The Vincentian Center for Church and Society (VCCS) at St. John’s University has deep roots in the Catholic Church…While many of the Center’s activities link the University to local communities and the Church of Metropolitan New York, its reach extends to numerous national and international projects.
Kevin Ryan, President and C.E.O., Covenant House International
The Vincentian Chair of Social Justice was established in 1994 in response to the recommendation Pope John Paul II made to delegates of the Congregation of the Mission’s 37th General Assembly in Rome (1986): to search out more than ever with boldness, humility and skill the causes of poverty and encourage short and long-term solutions. University scholars and research fellows work with the Vincentians in their charism “to evangelize the poor” and encourage efforts to build a society based on Gospel values and the Vincentian tradition.
Kevin Ryan is a father, husband, child advocate, blogger and sometime runner. He arrived at Covenant House as a young lawyer in 1992 to provide legal aid to homeless youth and he now leads Covenant House International, one of the largest charities in the Americas dedicated to serving homeless youth, and ending child trafficking.
Founded in 1972, Covenant House’s work has been recognized with several of the world's most distinguished human rights awards, including the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award, the WOLA Human Rights Prize and the Olof Palme Peace Prize. Kevin describes Covenant House as a movement.
He and his Covenant House team have expanded the movement to 31 cities and 6 countries, most recently opening new Covenant Houses in Chicago, Asbury Park and Berkeley in 2017. Kevin is leading an aggressive expansion to end youth homelessness, which saw Covenant House reach 80,000 children and youth in 2017.
To support this expansion, Kevin and his team have built an international Sleep Out movement, involving thousands of participants across the United States and Canada who raise funds to house, feed and help homeless youth.
He championed groundbreaking research with Loyola University and the University of Pennsylvania, shaped by 911 interviews with homeless youth in 13 cities across Canada and the United States, which revealed in 2017 that 1 in 5 homeless youth has survived human trafficking.
Kevin previously served as the first public Child Advocate in New Jersey and the first commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, as well as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. He drafted some of the State's most important laws for youth, including the New Jersey Homeless Youth Act and the Foster Care Scholars Act.
His first book, Almost Home, a collaboration with former New York Times reporter Tina Kelley, became a national best seller in the Fall of 2012. The book tells the stories of 6 teenagers as they faced homelessness, violence and heartbreak in search of a place to call home. In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed Kevin to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In 2018, Kevin joined President Trump in the Oval Office to witness the signing of new human trafficking legislation that Kevin and Covenant House had championed for many years.
He is a graduate of Catholic University, Georgetown Law Center and NYU Law School. A former Skadden Fellow and Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School, Kevin's numerous media appearances on behalf of children include the TODAY Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, MSNBC, EWTN, Good Morning America and two stints on 60 Minutes. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Clare. Together they have 6 Ryan children.
The Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University originated in 1994 and continues to animate university-wide consciousness of the Vincentian charism, to encourage and support academic ventures, especially those related to social justice, and to serve and collaborate with the greater church and community in the spirit of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Working with and supporting faculty, the Center has deep roots in the Catholic Church serving the community at large with a number of educational programs. It is the site of many academic and cultural events, and the home of the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice.
While many of the Center’s activities link the University to local communities and the Church of Metropolitan New York, its reach extends to numerous national and international projects.
St. John’s University
Vincentian Center for Church and Society
8000 Utopia Parkway
St. Vincent Hall room B-3
Queens, NY 11439
Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M.
The Vincentian Center for Church and Society’s mission is to:
The Vincentian Center for Church and Society serves as a link between St. John’s University, the Church, service organizations and the community at large. The goal is to:
Twenty years ago, in the encyclical Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II examined 100 years of CST in light of the rapid globalization of the 20th century. Twenty-five years ago, the US Catholic Bishops published Economic Justice for All. In that document, the Bishops directed society to shape economic life by answering three questions:
As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, these documents challenge us to live in solidarity and practice subsidiarity as we attempt to overcome the great inequities in wealth, income, consumption and access to resources throughout the world. The Vincentian Chair for Social Justice conference examines the conditions and attitudes necessary for the common good—“the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” (Gaudium et Spes,S 26 S. 1.)
“Love for others, and especially for the poor, is made concrete by promoting justice”
– John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
Through the perspective of Catholic Social Thought and the Vincentian Tradition, participants will view the role and responsibility of governments, civil society and businesses, as well as individuals, to eradicate poverty and advance sustainable prosperity with intergenerational justice for all.
In 2000, the Vincentian Center for Church and Society created the Vincentian Research Fellows’ Program to provide an interdisciplinary forum for faculty whose research interests advance the social justice orientation of St. John’s University, and to encourage research, reflection and programming on issues of poverty. In addition, the Center also elected to name Fellows whose scholarship could advance clerical formation and relate religion and science. These foci reflect the spirit and accomplishments of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660). The Fellows arrange for educational programs for the University community and the metropolitan area and assist in the planning and sponsorship of the Center’s biennial Poverty Conference. To be named a Center Fellow, a professor must be recognized for both effective teaching and scholarly research and must be recommended by his/her respective Dean. Tenured and untenured professors are eligible and are named for a two-year term. After the two years, they may be invited to continue serve as Senior Fellows and advisors to the Vincentian Center.
In keeping with the Vincentian tradition of concern for the poor and marginalized in society, the Vincentian Center for Church and Society conducts interdisciplinary research aimed at identifying and responding to the causes of poverty and social injustice, particularly in urban areas. The Center encourages solutions which are adaptable, effective and concrete, and which embody the spirit of compassion and service exemplified by the life of St. Vincent de Paul. The Center supports research which can enlighten public discourse on issues of justice and poverty and which can contribute to the development of effective public policy initiatives.
18th Annual Acculturation Seminar for International Priests
June 17-21, 2019
Click here for details and registration forms.
More information to come.
The program is extended to faculty who joined St. John’s during the current academic year, as well as those who have been active as faculty for more than a year but have not been able to attend this session. The program offers an opportunity to gain knowledge about the Vincentian tradition and mission and at the same time to meet faculty, both new and seasoned, from across the entire University.
The seminars are part of a formalized and standardized program of Orientation and Continuing Education of Faculty, with four required sessions and four individually chosen events leading to a Mission Certificate.
The four required sessions are:
In addition to the four sessions, faculty seeking certification will be asked to select four mission-oriented events over a two-year period to complete their Mission Certificate requirements.
Theme: "One with the Poor - In Service Together - Be Vincentian"
September 20-27, 2019
Click here for more information.
This two-fold program is a collaborative venture between the Vincentian Center for Church and Society and the Peter J. Tobin College of Business, both at St. John’s University. It provides a three-day seminar in the key aspects of running a Catholic school effectively including Catholic Identity and Servant Leadership; mission, vision and values; marketing and development; budgeting; time management; recruitment and retention; and strategic planning. 121 educators from three dioceses have participated. An intensive one-day symposium in Marketing the Mission was developed at the request of Management Seminar participants, and subsequently completed by fifty-seven individuals. As of this year, 426 schools from the three dioceses have completed the Management Seminar, including four Catholic high schools.
“It would be a mistake, a serious mistake, not to do all that was in one’s power to form good priests, because the Church needs them badly.” --St. Vincent de Paul.
Established in 1994, the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s serves as a resource to identify and respond to the needs of the Church. In the spirit of Ex Corde Ecclesia and the Vincentian charism of St. John’s, the Vincentian Center for Church and Society, the Tobin College of Business, and a group of experienced pastors developed what is today the Pastor’s Management Program. The content and the approach of the program has grown out of twelve years of St. John’s faculty offering management seminars to experienced and new pastors as well as to transitional deacons throughout the greater New York area.
The Pastor’s Management Program is directed principally to pastors and parish administrators who without formal management training must assume a range of managerial duties. It is designed to undergird and complement pastoral skills. As far as possible, the faculty provide examples and activities drawn directly from parish life to facilitate the learning application. A range of faculty, primarily from the Tobin College of Business, staff the Seminars. The topics covered include: Leading and Managing for Ministry; Communications; Meetings; Time Management; Marketing Parish Programs; Evaluating Parish Performance; Budgeting, Accounting & Auditing; The Law and the Parish; Human Resources; Parish Planning; Conflict Resolution; and Technology-Tool for Ministry.
The Vincentian Center for Church and Society and the Vincentian Research Fellows, through the sponsorship of the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice, host a biennial conference focused on an aspect of poverty emphasizing integral human development of the individual and our society. The Vincentian charism and Catholic Social Thought are two major focal points. In addition to St. John’s faculty, personnel and students, the conference welcomes participation from external partners such as religious leaders, service-providers, community organizers, and faculty from other institutions.
Each of these goals reflects the Catholic and Vincentian character of St. John’s University in the service of its Mission.
“60 Minutes on Covenant House” with special guest CBS 60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson
October 3, 2019
Little Theatre, Queens CampusRegistration is encouraged.
Rev. William J. Barber II, D. Min.
“It’s About Right and Wrong”
The Vincentian Center for Church and Society appointed Rev. William J. Barber II, D. Min. as the holder of the St. John’s University Chair of Social Justice 2018-19. St. John’s warmly welcomed the Rev. Dr. Barber and willingly opened its ears to his challenging and empowering moral message which emerges from his Christian foundation. Below are YouTube links to his past lectures:
Lecture 1: America, America, What's Going On?
Lecture 2: Reading the Signs of the Times: What does the November Election say about America?
Lecture 3: What's going on with the War Economy and Militarism?
Lecture 4: "With God Some Things Never Change"
Vincentian Chair of Social Justice Lectures
Presented at the Vincentian Convocation during Founder's Week
Margaret M. Fitzpatrick, S.C., Ed.D., President, St. Thomas Aquinas College
Most Reverend John O. Barres, S.T.D., J.C.L., D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D.“The Heart of Vincentian Higher Education”
The Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, CA
Reverend John Rybolt, C.M.“Vincentian Social Justice”
Sr. Louise Sullivan, D. C., Ph.D. Professor Emerita,
Foreign Languages, Niagara University “The Vincentian Mission of Justice and Charity: a Seventeenth-Century Vision for the Twenty-First Century”
Most Reverend David O’Connell, C.M. , Bishop of Trenton, New Jersey“Be Vincentian!”
Most Rev. Timothy M. Dolan, Ph.D., Archbishop of New York “Vincent de Paul, A Saint for Yesterday and Today”
Patricia P. de Nava, past president of AIC (Association Internationales des Chariteَs), Liaison from the Association of International Charity [AIC] to the Vincentian Family and Vincentian Commission for promoting Systemic Change“Vincentian Family and Systemic Change”
The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., Bishop of Brooklyn, NY“Migration Today: A Social Justice Issue”
Dr. John Edward Sexton, Ph.D., J.D., President, New York University
“Faith in/and the University”
Most Reverend Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations“The Church, the United Nations and Integral Development”
Very Rev. G. Gregory Gay, Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and Daughters of Charity“A Passion for Justice”
S. Evelyne Franc, DC, Superioress General of the Daughters of Charity“Toward a Civilization of Love and Justice”
Peter Steinfels, Ph.D., “The New York Times”“Pacem in Terris: A Retrospective”
Very Rev. Thomas F. McKenna, CM, Provincial Superior, Eastern Province, Congregation of the Mission“People of the Scarred Coin”
Rev. Bryan Massingale, St. Francis Seminary, WI“Tribalism or Solidarity? The Challenge of the 21st Century”
Dr. Dolores Leckey, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University“A Spirituality for Jubilee Justice”
Rev. David Hollenbach, SJ, Professor Moral Theology, Boston College“The Common Good and Urban Poverty”
Most Reverend Howard Hubbard, Bishop of Albany, NY“Charity and Justice within the Gospel and the Church’s Social Teaching”
Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law
“Social Justice and Human Rights”
Rev. Bryan Hehir, Harvard Divinity“The Ministry of Human Rights and Catholic Higher Education”