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Vincentian Center for Church and Society

The Vincentian Center for Church and Society (VCCS) at St. John’s University has deep roots in the Catholic Church, supporting the University and community at large with a variety of service and 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.

About Us

St. John’s University
Vincentian Center for Church and Society
8000 Utopia Parkway
St. Vincent Hall room B-3
Queens, NY 11439
[email protected]

Rev Patrick GriffinRev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M.
Executive Director
[email protected]


Kimberly Hope HernandezKimberly Hoppe-Hernandez
Executive Secretary
[email protected]


Ashley OliverAshley Oliver
Graduate Assistant
[email protected]



The Vincentian Center for Church and Society’s mission is to:

  • Develop Vincentian expertise;
  • Promote experiences and develop materials that underscore the University’s Vincentian vision and spirit;
  • House the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice;
  • Sponsor the Religion and Science Dialogue;
  • Develop academic and cultural programs for the University and the outlying community;
  • Develop curriculum and offer educational programs for Church personnel in areas like management, evangelization, marketing and advocacy;
  • Encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research and reflection on Catholic Social Teaching, social justice, poverty, advocacy and the relationship between science and religion;
  • Provide facilitation and consulting services to Church organizations;
  • Provide academic expertise and presence to the Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.


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:

  • Encourage rigorous social and theological reflection on issues of mutual concern to the Church and the University;
  • Facilitate the study of the causes of and the alleviation of poverty;
  • Promote interdisciplinary research and programs;
  • Develop curricula and other educational programs in management, evangelization and other subjects to enhance the role of Church personnel and Church organizations;
  • Organize and sponsor academic and cultural events focused on human values, human rights, and the relationship between science and religion;
  • Initiate forums, think-tanks, roundtables and conferences to educate and encourage Church, academic and community leaders and service providers;
  • Sponsor events directed at public policy analysis and service advocacy; maintain and publish information on University service to the greater community;
  • Maintain relationships with University faculty in areas related to poverty, social justice, religion and science, community service advocacy, and other disciplines;
  • Stimulate interest in and enthusiasm for the Vincentian spirit and tradition within the University;
  • Produce and distribute materials on Vincentianism, social justice and poverty;
  • Enable the Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations to function effectively through University expertise and presence.

Popular Links

Vincentian Research Fellows

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.

Research Definition

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.

VCCS Programs

Acculturation Seminar for International Priests

Chinese Leadership Initiative Program

Faculty Mission Orientation Program

Founder’s Week

Institute for Catholic Schools – Management Seminar for Catholic School Leaders

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. 

Pastor’s Management Program

Service to the Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

Service to Seminaries and Seminarians

VCCS Events

February 5, 2019: VCSJ Lecture Series

March 21, 2019: VCSJ Lecture Series

April 9, 2019: Faculty Mission Orientation 2019-19 Session 3

Vincentian Chair of Social Justice 2018-19Rev William J Barber

The Vincentian Center for Church and Society has 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 welcomes the Rev. Dr. Barber and willingly opens its ears to his challenging and empowering moral message which emerges from his Christian foundation. For more information on Rev. Dr. Barber go to .

February 5, 2019: VCSJ 2018-19 Lecture Series

March 21, 2019: VCSJ 2018-19 Lecture Series