Photo: North American College in Rome


Rome in May is always beautiful.  The joy and excitement of the canonizations of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II was still in the air when I arrived yesterday for the fist leg of a trip that will take Cardinal Dolan and me to Jordan. Last evening, however, the annual Rectors Dinner was held at the North American College to raise money for the growth of that seminary where mend from the United States are formed for ordination to the priesthood.

I have never been able to participate in these dinners but this year the College honored my close friend, Cardinal James Harvey,  Archpriest of the  Papal Basilica of Saint Paul’s outside the walls.  It was a most enjoyable evening with entertainment supplied by the seminarians including a musical ensemble in which Michael Bissex of our Diocese played the violin.  Over 450 persons participated and over a million dollars was raised for the College which numbers 250 seminarians from our country and. Australia.  Four of them are Rockville Seminarians, Andrew Garnett and James Hansen who will be ordained to the diaconate this year, Michael Prochillo completing second theology and Michael Bissex who is finishing his first year of theology.  Pray for these men.

Tomorrow Cardinal Dolan and I move on to Jordan to visit those projects that help the poor and the needy in that country.  The Catholic Near East Welfare Association of which the Cardinal is president and I a member of the Board is supported by Catholics and others in our country and Canada.  CNEWA helps the poor and refugees and other churches throughout the Middle East as far north as Armenia and as Far East as India.  The Cardinal and I want to visit these good works in Jordan where refugees from Syria now number in the hundreds of thousands as well as schools and clinics that serve the young and the old, the sick and the poor.

We will be back on Thursday. Please pray for us during this week.