Saint Martin’s president to meet with the Pope during U.S. visit
Douglas M. Astolfi part of delegation summoned by Pope Benedict XVI
April 16, 2008
Lacey, Washington — Douglas M. Astolfi, Ph.D., president of Saint
Martin’s University, will join the leaders from more than 200 U.S.
Catholic colleges and universities for an invitation-only address by His
Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Astolfi, who earlier this week attended a
forum with His Holiness The Dalai Lama, is now in Washington D.C. for
the historic meeting with the Pope. The papal address will take place
Thursday, April 17, at The Catholic University of America.
As a member of the board of directors of the Association of Catholic
Colleges and Universities (ACCU), Astolfi will attend a private meeting
between Pope Benedict XVI and the executive committee of ACCU. The group
will then adjourn to the broader gathering, where the Pope will deliver
a much-anticipated message on Catholic education.
Pope Benedict XVI’s address will be the first major papal statement
regarding Catholic higher education since 1990, when Pope John Paul II
issued “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” which shifted attention to the mandatum
requirement. “At that time, it was made clear that we, as Catholic
institutions, have a special obligation to our students and to the
Church to provide an education that, at its core, reflects a commitment
to Catholic values and moral teachings,” remarked Astolfi. “It will be
fascinating to hear the Pope’s message on higher education, as he
himself was a university professor for many years.”
The Pope is currently in the United States for a six-day visit.
Before his arrival, His Holiness summoned the presidents of all U.S.
Catholic colleges and universities for the meeting, prompting much
speculation about the nature of his address.
The Right Reverend Neal Roth, O.S.B., abbot of Saint Martin’s Abbey
and chancellor of Saint Martin’s University, believes that Pope Benedict
XVI will offer words of hope to the education leaders. “I expect that
the Pope will encourage the presidents in their efforts to support the
whole apostolate of Catholic education,” said Abbot Neal.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic,
coeducational university located on a 320-acre wooded campus in Lacey,
Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict,
the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the
United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains.
Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through
its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts,
business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250
students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus,
and 650 more to its five extension campuses located at Fort Lewis Army
Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic College, Centralia College and
Tacoma Community College.
For additional information:
Jennifer G. Fellinger
Director of Communications