The College’s new building extension is officially blessed and ready for use!
On the sunny morning of January 6th, the North American College community was blessed to be joined by distinguished alumni and benefactors for the formal dedication of our new building extension, celebration of Holy Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany, and formal pranzone banquet celebrating the dedication of the new building and the feast day.
His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Cardinal Secretary of State in the Holy See, presided over the dedication ceremony and was the main celebrant for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Cardinal Parolin was joined by his brothers in the cardinalate, Their Eminences Donald Cardinal Wuerl `66, Edwin Cardinal O’Brien C`76, James Cardinal Harvey `75, George Cardinal Pell and Agostino Cardinal Cacciavillan. Also present were the Their Excellencies William Murphy, Bishop of Rockville Centre `64 C`74; Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange in California; Joé S. Vasquez, Bishop of Austin; and John Myers, Archbishop of Newark `66.
During the 10am dedication ceremony, Cardinal Parolin blessed every floor of the new building. The blessing and dedication began with a blessing of the terrace then moved from the 10th floor of the building down to the 2nd floor which houses the new administrative offices. The blessing of the Saint John Paul II chapel included the blessings of the new crucifix, the statue of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, and the new tabernacle. During the blessing of the chapel the Blessed Sacrament was imposed in the tabernacle and the Tantum Ergo was sung. Throughout the ceremony, a number of hymns were sung by the seminarian schola choir, under the direction of the College’s choir director Leon Griesbach.
Immediately after the dedication ceremony, all gathered in the Immaculate Conception chapel for the celebration of Mass. Cardinal Parolin preached during the sacred liturgy, inviting all present to consider whether or not they were closer to Christ this year than they were the year before. He also preached about how all we do ought to be Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, or, “for the greater glory of God.”
Following Mass, a pranzone banquet was held in the College’s refectory. All who attended the pranzone received a commemorative coaster (left). Cardinal O’Brien offered a toast in thanksgiving for the new tower (below, left). He first praised the great work in priestly formation taking place at the North American College under the leadership of the rector, Msgr. James Checchio. Then, he recalled the words of Pope Pius XII to the seminarians of the North American College when the Pope personally dedicated the seminary building on the Janiculum Hill on October 14th, 1953:
“This is a building that has its foundations set deep on the generous and often trying sacrifices of the Bishops, the Alumni and the loyal faithful whom they serve…. All this, it seemed to Us, adds up to a grave and sacred responsibility that rests on you, Our dear young seminarians, and on those who are to follow you. Will the sacrifices cheerfully offered for your sake be repaid in kind and with interest? Will the hopes and plans cherished by your Bishops, cherished by Us, be fulfilled? Your eager hearts are quick to answer: yes.” (See full text of Pope Pius XII’s address here.)
For their extraordinarily charitable giving to the college and their service to the Church, Mr. and Mrs. James and Miriam Mulva (right) were both honored by being presented with the medals and declaration signifying their induction into the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.
The seminary community is grateful to all our benefactors who support priestly vocations with their prayers and donations and would like to extend gratitude also to all those benefactors who could not be present for the dedication event. The building addition — completed through the generosity of many people, especially that of Mr. James and Mrs. Miriam Mulva, Jonathan and Gaby Mulva, and Stephen and Meghan Mulva — offers excellent new spaces in which the mission of the College can be furthered: Forming priests for Jesus Christ in the heart of His Church.