April 08, 2008
Students, Faculty and Administrators Will
Participate in Events
As Pope Benedict XVI embarks on his
inaugural Papal visit to the United States next week, St. John’s
University will be with him in spirit.
“St. John’s will be united in prayer with the Holy Father as he
makes his first Papal visit to the United States,” says Pamela
Shea-Byrnes, D.Min., Vice President for University Ministry and
University Events. She notes that although Pope Benedict will not
be visiting any of St. John’s campuses, the University will be
marking his visit with campus activities and outward signs of our
unity with the leader of our Catholic faith.
St. John’s President Rev. Donald J.
Harrington, C.M. and Executive Vice President for Mission and
Branch Campuses Rev. Michael Carroll,
C.M. will both have the honor and privilege of being with Pope
Benedict at an April 17 meeting at The Catholic University of
America in Washington, DC, at which the Holy Father will
address university leaders as well diocesan heads of schools on the
importance of Catholic education. Rev. Carroll, who was recently
named Provincial of The Eastern
Province of the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians)
effective June 15, will also be introduced to the Holy Father.
At every Mass celebrated on the three New York City campuses on
April 15 through 20, the University community will be united with
the Holy Father in prayer as he embarks on his Apostolic journey to
the United States, Dr. Shea-Byrnes explains. The Queens and the
Staten Island campuses will fly the Papal flag in place of the St.
John’s University flag for the duration of the visit and the Holy
Father’s portrait will be on display in St.
Thomas More Church on the Queens campus as well as in the St.
Vincent De Paul Chapel on Staten Island.
On Wednesday evening, April 16, students will gather together at
9:30 p.m. in St. Thomas More Church for a Holy Hour, praying for
the success of the Pope’s visit. Later in the week, on Saturday and
Sunday, April 19 and 20, Rev. John Kettelberger, C.M., Director of
Residence Ministry on the Queens campus, will be coordinating a
live television feed in St. Thomas More Church so that those on
campus can view the Papal Masses celebrated on those days.
On the Manhattan campus, a 30’ x 11’ banner carrying the Papal
visit’s logo, “Christ our Hope, Apostolic Journey to the United
States 2008,” and the message, “St. John’s Joyfully Welcomes Pope
Benedict XVI to New York City,” will be hung on the west side of
the Murray Street building. The banner will be positioned for easy
viewing by the Pontiff as he travels to Ground Zero on April 20 to
pray for the victims and survivors of the attacks on the World
Students to Attend Events
Two groups of very fortunate students have been selected to
represent the University at Papal events in New York City. On April
19, students will meet with the Holy Father at St. Joseph’s
Seminary in Yonkers, along with hundreds of seminarians and other
young Catholics from the metropolitan area. On the afternoon of
April 20, St. John’s students will attend the afternoon Papal Mass
at Yankee Stadium, marking the 200th anniversary of the
establishment of the Baltimore archdiocese—the first Catholic
archdiocese in the United States—and the first four U.S. dioceses:
New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Louisville, KY.
The students traveling to Yankee Stadium will carry written
intentions of those at St. John’s who would like to submit
At both events, students will offer prayers for the intentions
of St. John’s University and will act as “embedded journalists,”
sharing their experiences as they happen via text messages and
photographs sent from their cell phones.
“The fact that the Archdiocese of New York (which is organizing
the New York events) has been inundated with ticket requests for
the Yonkers and Yankee Stadium events,” Vice President Shea-Byrnes
notes, “speaks to the fact that while this is a man of a different
generation and a different culture [from the youth who will
attend], he unifies us in our faith.”
Local Media Tap St. John's Faculty
Naturally the Holy Father’s visit is of great interest to many
around the world and the events he attends will be covered by
national, international and local news media. A pair of local news
outlets will tap the expertise of two members of St. John’s
Theology Department for commentary on Papal activities during the
week. St. John’s Provost Julia Upton, RSM,
Ph.D., will be working with WNBC TV and Associate
Professor of Theology
Rev. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, S.T.D., will assist at Fox 5 News.
This first visit by Pope Benedict to the United States is an
important moment in the American Catholic Church, Shea-Byrnes
points out. “His visit connects the American Catholic Church to the
Universal Church and emphasizes that we are one, holy, catholic and
apostolic, that we have a tradition of faith that he
All students, faculty, staff and administrators are invited to
share their thoughts
and remembrances of past Papal visits to the United States or
of personal encounters with Pope Benedict or his predecessors.