"If God is the center of your life, no words will be needed. Your mere presence will touch their hearts."
That quote, attributed to St. Vincent de Paul, invited individuals to celebrate the silver jubilee of the priesthood of the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., D.Min., president of Niagara University.
On May 9, NU recognized the momentous occasion by presenting a Eucharistic Liturgy in its Alumni Chapel, followed by dinner in the Castellani Art Museum.
Attendees of Saturday's celebration ranged from Niagara University students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees to Father Maher's brother, the Rev. John Maher, C.M., '76, director of communications for the Congregation of the Mission, and the Rev. Baiju A. Chittuparamban, C.M., principal of De Paul College in Karnataka, India.
The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president emeritus at NU, offered the homily during Saturday's special Mass.
During the Call to Worship, Kristina Daloia, director of university ministry, recited a note of gratitude penned by Maher to the congregation.
"As I reflect upon 25 years of priesthood in the Catholic Church and the Vincentian community, I am deeply grateful for all the witnesses who have graced my life as angels of the Holy Spirit with the promise of unconditional love of Christ," he wrote. "The priesthood is a gift meant to be shared; thank you for being such wonderful examples of faith in action."
Maher pronounced his vows to the Vincentian community in May of 1989 and was ordained to the priesthood May 26, 1990, at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor's degree from St. John's University in 1984, and earned master's degrees in divinity (1989) and theology (1990) from Mary Immaculate. In May 2004, Maher was granted a doctor of ministry by The Immaculate Conception Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. He focused his doctoral research on NIKE Inc. and its contracted factories in Vietnam, as well as Catholic social teaching and worker development programs.
Maher became Niagara's 26th president Aug. 1, 2013.
To learn more about Niagara University, visit www.niagara.edu.