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.
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.
Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., a Brooklyn, NY, native, was ordained a Vincentian priest in 1979. After ordination, he completed a doctorate in Biblical Studies and taught at various universities and seminaries.
From 1993 through 1999, he worked in Rome, Italy, as the Econome General of the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians). From 2010 through 2014, Fr. Griffin ministered in Paris as the Director General of the Daughters of Charity.
In March of 2014, Fr. Griffin returned to St. John’s University in Queens, NY, where he assumed his current position as the Executive Director for the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.
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:
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.
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
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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.