Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations

Rev. Donald G. Clifford, S.J. '51 Memorial Fund
 Donald Clifford, SJ

The sudden passing of Fr. Don Clifford on May 4, 2009 was a shock to all of us at Saint Joseph's University and to his many friends in the Delaware Valley. Those of us who have been actively engaged in promoting mutual understanding among Jews and Catholics in our region are deeply grateful for Fr. Clifford’s 40-year legacy of leadership, generous spirit, and spiritual sensitivity. Under his vision and guidance from 1967 to 2008, the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph's University hosted conferences, exhibits, dramatic performances and trips to address religious and ethical issues that affect relations between Catholics and Jews. He worked tirelessly to fulfill the mission of the Institute and he will be greatly missed by many.

To honor his memory and to provide a secure, financial foundation for the Institute that he so passionately directed, we are so pleased to share that Saint Joseph's University has established the Rev. Donald G. Clifford, S.J. '51 Memorial Fund for Jewish-Catholic Relations.

This Memorial Fund will provide financial support for ongoing programs and operations while also establishing an endowment to permanently secure the future of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University.  With the generous support of anonymous benefactors, the Memorial Fund has already reached $300,000 toward our goal of $1 million.

The Memorial Fund is being launched at an opportune moment in the growing rapprochement between Catholics and Jews. After over four decades of deepening conversation, Jews and Catholics are now grappling with questions that require sustained university-based study and dialogue.  Moreover, educational programming and opportunities for Catholic and Jewish congregations to get to know one another continue to be needed.

Among the needed initiatives that the Memorial Fund will support are:

  • Research Projects: The positive relationship between Catholics and Jews that has emerged over the past four decades is so unprecedented that both communities are challenged to reexamine longstanding negative ideas about each other:

  • The support of regional collaborations to provide interfaith educational and dialogical programs and resources for Jews and Catholics in the Delaware Valley. These will include congregationally-based interactions between churches and synagogues to promote mutual understanding.

  • The enhancement of the Institute’s current speakers' series into semi-annual conferences of multiple scholars, which would include a public component to benefit the wider communities.

  • The funding of educational and study-tour programs, including scholarships.

  • A dedicated space at the University for the Institute to be named in honor of Rev. Donald G. Clifford, S.J.

With your help and support, Fr. Clifford’s vision of improving relations between Catholics and Jews through outreach, education and dialogue can continue.  We hope you will help us honor Fr. Clifford’s legacy with a founding contribution to his Memorial Fund, today. Thank you in advance for your consideration and support.

For additional information, please contact Carol Farrell at (610) 660-1249 or cfarrell@sju.edu.