Bishop Timothy C. Senior, auxiliary bishop
of Philadelphia, delivered the seventh
Dorothy A.P. Leunissen Presidential Lecture.
Promoting vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life took center stage at the university’s 2010 Charter/Sponsorship Day celebration on March 10. The Most Reverend Timothy C. Senior, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, emphasized the importance of relationships in fostering vocations during his presentation, the seventh Dorothy A.P. Leunissen Presidential Lecture.
The theme was in keeping with Pope Benedict XVI’s proclamation that 2010 is the Year of the Priest.
After citing studies that confirm the declining numbers of priests and sisters in the United States, Bishop Senior presented his analysis of the trend. “I believe that the data confirm the urgent need throughout the Church, in parishes as well as in our Catholic institutions, for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the urgent pastoral challenge of evangelization in our increasingly secularized society,” he told a crowd of 125 faculty, staff and Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.
“The renewal of Catholic identity is synonymous with the development of a Catholic culture, in all its richness and diversity,” he continued. “Vocations are nurtured in an authentically Catholic culture. It is the challenge of those who work in Catholic higher education to develop and strengthen this culture within their campus communities.”
He concluded by noting the influence of current priests and sisters. “Vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life are nurtured on the campuses of Catholic colleges and universities when young women and men develop relationships with people who manifest an authentic personal witness of faith.”
Bishop Senior and Sister Esther Anderson, OSF, congregational minister of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, received honorary degrees during the academic convocation that preceded the Leunissen Lecture. The degrees were presented by Jay Devine, chairperson of the board of trustees, and Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, president of the university.
The celebration started with a Mass in Our Lady of Angels Chapel and continued
with a reception in the Thomas A. Bruder, Jr. Life Center prior to the academic convocation.