The Catholic University of America

April 3, 2007

U.S. Cardinals to Gather in Las Vegas April 27 For Annual CUA Scholarship Fundraiser

Cardinals Will Celebrate Public Mass at the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer

The American Cardinals at last year's dinner, along with Father O'Connell (third from the right, second row), and Most Rev. Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio (far right, second row). Bishop William E. Lori, CUA Board Chairman and Bishop of Bridgeport, is pictured third from the left in the second row.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - America's Catholic cardinals will gather in Las Vegas to raise money for college scholarships at the 18th American Cardinals Dinner, to be held Friday, April 27, 2007, at the Four Seasons Hotel, located at 3960 Las Vegas Blvd. Most Rev. Joseph A. Pepe, bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas, and Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America, will serve as co-hosts for the 7 p.m. dinner, which will benefit Catholic University scholarship funds.

Prior to the dinner Bishop Pepe will be the principal celebrant at a 4 p.m. Mass at the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer (55 E. Reno Ave.). The cardinals in attendance will concelebrate the Mass, which will be open to the public. Father O'Connell will be the homilist.

"I am looking forward to this special occasion to celebrate a public Mass with the American cardinals, who will be gathering here in the diocese of Las Vegas for the first time to raise money for Catholic University scholarships," says Bishop Pepe. "The Mass and dinner will provide rare opportunities to see the cardinals gather in person, and we welcome this chance to join with them in support of students at the national university of the Catholic Church in America."

Most Rev. Joseph A. Pepe

Each year a different diocese or archdiocese hosts the black-tie event; this will be the first time the U.S. cardinals have gathered in Nevada for the fundraiser. In recent years the dinner has been held in such cities as Washington, D.C., Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Francisco. Since its inauguration, the annual event has raised more than $21 million to support Catholic University.

"The generosity of those who attend the American Cardinals Dinner has helped provide scholarships to so many deserving students," Father O'Connell says. "We are immeasurably grateful to the friends of our Church and our university who show their support for Catholic higher education by attending the Cardinals Dinner."

The dinner traditionally features all or most of the seven cardinals who currently serve as archbishops of U.S. dioceses. They also are members of CUA's Board of Trustees.

Also expected to attend the dinner are Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and university chancellor, and Most Rev. William E. Lori, bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport (Conn.) and president of the CUA Board of Trustees.

One of the highlights of the dinner will be the presentation of the $10,000 American Cardinals Encouragement Award, which recognizes faith-based initiatives that reflect Christian values. This year's recipient is Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, which has been offering a wide range of social services to the less fortunate for more than 65 years.

MEDIA: Members of the media may obtain more information about covering the dinner by
calling Chris Harrison or Catherine Lee in the CUA Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.

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The Catholic University of America, located in the heart of Washington, D.C., is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church in America. Founded in 1887 and chartered by Congress, the university opened as a graduate research institution. Undergraduate programs were introduced in 1904. Today the private and coeducational campus has approximately 6,100 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in 12 schools of architecture and planning, arts and sciences, canon law, engineering, law, library and information science, music, nursing, philosophy, social service, theology and religious studies, and a college for adult learners.