140625_farewellOn June 24, Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president of St. John’s University, marked the end of his tenure by celebrating a special farewell mass at St. Thomas More Church. Attended by over 200 members of the SJU community, the mass also commemorated the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the University’s patron saint. From the St. John’s website

“I came to you last August as Joseph, your brother,” observed Fr. Levesque during his homily. “Thank you for welcoming me as a brother and a colleague working with you for the good of the University.”

He added, “Thank you for being so faithfully Catholic and Vincentian, and dedicated to our ministry. Thank you for your respect, your love, and compassion. Thank you for your simplicity, your humility, your kindness, and your charity—all Vincentian values.”

“We are so grateful for the time Fr. Levesque spent encouraging all members of the St. John’s community to remain true to the mission of fostering academic excellence and success while supporting our commitment to faith and service,” saidRobert Mangione, Ed.D., R.Ph., provost of St. John’s University. ”His efforts have reinforced who we are as a Catholic and Vincentian University, and we are truly grateful for his outstanding leadership during this past year.”

Fr. Levesque emphasized the way the University’s ministry echoes that of St. John the Baptist. “We at St. John’s proclaim the importance of the Lord in our life. We serve as a light of the world. As a University of the 21st century, armed with the tools that we have developed, we precisely continue the mission of St. John the Baptist, and we do it proudly.”

Noting that St. John’s will soon welcome Conrado M. Gempesaw, Ph.D., as its 17th president, Fr. Levesque stressed that every member of the SJU community would collaborate with him in their own way. “Our new president will lead the way for us, but we are coleaders with him. We are his colleagues. We will be servant-leaders together with him, sustaining the light of the world.”

As he closed his homily, Fr. Levesque told the congregation he could never have imagined a year filled with such abundant blessings. “I profoundly thank you. It has been a joy. It wasn’t just something for me to do. It has transformed my life and I will carry it with me forever.”

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