The Catholic University of America

Dec. 17, 2008


Father O'Connell with Cardinal Dulles

I am writing from New York where the funeral of Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., is being held at St. Patrick's Cathedral today. The Chairman of CUA's Board of Trustees, the Most Reverend William E. Lori, bishop of Bridgeport, is representing the board and The Catholic University of America at the funeral Mass. Bishop Lori was a student of then-Father Dulles at CUA.

For 14 years, Father Dulles taught at CUA - from 1974 through 1988. All of those who had the privilege of studying under his guidance recall his kindness and generosity as a professor and mentor. As immense as his intellectual acumen was, his priestly heart was even more so. A doctoral student at CUA during those years - although I never had the cardinal as a teacher - I recall so vividly seeing his Lincolnesque figure, in the midst of his priest colleagues in theology and canon law, walking around the campus after dinner each evening. How I wish I could have been a part of those conversations!

What tremendous impact he had on the development of theology and ecclesiology in our country. What tremendous impact he had on the minds and hearts of those he taught and served with here at CUA. How could we ever express our gratitude for the gifts he shared so generously with us?

His passing at the age of 90 is bittersweet. While we shall miss this wonderful Jesuit scholar and long-serving man of the Church, we gratefully rejoice that he now beholds our God, face to face - the reward of lifelong fidelity. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

Plans are being made in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at CUA for a memorial Mass early in the spring 2009 semester.

Very Reverend David M. O'Connell, C.M.