The Catholic University Of America

Office of the President


September 13, 2001




I know that many parents, family members and friends of our students indeed, of all of us at CUA have been deeply concerned since the news of the tragedy here in Washington was first communicated. Although the campus and its environs were not physically affected by the attack on the Pentagon, our first priority here has been and remains the safety, security, comfort and well being of the entire university community, especially our students. The students are safe and the campus is secure. I am most grateful to the Offices of Campus Safety/Security, Student Life, Housing and Residential Services, Student Health Services, Sodexho Food Services, the Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, Public Affairs, the Center for Planning and Information Technology and to many other faculty members, administrators and staff who cooperated to keep the campus and our students calm. Any student who was in need of anything had immediate access to the services of the university. Phone banks were set up, despite a problem with telephone service throughout the District of Columbia, so that students could communicate with their families.

At noon on Sept. 11, members of the university community joined Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for Mass and prayer. Throughout the remainder of the day, students gathered in smaller groups to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in Caldwell Hall Chapel. Our Franciscan chaplains were joined by other priests, religious and our own counseling staff to give comfort to our students.

A word should be said about our students. They responded so very well to this situation. Their cooperation and generosity offering assistance, donating blood at the local hospitals, remaining on campus as I had asked, consoling each other are a great source of pride to me and should be to their loved ones.

I want to give everyone the assurance, once again, that the University campus is safe, that our staff and students are calm and working together. Although yesterday's tragedy will never be forgotten, I believe it is important for us to resume our campus life as much as possible and as soon as possible. We continue to pray for the victims of these senseless acts and their families and friends. God bless and protect us and our nation.


The Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M.