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CUA to establish Hispanic ministry chair in honor of Cardinal Seán O’Malley

The president of The Catholic University of America (CUA), Peter Kilpatrick, announced the creation of an endowed chair in honor of Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, who is also a member of CUA’s board of trustees and an alumnus.

The endowed chair, to be named the Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley Endowed Chair for Hispanic Ministry and Evangelization, will reside in the university’s School of Theology and Religious Studies.

“This endowed position is an expression of gratitude for the cardinal’s robust contributions to the university and reflects his decades of leadership in Hispanic and Latino ministry,” Kilpatrick wrote in a letter to the university community.

Highlighting O’Malley’s service to Hispanics in the Church, Kilpatrick referenced O’Malley’s service as executive director of the Centro Católico Hispano in the Archdiocese of Washington and work as episcopal vicar for the Hispanic, Portuguese, and Haitian communities in the late 1970s.

“That love and dedication to Hispanic and Latino communities has remained an extraordinary example for the Church in America,” Kilpatrick wrote.

“We are confident that this chair, once fully funded and established, will have a lasting impact on the scholastic excellence of our School of Theology and Religious Studies,” he continued. 

“We also believe it will generate greater evangelical fervor and pastoral expertise in the care of the Hispanic and Latino Catholic communities in the United States for generations to come,” he added. 

The announcement comes on the heels of O’Malley’s milestone 80th birthday on June 29. O’Malley voted in the 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis, but his 80th birthday now marks his loss of voting power in any future conclave. 

Cardinals must be under 80 to vote in a conclave, meaning that the U.S. has lost one of its 10 cardinal-electors. 

O’Malley attended CUA as a Capuchin seminarian in the late 1960s, where he earned a master’s degree in religious education and a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature. O’Malley later taught at CUA for several years and is a former chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

Often standing out with his brown habit of a Capuchin paired with the red hat of a cardinal, O’Malley was made a cardinal in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI and has been archbishop of Boston since 2003.