The May 5, 2011, issue of The Arizona Republic published a preview of the annual American Cardinals Dinner to be held in Phoenix on May 6. The co-hosts of the dinner are Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, a member of Catholic University's Board of Trustees, and CUA President John Garvey. See article below.

Phoenix Diocese to host Cardinals Dinner

Top Catholic clergy to attend event that raises cash for university

From: The Arizona Republic Date: May 5, 2011 Author: Michael Clancy

PHOENIX - The top leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States will be in Phoenix this weekend for a fundraising dinner and Mass.

The occasion is the annual American Cardinals Dinner, which raises money for Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The dinner rotates among cities that have bishops on the CUA board of directors. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix is on the board.

Five Catholic cardinals will be honored at Friday's dinner. They are the cardinals who are leaders of dioceses, including Francis George, archbishop of Chicago; Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia; Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston; and Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C., will be in Rome and will not attend.

Two other cardinals among the six retired diocesan leaders will attend. They are Cardinals Edward Egan of New York and Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. Also attending will be Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Vatican ambassador to the United States, and Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, chairman of the CUA board.

The site selection was done by university staff. The choice of Phoenix is considered an affirmation for Olmsted, who is one of the church's more conservative leaders in the U.S.

Cardinals are the highest-ranking bishops in the church, chosen by the pope. Typically, they are the leaders of the largest American dioceses. Until they are 80 years old, they have a vote in selecting the next pope.

The Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University, an expert on the church's authority structure, said the event is a major accomplishment for the Phoenix Diocese. He said the dinners usually take place only in archdioceses, a higher category of dioceses, although Las Vegas has been in the rotation previously.

The Phoenix Diocese was chosen by the Rev. David M. O'Connell during his presidency of the university. He approached Olmsted about hosting the event. O'Connell is now bishop of Trenton, N.J. His replacement, John Garvey, will preside at his first Cardinals Dinner as the first layman to lead the university.

Since its inauguration, the annual event has raised more than $26 million to support scholarships for Catholic University students.

"The university is hoping to build a greater awareness in the Southwest of the excellent Catholic academics and formation they offer to young people," the Rev. Fred Adamson, the Phoenix Diocese's vicar general, told the diocese's newspaper, the Catholic Sun.

"The proceeds from the Cardinals Dinner will provide new opportunities for students from the southwestern United States to attend the university."

This semester, 25 students from Arizona are attending CUA. Several of them will be featured in a video about the school.

Olmsted will be principal celebrant of the Mass, which is open to the public, at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church, in Scottsdale. It will be followed by the dinner at the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch, also in Scottsdale. The dinner, at $1,000 apiece, is open to all paying guests.

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