The Catholic University of America

March 27, 2009

CUA to Commemorate Papal Visit on Odyssey Day

Pope Benedict XVI and Father O'Connell during the Holy Father's visit to campus last April

Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America, announced today that the university will commemorate the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to campus during this year's Odyssey Day, April 17, with a 12:10 p.m. Mass.

"As future students and their parents gather to tour CUA and hear from our faculty and staff, it is the perfect occasion for the national university of the Catholic Church in our country to celebrate our unique Catholic identity and mission on the very date of Pope Benedict's visit last year," Father O'Connell said.

Father O'Connell will serve as celebrant and homilist at the Mass.

Odyssey Day is a daylong program sponsored annually by CUA's Office of Admissions for students who have been admitted to the university for the fall semester. It helps them learn more about the academic programs that fit their interests, sample the extracurricular activities available, tour the campus and socialize with future classmates. Approximately 600 students, accompanied by their parents, are expected at this year's Odyssey Day.

Admitted students and their parents visiting campus for Odyssey Day are being invited to join members of the CUA community - faculty staff and students - in the Crypt (lower) Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception for the 12:10 p.m. Mass.

"I am delighted that we will be able to celebrate and share our wonderful memories of the Holy Father's visit to Washington last year, especially to the magnificent Basilica and the campus," observed Father O'Connell. "As Pope Benedict XVI remarked to Archbishop Wuerl and me during his visit, 'This has become a truly great Catholic university and the Church is grateful'."

Pope Benedict XVI waves to CUA students

Pope Benedict XVI visited CUA's campus on April 17, 2008, to deliver a major address on Catholic education to the presidents of Catholic colleges and universities and diocesan education leaders. Thousands of members of the CUA community witnessed the Holy Father's visit to campus.

Since the establishment of the Catholic Church in the United States, a pope has visited a U.S. college campus only three times. Two of those visits have been to Catholic University. Pope John Paul II visited CUA in October 1979.

To learn more about Pope Benedict XVI's April 17, 2008, visit to Catholic University, click here.

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