Recalling Pope Francis’s visit last year to The Catholic University of America, Cardinal Donald Wuerl encouraged members of the campus community to put their faith into action on Sept. 8, during the University’s annual Mass of the Holy Spirit.
Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and University chancellor, who celebrated the Mass, began his homily by reflecting on the canonization of St. Junípero Serra, which took place during Pope Francis’s visit. Riding in the popemobile alongside the pontiff, Cardinal Wuerl remembers how loud the crowd noise was and how “the decibel level quadrupled” as the vehicle approached the section designated for Catholic University students.
He also recalled Pope Francis’s call for students, that they should be “true evangelizing disciples — those who bring the Good news to others.”
“One of the best ways of telling the story of our Catholic faith and what it means to us is the way in which we live it,” Cardinal Wuerl said, as he addressed students, faculty, and staff in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
For the year ahead, Cardinal Wuerl challenged students and faculty to go out and meet people, to encounter them and speak about the faith, to accompany them in their times of difficulty, and to engage them in “the beauty and wonder of our Catholic faith.” In doing these things, he said, they will find themselves growing closer than ever to Jesus.
University President John Garvey also addressed members of the community during Mass, referencing the words of the Venerable Fulton Sheen, a nationally known radio and television host who taught philosophy at Catholic University for 24 years.
“At The Catholic University of America, we aim to shine the light of faith on all forms of inquiry,” Garvey said. “Our task, as Sheen put it, is to: ‘integrate the supernatural with the natural, to infuse human knowledge with the divine, to complement our knowledge of things with our knowledge of God, to make all things Theocentric.’ ”
While it is natural for students to focus deeply on specific subjects as the semester unfolds, Garvey encouraged them to “cultivate catholic (with a small ‘c’) minds” by incorporating what they learn into a more all-encompassing understanding of the world.
“To do that, we cultivate Catholic (with a capital ‘C’) minds,” he said. “Because we believe that our faith, as it comes to us through the Church, clarifies our vision of reality.”
Among the students in attendance at the Mass of the Holy Spirit was freshman Will Deatherage, who said he thought the Mass was a great way to begin the academic year.
“I believe it kind of sets you up to look through a different lens, to try to rely more on the power of God with your studies,” he said.
“I think this really does set the tone for what Catholic University is about, which is faith and learning,” added freshman Nicholas Pircono. “Drawing the entire community together like this – student, faculty, and administration – it get us off to a fantastic start to the year and lets us know that faith and community is really what makes this place special.”
Cardinal Wuerl in the Mass procession
Student praying before Mass
Student praying the Rosary
Praying the penitential prayer
Students singing and praying
Students listening to the homily
Cardinal Wuerl giving his homily
Faculty receiving the canonical mission
Consecration of the Body of Christ
Consecration of the Blood of Christ
Students praying during the Consecration
Altar servers praying during the Eucharistic prayer
Faculty praying during the Eucharistic prayer
Franciscan Friars praying the Lord's Prayer
Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará waiting for Communion
Cardinal Wuerl giving Communion
Students receiving Communion
President Garvey giving his remarks