The Catholic University of America

March 18, 2013

CUA Marks Papal Mass with Yellow and White Bunting

  Papal Bunting

Workers hang papal bunting at Caldwell Hall.

Frank Persico, vice president for University relations and chief of staff, stood at the curb in front of McMahon Hall and watched as workers steadied a steel rod for the yellow and white bunting that decorates the arches at the front of the building dedicated in 1895.

Yellow and white nylon panels hang at the entrance to Caldwell Auditorium and in the second-floor windows of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. At the Pryzbyla Center, large posters proclaim Habemus Papum (We have a Pope).

The bunting and posters in the papal colors went up last week at The Catholic University of America in honor of Pope Francis as he prepares for a Mass at the Vatican on Tuesday, March 19, to celebrate the beginning of his Petrine Ministry as the Bishop of Rome. They represent the 266th Pope and another milestone in the unique relationship shared by the Vatican and Catholic University.

“Catholic University definitely has a feeling of kinship, a connectedness with the Vatican,” Persico noted. “We celebrate our new Pope and our special ties to him. It’s a great time to be at Catholic University.”

Catholic University is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church and as the only higher education institution founded by the U.S. bishops. Popes have twice favored Catholic University with their presence: in 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI spoke at CUA, and in 1979 when Pope John Paul II gave a talk at the University.

Members of the University community are invited to attend a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Election of Pope Francis on March 19 at 12:10 p.m. in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In order to enable as many members of the University community to participate as possible, CUA Provost James Brennan has decided that classes scheduled to begin at 11:10 a.m. should end that day at noon, and classes scheduled to begin at 12:35 p.m. should start at 1:20 p.m. instead.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will serve as the main celebrant and homilist at the Mass, which will be broadcast live by EWTN and other outlets.

Persico noted that CUA students are excited about the papal installation Mass. That excitement was evident when the election of the new pope was announced on March 13. Students in the Pryzbyla Center who were gathered around a TV set cheered. Others in the Campus Ministry office ran up three flights of stairs to the top of Caldwell Hall and rang the chapel bell for a half hour.

Sophomore theology major Christine Fontaine, of Merrimack, N.H., has been writing a blog ( while studying in Rome this semester.

In her blog, she describes the evening (in Rome) when the new pope was announced. “It was an incredible night,” Fontaine writes. “I still can't believe it … that I was in that crowd in St. Peter's last night. I was there. I'll be at his first Angelus on Sunday. I'll be at his installation on Tuesday morning in St. Peter's Square.”



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