The Catholic University of America

March 14, 2008

CUA Invites Students from Other Area Colleges to Greet the Pope

Catholic University's president, Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., has invited students from other Washington, D.C., area Catholic colleges and universities to join the CUA community in welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to campus on April 17.

In his invitation to what he called "Catholic University and College Students Welcome the Pope Day," which he sent to local Catholic college presidents and Catholic chaplains, Father O'Connell said he wanted to "share the wealth" of the CUA community by inviting other students "to be present … to gather and cheer the pope as he finishes his speech."

Father O'Connell, who serves on the committee helping to plan the papal visit to the United States, added that "the students may even want to bring a banner representing their university or college." He also extended a similar invitation to the chaplains and directors of campus ministry and Newman clubs at non-Catholic universities and colleges in the Washington area.

Responding quickly to CUA's invitation, Rev. Kyle Ingels, Catholic chaplain at the University of Maryland, wrote to Father O'Connell, "There is no question that many of my students would really enjoy the opportunity to greet the pope on CUA's campus. How many tickets do you think you can spare?"

The students, faculty and staff of Catholic University will have the opportunity to greet Pope Benedict XVI as he arrives on campus April 17 to address the presidents of U.S. Catholic colleges and universities and designated educational leaders from every diocese in the nation.

The pope will speak to an invitation-only audience at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, but his speech will be televised live on a giant screen on the lawn between the Pryzbyla Center and the Columbus School of Law.

Pope Benedict XVI's visit to CUA in northeast Washington is one of several stops that the pope will make during his first pastoral visit to the United States.

"I'm very happy that students from other colleges and universities will have the chance to welcome Pope Benedict XVI along with our own Catholic University students," said Father O'Connell. "It's a wonderful opportunity for all these young people to share what will truly be a remarkable experience."

Along with hosting Pope Benedict XVI on April 17, Catholic University has played a special role in the papal visit to Washington. Donna Hobson, CUA's director of publications, developed the official logo for the papal visit to the United States.

CUA architecture students John-Paul Mikolajczyk and Ryan Mullen, winners of a contest to design the sanctuary furnishings for the papal Mass at Nationals Park the morning of April 17, are helping to build the pieces at CUA's School of Architecture and Planning.

On March 1, about 100 Catholic University students on campus as well as about 30 CUA students in Rome took part in the Sixth European Day for University Students, with Pope Benedict XVI presiding via satellite from Vatican City and praying the rosary with the students.