” Transformative for me!” and “My eyes have been opened” expressed how excited the 8th cohort of employees were by Vincentian Values as they were awarded Vincentian Mission Certificates.

A 16-month journey including educational workshops, Vincentian service, and reflection culminated for 15 St. John’s administrators, faculty and staff as they became the eighth cohort to successfully graduate from the Vincentian Mission Certificate (VMC) program on Friday, January 15, 2016.

Representing 13 different areas of the University, the graduates joined more than 220 employees who have completed the program since it began in 2007. The occasion was marked with a special recognition Mass at St. Thomas More Church, followed by a graduation luncheon on the Queens campus.

Sponsored by the Office of University Mission, the VMC program was launched in 2007 to educate St. John’s employees on the Catholic and Vincentian heritage that informs the mission of the University, while engaging them in direct service and reflection. “Learning about the core values of the Catholic Vincentian faith has been transformative for me,” said cohort member Ishita Khemka, Assistant Professor, The School of Education. “It has reinforced the need for a just, social vision in an interdependent, global world.”

As part of the required program, each participant attends monthly workshops and reflection sessions and completes a minimum of 50 hours of service, two-thirds of which involve direct contact with those most in need. Collectively, members of the eighth VMC cohort completed more than 800 hours of service in the community, volunteering their time with local organizations such as the Midnight Run, St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen, Bethany House, St. Nick’s Men’s Shelter, and the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.

Through the program, said Patricia P. Canale, Associate Registrar, “my eyes have been opened in a way that makes me wish everyone could see even a little of what I have seen in these months.”

Taking a different approach to the traditional fundraising efforts of previous graduating VMC cohorts, the class is organizing a “VMC Day of Service.” Scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, this program will offer community service opportunities to former and current St. John’s employees involved in the VMC program.

The day begins with Mass in St. Thomas More Church on the Queens campus, followed by eight different service projects in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island. The service projects, coordinated in conjunction with the Office of University Mission, take place throughout the day to allow a variety of scheduling options. Graduates also serve as site leaders for each service project, including many sites where they served throughout their time in the VMC program.

View the Graduation Mass photo gallery.
View the Graduation Luncheon photo gallery.

For more information about the VMC program, contact Lucy Pesce, Executive Director for Mission, at 718-990-3004 or

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