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Theodore Cardinal McCarrick to be Honored Speaker at Moravian College Baccalaureate Service
Lifelong human rights advocate received Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award
Bethlehem, Pa., March 28, 2006— Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Ph.D., D.D., the Archbishop of Washington and Chancellor of The Catholic University of America, will address the senior class of 2006 at the Moravian College Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 12, at 5:00 p.m. in Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The service will conclude the 264th academic year for Moravian College, recognized as the sixth-oldest college in America. A Commencement program will be held the next day on Saturday, May 13, at 10:00 a.m. on Moravian’s Main Street Campus.
“Given Cardinal McCarrick’s faithful and fierce advocacy of religious freedom, human rights, humanitarian outreach, and debt relief for the poorest of nations – in concert with his distinguished leadership in higher education and the Church – he should provide inspiration and direction to our graduates at a very special milestone in their lives,” said Moravian president Ervin Rokke. “On national and international stages, from Catholic University to Latin America or Eastern Europe, Cardinal McCarrick has demonstrated a lifelong, manifest commitment to minds, hearts, and souls in greatest need of our compassion and support.”
“Moravian College is an institution with a centuries-old emphasis on intellectual, physical, and spiritual development that is informed by character and values, Rokke added. “By message and by compelling personal example, Cardinal McCarrick will offer powerful testimony to the enduring importance of those fundamental qualities.”
In addition to Cardinal McCarrick's address, the Baccalaureate service will include an academic procession of graduating students and Moravian College faculty members. Traditionally, the ceremony composed of ecumenical prayer and song, is well attended by families and friends of the graduating class.
Cardinal McCarrick, installed as Archbishop of Washington on January 3, 2001, was born in New York City in 1930. He entered St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, where he earned a BA in 1954 and a Master’s Degree in History in 1958. Francis Cardinal Spellman ordained him to the priesthood in 1958. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in Social Sciences and a Ph.D. in Sociology from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
McCarrick’s first assignment was as assistant chaplain of Catholic University, where he went on to serve as dean of students and as director of development. He was named president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce in 1965, where he was responsible for the intense development of the school as a major institution.
In 1977, Pope Paul VI named McCarrick Auxiliary Bishop of New York. In his years as auxiliary bishop, he served as Vicar of East Manhattan and the Harlems. Pope John Paul II appointed him to be the first Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey when the diocese was established in 1981. From 1986 until his appointment to the Archdiocese of Washington, he served as the fourth Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. On February 21, 2001, just seven weeks after he was installed as the Archbishop of Washington, McCarrick was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II.
In 1986 and again in 1992, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) elected then-Archbishop McCarrick to head its Committee on Migration. In 1992, he also was named to head the Committee for Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, and was elected in 1996 as chair of the Committee on International Policy. He remains a member of that committee and, in November 2001, was elected Chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee. Other USCCB committees on which the Cardinal has served are Administrative, Doctrine, Laity, Latin America and the Missions. He was elected one of 15 U.S. bishops to serve as a member of the Synod for America held in 1997.
Cardinal McCarrick is chancellor of The Catholic University of America and president of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A founding member of the Papal Foundation, he has served as its president since 1997. Cardinal McCarrick also is a member of the Board of Catholic Relief Services. For the Vatican, he serves on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
He has visited many nations as a human rights advocate and to survey humanitarian needs. These include China, Cuba, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, Rwanda and Burundi. He has traveled extensively in Eastern Europe. In November 1996, then-Archbishop McCarrick was invited to serve on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad and from 1999-2001, he was a member of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom. In January 1998, then-Archbishop McCarrick was one of three American clerics invited to visit China and discuss religious freedoms in that country.
In December 2000, President Clinton presented McCarrick with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights. In making the presentation, President Clinton observed, “In tough places, where civilians are struggling to get out, chances are you will find Archbishop Theodore McCarrick working hard to get in and to help them. The litany of countries he has visited sounds more suited to a diplomat than an archbishop: the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, the countries devastated by Hurricane Mitch, East Timor, Ethiopia, Burundi, Cuba, Haiti, and Colombia.” The award citation noted, “Archbishop McCarrick has been a lifelong human rights advocate. Whether seeking justice for immigrants and refugees, aiding the homeless and the hungry, championing religious freedom or advocating debt relief for developing countries, he has sought to loosen the bonds of fear, poverty and oppression and to affirm human dignity wherever it is denied.”
Cardinal McCarrick speaks five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.