Gannon University Announces Spring Commencement Speaker

Fr. Thomas RosicaPosted: April 20, 2015

Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., will recognize the graduates of the Class of 2015 at Commencement on Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at the Erie Insurance Arena.

This year's keynote speaker is the Rev. Thomas M. Rosica, C.S.B., English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office in Vatican City. Fr. Rosica will be awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa at the ceremony.

Guest Speaker Fr. Thomas M. Rosica

The Rev. Thomas Rosica is a priest of the Congregation of St. Basil (Basilian Fathers). He was born in 1959 in Rochester, N.Y. After attending elementary and secondary school in Rochester, he received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Italian and French language and literature from St. John Fisher College in May 1980. Fr. Rosica was ordained a priest in the Congregation of St. Basil on April 19, 1986 in Rochester.

He holds advanced degrees in theology and sacred scripture from Regis College in the Toronto School of Theology (1985), the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1991) and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem (1994).

Fr. Rosica lectured in sacred scripture at Canadian universities in Toronto, Windsor and London from 1990-2008. From 1994-2000 he served as executive director of the Newman Centre Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto. From 1994 - 2006, Fr. Rosica represented the Canadian Bishops on the Canadian Christian-Jewish Consultation.

In June 1999, he was appointed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as the chief executive officer and national director of the World Youth Day and the papal visit of Pope John Paul II that took place in Toronto during July 2002.

On July 1, 2003, Fr. Rosica became the founding chief executive officer of Salt and Light Television, Canada's first national Catholic television network. From 2003 - 2006, he also served as master of scholastics of the Basilian Fathers in Toronto. In August 2006, he was elected to the General Council of the Congregation of Priests of St. Basil and served for four years as second councilor.

Fr. Rosica is a member of the Episcopal Commission for Communications for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. In October 2008, Fr. Rosica was appointed by the Vatican as the English-speaking media attaché of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican that focused on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." In February 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Rosica a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The Vatican appointed him once again to be the English-speaking Media Attaché of the Synod of Bishops on "The New Evangelization" that took place during October 2012 at the Vatican.

From December 2011 until May 2015, Fr. Rosica has served as president of Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario and served as a key leader in the transformation, reorientation and restructuring of Canada's oldest English language Catholic university.

Following the announcement on February 11, 2013 of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, Fr. Rosica was invited by the Vatican to join the staff of the Holy See Press Office and serve as one of the official spokespersons for the transition in the papacy that included the resignation, Sede Vacante, Conclave and election of the new Pope. Fr. Rosica assisted the Vatican during a critical period in Church history. At the end of the Papal transition in April 2013, the Vatican asked him to serve as English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office. He continues to relate on a daily basis with English- language media around the world. He served as the English language spokesperson at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in October 2014. 

Fr. Rosica has received significant awards from the Government of Italy, the State of Israel, and two Jubilee Medals from Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain for his work with young people. In 2003, he received the Papal Award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" from Pope John Paul II for his leadership of World Youth Day 2002. In January 2014, he was awarded the John Carroll Medal from the John Carroll Society in Washington, D.C.

Fr. Rosica delivered the 2013 Thomas J. and Mary H. Loftus Lecture on Catholic Thought and Action at Gannon University