Annual Luminosa Award for Unity Awarded to SHU President Anthony J. Cernera, Ph.D.

News Story:

This year’s Luminosa Award for Unity will be awarded to Dr. Anthony Cernera, president of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and president of the International Federation of Catholic Universities which represents Catholic colleges and universities throughout the world. In a letter informing Dr. Cernera of his nomination, Focolare East Coast Directors, Marigen Lohla and Fr. Terence Gunn, expressed their desire to pay tribute to his “lifelong commitment to excellence in education” and his dedication to interreligious dialogue, as evidenced by his support for the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding. 

Through the annual presentation of the Luminosa Award for Unity, the Focolare Movement seeks to recognize persons or associations whose lives and works have given a significant contribution to the building of universal brotherhood. Over the years, award recipients have represented various Christian denominations and faith traditions. Including:

o   William Cardinal Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore;

o   Rev. Nichiko Niwano, president of the Japanese Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai;

o   Rabbi Jack Bemporad, recognized for his work in Christian-Jewish dialogue;

o   Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Muslim American leader and director of “The Mosque Cares”;

o   Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya, chairman of the K.J. Somaiya, dedicated to the cultural regeneration of India;

o   Rev. Diane Kessler, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, Boston;

o   Canadian Senator Douglas Roche, author, parliamentarian and diplomat.  (Complete list available upon request.)

The award ceremony will take place during a conference titled, “The Search for Unity: the Role of Religiously Affiliated Colleges and Universities,” sponsored by the Focolare’s Center for Education in Dialogue. Panelists: Dr. Anthony J. Cernera; Prof. Russell G. Pearce, Edward & Marilyn Bellet Professor of Legal Ethics, Morality and Religion, Fordham University School of Law; Professor Mohammad Ali Shomali, John Cooper Memorial Fellow, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, England; Dr. Judith Povilus, Provost, Sophia University Institute, Florence, Italy.

The program begins at 11:00 a.m. and concludes at 4:00 p.m. with a reception in honor of Dr. Cernera. Tickets for luncheon, reception and ceremony are: $20 (adults), $15 (youth 13-17). To RSVP, for directions or more information, call (845) 229-0230 ext. 133 or e-mail