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Less than a month from taking over as president of St. Bonaventure University, Dr. Dennis DePerro capped a Franciscan pilgrimage in Italy with a moment he’ll never forget.
DePerro and his wife, Sherry, met Wednesday with Pope Francis, who spoke briefly with the couple and blessed them on a sunny afternoon in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
“It was an incredibly moving experience to meet him,” DePerro said. “The entire pilgrimage was a wonderful way to begin the ministry of leading a Franciscan university.”
DePerro embarked April 25 on a week-long pilgrimage to St. Francis’ home of Assisi. He was accompanied by Trustees Chair Bob Daugherty and his wife, Nancy; National Alumni Association Board Chair Kristan McMahon; and fellow trustees Fr. Tom Conway, O.F.M., and the Very Rev. John Puodziunas, O.F.M., Economo General of the Order of Friars Minor.
After five days in Assisi, the group visited Greccio and Bagnoregio before heading to Vatican City and Rome.
“We were able to have Mass in some spectacular places because of our small size,” McMahon said.
The group celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Basilica of Saint Clare, where the San Damiano cross hangs; inside the Porziuncola, the small chapel restored by St. Francis (located inside the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels); at the Chapel of Peace at the Basilica of St. Francis; and in the chapel that houses the bones of St. Peter at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
DePerro takes over June 1 for Dr. Andrew Roth, interim president at St. Bonaventure.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #6 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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