As part of St. John’s University’s celebration of “Founders Week” in honor of St. Vincent de Paul, the university held an academic convocation which included the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice lecture, on Thursday, September 22, 2016 in St. Thomas More Church, on the Queens (USA) campus of the university.
The Degree of Doctor of Pedagogy was awarded to the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D., President, DePaul University.
Fr. Holtschneider delivered the 2016 Vincentian Chair of Social Justice Lecture:
The Heart of Vincentian Higher Education
Recalling an encounter between Saint Vincent de Paul with St. Louise de Marillac and her sisters, Fr. Holtschneider noted the saint’s readiness to open pathways for the marginalized to exercise their call to serve. He linked it to St. John’s mission, saying,
That is, of course, exactly what Vincentian universities attempt as well. Pathways. Our time might even call it “mainstreaming.” It’s more of course. Universities in our age are powerful platforms for the intellectual life, and able to play a strong social role in shaping social policy, in moving a populace’s social commitments through the arts, humanities or social sciences; in improving the living conditions of so many through scientific and applied engineering advances; or in creating a student and alumnus deeply imbued with the religious and social values that care for the poor, in a world that too quickly ignores the poor in favor of their own well-being.
Noting that he had spent all of his priestly life in higher education, he thanked and challenged St. John’s to continue to offer opportunities for the young to be, in a true sense, Vincentians:
That’s ultimately the heart of a university, isn’t it? To see possibility in the young. And it’s the great heart of a Vincentian university to see possibility in ALL the young, especially in those whom society is all too willing to leave to their own devices. But not just the possibility that they might become fully contributing members of this society, but that they too might be “Vincentians;” that all who walk through our doors, our collaborators and students, can be brought into the great project that Vincent saw and to which Vincent invited everyone.
It was an inspiring and informative presentation. Read the entire lecture at our partner site: We are Vincentians.
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.
The Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University also conducts and disseminates research on topics related to poverty and social justice, and acts as a clearinghouse for gathering, developing and exchanging Vincentian-related information. 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 is administered by .famvin regular contributor, Fr. Patrick Griffin, C.M.
Review other Founders Week events here.
O, Savior of our souls, Light of the World, enlighten…our understanding that we may grasp the truth…”
–St. Vincent de Paul