SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Lay Centre co-founders Riekie Van Velzen and Dr Donna Orsuto were at Immaculate Conception Seminary and School of Theology (ICSST) April 25-26 to mark formally the new collaboration between ICSST and The Lay Centre.
The new board, which now includes representation from ICSST, held its first meeting. After Vespers, April 25, presided by Monsignor Joseph Reilly, Dr Orsuto delivered the following address:
“Riekie Van Velzen, co-founder of The Lay Centre, and I want to express our deepest gratitude to all of you for being here this evening on this occasion when we formally mark The Lay Centre’s partnership with Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology here at Seton Hall. Our gratitude goes, first of all, to Monsignor Reilly, Dr Dianne Traflet and the staff here, who have so graciously welcomed us and who have worked tirelessly to make this partnership a reality. Special thanks go to Monsignor Reilly, who not only has presided at Vespers this evening, but who has also agreed to serve as chair of The Lay Centre board.
“This is an historic moment for The Lay Centre, which began 33 years ago at Piazza Navona in Rome. We have seen amazing growth over these years, where our student community has more than doubled and our international and local programs have flourished. This is largely due to the generosity of our friends, most particularly Ralph and Mary Dwan, and our dedicated board of directors, guided by its chair, Nancy Lindsay.
“One of the characteristics of The Lay Centre is that it has been a place of deep friendships. Numerous friends have journeyed with us and we are so aware that without them, we would never have arrived at where we are now. One such friend is Nancy Lindsay, who came to The Lay Centre 20 years ago for a three-week summer study program. She had just entered the Church and she was eager to learn more about her faith. She was also incredibly generous with her gifts. She had just retired as an attorney from the World Bank and graciously offered to assist The Lay Centre. And assist us she did! We were just beginning The Lay Centre board, and Nancy became one of the first members and served as its chair. She brought expertise and determination (what Teresa of Avila would call ‘determined determination’) to the task. Over the last 20 years, we have worked hard together, with God’s help, to make The Lay Centre what it is today. On March 31, Nancy officially concluded her time on The Lay Centre board and has passed the baton of Lay Centre chair to Monsignor Reilly.
“Tonight, on behalf of The Lay Centre board and all of our students and staff, Riekie and I want to officially thank you, Nancy, for all that you have done over the years. We want to do this in a concrete way with a meaningful gift that will remind you of our gratitude, love and continued friendship. For this reason, we present you with this icon of the Holy Trinity. As you know, in The Lay Centre chapel, we keep an icon of the Trinity that was blessed by Cardinal Bea, on October 7, 1962. In presenting you with this icon, we not only thank you for your past service, but we promise you that we will keep you in our prayers as we pray before our icon in our chapel. Thank you, Nancy, for all that you have done for The Lay Centre and for your continued friendship.”