For Immediate Release
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Georgian Court University Celebrates “Year of Faith”

Lakewood, N.J., Sept. 12, 2012—As a new academic year gets underway, Georgian Court University will soon join Catholic congregations and institutions around the world in commemorating the “Year of Faith” through campus activities, ministry events, guest lectures, book discussions, and community outreach.

The Year of Faith, as declared in October 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI, will be celebrated globally from October 11, 2012, to November 24, 2013. The global observance marks the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“The coming months provide an extraordinary opportunity for introspection and a deep examination of how our faith defines us and how it helps us to better serve others,” says Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., president of Georgian Court University. “It is a celebration of our Catholic identity, and at the same time, an invitation to examine how important faith is in our lives today.”

Georgian Court’s Year of Faith committee is led by Monsignor Casimir H. Ladzinski, a GCU trustee and former pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Bay Head; Gail Gleason Milgram, Ed.D., ’63, president of the GCU Alumni Association; and Georgian Court faculty members Johann Vento, Ph.D., associate professor and chairperson of theology and religious studies, and Richard Ponton, Ph.D., an assistant professor of counseling psychology.

While the yearlong slate of events includes ample opportunities for group reflection, examining one’s faith is highly personal, according to GCU alumna Mary Nebus, Ph.D., an area psychologist who also is an adjunct lecturer at the university.

“Our faith is an individual call that is lived in community,” she says. “Individual experiences of faith are encouraged by and supported by the community experience of faith, and vice versa. By sharing the diverse expressions of our faith experience, we enrich our own.”

Georgian Court’s Year of Faith celebration, which gets underway with a September 25 Mercy Day Mass led by Monsignor Ladzinski, also includes GCU’s Campus Ministry participation at the October 12-14 Eucharistic Congress, hosted by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., of the Diocese of Trenton. Bishop O’Connell also will talk about the significance of the Year of Faith when he visits Georgian Court on November 1 during the Feast of All Saints. In addition to meeting with students, the bishop will deliver a 6:30 p.m. lecture that is free and open to the public.

Other GCU Year of Faith activities include:

  • a faculty book club that will examine “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” by the Rev. Gregory Boyle, and “Vatican II: Fifty Personal Stories” by William Madges and Michael J. Daley;
  • a student-led Day of Service;
  • a retreat for alumni and parents, focused on the use of Scripture in prayer life;
  • an Advent season virtual pilgrimage open to the community and extended community; and
  • special lectures by visiting guest speakers.

Throughout the year, GCU students will get creative about their faith through unique expressions of visual art, fine art, performance art, and literature. From participating in open mic nights to creating paintings/sculptures that depict the meaning of faith, students are encouraged to express what their faith means to them. Their creations will be showcased on campus.

More information about the GCU Year of Faith is available at or by e-mail at

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court announced in May 2012 its transition to become a fully coeducational university in 2013. Today, the university serves more than 2,500 students of all faiths and backgrounds in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge and at the New Jersey Coastal Communiversity in Wall.


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