The Catholic University of America

June 10, 2010

As Year for Priests Concludes, CUA Recalls Special Celebrations

  Year for Priests
  CUA's Year for Priests website featured a monthly audio slideshow on priests and their lives.

As the Year for Priests, a worldwide celebration of the priesthood, draws to a close, Catholic University recalls ways in which it celebrated the year, including a one-of-a-kind symposium and a website dedicated to sharing the accomplishments of CUA alumni who are priests.

Pope Benedict declared the Year for Priests as a time to encourage a deepening of the spiritual life of priests. The designated year began mid-June 2009 and is concluding this week with celebrations in Rome.

“The priesthood is an awesome gift and grace to God’s people,” says Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., president of Catholic University. “The opportunity to celebrate it this year was also a gift. May the Lord strengthen his priests to serve the Church with joy and renewed commitment!”

In October 2009, about 300 priests and students of theology gathered at CUA to celebrate the priesthood in an academic and pastoral symposium. The two-day conference — sponsored by the School of Theology and Religious studies and Theological College, CUA’s seminary — featured talks by seminary leaders, theologians and parish priests; question-and-answer sessions; and small-group discussions.

“The symposium enabled us to offer to a wider public what we offer to our seminarians in class: insights from professors of scripture, systematic and liturgical theology as well as spirituality and pastoral practice,” says Monsignor Kevin Irwin, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies. “A book containing the major papers, Ministerial Priesthood in the Third Millennium (Liturgical Press), is a lasting contribution from the symposium to the wider academic community and to parish priests.”

One of the symposium presenters, Monsignor Paul McPartlan, CUA’s Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism, also spoke on other campuses about the Year for Priests, including delivering the St. Joseph Lecture on “Priesthood, Priestliness and Priests” in March at Providence College.

During the Year for Priests, 16 CUA seminarians from Theological College took important steps toward the priesthood. Nine were ordained transitional deacons in the spring.

Seven men will be ordained to the priesthood by this summer. One of the seven, Thomas Gillespie, who will become a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh on June 26, was featured in a multimedia slideshow on CUA’s Year for Priests website.

Each month during the Year for Priests, an audio slideshow about a priest was added to CUA’s site. Others featured on the site include:

    CUA's cover story on priests in the fall of 2009 recently won two Catholic Press Awards.  
    Rev. John Adams, president, SOME in Washington
  • Rev. Mario Dorsonville, director, immigrant and refugee services for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington 
  • Most Rev. Francisco González, S.F., auxiliary bishop, vicar general and moderator for the Archdiocese of Washington’s Hispanic Ministry
  • Rev. Kyle Ingels, chaplain, University of Maryland
  • Monsignor W. Ronald Jameson, rector, Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington
  • Rev. Robert P. Maloney, C.M., former superior general, Congregation of the Mission
  • Rev. Mark Morozowich, associate dean for seminary and ministerial programs at CUA
  • Rev. Raymond C. O’Brien, professor, CUA Columbus School of Law
  • Rev. Michael Renninger, vicar for vocations, Diocese of Richmond, Va.
  • Rev. Gerard Schubert, O.S.F.S., founder, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and the Performing and Fine Arts Department at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa.
  • Rev. David Werning, pastor, Our Lady of Victory Parish, Washington

In addition to the website, Catholic University dedicated the cover story of the Fall 2009 issue of CUA Magazine to the Year for Priests. Last week, the article won two awards from the Catholic Press Association.

“The Year for Priests was a beautiful compliment to the previous year that was dedicated to St. Paul. St. John Vianney, patron of priests, provided an idea to be emulated in terms of his pastoral devotion to people,” says Rev. Melvin Blanchette, S.S., rector of Theological College. “Together St. Paul and St. John Vianney helped the seminarians to realize more deeply the importance they will have in the lives of their parishioners if they truly wish to serve and not to be served. To paraphrase Hamlet, to serve or be served, that is the question!”

MEDIA: For more information about CUA’s celebration of the Year for Priests, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.

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