Faculty, students, friends, and family gathered at Marillac Auditorium last Thursday night for the Founder’s Week Award Ceremony to support and honor the people who, through the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul, have made great impacts on the lives of others through service.
The ceremony honored the many men and women who have dedicated their lives to service contributed to the community.
St. John’s University invited Peter Steinfels of The New York Times to speak at the event.
He was also given the Degree of Doctor of Humane Lettters by the University.
Steinfels gave the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice 2003 Lecture at the ceremony. In his lecture Steinfels spoke of peace and social justice.
He also helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of the “Pacem et Terris,” Peace on Earth, by discussing its value over the last four decades.
The Pacem et Terris, an encyclical written by Pope John XXIII on establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity and liberty. Steinfels used the war with Iraq as one of his examples when discussing the Pacem et Terris and how it relates to “how good Catholics should respond,” Scott Salvato of Campus Ministry said.
“The speaker was very interesting,” Salvato continued. “I didn’t know some of the history behind the Pacem et Terris and was very interested in learning about it.”
Awards were handed out to members of the community throughout the night.
The Vincentian Mission Award was given to Rita M. Noss from the Office of Student Life on the Staten Island Campus. Students from the Staten Island came to show their support.
Antionette and Joseph Martino of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Brooklyn were presented the Caritas Medal, an award given to those who have rendered outstanding service to the community. Inspired by the work of St. Vincent de Paul, the couple is dedicated to helping the poor.
“During a night like this the university community becomes more inspired to go and live out the Vincentian spirit in their own life,” Tori Migliore, Resident Campus Minister, said.
Patricia Shea, a graduate of St. John’s, received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal. Shea is the director of Momma’s House, an organization that provides young mothers with the means and support to be good mothers.
Marie Cardalena, a St. John’s alumnus attended the ceremony to support her friend Patricia Shea.
“It gave me a renewed pride in St. John’s,” Cardalena said. “And renewed my spirit to Vincentian ideas of charitable works in the community.”
John Bingham, the director of Immigrant Service of Catholic Charities, received the St. Vincent de Paul Medal.
Bingham worked on Wall Street for eight years until he couldn’t ignore his pull towards a life of service anymore. He displays the same values and followed a similar path of St. Vincent de Paul.
Many found the lives that these people have deicated to others to be an inspiration.
“What I found most inspiring about these people is that most of the good things they’ve done nobody ever knows about. We’re honoring them for the few things we do know they do.”