Archbishop Robert Carlson presided this convocation, which took the form of Vespers and included several lectures. The ceremonies included the rich and timeless garb of senior academics and clerics, ancient prayer, along with very modern interpretations of music and the lucernarium. Scholars from various universities in Saint Louis were in attendance, as well as the local Episcopal bishop.
The opening hymn was written by Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast day that was, and the convocation included hymns and prayers written by Cardinal Newman. From the notes of the convocation:
John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) was the most famous 19th century convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. During his time as an Anglican minister, Newman exercised an enormous influence on the church of his baptism through his leadership of the Oxford Movement, which was dedicated to returning the Church of England back to its catholic roots.The Oxford movement was ultimately a “paper religion”, having been rejected by the Anglican hierarchy, although it did lead to the Gothic Revival movement renewing church architecture. Disillusioned, Newman gave up everything he had and became a Roman Catholic, gaining far more than he lost. He realized that “the mature articulations of Roman Catholic theology were not corruptions, but in fact organic developments of the apostolic faith.”
One of the speakers said that Saint Louis University was to move more in the direction that Blessed Newman, an Oxford don, wrote in his book The Idea of a University.