The Catholic University of America

March 3, 2008

Students Write for a Chance to Meet Pope Benedict XVI

Millions of people dream of meeting the pope. For Catholic University students, that dream is just 500 words away.

Last week, CUA announced a university-wide student essay contest in anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI's April 17 visit to campus. "How Catholic education has changed my life," a 500-word essay, invites students to speak to the impact the Church has had on their academic journey, with the ultimate reward: The contest winner will personally be introduced to Pope Benedict XVI by Catholic University's president shortly before the Holy Father's address on CUA's campus, and attend the address and post-address reception as an invited guest.

"This contest gives students an opportunity to reflect on the impact that Catholic education has had on their lives, and also draws them in as active participants in this exciting and historic visit," said Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., CUA president.
"I can't wait to read what they have to say."

The essay's focus on Catholic education is meant to dovetail with Pope Benedict XVI's itinerary during his visit to CUA: a major address on Catholic education to more than 400 university presidents and diocesan education representatives from around the United States. The question was designed broad in scope to give students the latitude to reflect and respond based on their own unique experiences.

Students have been given three weeks to write their essays, which must be submitted by March 18. A panel of CUA faculty and staff members will read the essays and select finalists, from which a winner and runner-up will be chosen by Father O'Connell and announced on April 8. The second-place winner will also have the opportunity to attend the papal address.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Mary McCarthy or Katie Lee in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.