Alvernia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II

Oct. 11 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s opening that began in 1962, and organizations around the world are planning to commemorate the historic event. Between 1962-1965 the Council debated and decided upon how to move the message and meaning of the Catholic Church more deeply into the lives of its members. The major areas of focus over that time included relationships within the Church, liturgical renewal, ecumenical dialogue, especially with Judaism, and the relationship of the Church to the modern world. The Council left an important legacy with respect to the Church’s human and divine origins, and to itself as "The People of God" on a human and a religious pilgrimage.

In conjunction with this world-wide commemoration, Alvernia is preparing a series of lectures that will provide opportunities to learn more about this important Council and to celebrate the significance of its work in the life of the Church. The Founders Day lecture on Sept. 11, featuring Rabbi Howard Hirsch, will launch the Vatican II series and also inaugurate a new initiative in interfaith dialogue. Rabbi Hirsch will share with us his perspective on the impact of Vatican II on Jewish-Christian relationships.

The goal of the events is to shed light on the Council and how its actions 50 years ago continues to affect the mission of the university today. Events planned for the next five semesters will center on several of the topics discussed at the Council; tentatively, the sequence will be: Ecumenism, non-Christian religions (2012-13), Religious Liberty (Spring 2014) Apostolate of the Laity (Fall 2014) Church in the Modern World (Spring 2015), the legacy of the Council (Fall, 2015).

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.