WASHINGTON--The Catholic University of America celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding on April 10, an occasion that brought “cordial good wishes” from Pope Benedict XVI.
In a letter sent to Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, the Pope commended the university community to Mary.
He also prayed that the anniversary will be an opportunity for “renewed commitment to Catholic University’s distinctive mission at the service of the Church and American society.”
Cardinal Wuerl read from the letter during an April 10 Mass to commemorate Founder’s Day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl said it is fitting that the anniversary is taking place “in the context of the Church’s great celebration” of Easter, when the Church celebrates the “grandeur and uniqueness” of the message that Christ is truly risen.
Jesus charged Peter and the apostles with making disciples of all nations, and Catholic education is one way in which the Church carries out this charge, he said.
The April 10 Mass kicked off a week-long celebration of Pope Leo XIII’s 1887 approval for the founding of The Catholic University of America as the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States.
When the university was inaugurated, it had just 46 students and 10 faculty members. Now, it educates more than 3,500 undergraduates and 3,000 graduate students from all 50 states and 85 countries.
Current university president John Garvey offered his congratulations for the achievements of the past 125 years and emphasized the importance of a continued commitment to service.
Garvey had challenged the university community to perform 125,000 hours of service over the past year, a goal that was easily surpassed and nearly tripled in recent months.
Cardinal Wuerl applauded the community for 125 years “of carrying out that great, great challenge” to be a light to the world.
As the university celebrates its anniversary, he said, “We light one more candle on that great lamp stand that is The Catholic University of America.”