My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
As you know, I spent over 12 years as president of The Catholic University of America before becoming your bishop here in the Diocese of Trenton. I attended CUA myself and received my doctorate from there. So did Bishop Smith. During my time as president I had the joy of meeting many, many students from the Diocese of Trenton.
Today, we are one of the largest “feeder dioceses” to the national university of the Catholic Church in our country. We are also one of its largest supporters in the annual CUA collection taken up through the country during early September. Last year broke all records!
When CUA was opened in 1889, Pope Leo XIII gave approval to the Bishops of the United States with the hope that all the faithful throughout our country would give this national Catholic university their support so that it might grow and prosper.
He wrote to the bishops, “We are justly confident that the American faithful in their liberality will not disappoint you in bringing to magnificent completion the work they have so generously begun (Magni nobis, March 7, 1889).
The bishops made a commitment to Pope Leo that they would, indeed, encourage such support through an annual national collection which continues to the present day.
As your bishop, I encourage you to be generous and to give what you can if you can. People have asked me over the years, “Why should I give to CUA when my children are going to another school and I am paying their tuition?”
CUA is the national Catholic university: it belongs to all of us as Catholics whether we go there or not much the same way the diocese belongs to all its Catholics regardless of what parish they attend.
The bishops of the US committed themselves and their dioceses to support it for that reason. Its first president, Bishop John Keane, declared it to be a place where the entire country could see “the harmony between reason and revelation . . . [and] the genius of America.” It is still such a place.
Please consider a gift this year. Last year’s generous collection was a great source of pride for the diocese and support for the students we sent. This year, one of our students from Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, was awarded a very competitive, full four-year scholarship. Another one will be awarded every year to a student from our diocese!
CUA is an investment in our own young people and in building up the Church. Thanks for anything you
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Bishop of Trenton
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