“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still
more will be demanded of the person entrusted with
Combining faith, academics and leadership, St. John’s University
welcomed 35 freshmen into the second cohort of the Catholic
Scholars Program this semester with an on-campus retreat held on
The retreat brought the freshmen together with 22 students from the
first cohort. Beginning the semester in prayer, they attended a
special Opening Mass celebrated by Rev. Joseph L.
Levesque, C.M., Interim President of St. John’s. Afterward, the
two groups separated, engaging in activities based on their
“God has great plans for you,” Fr. Levesque told the students.
“He’ll carry them out, provided you believe what you’re told.” He
challenged the Catholic Scholars to strive to discern the plans God
has prepared for them as they begin and continue their college
Offering a message of welcome to the Scholars and their
families, Fr. Levesque also urged the students to be faithful to
the expectations of their Church, families and University
community. They, he pointed out, are young leaders of our Catholic
faith, on campus and beyond.
Students expressed excitement about the program—and the sense of
fellowship it builds. “I’m really excited to develop such a close
family with the other Catholic Scholars in going to Mass several
times a week while studying with them in class,” observed Billy
To join the Catholic Scholars Program, the new students completed a
competitive application and interview process last spring. Their
first year will focus on providing on-campus leadership while
continuing to serve the local faith community. They also will
participate in various ministries at St. Thomas More Church, Queens campus, and St.
Vincent’s Chapel, Staten Island campus.
The sophomore Catholic Scholars will participate in evangelization
teams, sharing their gifts and talents while catechizing elementary
and secondary students from local dioceses. “These evangelization
teams are perfect examples of how our students can enrich the local
Church,” said Pam Shea-Byrnes,
D.Min. ’86SVC, ’90G, Vice President of University Ministry and
University Events. “By going into our local diocese and offering
our gifts to students preparing to receive the Sacraments, or
to young people who are seeking Christ, our students are responding
to their Baptismal call in real and tangible ways. “
St. John’s launched the Catholic Scholars
Program last year in line with the Church’s worldwide “Year of
Faith” celebration. It is a unique and critical opportunity to
continue to form students to become strong apostolic and scholarly
leaders for the future of our University community and the future
of the church.
“The Catholic Scholars have become leaven for the community
of faith at St. John’s,” said Byrnes. “They have truly enriched the
faith life of our campus. This is an exciting time to be Catholic.
Young people across the world have been invited by Pope Francis to
renew the Church. The Catholic Scholars are called to build up the
church on our campus, in our communities and in our world.”