Niagara University is celebrating the inauguration of its 26th president, the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., tomorrow and has a full week of activities planned to commemorate the occasion, as well as the institution’s rich heritage.
A symposium was held today in the Alumni Chapel to address the topic of “The Mission of Vincentian Education.”
Opening remarks were given by Dr. James Delaney, a philosophy professor at Niagara. The Rev. John Gouldrick, C.M., followed with an invocation and opening prayer.
The keynote speech and presentation was given by the Very Rev. G. Gregory Gay, C.M., a 1976 Niagara alumnus who serves as the superior general of the Congregation of the Mission, more commonly known as the Vincentians.
Father Gay spoke in depth about St. Vincent de Paul’s life and how he initially entered the priesthood as an opportunity to better his education. Father Gay noted that, although St. Vincent was successful and connected to influential people, he felt an inner emptiness. That void was filled by devoting himself to helping the poor and destitute.
Father Gay would go on to applaud the service-oriented environment of the Niagara University community by saying, “Niagara is a way of life, one that is transformative and the values it espouses are life-changing.”
He then proceeded to apply St. Vincent de Paul’s path in life to how Niagarans ought to work toward further developing a “Vincentian campus culture.” In doing so, Father Gay touched on four major points that Vincentian universities assembled in a sponsorship statement last fall.
- The first point was to admit and promote the development of the poor, and for the students of these institutions to have increased sensitivity for those in need.
- The second point was that the Catholic moral, intellectual and social tradition must continue to be taught.
- Third, Father Gay emphasized that Vincentian universities need to provide additional access to higher education for poor and marginalized students.
- Lastly, Vincentian institutions ought to develop a distinctive Vincentian theology of service.
Father Gay drove home the point by telling the audience, “All of our efforts must have their origin and their end in God.”
Closing remarks were given by the Rev. James J. Maher, who will be formally inaugurated as Niagara University’s 26th president tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the Gallagher Center.
Article by Angela Puzzella, a senior communication studies major at NU.