The Catholic University of America

April 6, 2009

CUA to Celebrate "The Year for Priests"

Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, president of The Catholic University of America, announced today that the university will celebrate "The Year for Priests" (June 19, 2009-June 19, 2010) with a two-day symposium titled "Ministerial Priesthood in the Third Millennium: 'Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests'" on Oct. 6-7, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI declared a year for priests in an effort to encourage a deepening of the spiritual life of those called to priestly ministry.

In remarks to the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy on March 16, 2009, the Holy Father observed that "as Church and as priests, we proclaim Jesus of Nazareth Lord and Christ, Crucified and Risen, Sovereign of time and of history, in the glad certainty that this truth coincides with the deepest expectations of the human heart … The centrality of Christ brings with it the correct appreciation of the ministerial priesthood, without which there would be neither the Eucharist, nor even the mission nor the Church herself."

Responding to his message, CUA's School of Theology and Religious Studies, in collaboration with the university's national seminary Theological College, will co-sponsor this symposium in conjunction with Theological College's annual "Alumni Days" celebration.

"All theology is pastoral," remarked Monsignor Kevin Irwin, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies. "It is always a reflection on the life and mission of the Church. Our speakers will discuss the mystery of the priesthood in light of our rich theological and spiritual heritage."

Entrusted with the formation of priests at Theological College, Rev. Melvin Blanchette, S.S., seminary rector, observed "The ministry of priests is crucial to society. The priest holds together what is at the heart of peoples' quest for God. He is the mediator between the hopes and fears of the present and the dreams and vision of the world to come."

According to Father O'Connell, "CUA has long contributed to the effective formation of priests in the United States and to their education after ordination in philosophy, social work, education, theology and canon law. It is fitting in this coming year - when we also commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of the beloved pastor St. John Vianney - that the university joins with the Church throughout the world in 'making the importance of the priest's role and mission in the Church and in contemporary society ever more clearly perceived' (Benedict XVI)."