May 12, 2001
Today’s graduates have a responsibility to their neighbors around the world, said Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, addressing the class of 2001 during Catholic University’s 112th Annual Commencement Ceremony held Saturday morning on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“If you want to be fully human – fully alive – you have to be aware of your neighbor and your neighbor’s needs, and you have to be willing to reach out to that neighbor in love, in grace and in generosity,” Cardinal McCarrick said. “Your neighbor is not just down the street, but across the world. In the new dimension of mankind which we call globalization, one of the elements which is evident and of great importance now is our need to recognize that what happens in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro has an effect on what happens in the canyons of Wall Street; what happens in the boardrooms of Prague may have an enormous effect on the markets of America and what happens in the deserts of Arabia can decisively affect the standard of living in St. Louis, Missouri.” (Click here to view full text of Cardinal McCarrick’s address. See speech.)
Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop of Washington and the chancellor of CUA, was elevated to the College of Cardinals in February. This year’s commencement ceremonies brought back memories for the cardinal, a double alumnus of CUA who received his master’s degree in sociology in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1963. Between 1958 and 1965 he served the university as its assistant chaplain, dean of students and director of development. He has been a member of Catholic University’s Board of Trustees since 1993.
Standing before the crowd of approximately 3,000, including graduates, their families and friends, Cardinal McCarrick recalled the CUA commencement when he rose to shake the hand of President Lyndon Johnson — and nearly fell off the makeshift bleachers in the process. “I will never forget the look of surprise on the President’s face as three very distinguished university administrators or faculty began to topple [with me],” Cardinal McCarrick said. “The only one who didn’t give me a dirty look was the chancellor, Cardinal O’Boyle. He just looked, shook his head and laughed. He was certainly a great chancellor and I hope I can measure up to his ability to roll with the flow as he did that day almost 40 years ago.”
The cardinal encouraged graduates to consider lives of service and, for some, religious vocations, in a rapidly globalizing world poised “for the great scientific adventures in interplanetary travel, in medicine, in science and in commerce.”
“The need for wise, courageous, generous and joyful men and women who will probe the deepest questions of the relationship of humanity with God and will be the guardians and the facilitators of the divine revelation to the men and women of this world – that will become even more important as the world becomes ever more wrapped up in its own quest for happiness and success,” he said.
Following Cardinal McCarrick’s address, The Catholic University of America conferred 1,014 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Two outstanding supporters of Catholic University were presented with medals of recognition during the event: The Very Rev. Mark Curesky, O.F.M. Conv., Franciscan provincial, received the President’s Medal, the university’s highest honor, in gratitude for his decision to make Catholic University’s Campus Ministry an apostolate of the order’s St. Anthony of Padua Province. Father Curesky is head of the province, which is based in Ellicott City, Md. Three of the order’s friars now reside at Catholic University, where they minister to the university’s student community. It was Father Curesky who approached the Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., President of CUA, in the summer of 1998 to offer the services of one of his Franciscan priests. This began a relationship CUA now enjoys with the province of Conventual Franciscans, with a friary established on campus and the university’s Campus Ministry recognized as an official apostolic activity of the province.
University trustee and alumnus T. Murray Toomey, Esq., a 1949 graduate of Catholic University’s law school, became the first recipient of the newly created Bishop Thomas J. Shahan Medal, an award recognizing outstanding service and commitment to the university. Toomey, a resident of Chevy Chase, Md., coincidentally was named for Bishop Shahan, who also baptized him.
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Revised: May 16, 2001
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