Australian Foundation to back new Pontifical University

Australian Foundation to back new Pontifical University

A group of Australians has established a Foundation to help support and raise the profile in Australia of one of the Catholic Church's newest and fastest growing pontifical universities in Rome - the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Bishop Kevin Manning of Parramatta has indicated he believes this university "deserves strong support."

This project is one of the apostolic works through which the Prelature of Opus Dei endeavours to serve the Church. The university's Chancellor is Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei.

The birth of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, chartered by the Holy See, occurred on 15 July 1998, with its principal site in the centre of Rome, in the Palazzo Apollinare. In the academic year 1999-2000 it had 728 students from 62 countries and 201 dioceses, among them 248 priests and 45 religious men and women. The academic staff, including visiting professors, is 167 strong, from 17 countries.

The university has four faculties: Theology, Canon Law, Philosophy and Institutional Social Communications, which grant Bachelor's, Licentiate and Doctoral degrees. In addition, it has an Institute for Advanced Religious Studies - with 1971 students this year - which conducts programs to train and certify teachers of religion at all educational levels in Italy.

On 29 May last year, Pope John Paul II received the administrators, faculty, staff and students of Holy Cross and in his address noted the university's purpose as "to seek and promote the truth with intellectual honesty and respect for Revelation ... at the service of the Church, called in our time to a more courageous missionary effort in view of the third millennium."

The present Foundation - approved as a charity by the New South Wales State Government - seeks to make the university known and to seek donations and other forms of assistance towards it. The immediate goal is to establish a fund, from the returns of which scholarships for Australian students and students from developing countries will be granted.

The Foundation, whose full title is Pontifical University of the Holy Cross Foundation, is located at 15 Vernon Street, Strathfield, NSW, 2135, tel (02) 9746 6360, fax (02) 9419 3542. Donations, low interest loans and further inquiries are welcomed.

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