Yesterday, the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., was named the 26th president of Niagara University. Today, he officiated Mass in NU’s Alumni Chapel before returning to Queens to complete his final few months as the executive vice president for mission and student services at St. John’s University. (He even conducted an impromptu interview with WGRZ Channel 2 following Mass).
“I just want to say how thankful I am to be here and to tell you how much I look forward to coming back. Thank you for coming to church today,” Father Maher told the roughly 35 Mass attendees.
The Rev. Kevin Creagh, C.M., vice president for campus ministry, added, “Yesterday was a great day for the Catholic Church and for our university. Blessings came down from heaven for us,” before offering his confrere well wishes on behalf of his new Niagara family.
Father Maher will officially assume the President’s Office at Niagara University on Aug. 1, 2013.
The special Mass also served as an opportunity for the Niagara community to express thanksgiving for the new Holy Father, Pope Francis.
On Wednesday, the same day Father Maher was chosen to lead Niagara into the future, the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, to be the 265th successor of St. Peter.
Pope Francis began his first papal blessing on Wednesday evening with a plea to the gathered faithful to pray for him. The Church paused in collective silence and prayer for the new pontiff.
“Niagara University joins the entire Catholic Church in joyfully welcoming our newly elected Pope Francis,” said Father Creagh. “In this spirit, we continue to give thanks to God for His graces and for intercession of the Holy Spirit during this time of transition.”