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Beloved Administrator Remembered as Model Vincentian

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Last month, the St. John's University family suffered the loss of Pamela Shea-Byrnes, D.Min. ’86SVC, ’90G, vice president for university ministry and university events. On January 29, the University community assembled at St. Thomas More Church for a special memorial Mass celebrating her life and legacy.

"Our lives have been brightened by Pam,” principal celebrant  Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president, told the congregation. “We have been instructed and enlightened by her Catholic and Vincentian faith."

Homilist Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., director general of the Daughters of Charity, worked alongside Pam in his former role as executive vice president of mission and branch campuses at the University. He remembered her as a “true Vincentian” who consistently followed the example of St. Vincent de Paul.

"Anyone who knew Pam knew that her faith was really important to her,” Fr. Griffin said. “She learned about it and she expressed it unashamedly. Light shone into her life and shone out from her life."

Special Remembrances
“Pam made extraordinary contributions to St. John’s,” said Provost Robert Mangione ’99Ed.D., R.Ph ’77P, ’79GP, who attended the Mass. "Her presence will always be felt in all that makes our University great. She was a true Vincentian."

General counsel for St. John's and a Catholic deacon, Joseph Oliva ’91CBA, ’94L, proclaimed the Gospel. "Pam reminded people that being active and involved in your faith is not boring," he observed. "She brought comfort and healing to people in the St. John’s community who were going through all types of suffering and loss."

One of the many ministries dear to Pam was her role as moderator for St. John's President's Society, the highest honor society within the University. President’s Society member Jordan Bouchard ’14C remembered Pam as a source of support. "I only knew her for a year, but throughout that time she supported me so much, not only as an administrator but as a friend," she said.

“Pam motivated me and everyone she came into contact with to find the Vincentian within them,” added Andrew D’Angelo ’15CPS. “She was more than an administrator. She made you feel like you were part of her family."

Following the Mass, a special reception was held at the D'Angelo Center, during which a slide show highlighting Pam's many years at St. John's was presented.