50 Years Later, Msgr. Fahy’s Inaugural Address Foreshadows Issues of Today

Guest Blog Post By Angela Kariotis Kotsonis

 

Portrait of Msgr Fahy with books and a basketball hoop
Portrait of Monsignor Fahy by John Canfield, untitled publication by the Seton Hall Office of Public Relations, 1976, held the Priest Vertical Files of the Archdiocese of Newark, Box 24

I learned about Monsignor Fahy in the spring semester of 2018. It was at an intergenerational panel discussion at the Walsh Library of former Seton Hall student-activist leaders. The event was organized by the Concerned 44, an activated student group. The panel discussion was a teach-in about the history of protest on Seton Hall’s campus and discussion about the progress of the then student movement. You can follow the Concerned 44 on Instagram. If it weren’t for this panel discussion I would not have learned about President Fahy and I’d still be pronouncing Fahy Hall wrong. As an alumna, I can’t help but be angry that it took this long. I became more interested and invited colleagues into the journey of getting to know Fahy.

Alan Delozier, University Archivist, did the work to uncover the Fahy Inaugural address which is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. The CORE has integrated the speech as a required reading for the Journey of Transformations course. And this article intends to showcase a digital

Newspaper Clipping of Msgr Fahy with Black Studies faculty
Monsignor Fahy with the leadership of the Black Studies Program, Newark Star Ledger, April 21, 1975

communal reading of the text as an activist performance practice. The point of the project is to position the text and its ethos as a cultural imprint on our collective memory. To me, Fahy is a white anti-racist abolitionist ancestor who risked and used his power to benefit others. Social justice is a term we’re hearing a lot. What is it? How do you define it? What does it look like? Everyone will have a different answer. I define it as: righting a wrong. If it doesn’t right a wrong, it is not justice. Not only did Fahy leverage his power to right a wrong with some of the most impactful undertakings of Seton Hall’s history but he acknowledged the problem. Often, we rush to solutions without first doing the self interrogation to name the problem. He used this moment, his inaugural address, when everyone was listening and we’re still listening 50 years later. 

The video, this collective recitation, brings many voices together for one message. Faculty and students, separate, but together. It carves a lineage. There are protests now as there were 50 years ago. In the streets and on our campus. 

Greg Iannarella offers insight into what moved him to gravitate toward one of the most unwavering parts of Fahy’s speech, “This section always felt really powerful to me. The description, the intentional language, invoking real scenes and real communities, conjuring the people! It’s a moment where he turns the gaze outward and challenges the audience to see what is relevant.”

Participants were encouraged to think about their location as a backdrop. These choices offer additional meaning and subtext. Virtual performance lets us become our own set designers. Brooke Duffy presented her portion outside of a new school. “It is a public elementary school in Teaneck that was recently renamed for Theodora Smiley Lacey, a civil rights activist, ‘living legend.’ The NorthJersey.com website describes, ‘it was because of her efforts that Teaneck became the first city in the United States to voluntarily integrate its public schools.’”

Program of Monsignor Fahy's Inaugural Address
Program of Monsignor Fahy’s Inaugural Address, October 14, 1970, from the Priest Vertical Files held by the Archdiocese of Newark, Box 24.

This isn’t the last we’ll hear of Fahy’s address. Jon Radwan describes a new participatory oral history project designed to ensure access, inclusion, and equity in its research process to document and preserve the entirety of this part of the University’s history. “We are confident that the Inaugural Address is only the beginning of learning about Msgr. Fahy’s social justice leadership. Our recent proposal to the New Jersey Council for the Humanities seeks funding for a large scale oral history project. We plan to contact alumni, faculty, and administrators who worked closely with Fahy to record their stories about SHU’s collaboration with Newark activists to launch the Black Studies Center.” To support this project please contact Angela Kariotis and Jon Radwan.

Centering historical figures creates their own mythology. Retrospectives are not without their limitations. But there are so few white allies to look up to for this work. Allies must dig deep, activating themselves, stepping into their consciousness. We can extend the Fahy legacy and course correct. Like 50 years ago, it is a transformative yet fragile time. We must have the will to meet it. 

Faith and Art: Evangelization in the 21st Century

Artist David Lopez will present a lecture on “FAITH & ART – Evangelization in the Twenty-First Century,” and bring some of his precious artwork to display.

When: Monday, February 17th at 5:00 p.m.
Where: Walsh Library, Common Area

View a PDF flyer announcement here.

David is an award-winning Spanish painter and multidisciplinary artist who lives and  works in Valencia. A devout Catholic, he received the Pontifical Academy Award in 2012 from Pope Benedict XVI for his contribution to the development of Christian humanism in contemporary society. David is currently developing artistic projects in the United States with the support of the President-Director of the Musee du Louvre, the Director of the National Gallery of London and the Pontifical Council of Culture in the Vatican. Since 1999 he has worked with an international group of artists on aesthetics projects for liturgical spaces around the world.

“People see a  landscape, and it  excites them. They feel an aesthetic pleasure, regardless of whether they understand the mathematics behind that beauty. As artists, somehow, we perceive those laws and transform them into curves, lines, colors…Art is a relationship of forms, textures and colors. At the same time art is an interpersonal relationship—a dialogue ultimately with God.” – David Lopez

For more information, please contact the Program of Catholic Studies at (973) 275-2808 or by email at Gloria.Aroneo@shu.edu.

Should you require additional assistance from Disability Support Services, please call (973) 313-6003 prior to the event.

 

 

 

New Acquisition: Library of Latin Texts

The University Libraries has recently acquired an important scholarly resource, the Library of Latin Texts. The Library contains texts from the beginning of Latin literature to the the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

The Library of Latin Texts is a searchable full-text database of classical, patristic, medieval and neo-Latin writers. It includes:

  • Literature from Antiquity (Plautus, Terence, Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Titius-Livius, the Senecas, the two Plinys, Tacitus and Quintilian and others).
  • Literature from Patristic Authors (Ambrose, Augustine, Ausonius, Cassian, Cyprian, Gregory the Great, Jerome, Marius Victorinus, Novatian, Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius, Tertullian and others) It also contains non-Christian literature of that period (Ammianus Marcellinus, the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Claudian, Macrobius and Martianus Cappella).
  • Literature from the Middle Ages (Anselm of Canterbury, Beatus de Liebana, Bernard of Clairvaux, William of St. Thierry, Sedulius Scottus, Thomas à Kempis, Thomas de Celano, the Sentences of Peter Lombard, the Rationale of Guilelmus Durandus and important works by Abelard, Bonaventure, Ramon Llull, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham and others).
  • Neo-Latin Literature (decrees from the modern ecumenical Church councils up to Vatican II and translations into Latin of important sixteenth-century works).

The Library of Latin Texts has two parts, Series A and Serllties B. According to the publisher, Series B “is drawn from the existing scholarly editions whereas the Library of Latin Texts – Series A benefits from the additional intensive research work undertaken by the Centre ‘Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium'”