Most Rev. José H. Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, will address the Class of 2018 at The Catholic University of America Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
Archbishop Gomez, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, leads the largest archdiocese in the United States and continually emphasizes the role of the family, the value of joy and simplicity as a path to holiness, and respect and dignity toward immigrants. Prior to the expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last month, the archbishop encouraged U.S. Catholics to advocate for an extension.
“I’m delighted that Archbishop Gomez will deliver the commencement address to our graduating class this year,” said University President John Garvey. “His efforts on behalf of immigrants, in particular those in the DACA program, are significant. It’s important that our graduates and their families will hear from such a prominent voice in the immigration debate.”
Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Archbishop Gomez later became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Ordained a priest of the Opus Dei prelature in 1978, the archbishop served for several years in parish work in San Antonio, Texas. In February 2005, he was installed as archbishop of San Antonio, where he served until he was named archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011.
Archbishop Gomez is currently serving a three-year term as vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He served as chairman of the Committee on Migration from 2010 to 2013.
In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI selected him to participate in a month-long synod of bishops on the “New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” In 2015, Archbishop Gomez represented the United States Catholic bishops at the World Meeting of Families and the Synod of Bishops on “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.”
Archbishop Gomez also has been instrumental in promoting the leadership of Hispanics and women in the Church and in American society, as a founding member of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders and ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women).
Archbishop Gomez is the author of several books, including Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation; Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life; and A Will to Live: Clear Answers on End of Life Issues.
The archbishop holds an S.T.D. in theology, as well as undergraduate degrees in accounting, philosophy, and theology. He speaks and writes often on issues in the Church and American society.
Archbishop Gomez will receive the degree Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.
The University will also confer honorary degrees on four other immigrants who have made notable contributions to their communities and their new country: Toufic Baaklini, president and chairman of the board of the nonprofit organization In Defense of Christians; Maria Suarez Hamm, who served as the long-time executive director of Centro Tepeyac in Silver Spring, Md.; Dr. Dina Katabi, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ray Mahmood, founder of Mahmood Investment Corp. The Holy Father has characterized migrants as “men and women in search of peace,” and these individuals reinforce the Church’s and the University’s message of welcoming the stranger and helping to advance that peace.
Brett Kavanaugh, a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, will deliver the Commencement address for the Columbus School of Law on Friday, May 25, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He also will receive an honorary degree.
Catholic University’s 129th Annual Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. The exercises will be held outdoors on the east steps of the Basilica, located at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E. The Columbus School of Law Commencement, also held at the Basilica, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on May 25.