Fr. John Lydon, O.S.A. Honored at Award Ceremony

On Friday, February 11, 2022, the Archdiocese and the Catholic University of Trujillo organized a ceremony of thanks for Fr. John Lydon, O.S.A. recognizing his work of six years as president of the university.

Beginning with a celebration of the eucharist in the chapel of the university before proceeding to an outdoor ceremony, the archbishop of Trujillo began the ceremony conferring on Fr. John the Medal of Santo Toribio (St. Turibius), who is the great missionary archbishop of colonial Peru, and is the patron saint of the archdioceses and of all Latin American bishops.  The medal, in the form of a cross, is given by the archdiocese in recognition for special service to the church.

Following the giving of the medal, the Archbishop, Miguel Cabrejos, who is also president of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference and the president of the Council of the Bishops of all of Latin America (CELAM), addressed those gathered with the following words:

Thank you all very much for being here participating in this Solemn Ceremony, whose public purpose is to give a testimonial of our recognition and our permanent gratitude to the very dear and respected Fr. John Lydon, of the Order of Saint Augustine, who since April 1, 2016 has brilliantly directed our Catholic University of Trujillo (UCT).

I want to thank his priestly and missionary testimony: Fr. John Lydon came to Peru very young, at the age of 28, moved by his desire to share his faith and serve the poorest. Since then, he has served the Church in Peru for 39 years, performing important pastoral and religious responsibilities in the Order of Saint Augustine, in the sister Diocese of Chulucanas and since 1990 in this beloved Archdiocese of Trujillo.

We can say that he has served in our ecclesiastical jurisdiction for 32 years, performing with great pastoral zeal and great responsibility, which has allowed him to be entrusted with different and important responsibilities, such as formation director,  and superior in his Religious Community; as parish priest, Episcopal Vicar and Vicar General; as professor at the Major Seminary “San Carlos and San Marcelo” as well as this University, and in the last six years holding the position of Rector (President) of this important house of professional formation.

I would like to particularly thank you for your excellent performance as President.

P. Juan, God willed that during your administration, you led the effort that allowed the institutional licensing granted by the governing body of Higher Education in Peru (SUNEDU), an achievement that recognizes the quality of education provided by our University and that allowed us to continue working in a climate of stability, to continue improving the university’s educational service, and guarantee the achievement of our institutional goal: to provide society with good professionals, with a solid Christian formation, new leaders with spirit and values.

I also want to thank him for leading a coordinated effort, which has allowed the different areas of the University to grow and contribute efficiently for the good of our students and the entire university community. As a good son of St. Augustine, he opted for teamwork, which has allowed the great growth, that our university experienced after institutional licensing, to be well managed.

We must also recognize your guiding during these years the great impulse towards elevating teaching qualifications, academic achievement, research and the university’s social responsibility; all of which allowed our university not to stop in its services despite the ordeal faced because of the health emergency caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. The rapid and successful adaptation of our curricular guidelines to quality virtual education, made it possible for our students to continue training under the criteria and requirements that our university has established in its educational model, and thus continue to produce graduates with a high professional and ethical profile for the good of our society.

I appreciate your successful management and coordination in the merger process with the university ULADECH. We are witnesses that you guided with transparency and dedication this important process that had and has the sole purpose guaranteeing quality education for students from that university who, because they did not meet the basic conditions of quality, cannot offer their students a degree from a licensed university. Thanks to the enormous efforts that have been deployed under his leadership, more than six thousand young people from the merger have been guaranteed a quality education and many of them already have a university degree.

Thank you for representing us so well in the fruitful and valuable relationship that has been maintained with the National Superintendent of Education (SUNEDU), with the Association of Peruvian Universities (ASUP), with the Peruvian Network of Universities RPU), with the Organization of Catholic Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (ODUCAL) and with ODUCAL Peru, whose presidents are joining us today virtually.  Also, with the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC) and with many Catholic universities in the world, which allow us to maintain a level of coordination and exchange with universities in the United States, Canada, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and several Latin American and Caribbean countries, and especially with Catholic universities in Brazil.

It would be impossible to detail all the important achievements and contributions of his time at our university, first as a teacher, and then as a brilliant President. But the high level of his service could not be understood in its proper dimension if we do not take into account his high human quality and his fidelity to his priestly and religious life. This allows me to remind you that ceasing to be President (Rector) does not disassociate you from our university: you are leaving an important position, but you continue and will continue to be part of the UCT family. I am sure that we will always count on his wisdom, with his special human and academic training, with his strength and his permanent service for the good of the youth and of our beloved Peru, through our University. That is why I wish you a serene and productive sabbatical year, and rest assured that you will always have a special place in this, your house of studies.

Again, thank you very much, dearest Fr. John.

Following his words, the Municipal Government of Trujillo awarded to Fr. Lydon the medal of the city, followed by a similar award by the National University of Trujillo, which is the oldest university of northern Peru, celebrating is 200th anniversary. Finally, the presidents of the nine other Catholic Universities of Peru (ODUCAL) presented a plaque with a traditional indigenous symbol and the words: “The Presidents of the Catholic Universities of Peru express their thanks for your participation in our network as president (Rector) of the Catholic University of Trujillo since April 1, 2016, underscoring your human qualities and your great sense of collaboration, and wish you the greatest of success in your future. We will remember you always with great appreciation.”

Fr. Lydon then expressed his thanks towards all those present and towards all those that worked in the university with him during these years.  Finally, the auxiliary bishop of Trujillo, Francisco Castro (a former student of Fr. Lydon’s) gave the closing toast of honor. The ceremony conclude with several traditional folk dances by students of the university.

Fr. Lydon is beginning a sabbatical in March in the United States.