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LEWISTON – Vincentian Heritage Week, an annual celebration of the priestly order that founded Niagara University, begins today and continues through Saturday.

The event, also known as Founder’s Week, begins with a Mass at 11:05 a.m. today in the upper level of the Gallagher Center. A St. Vincent lookalike contest will be held at 7 tonight in the Gallagher Center.

Wednesday afternoon, a panel discussion in the Gallagher Center, including the university president, the Rev. James J. Maher, will focus on Pope Francis, with an emphasis on the pontiff’s messages on social justice and the war in Syria.

The annual Vincentian Heritage Convocation is set for 4 p.m. Thursday in the Alumni Chapel. The Caritas Medal will be awarded to Judith A. Willard, assistant to the president for planning. The Rev. John S. Sledziona, secretary for ordained ministry and liturgical worship, will receive an honorary degree. Niagara’s Vincentian Mission Award will be presented to faculty members Craig and Lisa Rivera.

A poverty simulation workshop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday in St. Vincent’s Hall. The role-playing experience will be followed Friday by the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s “Friends of the Poor Walk” at 10 a.m. on Goat Island.