Colleges Prepare for Papal Visit

September 23, 2015

Pope Francis arrived Tuesday in the United States, and many Roman Catholic colleges are getting involved in his visit.

  • A University of Notre Dame professor crafted, at Spotify’s behest, a playlist for the music streaming service in advance of the pope’s visit. In addition to plenty of classical and liturgical music, Tim O'Malley, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, also included Bruce Springsteen, Boyz II Men and Alicia Keys.
  • Just under 100 Catholic college presidents in the United States, and almost 80 from elsewhere in the world, signed a document supporting the pope’s “courageous leadership” on climate change, according to the Catholic News Service. In the pledge, signatories commit to “integrate care for the planet, integral human development and concern for the poor within our research projects, our educational curricula and public programming, our institutional infrastructures, policies and practices, and our political and social involvement as colleges and universities.”
  • Catholic colleges near Washington, New York and Philadelphia have donated parking, canceled classes and sent volunteers, also according to the Catholic News Service. Many colleges that are farther away have set up live streams of the pope's events, and some have encouraged students to take the “Walk with Francis” pledge, committing themselves to prayer, service or advocacy work advancing the pope’s mission. Others are holding talks or panels, and one “pope-a-palooza,” four days of “service, prayer and advocacy work.”
  • The president of one Catholic college is taking some time off from his day job during the pope’s visit to serve temporarily as national media correspondent for several different outlets. The Reverend James Maher, president of Niagara University, will serve as expert commentator for The Tavis Smiley Show and Telecare TV, a 24-hour Catholic news network, among other outlets.
  • Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, offered a weekend pope workshop including lunch for $25.
  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland is sending a biology professor to sing for Pope Francis at the canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. His co-workers were surprised, Jeff Byrd told WTOP, because “My voice doesn’t sound anything like my singing voice. I’ve been told I have more of a Kermit the Frog speaking voice.”
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