The Opening School Mass marked the first anniversary of the opening of the church as well as St. John’s University President Reverend Donald J. Harrington’s, C.M. 40th year in the Vincentian order. It was held at St. Thomas More Church, on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
A multitude of students and faculty, as well as people from the St. John’s community, turned up to see the completion of St. Thomas More Church as the “Date Stone,” a hollow, rectangular piece of marble with the significance of a cornerstone, was placed in the fa√Éßade of the church.
“This is who we are as a Catholic university,” Harrington said. “This church.”
Inside the Date Stone, several noteworthy items were placed to commemorate the occasion. Rosemary McTigue from the Vincentian Center put in a mass card in the name of Thomas Brennan, who died in the attacks of September 11, and whose parents, John and Anita Brennan, donated the money to build the church.
Before the church was built, however, members of the St. John’s community worshiped in the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes located behind St. Augustine Hall. To commemorate the chapel, which was closed in 2004, Elizabeth Corr from the office of Campus Ministry placed in the Date Stone a copy of the program from the chapel’s last Sunday Mass.
A book was placed in the Date Stone by St. John’s student Keone Wilkie, indicating the connection between education and faith in the Vincentian tradition.
In the latter part of the mass, the student leaders of St. John’s were recognized as they fastened blessed pins with the words “Student Leader” on each other, and the entire congregation honored them with outstretched hands. The leaders are students from across campus who occupy authoritative positions, from Resident Assistants to Student Government, to leadership positions of various societies and organizations. The recognition of the student leaders in the church acknowledged their leadership in the Christian faith as well as within their respective organizations.
The final message of the mass was summed up by Ian Pinnavaia during the student reflections.
“Faith is flourishing here, more than ever at St. John’s,” he said.