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Basilica of St. Mary honored at CDU gala

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On behalf of the Basilica of St. Mary in Alexandria, its pastor, Father Edward C. Hathaway accepted the Bishop Thomas J. Welsh award during Catholic Distance University’s 35th annual gala at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington Nov. 3. 

The sit-down portion of the evening began with Bishop Michael F. Burbidge delivering an invocation of gratitude for God’s blessings in equipping the university for the new evangelization. 

“Here we are at the Shrine of St. John Paul II who told us always to use every appropriate resource and tool possible to teach the truth and the joy of the Gospel,” Bishop Burbidge said. “We thank you for your blessings on Catholic Distance University throughout these 35 years and the many ways that they have responded to that challenge and to that call.” 

Catholic Distance University, which was founded by Arlington Bishop Thomas J. Welsh and sustained by his successors, Bishop John R. Keating and Bishop Paul S. Loverde, uses technology to further the new evangelization through online degree programs and continuing education certificate programs as well as correspondence learning for those without access to the internet, such as prisoners. Bishop Loverde, who attended the gala, was given a round of applause by those gathered.  

Throughout the evening, Helen Alvaré, a professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Arlington, served as the master of ceremonies. She introduced Bishop Burbidge as “a fellow Philadelphian who loves the Diocese of Arlington just as much as I do.” 

CDU President Marianne Evans Mount also took to the podium to honor four of CDU’s recent graduates who were in attendance: Irma Juanita Álvarez of San Diego; Air Force Captain Nicholas Radloff from Dyersville, Iowa; Alfred García López from Fresno, Calif.; and Mary Elizabeth McKay of Fairfax. McKay serves as liturgy director at St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax. 

Radloff, who was the navigator on an HC-130 aircraft in a combat search and rescue squadron, said that his coursework at CDU helped foster his priestly vocation as well as eased his transition from the Air Force into his studies at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., for the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

“It was really great while I was in the Air Force to take a step back from my everyday work and focus on God because in the military, it is not always a God-focused job,” Radloff said. “CDU made it so the church was always on my mind.” 

He finished his service with the Air Force in December 2015 and entered seminary in January 2016. 

“My diocese was gracious enough to let me start mid-year because of the studies that I completed at CDU,” Radloff said.

Also present at the gala were Archbishop of the Military Archdiocese Timothy P. Broglio, who serves as CDU’s chancellor, as well as President John Garvey of The Catholic University of America in Washington.

A silent auction was held throughout the night.

Later in the evening, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Charles Wasaff and Mount presented Father Hathaway with the Bishop Thomas J. Welsh Award. Wasaff said that St. Mary Basilica  received the award for its outstanding record of service:  54 apostolates; 400 parishioners actively volunteering in the community; and the largest K-8 school in the diocese, with more than 700 students. He also added that three of its pastors, including Father Hathaway, have given generous financial support to CDU.

“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of parishioners both past and present of St. Mary’s whose generosity always amazes me and enables us to do so much good in partnering with all of these wonderful apostolates,” Father Hathaway said before blessing all of those gathered. “God bless you for all of the work that you do in making the faith come alive for so many people in so many different situations.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018