The Catholic University of America

Inside CUA Nameplate

From the President's Desk


  CUA celebrated the beginning of the Christmas season on Nov. 30 with the lighting of the tree in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

Thanksgiving is behind us, our campus Christmas tree is lit, and the end of another semester fast approaches. I had the opportunity to visit Rome over Thanksgiving break. I attended a consistory — an ecclesiastical meeting of cardinals and the Pope — that the Holy Father had called, to elevate six Church leaders to the College of Cardinals. While there, one of our alumni, Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, was elevated to a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. It is a great honor that so many of our graduates go on to receive this mark of distinction in the Church. It was mostly a business trip. I met with Archbishop Angelo Zani, the new secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; and Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P., vice-president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. I had several meetings with my counterparts at the Lateran University and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. My wife and I had the chance to enjoy a wonderful Italian dinner with our students who are currently studying abroad in Rome. And the day after Thanksgiving we got a tour of the Vatican Observatory and Castel Gandolfo, arranged by the Observatory director, who visited our University this fall. The trip was full of reminders that we enjoy a very special connection to the Eternal City.

On November 11-12, I attended the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Baltimore and a meeting of the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education. These meetings provide valuable opportunities for communication between the bishops and Catholic educators, and among Catholic college and university presidents about the important issues we face in Catholic higher education. While I was in Baltimore I gave a 30-minute interview to Catholic TV, a network headquartered in suburban Boston.

John Roberts and John Garvey  
Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts, center, and President Garvey with graduates of the Columbus School of Law who were sworn into the bar of the Supreme Court.

On November 13 I was at the Supreme Court to move the admission of 20 graduates of the Columbus School of Law to the bar of the Supreme Court. The swearing-in, done by Chief Justice John Roberts, qualifies a lawyer to argue a case in front of the Court should the opportunity arise. And speaking of our law school and the Supreme Court, I am delighted to announce that we have hired a longtime member of the Supreme Court bar, Daniel Attridge, to be the new dean of the Columbus School of Law. Dan is the managing partner of Kirkland & Ellis’s Washington office, and is routinely recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

On December 13 I will travel to Boston to participate in the University alumni chapter Christmas Party. Since the next issue of Inside CUA won’t be published until February 1, I want to mention a couple of events coming up in January. The annual March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C., on January 25. It will again be an occasion for our students to welcome participants to campus, and provide hospitality for those who need a place to stay overnight. We are delighted that so many of our students, led by Campus Ministry, take part in this effort. Our Patronal Mass in honor of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which we host jointly with the Dominican House of Studies in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, will take place on January 29. I am happy to announce two new developments concerning that event. In honor of National Catholic Schools Week (the last week of January), we hope to be joined at the mass by representatives of the National Catholic Educational Association and of our local Catholic schools. In addition, this year the Eternal Word Television Network will televise the mass, as it has done with our Mass of the Holy Spirit for the past several years. These televised masses are a wonderful opportunity to share the beautiful liturgies we have at Catholic University with a wider audience and to acquaint more people with our institution.

As classes wrap up for the semester and we prepare for final exams, several events on campus will help to ready us for the Christmas season. On Monday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. our Wind Ensemble will perform a Christmas concert at Hartke Theatre. On Friday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m. we will hold our annual Christmas Concert for Charity, along with our co-sponsor, the Basilica of the National Shrine. The concert will benefit the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA. On Saturday, December 8, at 7 p.m. the CUA Gaels will present a Celtic Christmas. Take advantage of these and the other opportunities we have on campus to prepare for Christmas. On that note, I wish you all a very blessed Advent and a happy, peaceful Christmas. And good luck on your final exams.