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Cardinal to give Commencement speech

Katie Peralta | Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The University announced Tuesday that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will deliver the 2008 Commencement address on May 18.

Along with delivering the primary speech at the 163rd Commencement exercises, McCarrick, five-year archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., will receive an honorary doctor of law degree from the University, according to a news release from the University.

The decision to have McCarrick speak was made within the last couple of weeks, said Dennis Brown, assistant vice president for news and information.

Brown said the University held off the announcement because the Easter season was so much earlier this year, and the Laetare winner is always announced on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent.

“We wanted to give some time between that announcement and this one so as not to have too many announcements all at once,” Brown said.

Cardinal McCarrick, a native of New York City and graduate of Fordham University and St. Joseph’s Seminary, presided over a mass for Fr. Basil Anthony Moreau, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, last September in LeMans, France. The Congregation of the Holy Cross is the religious community that founded Notre Dame.

“He was an indispensable participant in our recent and joyful celebration of the beatification of Blessed Father Basil Moreau…” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the statement.

Cardinal McCarrick visited the University in January when he attended a conference organized in celebration of Father Moreau’s first feast day.

“[The University] looks forward to celebrating [McCarrick’s] membership to the Notre Dame community,” Jenkins said in the statement.

Cardinal McCarrick, the archbishop of Newark, N.J. for the 14 years before his appointment in Washington, was also chancellor of the Catholic University of America as well as president of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the statement said.

As an archbishop, Cardinal McCarrick has placed a great deal of emphasis on education, vocation and serving the needs of immigrants and low-income families, the statement said.

A member of the board of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and chairman of the CRS Foundation, Cardinal McCarrick also has served on the Administration of the Patrimony and Holy See for the Vatican as well as the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom, the statement said.

The University did not comment on other candidates considered for speaking at the Commencement exercises.