The Catholic University of America

Dec. 1, 2010

Planning in Full Swing for Jan. 25 Inauguration

  Inauguration planning meeting
  From left, Leo Nestor, Justine Bayard Ward Professor of music; Frank Persico, vice president of university relations, chief of staff for the president and chair of the inaugural committee; and Joy Zang, administrative assistant in the president’s office, share a light moment during a planning meeting.

Around the Catholic University campus — in the midst of classes, activities and athletic events — CUA staff and administrators are working on the Jan. 25 Mass and inauguration for the University’s 15th President, John Garvey, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Representatives of the offices of the President and campus ministry, the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music and the Basilica are putting the finishes touches on the music and liturgy for the event.

CUA’s Inaugural Event Committee is meeting regularly to finalize details related to publicity, event seating, parking, and a reception for the University community, among other things.

While committee members work on the event, a group of students is busy planning the inaugural ball that will take place Jan. 28 at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

Frank Persico, vice president of university relations, chief of staff in the president’s office and chair of the inaugural committee, likened the preparations to those that have gone before other significant moments in CUA history, for instance, the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to CUA in April 2008 and the events to mark the departure earlier this year of Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., the university’s 14th president.

“The most exciting thing for me is working with so many different people around campus who are going above and beyond their regular duties and putting in additional time to make this a first-class event for the University,” Persico says.

“As always, I know I can count on members of the University community to pull an oar and throw their support behind this event, which is so historic and significant for all who work and study at CUA,” he adds.

Inauguration planning meeting  
Members of the inaugural committee at the Pryzbyla Center.  

For Persico, the preparations involve almost daily meetings with different offices and departments, last-minute changes, and lists of details. In October, the date of the inauguration changed as a result of a Vatican announcement — a reflection of the unique relationship between CUA and the Holy See.

On Oct. 20, Pope Benedict XVI named 24 new members of the College of Cardinals, including Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, University chancellor and CUA trustee, and announced a consistory for the installation of the new cardinals on Nov. 20.

Prior to the announcement, CUA had planned to hold the inauguration on Nov. 18. But because many of the bishops who were planning to attend the inauguration had to be in Rome for the consistory, the inauguration was moved to January.

Donna Hobson, director of publications and design services, has designed a special inauguration banner, which displays the CUA crest and Garvey’s inaugural theme: Intellect and Virtue: The Idea of a Catholic University. Facilities crews started hanging approximately 50 banners around campus in the first week of January.

Kevin Petersen, director of facilities, maintenance and operations, notes that, in the weeks ahead, his crews will also be adding new plantings to campus flowerbeds and installing risers at the Basilica for CUA musicians who will perform during the Mass.

“My crews are very excited to do their part to make the inauguration a very special event for the new president and to show him they care for CUA and for his success,” says Petersen.

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