan genocide survivor who delivered a moving address to the
St. John’s Community about forgiveness at Founder’s Week in 2007,
who received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, and Bishop
DiMarzio, cited for his outstanding work and priestly life
ministering to the needs of those newly arrived from other lands,
who received the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology.
The complete list of awards and honorees for the evening
- The Vincentian Mission Award, presented to a person who
embodies the Vincentian Spirit of Service to the poor.
Theresa Cantarella, Director, Office of Student Services at St.
- The President’s Medal, given to an individual who has achieved
exceptional personal and professional success, and/or rendered
outstanding service to the University or society.
Alice Sinclair, Senior Volunteer, Catholic Charities of
- The International Medal, given for distinguished contributions
to international goodwill.
Rev. John B. Freund, C.M, Director of International Internet
Operations, Congregation of the Mission
- The Caritas Medal, given for service to the poor.
Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York, Msgr. Kevin L.
Sullivan, Executive Director
- The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal, Given to an outstanding
Catholic laywoman who has embodied in her life the values and
vision of Mother Seton.
Anita Brennan, Benefactor
- The St. Vincent de Paul Medal, given to an outstanding Catholic
layman who has embodied in his life the ideals and values of St.
Ambassador Oscar de Rojas, Director of Financing for Development,
For more information on Founder’s Week contact Dominic Scianna,
Assistant Vice President for Media Relations at St. John’s
University by calling (718) 990-6185 or e-mail inquiries to email@example.com.
For information regarding St. John’s visit the University web
site at www.stjohns.edu/news.