|President Garvey with 20-year honorees at the Service Awards Dinner.
On November 19, we hosted the annual Service Awards Dinner, which celebrates the dedication of our faculty and staff who have hit the 10- or 20-year mark in their service to the University. Each year when this dinner rolls around, I get to thinking about the loyal employees we have at Catholic University. We are really fortunate to have such great people. Thank you again, to all our faculty and staff. You are the building blocks of this great University. You make it possible for us to accomplish our goals, serve our students, build a campus community, and carry out the work God has entrusted to us.
From November 14-19 I went to Mexico for a conference sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Knights of Columbus, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The conference was held to discuss the Latin American Church in North, South, and Latin America, and to explore the possibilities for collaboration in faith among the cultures from each region. Latin American Catholicism is an important topic for us as The Catholic University of America. Today the Catholic Church in the United States is predominantly Hispanic (54% of U.S. millennial Catholics are Hispanic). Latin American Catholics will play an increasingly significant role in Catholic higher education in the future. It behooves us as educators to consider how we can best serve the needs of this segment of the Catholic population, and how Latin American Catholics can help us build a culture of faith on our campuses.
While in Mexico I made two other stops worthy of mention. I visited the Panamerican University (Universidad Panamericana), a Catholic university located in Mexico City. Panamericana is one of the finest universities in Mexico. It was a pleasure to visit, and I look forward to getting to know it better. I also visited the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe located near the place where Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron of the Americas, and a wonderful symbol of unity for North, South, and Latin America. She is also a popular patron for the protection of the unborn. Her feast day is this month, on December 12.
On Monday, November 25, the Office of Public Affairs in conjunction with Technology Services premiered a new University Experts Guide. The new guide offers more polished profiles of our faculty experts, and presents a user-friendly experience for journalists looking to collaborate with our faculty. I invite you to view the new guide. Thank you to all the University experts, particularly among the faculty, who have signed up to serve as sources for the media. It’s an important way of promoting specific disciplines and areas of expertise and of making the University better known among the general public.
Advent began on December 1. It is one of my favorite times of year on campus. We have talented musicians, dedicated campus ministers, and many student volunteers who enrich our experience of this holy season.
- On December 6 at 5 p.m. Campus Ministry and the Office of Campus Activities will host our annual tree-lighting ceremony on the Center Lawn of the Pryzbyla Center. The lawn will also be the site of the Greccio, a live nativity scene.
- Our annual Christmas Concert for Charity will also take place on December 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Great Upper Church. This year’s freewill offering will be taken for Bethlehem House, a charity that provides Christian residential communities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Brookland neighborhood of northeast Washington, D.C., and in Riverdale, Md.
- Our annual Christmas Party for faculty and staff will be held on December 19 in the Great Room of the Pryzbyla Center. I hope to see you there.
For a more complete list of campus events of the Christmas season, visit this page.
Let me extend my wishes for a happy, holy Advent and Christmas season to you all. This time of year is a wonderful opportunity to pause and think about Jesus, who is the reason for the work we do at Catholic University. I am delighted (as I’m sure you are) that Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year, so that we are able to close the University for two full weeks. I hope you enjoy this time with family and friends. Merry Christmas and God bless you.