The first Vincentian university established in the United States has scheduled a full slate of events to celebrate its annual Heritage week. Niagara University will commemorate the legacy of the Congregation of the Mission’s mission to serve in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul during Vincentian Heritage Week, which takes place Sept. 23-29, 2018.

The Congregation of the Mission is a community of Roman Catholic priests and brothers that fulfills its call to alleviate poverty through ministries like education, social services, healthcare, missions and spiritual formation. The year 1617 is widely considered the year of the community’s origin, based on events that occurred in the life of St. Vincent de Paul in Folleville and Châtillon, France.

The Congregation is part of the worldwide Vincentian Family, now composed of 225 branches (various religious communities and lay associations), more than 2 million members and is present on five continents. Its members are engaged in in various ministries in which they “welcome the stranger,” including care for homeless people, refugees, abandoned children and single mothers.

Niagara University (established in 1856), St. John’s University (1870) and DePaul University (1898) are the three institutions of higher education that are located in the United States and sponsored by the Congregation of the Mission.

Also known as Founder’s Week, Vincentian Heritage Week is a way for the Niagara University community to pay homage to St. Vincent and St. Louise de Marillac, the Patroness of Christian Social Workers who co-founded the Daughters of Charity with St. Vincent.

Students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators participate in Founder’s Week events, highlighted by the prestigious Vincentian Heritage Convocation, which recognizes the extraordinary contributions of university employees, alumni and community leaders.

Below is the full schedule of Vincentian Heritage Week events at Niagara University:

Family Weekend Mass: Commissioning of the Vincentian Scholars

Sunday, September 23, 11 a.m.

Alumni Chapel

Family Weekend draws to a close with a celebration of God’s great love. Niagara University’s newest Vincentian Scholars will also be commissioned at this Mass. The Vincentian Scholars are part of a four-year scholarship program that forms leaders in the Vincentian tradition – academically, practically and spiritually. Each scholar accepted into the program not only maintains a high grade point average, but also develops the responsibility to work side by side with local community leaders. For more details, contact the Office of University Mission and Ministry at 716.286.8400.

Poverty Simulation

Monday, September 24, 1:30 p.m.

Gallagher Center, Multi-Purpose Room

Students from NU’s social work classes will gain firsthand insight into the day-to-day struggles of millions of Americans. Recognizing the Vincentian principle of compassion for the poor, this event enables participants to experience the realities of life with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress. All members of the university community are welcome to observe the simulation. For more information, please contact Dr. Kevin Blair (

Vincentian Mission Reception and Awarding of Special Academic Honors

Tuesday, September 25, 3:45–5 p.m.

Russell J. Salvatore Dining Commons

The Very Rev. Tomaž Mavrič, C.M., superior general of the Congregation of the Mission and 24th successor of St. Vincent de Paul, will be welcomed by the university and address the community. A reception will follow. All are invited.

Panel on Vincentian Mission

“From scholarly research to compassionate action: College of Education Poverty Initiatives.”

Wednesday, September 26, 4–5 p.m.

St. Vincent’s Hall 407

Chandra Foote, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education; Michelle R. Ciminelli, Ph.D., associate professor; Christian D. Elia, Ph.D., assistant professor; Haoua M. Hamza, Ph.D., associate professor; and Shannon Hodges, Ph.D., professor, will share their experiences working with children and families living in poverty, both locally and around the world, and the ways in which they prepare students for professional lives dedicated to this type of service.

Dialogue on International Homelessness

Thursday, September 27, 12:45-1:45 p.m.

Multi-purpose Room – Lower Level Gallagher Center

Yasmine Cajuste, project director of the Vincentian Family Alliance to End Homelessness and honoree at this year’s Vincentian Heritage Convocation, will share perspectives on her work. Find out more about the FamVin Homeless Alliance at

Vincentian Heritage Convocation

Thursday, September 27, 4 p.m.

Alumni Chapel

The convocation is a Vincentian Heritage Week tradition where we recognize members of the university community as well as others who inspire us through their outstanding work in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul.  The keynote speaker will be the Very Rev. Stephen M. Grozio, C.M., ’75, provincial superior of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission and vice chair of NU’s Board of Trustees. All members of the university community are invited to the convocation ceremony.

Vincentian Heritage Week Mass

Friday, September 28, 12:20 p.m.

Upper Level Gallagher Center

This Mass is in honor of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul. Everyone from the university community is welcome.

Saint Vincent de Paul Society Friends of the Poor Walk

Saturday, September 29, Registration: 8:30 a.m., walk at 10 a.m.

Goat Island at the American Falls

NU’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul will join the Friends of the Poor Walk on Goat Island in Niagara Falls. This is a great opportunity to walk in solidarity with other St. Vincent de Paul societies in the region. Funds raised for this walk assist directly those in our communities in need of food, household goods and other services. All who would like to join can register online at Proceeds will go to NU’s student-run soup kitchen as well as other works of our local council of the society.

For more information about all events, contact the Office of Mission Integration (formerly Mission and Ministry) at 716.286.8400.

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