Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ave Maria students preparing to visit DC and NYC for papal visit

Ave Maria students are already preparing to journey North to welcome Pope Benedict XVI - Liam Dillon reports for Naples Daily News December 26, 2007:

. . . The pope’s plans were revealed Nov. 12 but students at the new Catholic school in eastern Collier County were preparing to make the more than 1,000-mile journey up the East Coast to greet him just weeks after the announcement.

“A lot people are planning to go see him in D.C. and New York,” said Rachel Parker, a 19-year-old freshman.

Fellow freshmen Josh Rauwolf and Selah Lyford, who stood in line with Parker at last month’s Farm City Barbecue on campus, said they intended to go.

“The campus in general is very excited about it,” said Rauwolf, 19.

AMU President Nick Healy said it was too soon to tell how the school might commemorate the occasion. University officials hadn’t yet discussed the possibility of coordinating a student trip and having one might be difficult because of class schedules, Healy said. Still Healy anticipated much on-campus clamor.

“I would expect there to be great interest,” he said.

The Pope is following the development of Ave. Maria University with interest -- one of his former students, Fr. Joseph Fessio, served as the provost of the university:
When the Rev. Joseph Fessio ... visited the pope last September, Fessio said Pope Benedict’s first question to him was: “How’s Ave Maria doing?”

Fessio, now theologian-in-residence at the school and its best known professor, is one of the closest American clergy members to the pope having studied under the then-Rev. Joseph Ratzinger in the 1970s. Fessio said he had no plans to travel to the Northeast during Pope Benedict’s visit, and if he did, it would be to promote his publishing business, Ignatius Press — the English-language publisher of the pope’s works — not Ave Maria. Fessio was relieved of his administrative duties last spring after he was fired as provost and rehired in his newly created position within a week.

“I’m just a faculty member in residence now,” Fessio said.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pope Benedict to address Youth in Yonkers

Gary Stern (Lower Hudson Online) has the scoop on Pope Benedict's scheduled visit to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY:

Pope Benedict XVI's scheduled visit to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers will revolve around a meeting with disabled youths inside the seminary chapel and then a papal address to nearly 20,000 young people from across the region who will assemble on the seminary grounds.

The April 19 visit will take place in the late afternoon, and the pope should be in Yonkers for about 90 minutes. . . .

It will be on the afternoon of April 19 that nearly 20,000 youths from parishes across the archdiocese and neighboring dioceses will be bused to parking areas on the grounds of the Yonkers seminary. The gathering will probably look much the same as when Pope John Paul II visited St. Joseph's on Oct. 6, 1995.

"I think we have a well-rehearsed plan," said Mark G. Ackermann, executive director of the archdiocese's office of the papal visit. "The grounds will be tightly controlled, but it's a good plan."

When Benedict arrives - John Paul came to Yonkers by helicopter, but such details will be confidential until the event - he will first meet with about 50 disabled young people in the seminary chapel.

"He will want to let them know that they are as welcome as anyone, as important to him as anyone else in God's family," said Bishop Gerald Walsh, the seminary's rector.

The youths who will be invited are still being identified by archdiocesan officials. . . .

At Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, as at other Catholic schools across New York, everyone is itching to get tickets.

"We are very excited as a school, certainly," said Alexander Malecki, JFK's director of alumni and public relations. "It's really a once-in-a-lifetime event for most people. For our youngsters, it's something they've never experienced, the pageantry of it. We are looking forward to putting together a contingency to go down. It will be something to see."

USCCB Unveils Logo for Pope Benedict's USA Visit

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a logo commemorating Pope Benedict XVI’s April 2008 visit to the United States.

The logo features a color photograph of Pope Benedict XVI with upraised hands. Behind him is a yellow-screened image of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. In black type running at the top and over the cupola of the dome are three lines of type reading “Pope Benedict XVI/Christ Our Hope/Apostolic Journey to the United States 2008.”

The logo was designed by Donna Hobson, publications director for The Catholic University of America. “In designing this logo,” says Hobson, “I wanted to incorporate the papal colors —yellow and white — and to show a welcoming, arms-open, smiling Pope Benedict.”

Hobson has been a graphic designer for more than 20 years. She has been CUA’s publications director for more than two years, having returned to the area from Detroit, Mich., where she was creative director at Wayne State University.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Georgetown University - Anticipating Papal Visit

Papal Visit Stirs Up Questions About Church Facing Challenges, by Anna Cheimets. Georgetown Independent December 5, 2007:

When Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States next April, don't expect a high school band to play the theme song to "Rocky" like one did in 1979 for Pope John Paul II. The Pope's visit will be inspirational to many American Catholics, but this trip is less focused on generating enthusiasm from the flock than it is about sending a message about the current state of world affairs. [...]

Georgetown chaplain Father Pat Rogers S.J. said, "I think that the Holy Father's visit is going to a great thing for Catholics in the United States and at Georgetown." He added, "We are very lucky and blessed to have him coming to Washington DC."

According to [Fr. Thomas J.] Reese, the most important aspect of Pope Benedict's visit is his speech at the UN. The UN serves as "a real bully pulpit to talk to the whole world," Reese explained. "It's an opportunity for Benedict to lay out his opinion on international justice, war and peace and his concern for refugees." [...]

"I think he needs to address the role of the United States in the world. We are the last superpower. He can address that we need to be a force for peace and justice and economic development in the world," said Reese.

Reese added that without traveling to New York City and Washington, "the American people would feel left out. Since this is his first visit as Pope it makes sense to visit Washington DC." . . . [Read more]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

CUA Launches Website Dedicated to Benedict's Visit

Web Site Launched for Pope's April Visit :

The Catholic University of America has launched a Web site dedicated to Benedict XVI's visit to the school in April. . . .

"Even though we're five months away from welcoming the Holy Father to Catholic University, excitement about his upcoming visit is running very high," said university president Father David O'Connell.

"In recognition of this excitement and to satisfy the desire for as much information and transparency as possible, we have created this special Catholic University of America Web site," said the Vincentian priest. "This is our 'first draft.' We will have much more to add as time goes on."

The university's Web site provides information about Benedict XVI's scheduled meeting at the university with the presidents of Catholic colleges and universities and diocesan educational leaders, as well as general information about the historic visit.

Catholic University of America's website can be found at:

"Limited Access" to Pope Benedict on U.S. Visit

Catholic News Service' Patricia Zapor has the details on the venues chosen -- and why:

One reason the liturgies with Pope Benedict won't be on the National Mall or in Central Park is simply that neither locale was available, according to communications officials with the Washington and New York archdioceses.

Susan Gibbs, communications director for the Washington Archdiocese, said the pope's visit follows immediately after the city's National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Mall -- the expanse of lawn between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol -- could not be booked.

For one thing, the National Park Service schedules time for the mall's grassy areas to recover after big events, especially in the spring, Gibbs told Catholic News Service. The time to construct a stage for an altar and the related spaces necessary for staging a Mass concelebrated by hundreds of priests also would have been a problem, she said.

Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the New York Archdiocese, said that "Central Park wasn't an option" for this papal visit. . . .

The cost of a Mass on the Mall would have run into the millions of dollars, Gibbs said. A Washington Post report on the logistics of the 1979 Mass on the Mall estimated the cost to the city and the archdiocese at $1.9 million, or about $4.25 million in 2007 dollars. The archdiocese's share, about $400,000, would translate to more than $1.1 million today.

And those expenses included none of the contemporary security measures that such a Mass would require today, such as metal detectors and fencing to keep out people who haven't been screened.

Both Zwilling and Gibbs acknowledged that security is much easier to handle at a structure like a baseball stadium.