St. John’s University Opens Its 142nd Year

From left, Father Donald J. Harrington, C.M., president of St. John’s University; Father Peter Goldbach, C.M.; Bishop Alfonso Cabezas, C.M., and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio gather for a photo to celebrate Father Goldbach’s 100th birthday at St. John’s University’s opening school Mass of the Holy Spirit.

Father Donald J. Harrington, C.M., president of St. John’s University, Jamaica, along with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio welcomed back students, faculty, administrators and staff with an opening school Mass of the Holy Spirit at St. Thomas More Church located on  the Queens campus.

A special commission and blessing of St. John’s student campus leaders also took place at the Mass. St. John’s annually holds this tradition to begin the new academic year, as it stresses the importance of praying with and supporting students as they begin their service to the university.

“St. John’s has a great legacy and we are truly blessed as we begin our 142nd academic year,” said Father Harrington, before an overflow ccongregation.

“This legacy is a commitment to excellence in education in providing our students with the greatest skills that they can have to succeed in life. That’s who we are.”

In addition, Father Peter Goldbach, C.M., a Vincentian priest at St. John’s, celebrated his 100th birthday at the Mass and was honored for his service by Father Harrington with the presentation of the Gold Medal, the highest honor a non-alumnus can attain from the University.

“St. John’s is my family,” noted Father Goldbach at the end of the ceremony.

“I was surprised and honored to be recognized by Father Harrington and the university at this wonderful celebration,” he said.

Bishop DiMarzio closed with a message for the community.

“This university truly represents a great tradition and Vincentian charism,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “We are so blessed to have St. John’s in our midst.”