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Monday, December 5, 2016
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Phi Kappa Theta Creates Cardinal W. Donald Wuerl Spiritual Development Fund
By Nicholas R. Scalera, Seton Hall University, ‘63
In a poignant ceremony in our nation’s capital on Sunday, April 24, 2016, Phi Kappa Theta formally announced creation of a spiritual development fund named in honor of Cardinal W. Donald Wuerl (Fairfield University, ‘A), Archbishop of Washington, DC.
His Eminence Cardinal Donald Wuerl (Fairfield University, ‘A) (middle)
at the unveiling of the Cardinal Donald Wuerl Spiritual Development Fund
in Washington D.C.. Brother Wuerl is pictured here with Foundation
Trustee Emeritus Ed Solvibile (Temple University, ‘63) (left) and
Foundation President Jeff Jowdy (University of Georgia, ‘85) (right).
The Cardinal Wuerl Spiritual Development Fund was initiated with $35,000 in personal donations from His Eminence. It will support programs designed to develop and nurture the spiritual development of brothers through conferences, retreats, programs and materials.
The fund was established and endowed by Phi Kappa Theta Foundation, which solicits gifts to support the academic and educational development of brothers, chapters and colonies. Among the programs that could benefit from the Cardinal Wuerl Spiritual Development Fund are:
The ceremony was held in the residential suite of The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle – seat of the Archbishop of Washington DC. It opened with a prayer delivered by Edward R. Solvibile (Temple University, ‘63), a former Phi Kappa Theta National President and Trustee-Emeritus of the Foundation.
- Chapter-administered Quo Vadis training programs and manuals;
- Spiritual programs and speakers at Phi Kappa Theta national and regional training conferences;
- Manuals and materials for chapter chaplains; and
- Scholarships for collegiate brothers to attend annual conferences run by FOCUS, a national Catholic outreach group that motivates students to practice/fortify their faith.
Gregory E. Stein (CUNY, ‘70) then introduced Cardinal Wuerl, recounting the Cardinal’s background, history and long-time relationship with Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity. He said then Father Wuerl was initiated into Phi Kappa Theta in a ritual in the catacombs beneath St. Agnes Church, Rome, in July 1971. Stein was among those who attended Father Wuerl’s initiation.
Wuerl was ordained a Bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1986 in St. Peter’s Basilica and received his red hat from Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. He was at the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis and was said to be one of three US Cardinals considered to be "Papabili” (pope-eligible).
In response, Cardinal Wuerl expressed his gratitude to Phi Kappa Theta for promoting the spiritual growth and development of its members. Spiritual Development is one of the five pillars of the fraternity; the others are: Leadership, Intellectual, Fraternal and Social.
Earlier, the Cardinal had mingled and chatted informally with attendees and posed for individual photos with each guest. He also presented two gifts to each attendee:
Brother Solvibile then unveiled and offered to His Eminence the Phi Kappa Theta Cardinal Wuerl Fund crest. The emblem is inspired by St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral and features design elements from Phi Kappa Theta’s established President’s Men Giving Society.
- Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge, a Pastoral Letter he delivered on Pentecost Sunday, May 24, 2015, to the Washington Archdiocese; and
- His book, Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith, one of the many he has authored over the years.
In addition to Wuerl, Stein and Solvibile, the event was attended by other Phi Kappa Theta leaders, alumni and guests, including: Foundation President Jeffrey W. Jowdy (University of Georgia, ‘85); Phi Kappa Theta National President Lawrence Dorocke (Purdue University, ‘68); Executive Vice President Robert W. Riggs (RPI, ‘02); and several former and current fraternity and foundation trustees. The Seton Hall University Chapter, New Jersey Phi Beta, was represented by former Phi Kappa Theta National Trustee Nicholas R. Scalera (Seton Hall University, ‘63); Brian W. Giles (Seton Hall University, ‘14); and Daniel Adamitis (Seton Hall University, ‘14).
Wuerl was recognized by Phi Kappa Theta on previous occasions as well. He was on the cover of The Temple in 1988, when he was named Man of Achievement, and in 2010, when he became a Cardinal. At a March 2, 2012 reception in Washington, DC, Phi Kappa Theta re-named its Spiritual Development Award in his honor. The award is presented annually to the collegiate chapter that "embraces our Catholic heritage, maintains a high standard of moral values and utilizes our Ritual as a guide in the development of our brothers.” The New Jersey Phi Beta Chapter received this award in 2015.
Cardinal Wuerl was born in Pittsburgh and received his graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until his appointment to Washington. His titular church in Rome is Saint Peter in Chains.
Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Wuerl to the Congregation for Bishops – a powerful Vatican committee that selects new bishops throughout the world. Wuerl also serves on numerous other national and international church bodies. He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, chancellor of The Catholic University of America, and board chairman of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation.
The Phi Kappa Theta National Foundation is seeking donations to the Cardinal Wuerl Spiritual Development Fund. The goal is to grow the endowment so it can finance additional spiritual programs and materials at higher award levels for collegiate chapters and colonies.
To donate to the fund, contact:
Phi Kappa Theta National Foundation
3901 West 86th Street, Suite 360,
Indianapolis, IN 46268
Or visit: www.phikaps.org/wuerl to donate to the fund online.