Pope Benedict XVI Stresses Value of Catholic Education

HNP Communications In the Headlines

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Theological Union (WTU) and St. Bonaventure University were represented last week when Pope Benedict XVI visited the nation’s capital.

On April 16, Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, chief operating officer of the WTU, and SBU President Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, attended a reception at the Italian Embassy in Washington. Both said they felt honored to attend this gathering with members of the government, media, arts community and those involved with Catholic institutions and causes.

Italian Ambassador to the United States Giovanni Castellaneta hosted this event on April 16, the pope’s 81st birthday.

Meeting Former Ambassador to the Holy See

“Greg and I had a wonderful chat with Ray Flynn, the former ambassador to the Holy See,” Sr. Margaret said. “He is also a former mayor of Boston and an enthusiastic supporter of the friars there.”

His son, Ray Flynn Jr., commented that he misses the late Aidan Duffy, OFM,  Gregory said.

The next day, Sr. Margaret attended the Pope’s address to Catholic educators, in which the pontiff spoke of the need for Catholic universities to emphasize their Catholicism. In the April 17 speech at The Catholic University of America, the Pope gave credit to sisters, brothers and priests, Sr. Margaret said.

“His message was a strong statement of thanks,” she said.  “The pope asked us to express his gratitude to the faculty of our colleges.”

“The pope, a former professor,” has walked in our shoes, she said.

Intellectual Tradition and Catholic Ideals
He emphasized that faith and reason must come together, Sr. Margaret said.  “We, the Association of Catholic Colleges, work on weaving intellectual tradition with Catholic faith ideals.”

In addition, the pope talked of the importance of committing to the environment and working toward social justice, she said, adding that “attendees remarked that it was wonderful to hear affirmation of what Catholic colleges are doing.”

Siena College Executive Assistant to the President Kenneth Paulli, OFM, discussed his views about Catholic education on an Albany, N.Y., TV station. 

He said: “I think some of the course work is very much tied to our Franciscan Catholic tradition, but also, there are a lot of other kinds of things they study here that prepares them to step into a much larger world.”  More details can be found in the link to Capital News 9.