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Br. Ross
Fr. Ross Chamberland, O.F.M.
Executive Director of
The Lateran Center
Interim University Chaplain


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The Lateran Center

The Lateran Center for Catholic Identity was created in 2014 as an effort to increase awareness of the Catholic identity and mission at St. Bonaventure University. It's creation is rooted in the global response to Pope Francis’ leadership, an affirmation that the Catholic mission in the Franciscan tradition has something the world is truly longing for, and that we should not be lukewarm in offering it.

Located in Francis Hall, The Lateran Center for Catholic Identity assists various departments by serving as a catalyst for program development, special events, and student recruitment. It collaborates with Athletics, Student Life, and student clubs in order to more fully integrate the university’s mission into the campus community.

The first major initiative of the Lateran Center for Catholic Identity was the renovation and rededication of Saint Joseph’s Oratory. The Oratory, located in the heart of campus, is now a chapel of perpetual Eucharistic adoration. This inaugural initiative was undertaken to demonstrate how the Lateran Center is rooted in prayer and adoration of the Lord Jesus.

The next major focus of the Lateran Center for Catholic Identity is the establishment of a residential discernment program for undergraduate men considering a call to the priesthood and/or the consecrated life. The discernment program is being very well received by vocation recruiters, the bishop of Buffalo, and the Franciscan Friars.

The program is flexible enough to incorporate a typical college experience complete with diversity of study and activity, while supported by a life of common prayer, program, and direction. The university has already recruited students for this program that will launch in the fall of 2016.

The Lateran Center has developed a strategic relationship with Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y., which traces its roots to St. Bonaventure University. The center also collaborates with the friars at Mt. Irenaeus, the Franciscan mountain community near campus, for programming, spiritual direction, and retreat opportunities. 

The center's name recalls St. Francis of Assisi’s journey to the Lateran Cathedral in Rome to receive permission from Pope Innocent III to begin his religious order. Later, the pope received a vision of St. Francis holding up the cathedral, symbolizing the saint holding up the universal Church.

Facade of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
The facade of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. A dream of a shattered Basilica being held up by Francis in a dream of Pope Innocent III convinced the Pope to officially recognize the Franciscan Order.