March 16, 2005
Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, CUA’s president, (left) with Provost John Convey present Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir with an honorary degree.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2005, Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., Catholic University’s president, conferred a doctor of humane letters degree on Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, a well known advocate both for Lebanon’s independence and for the Catholic Church in the Middle East country.
In his remarks during a ceremony in the Vincent P. Walter Jr. Board Room at Curley Hall, Cardinal Sfeir, 84, said that he was dedicating his honorary degree to Pope John Paul II and “to the citizens of Lebanon, Christians and Muslims alike, who are determined to chart a new course, far from terrorism, sectarian hatred and injustice.”
As patriarch of the Maronite Church – the third largest Eastern Catholic Church in the world – Cardinal Sfeir has questioned the presence in Lebanon of Syrian troops, which have occupied the country for the last 29 years. The cardinal also has worked to improve relations among the country’s Christian, Sunni Muslim and Druze communities.
Guests at the ceremony included Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, who delivered the invocation and greetings; several Maronite bishops; senior CUA administrators and deans; and priests from Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary located in Northwest Washington. Established in 1961, the seminary was founded in the nation’s capital so that students could attend Catholic University, where they have the opportunity to study for pontifical degrees in theology and canon law and take courses in the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures.
two Beirut-based television networks and a Lebanese daily newspaper covered the
degree ceremony. The patriarch’s visit to the United States includes meetings
with President George W. Bush at the White House and with U.N. Secretary-General
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