Pope Francis has imparted an Apostolic Blessing to Seton Hall University in Newark, New Jersey, according to the University’s website.
"The Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis is an extraordinary recognition, honoring our talented faculty, students, administrators and staff," said Seton Hall President A. Gabriel Esteban. "It is also a testament to Seton Hall's unwavering dedication to fulfilling its Catholic mission."
The blessing is a result of a letter sent to Pope Francis by Ines Angeli Murzaku, chair of the Department of Catholic Studies, asking for the Pope to bless the newly formed department, its faculty and students.
The Department was established in 2012 during the Year ofFaith.
“This is an amazing distinction for Seton Hall University and the Department of Catholic Studies," she reportedly said.
Monsignor James Cafone, vice chair of the University's board of trustees and professor in the Department of Catholic Studies, said he was grateful for the blessing.
"Like many other academic institutions, our students, faculty, administration and staff are working to deepen our sensitivity and understanding," he reportedly said. "This Pope's blessing provides encouragement to our entire campus community to more fully embrace Seton Hall's Catholic identity and mission."
Nancy Enright, associate professor of English and Catholic Studies, said, according to the website, "This is a beautiful thing that we must try to live up to. The values of the Gospel should undergird all we do, especially how we treat our students and each other."
In 2011, Dr. Esteban officially became University president, the first Filipino-American to serve as a president of a major American university. The Cardinal Newman Society reported at the time that he immediately encouraged the university to embrace its Catholic identity. Esteban reportedly asked that the University commit with him to strengthen its Catholic identity, encourage academic excellence and "encourage our alumni and friends to recommit to the mission of Seton Hall."
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