Today, as you know, marks an historic transition in the history of St. John’s University as Dr. Bobby Gempesaw becomes the first lay president in St. John’s University’s 144 year history. It is quite providential that Dr. Gempesaw begins his tenure as 17th president on the Feast of Blessed Junipero Sera (1713-1784), a missionary himself from Spain who ventured to the “new” lands of the Americas and served as indefatigable agent of change for justice in Mexico and California. Of note also, Sera is also a patron saint of vocations.
As a pledge of our support of his presidency, we will be giving him three formative Vincentian texts: Pujol’s “Vincent the Trailblazer,” Rybolt’s “In the Footsteps of St. Vincent,” and Maloney’s “Turn Everything to Love.” Many of you had the opportunity to inscribe your name in the one book and I have added the attached letter as well as inscribed the following message (it may be attached) that recalls the foundation of St. John’s University. “Let us rejoice and be glad for this is the day the Lord has made!”
From Patrick Flanagan, Superior of Vincentian Community at Murray House on the Jamaica Campus