April 26, 2019

Bishops’ University to Pay Homage to Lay Vocation

Catholic University will celebrate the distinctive contributions of lay Catholics at its Commencement next month.  The University will recognize six people who have made unique contributions to the Church and society through their work or profession.

“We often speak about what a gift priests are to the Church, and rightly so,” said President John Garvey. “What we don’t do so often is recognize the importance and contribution of the lay vocation. That is what we are celebrating this year.”

Jesus ColinaInternationally prominent journalist Jesús Colina, 51, founded two groundbreaking Catholic news sites―ZENIT (1997) and Aleteia (2013). He will address the Class of 2019 at the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, 2019, where he will also be presented with an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Colina is the global editor of Aleteia, a multi-language Catholic website that has won the Catholic Press Association’s award for “Best General Publisher Website” three years running.  The site is the largest Catholic website in the world. It registers 15 million monthly unique users across eight languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, French, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian.

“The vision that Jesús Colina has for Catholic media is impressive,” said Garvey. “With Aleteia, he is truly breaking new ground in his efforts to bring the Word of God to an audience that is in many ways indifferent to the Gospel. This is what living out one’s lay vocation looks like.

Born in Miranda de Ebro, Spain, Colina has worked in Rome since 1991, first as a correspondent for a number of French, U.S., and Latin American publications.

In 1997, Colina founded ZENIT, an independent agency seeking to report on “the world seen from Rome.” ZENIT was the first Catholic news service available only on the Internet. It reached some 450,000 readers in multiple languages around the world.

Colina was appointed for two 8-year terms as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2006, he received the Path to Peace Award from the Path to Peace Foundation, which works in close collaboration with the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations.

He received his bachelor of philosophy degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and a bachelor of communications from Complutense University in Madrid. He and his wife, Gisèle, have three children, and they live in Rome.

The University will also confer honorary degrees on laypeople who have made a contribution to society and the Church.

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, the Superior General of the Sisters of Life, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. Michael Thomasian, the principal of St. Anthony Catholic School in Brookland, will receive a Doctor of Education. Long-time journalist and author Russell Shaw will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. Entrepreneurs Art and Carlyse Ciocca each received a Doctor of Business in a private ceremony earlier this year.

“My hope is that the example of the six lay leaders we honor this year will inspire our graduates to become the leaders our Church and country need today,” President Garvey said. 

Judge William T. Newman Jr., chief judge for the Arlington Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Virginia, will deliver the commencement address for the Columbus School of Law on May 24 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.

Catholic University’s 130th Annual Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m. The exercises will be held 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 24.

MEDIA: To schedule an interview or attend, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at communications@cua.edu or 202-319-5600.