February 01, 2008
Members of the St. John’s University community gathered in the
Belson Moot Court Room at the School of Law to hear Most Rev.
Nicholas A. DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., Bishop of Brooklyn deliver the
Vincentian Chair of Social Justice lecture as part of Founder’s Week 2008.
St. John’s University President Rev. Donald J.
Harrington, C.M. introduced Bishop DiMarzio and provided the
historical context for the lecture. “St. John’s, as a University,
was founded for those who came from other lands. We must be
involved with, we must care about this issue [immigration].”
Bishop DiMarzio repeatedly stressed that the plight of
immigrants is not solely the responsibility of social service or
government agencies but rather a challenge that must be embraced by
caring individuals on a basic and personal level. He noted
that “The innate dignity of the individual is the cornerstone of
our Catholic social teaching” and urged everyone to remember the
Vincentian values that lie at the foundation of the St. John’s
mission reminding them that “Vincent de Paul had a heart that
burned for charity and justice in the world.”
An internationally acknowledged expert on immigration, Bishop
DiMarzio told the audience that “Migration is a social justice
issue that must be understood within a moral
context. Ultimately, justice must embrace charity.”
Bishop DiMarzio currently serves as the chairman of the Catholic
Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and is a consultant to the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration. He also
served as the sole American representative to the UN Global
Commission on International Migration and has represented the
Church’s position in testimony before congress.
The Vincentian Chair of Social Justice was established in 1994
and is endowed by the Board of Trustees of St. John’s University
and the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians). Committed
to addressing the issues of social justice and the social teaching
of the Church, the Chair sponsors this annual lecture during
Founder’s Week. It is also engaged in ongoing research and
interdisciplinary projects relating to the alleviation of poverty,
social justice and the relationship between religion and