The Catholic University of America

April 24, 2009

U.S. Cardinals Gather in Houston For Annual CUA Scholarship Fundraiser

Cardinals Celebrate Mass at Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Gathered at the 20th American Cardinals Dinner, held April 24 at the Hyatt Regency Houston are (from left, first row) Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston Joseph A. Fiorenza, Cardinal William H. Keeler, Cardinal Adam J. Maida, Cardinal Edward M. Egan and Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, and (from left, second row) Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Father David M. O'Connell, Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali and Cardinal Francis E. George.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - America's Catholic cardinals gathered today in Houston to raise money for college scholarships at the 20th American Cardinals Dinner, held at the Hyatt Regency Houston. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America, served as co-hosts for the dinner. All proceeds from the event will benefit Catholic University scholarship funds.

Prior to the dinner, Cardinal DiNardo was the principal celebrant at a Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Visiting cardinals, bishops and clergy concelebrated the Mass. Father O'Connell was the homilist. In his homily, Father O'Connell addressed the topic of Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and universities.

"We are continually overwhelmed by the generosity of those who join us at the American Cardinals Dinner," Father O'Connell said. "By helping to provide scholarships for deserving CUA students, our guests are helping to promote CUA's mission of Catholic education. We are immeasurably grateful to the friends of our Church and our university for keeping this tradition of giving alive and well."

The dinner featured the five cardinals who currently serve as U.S. archbishops. They are: Cardinal Francis E. George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago; Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston; Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia; and Cardinal DiNardo. They also are members of CUA's Board of Trustees. Cardinal Edward M. Egan, archbishop emeritus of New York; Cardinal William H. Keeler, archbishop emeritus of Baltimore; and Cardinal Adam J. Maida, archbishop emeritus of Detroit, were also present as special guests.

Also in attendance at the dinner were Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, and Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, CUA chancellor and a university alumnus.

Each year a different diocese or archdiocese hosts the black-tie event; this is the first time the dinner has been held in Houston. In recent years the dinner has been held in such cities as Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Francisco. Since its inauguration, the annual event has raised more than $22 million to support scholarships for Catholic University students.

One of the highlights of the dinner was the presentation of the $10,000 American Cardinals Encouragement Award, which recognizes faith-based initiatives that reflect Christian values. This year's recipient is Angela House, a residential facility that provides professional counseling for women who have been incarcerated.

MEDIA: Members of the media may obtain more information about the dinner and Mass by calling Katie Lee at 202-386-0681 (mobile) or Victor Nakas at 202-236-4086 (mobile) or e-mail:

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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 6,700 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, professional studies, social service and theology and religious studies.