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Cardinal O’Malley to give Regis College address on May 11

March 8, 2013

Campus eyes on Rome while anticipating commencement

WESTON, MA. Regis College President Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN, has announced that Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM, Cap., Archbishop of Boston, is scheduled to give the College’s commencement address on May 11 and to receive an honorary degree from Regis.

“After Pope Benedict XVI resigned, we held back our commencement announcement even on campus out of respect for him and the unfolding process, including Cardinal Seán’s participation in the conclave to select a new Pope,” President Hays remarked. “But with regional universities announcing their commencement speakers today, we thought we had better announce before we have to arrange to bring the Cardinal in by Skype!”

The College had confirmed the invitation with the office of the Cardinal last December, with the response that he “is very happy to have received the invitation and is very much looking forward to the occasion.”

Also to receive an honorary degree that day is Kathryn Erat, sponsor of the Erat Scholars program at Regis. Each year, the program identifies a select group of undergraduates to participate in a seminar addressing issues ancient and new in the Church. The seminar is followed by travel together with faculty members to some international site germane to those issues. Regis Erat Scholars have gone to Rome, Israel, China, and Kenya and are scheduled later this coming May to travel to Le Puy, France (the place of origin of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, the sponsoring religious congregation for Regis), Geneva (the UN offices to look at human rights issues), and back to Rome to celebrate fifty years of Vatican II.

The program grew out of Erat’s concern about rising generations who know so little about their faith.

Regis expects to graduate 500 students across a spectrum of degrees ranging from the associate of science to the baccalaureate to the master’s to the doctorate. About 2000 graduate students and undergraduates are enrolled at the historical liberal arts college founded in 1927 twelve miles outside of Boston.

“Speaking from a Catholic higher education perspective in which we strive to help our students excel, lead and serve,” President Hays said, “Regis congratulates Cardinal Sean for persevering in re-building trust within our Boston Church, preparing this great ecclesial community for the challenges of the 21st century, and keeping major issues out in front. We consider him a friend, and Regis College alumni, staff, and faculty have supported him in the past decade in various ways on his journey to repair and console a Church wounded by clerical sexual abuse.”

At Hays’ inauguration as president in October, 2011, Cardinal O’Malley presided at Mass and spoke both of friendship and of education as “a central part of the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News.” He recently made the same observation in Rome by including education on the list of major global needs in the universal Church.

“It was gratifying to me that day,” President Hays said, “to watch the response of our students, who are technologically savvy and incredibly diverse even in their religious convictions, when he alluded to Stanley Hauerwas’ book called Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony and its provocative subtitle: Christian assessment of culture and ministry for people who know that something is wrong.’”

“They sat up and listened,” she observed, “when he quoted St. Paul and asked them ‘to have this mind within yourselves which is in Christ Jesus’ and called it ‘No small order for ordinary people.’ But their faces told me they got it and took that order as their own. People all over have been weighing in on what is wrong in our world, what is right about education in making things truer and better, and what a Church we love needs to do to meet that world, and Regis College is all about that.”

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