The Catholic University of America

Sept. 26, 2008

Vatican Cardinal Visits CUA


Following the conferral of a CUA honorary degree to Cardinal Rode are, from left, Father O'Connell, Cardinal McCarrick, Cardinal Rode, Archbishop Wuerl and Archbishop Sambi

Cardinal Franc Rode, C.M., prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, received the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa from The Catholic University of America during a ceremony held at Nugent Hall on Sept. 24. Cardinal Rode is visiting the United States for several days and will address a symposium to be held in Boston Sept. 26 through 28 entitled "Apostolic Religious Life since Vatican II...Reclaiming the Treasure: Bishops, Theologians, and Religious in Conversation."

The honorary doctorate was awarded following a dinner in Cardinal Rode's honor hosted by Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., at his residence. The cardinal and Father O'Connell belong to the same religious society, the Congregation of the Mission, also known as the Vincentians.

In attendance at the dinner and ceremony, in addition to Cardinal Rode, his priest secretary Monsignor Blaz Jezercek and the president were Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington and CUA chancellor; Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio and personal representative of the Pope to the United States; Archbishop Donald Wuerl, current archbishop of Washington and CUA chancellor, and his priest secretary Rev. Adam Park; Rev. Robert Maloney, C.M., former Vincentian superior general and CUA alum; Rev. Melvin Blanchette, S.S., rector of CUA's seminary, Theological College; Rev. Thomas F. McKenna, C.M., former Vincentian provincial and CUA alum; Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., president of the Catholic Hospital Association; Sister Mary Persico, I.H.M., president of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, Pa.; Monsignor Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica and CUA alum and trustee; Rev. James Steffes, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and his assistant director, Rev. David Toups; deans Kevin Irwin, Kurt Pritzl, O.P. and Rose McDermott, S.S.J., of CUA's schools of theology, philosophy and canon law, respectively; Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M. Conv., university chaplain and director of campus ministry; and Sister Mary Clarahan, R.S.M., assistant professor in CUA's School of Theology and Religious Studies.

Shown are five Vincentians. From left: Father O'Connell, Sister Keehan, Cardinal Rode, Father McKenna and Father Maloney

Following the reading of the citation, Cardinal Rode accepted his honor and spoke to the gathering. The participants also celebrated the cardinal's birthday with a cake, a champagne toast and a chorus of "Happy Birthday." Following remarks by the apostolic nuncio and a benediction by Archbishop Wuerl, the attendees sang the "Salve Regina" to conclude the evening.

On Sept. 25 Cardinal Rode visited CUA's seminary, Theological College, to celebrate Mass, speak to the seminarians, and participate in a reception and dinner with the residents and special guests. Rev. Melvin Blanchette, Theological College rector, welcomed the cardinal at the beginning of Mass. The cardinal preached the homily and greeted each seminarian, priest and guest personally during the reception. Afterwards, Cardinal Rode joined the Sulpician priest faculty for dinner.

The symposium that he will address in the Archdiocese of Boston at Stonehill College will be hosted by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop

Cardinal Rode chats with (from left) Father Park, Father O'Connell and Archbishop Wuerl.

of Boston and CUA alum and trustee. The symposium organizer, Sister Jeanmarie Gribadou, had approached Father O'Connell last year to request that he contact and invite Cardinal Rode. Since the cardinal had never visited Washington, D.C., Father O'Connell hosted him during his visit and stay at the apostolic nunciature.