Seton Hall’s Unique Place
Seton Hall University holds a unique place among American Catholic institutions of higher learning. Founded in 1856 by the first Bishop of Newark, James Roosevelt Bayley, it is the oldest Roman Catholic diocesan university in the United States and one of the largest. Bishop Bayley named Seton Hall after his aunt, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was a convert to Catholicism, a pioneer in Catholic education, and the first American-born saint.
Seton Hall's identity and mission continue to be shaped by Bishop Bayley's vision that it should be a Catholic university. As any university, Seton Hall is a community of scholars representing the many branches of human knowledge and dedicated to research, teaching, and various forms of service to the larger community. As Catholic, Seton Hall is an institutional commitment of the Archdiocese of Newark, and as such it is committed to promoting Catholic ideals, principles, and values in all its activities. While respecting the academic freedom of each individual, by its policies and practices Seton Hall invites and encourages all its constituencies to discover the riches and resources of the Catholic tradition in the furtherance of human knowledge.
This vision and sense of mission accords with the charge given to all Catholic universities by the late Pope John Paul II in a document entitled Ex Corde Ecclesiae ("Born from the Heart of the Church") that he wrote in 1990 on the character and purpose of Catholic universities. Therein, the Pope called upon Catholic universities to retain a lively sense of their Catholic identity while fulfilling their responsibilities to the Church and to society at large. In the words of our late Holy Father, "A Catholic university's privileged task is 'to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality…: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fountain of truth'" (Ex Corde Ecclesiae). Thus, Seton Hall University seeks to be a place where reason and faith meet; for as John Paul II elsewhere observed, "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth…" (Fides et ratio).
The Office of Mission & Ministry seeks to keep Seton Hall University faithful to its identity and mission and to enhance these by the varied opportunities that may present themselves for doing so. Counting on its many resources, the most precious being its excellent faculty of dedicated priests and lay persons, the office promotes the Catholic character of the University in all its activities; for example, in public worship, in outreach and service to the neediest, in special programs highlighting Catholic ideas and values, in policy decisions regarding dormitory life, in counseling services, in campus organizations, and so on.
Although all segments of the University share ownership of the Catholic mission, various offices and centers are more directly involved in its promotion. Behind every organization, you will find a face ready to welcome YOU to be part of this great mission. Why not come and see for yourself?