This month, Christendom College welcomed a number of Catholic college and university presidents to its Front Royal, Va., campus as it hosted the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable. The Roundtable, a private gathering of presidents of Catholic universities, colleges, and institutes, examined the challenges and opportunities facing Catholic institutions of higher education and signed a pledge of loyalty to the teachings of the Church.
During their meetings, the presidents informally discussed areas of mutual interest and concern related to the strengthening of Catholic identity and took advantage of the opportunity for spiritual rejuvenation in the company of fellow presidents. As a special guest, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze—who fully supports the initiative—personally led the Roundtable’s spiritual reflections.
“There is no doubt that the Catholic identity of Catholic institutions is precious and needs to be maintained and strengthened,” Cardinal Arinze told the presidents during his reflections. “The role of the president is crucial and demanding. May the Holy Spirit give each of you the vision, the courage, the joy, and the determination to do your part in this important mission.”
Following the Cardinal’s reflections, the participating presidents signed a pledge to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church concerning Catholic higher education. Cardinal Arinze, upon his return to Rome, personally presented this to Pope Benedict XVI. Nearly 20 presidents attended the Roundtable discussions and/or signed the pledge.
“I’ve already heard back from many of the presidents who participated and they benefited greatly from this meeting,” Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell said. “We were able to reflect on how we can cooperate with each other and encourage one another to be of service to Christ, His Church, and our nation through our educational apostolates.”
The Presidents Roundtable, which was initiated by O’Donnell, is a private gathering of presidents of Catholic universities, who have embraced the vision of Catholic higher education as presented in the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae of Blessed John Paul II and developed by Pope Benedict XVI, particularly in his historic address at the Catholic University of America, April 17, 2008. The group meets every two years.