The Catholic University of America

April 10, 2012

CUA Begins Weeklong Celebration of Anniversary with Mass

University Receives Congratulatory Letter from Vatican


Cardinal Wuerl celebrates a Mass for the 125th Anniversary of the founding of The Catholic University of America. 
> Video of the Cardinal Wuerl's homily
> Transcript
> Letter from the Vatican (PDF) 

On Tuesday, April 10, The Catholic University of America community gathered to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the University with a noontime Mass celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and chancellor of the University.

Concelebrating at Mass were members of the CUA Board of Trustees — Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville, Ky.; Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde, bishop of Arlington, Va.; and Monsignor Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

On April 10, 1887, Pope Leo XIII sent a letter to Cardinal James Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore, giving his formal approval for the founding of The Catholic University of America.

In his letter, the pope urged the bishops of the United States to “earnestly promote true knowledge ... in conformity with divine faith, so that the forces of revelation and reason combined should form an invincible bulwark of faith.”

Today’s Mass, held at the Basilica, marked the beginning of a weeklong series of events to celebrate the founding of the University.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl noted that as the Church celebrates the good news of Christ’s resurrection this week of Easter, “Passing on this good news is at the heart of who we are” at Catholic University.

“After 125 years, the University has a proud heritage of striving, of effort, of achievement in carrying out that great challenge,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “We have seen the Lord, and he has changed us, and you will be my witnesses.”

  President Garvey recognizes leaders of the Cardinal Service Commitment. 
> Video of President Garvey's remarks

At the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl referenced a letter he received from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, conveying Pope Benedict XVI’s “cordial good wishes” to the Catholic University community on the occasion of its anniversary. The letter recalled the Pope’s visit to Catholic University in 2008, during which “the Holy Father wished to reaffirm the unique role played by Catholic educational institutions in that ‘diaconia of truth’ which the Church exercises in her proclamation of God’s revealed word. Today, as in the past, a sound understanding of the fruitful interplay of faith and reason is urgently needed in order to defend the full scope of human reason and to advance the grandeur and dignity of the human person…”

Cardinal Bertone’s letter said “His Holiness prays that the anniversary celebrations will be an occasion of renewed commitment to the Catholic University’s distinctive mission at the service of the Church and American society. It is his hope that, in fidelity to its founding vision, the University will continue to bring the Church’s rich intellectual and spiritual patrimony to bear upon the critical issues of our time and thus contribute to the authentic renewal of the social fabric in accordance with the truth of the Gospel.”

Before the Mass concluded, University President John Garvey recognized eight students, faculty, staff, and alumni who will be recognized in the afternoon at a celebration of the Cardinal Service Commitment — a challenge to perform 125,000 hours of service in gratitude for the blessings of the past 125 years.

At the celebration, the total number of hours completed will also be revealed. Catholic University exceeded the 125,000-hour mark in January, and continued logging hours through April 9.

“Prepare to be amazed,” Garvey said. 


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