April 16, 2008
Washington D.C. was transformed into a sea of welcome banners,
music, song and celebration as Pope Benedict XVI, on the occasion
of his 81st birthday, made his way through a throng of thousands on
this the second day of a historic U.S. trip that will take him to
New York City later in the week. The Holy
Father began the day at The White House with a formal outdoor
reception on the South Lawn hosted by President George W. Bush,
before an estimated crowd of 12,000.
J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s University, will
join in the activities tomorrow gathering with other Catholic
Leaders from across the country for a meeting with Pope Benedict
XVI at Catholic University of America.
The meeting holds added significance for Rev. Harrington C.M.
who was in attendance (as President of Niagara University) in 1987,
as then Pope John Paul II convened with Catholic Leaders at Xavier
University in Louisiana for what would be the first meeting of its
kind in America.
And, the St. John’s President (in his 20th year at the
University) feels the Holy Father’s trip couldn’t have come at a
more perfect time.
“I think it’s (the Pope’s trip to America) absolutely wonderful.
Normally, it is a special time of renewal for everyone regardless
of their religion and faith,” said Rev. Harrington, C.M. “I think
the presence of someone who is so much a key player on the world
stage – and a man of faith – will make this trip historic.”
Catholic University of America is bracing for the Papal Visit as
the onslaught of media descends on the sprawling campus on the
final day of the Holy Father’s swing through Washington on April
17. A staggering 5,000 media credentials were requested by local,
national and international press for the Pope’s three-day visit to
The Popemobile made its way through the streets of Washington on
two separate occasions to the delight of many who waited for hours
in the streets for just a glimpse of the Holy Father. His long day
came to an end with an evening mass and address to U.S. Bishops at
the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,
the largest Catholic Church in the United States.
Interested media can contact Dominic Scianna, Assistant Vice
President of Media Relations at St. John’s University by calling
(917) 374-8266. For more information regarding St. John’s, visit
the University web site at www.stjohns.edu/news.