St. Francis and the Second Vatican Council


Fr. Anthony Ciorra, PhD
Fr. Anthony Ciorra, PhD

Fr. Anthony Ciorra, PhD, will speak on St. Francis of Assisi and the Second Vatican Council as part of the University’s 48th Charter Day celebration at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, in the Meagher Theatre. The Leunissen Lecture, delivered every year on the anniversary of Neumann’s founding, is free and open to the public.


Charter Day events will begin at 11:30 a.m. on the same day with liturgy in Our Lady of Angels Chapel.


The Second Vatican Council was called by Pope John XXIII and lasted from 1962-65. Its purpose was spiritual renewal of the church in the modern world. The council produced decrees on the pastoral duties of bishops, ecumenism, the Eastern-rite churches, the ministry and life of priests, the missionary activity of the church, the apostolate of the laity, and other topics.


Fr. Ciorra was ordained a priest in 1973. His experience has included parish life, teaching, administration, retreat work, preaching, and formation ministries. He has graduate degrees in psychology, history and pastoral theology, and a certificate in spiritual direction. He holds a PhD in theology from Fordham University.


He is currently assistant vice president for mission and Catholic identity and professor of theology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Fr. Ciorra gives workshops and retreats throughout the United States, the Middle East and Europe, and he is actively involved in creating programs for inter-religious dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.


Neumann’s annual Leunissen Lecture is named after Dorothy A. Piatnek-Leunissen, Ph.D., M.D. A longtime area physician, she launched private practice in 1976 with her husband, R.L. Abraham Leunissen, M.D., at Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media. She was a lifelong friend of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and supporter of Neumann University.


The Dorothy A.P. Leunissen Presidential Lecture Series was established in 2004 to bring speakers to the University’s campus to address current topics of interest in Catholic Franciscan higher education.



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