St. Vincent Stain Glass
Rev. William J. Barber II, D. Min.
St. Vincent Statue

Vincentian Mission Certificate (VMC) Program

The Office of University Mission offers all full-time employees at St. John's University the opportunity to participate in the Vincentian Mission Certificate (VMC) Program.

Program Overview

This 16-month professional development program has been highly successful since its first cohort began in January 2007.

With its focus on Education, Service and Reflection, the VMC program is designed to empower St. John’s administrators, faculty and staff to live the Vincentian Mission as Mission Leaders. Previous cohorts of the program have already proven vital to instilling a sense of Vincentian service and leadership throughout the University community, bridging the gap between a theoretical understanding of our Catholic and Vincentian mission and its practical application in today’s society. 

Throughout the 16 months, VMC members demonstrate their commitment to the program by attending training sessions on Vincentian and Catholic identity, monthly Vincentian reflections, a capstone retreat and 50 hours of community service — two thirds of which involve direct contact with the poor. Upon completion, VMC members are awarded a Certificate of Service reflecting the significance of their achievement.

This experience will allow St. John's University staff, faculty, and administrators to not only provide better service to our students, but to become role models who will perpetuate St. Vincent’s legacy, inspiring others to action.   As St. Vincent wrote: “Our vocation is to go not into one parish, nor into only one diocese, but throughout the earth.”

The Vincentian Mission Certificate (VMC) program is a unique professional development and service opportunity designed to empower St. John’s staff, faculty and administrators to live the Vincentian Mission as mission leaders. This compelling program will strengthen participants’ theoretical understanding of the St. John’s University Catholic and Vincentian Mission and its applications. Participants will learn to better serve students, while acting as role models and inspiring others to follow the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul.

Designed for adult learners, the 16-month program will embrace three major components: Education, Service and Reflection. Participants will demonstrate their commitment by attending training sessions on Catholic and Vincentian identity, monthly Vincentian reflections, a capstone retreat and 50 hours of community service — two thirds of which involve direct contact with the poor.

Program Learning Goals

The articulation of the following learning goals assists in clarifying the purpose, outcomes, and assessment strategies for the VMC program. During the 16-month cohort experience, participants will develop the following capacities:

  • An understanding of the life and times, spirituality, and mission and values of the founders of the Vincentian family, with a primary focus on St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac.
  • An understanding of, and appreciation for, the contemporary Vincentian mission, particularly with regard to its application to St. John’s University and its unique heritage, culture, and strategic vision.
  • The ability to engage in mission-related discussions centered on the Catholic and Vincentian mission, particularly within the St. John’s community of current students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators, in addition to potential students and their families.
  • An inclusive sense of identity with the Vincentian family and a commitment to promoting and living out the implications of that collective Vincentian mission in the twenty-first century.

To participate in the Vincentian Mission Certificate (VMC) Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Participation in a Vincentian Mission Orientation (VMO) offered through the Office of Human Resources.
  • Minimum of one year, full-time active employment with the University.
  • Satisfactory PFP performance (three or better); no warnings within the last 24 months. 

Click here to begin the VMC application process.

All completed applications must be submitted in a sealed envelope to Lucy Pesce, Executive Director of Mission (Newman Hall, Room 129).

The 16-month VMC program begins in the Fall and consists of three major components: Education, Service and Reflection. Following an application and interview process, approximately 20 – 25 selected participants will demonstrate their commitment by completing the following as a cohort:

  • Education: Approximately two (2) educational training sessions per semester on Vincentian and Catholic identity (e.g. Vincentian Spirituality, Vincentian Heritage, Catholic Social Teachings)
  • Service: 50 hours of individual and group community service, two - thirds of which involve direct contact with the poor.
  • Reflection: Monthly Vincentian reflection sessions on various topics, facilitated by the University Chaplain; spiritual journaling focused on growth and insights gained through the program; capstone reflection paper (approximately two pages) summarizing the impact of the 16-month program.
  • Retreat: A day-long capstone retreat highlighting the major themes of the program and offering opportunities for in-depth discussion, reflection and community building.

The Vincentian Mission Certificate (VMC) Donation Fund was created in May 2008 upon the graduation of the first VMC cohort. At that time, a charitable donation of $7,500 was made to Face to Face  through the fundraising efforts of VMC 1. This generous gift was in response to the needs witnessed by the cohort during their visit to St. Vincent’s Parish in Germantown, PA. Since then, the VMC Donation Fund has been blessed with continued support from a variety of sources, primarily current VMC members and VMC alumni, as a way of offering assistance to designated organizations affiliated with the University's Catholic and Vincentian mission.

In continuing with the tradition established through VMC 1, each subsequent cohort has organized a “VMC Graduation Donation Fundraiser”, presented at the completion of their 16-month program, for an organization that they felt made the greatest impact on their lives during their time in the VMC. Most recently, VMC 7 members focused their efforts on the Midnight Run, a nonprofit organization that distributes essential items (e.g. food, clothing, toiletries) with dignity and care to homeless individuals throughout Manhattan. Raising just over a record-breaking $8,000, the fundraiser supports additional VMC-sponsored Midnight Runs for SJU employee volunteers, held when classes are not in session and students are on break. These funds cover the costs of food, clothing, and toiletries for approximately 75 homeless individuals encountered on each Run.

For anyone interested, documentation of the VMC Donation Fund fiscal activities are available on the VMC website. Unless otherwise noted, any general donations made to the VMC program will be used solely for expenses associated with VMC community service and outreach (e.g. additional clothing and toiletries for VMC Midnight Runs, food items for VMC dinners at Ronald McDonald House, etc.). 

Vincentian Service

Vincentian service at St. John’s provides students with opportunities to engage in social and theological reflections allowing the participants to grow personally as well as spiritually.

St. John's students pose by catering dishes during service week 2019

University Service Day

On this day, the St. John’s University family joins together to serve our communities locally, nationally & globally… by serving the hungry in soup kitchens, visiting residents at nursing homes, engaging in fun activities with disadvantaged children, cleaning and landscaping area parks, painting rooms in nearby schools and community centers, and providing assistance with so many other important projects. Working together in generosity and love as a Vincentian Family, we show exactly “what a difference a day makes!”

Students handing out clothes at Midnight Run

Midnight Run

The Midnight Run program is one of the most popular services among the member of St. John’s University. Through this experience students have a direct encounter with men and women who are willing to share their stories. On the other hand, students are encouraged to be opened to the experience and be fully present.

Contact Us

For more information on the Vincentian Mission Certificate Program, please contact Lucy Pesce, Executive Director for Mission, at 718-990-3004 or [email protected].