Niagara University, the first Vincentian university established in the United States, will celebrate its rich history of education and service in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul with a full slate of events Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2020. The theme for this year’s Vincentian Heritage Week is “Caring for our Common Home: It’s a Vincentian Thing.”

The theme reflects the university’s commitment to making environmental and racial justice the priorities of its mission work. This focus is especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shown that the effects of systemic injustice fall disproportionately on marginalized communities and that the global human health impact of environmental degradation and contamination, experienced more severely in BIPOC communities in the United States, has made COVID-19 that much more serious in these communities.

Below is the full schedule of Vincentian Heritage Week events, with links to participate in some of the events virtually.

Sunday, Sept. 27
Mass of St. Vincent,
11 a.m. and 7 p.m., Alumni Chapel

One in Hope: Virtual Vincentian Concert Viewing
3 p.m., Gallagher Multipurpose Room

Gen-Verde in Concert (live and archived on YouTube) sponsored by St. John’s University. The group will premiere a new Vincentian-themed song. Learn more about the group here:

Tuesday, Sept. 29
Connecting Education to the Outdoors
4 p.m., Alumni Hall Courtyard

Coleen Edwards, faculty fellow in biology, will talk about her experience in building an extensive environmental curriculum, as well as the need for educating all students in basic environmental literacy.

Wednesday, Sept. 30
Vincentian Heritage Convocation
4 p.m., Alumni Chapel simulive event

Honorees will be recognized for their outstanding work in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul at this academic convocation. Heather McGhee, president emeritus, Demos, will give the convocation address on “Environmental Justice and Racism.” In addition to McGee, honorees include Andrè K. Ware, NU Class of 2016; Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper; Dr. Mark A. Gallo, NU professor of biology; and Daniel S. McMann, facility planner at Niagara University. All are invited to view the event virtually here:

Thursday, Oct. 1

Classroom conversation via Zoom with honoree and alumnus Andrè Ware, who will discuss the journey from being a service-oriented person to a professional in political advocacy. Recording of the conversation will be made available at a later date.

Friday, Oct. 2
Outdoor Prayer of Creation
4:30 p.m., Alumni Hall Courtyard

Sunday, Oct. 4
Mass of St. Francis
7 p.m., the Fire Pit

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10

Leading with Values: Vincentian Family Contributions to a Sustainable World (virtual conference sponsored by DePaul University)

In addition to the events listed above, a food and toiletries drive for the NU food pantry will also be held, as will other virtual activities and resources that include faculty videos on the theme and opportunities for prayer and reflection on the interplay of environmental justice and racism. Digital signage will feature quotes from Laudato Si and St. Vincent, and a library reference guide with resources related to the theme will be available.

Vincentian Heritage Week is a way for the university community to pay homage to St. Vincent, a 17th century Catholic priest who inspired and organized his contemporaries to serve the less fortunate, and other saints, while highlighting the university's Catholic and Vincentian character.