Introduction

Papal visit preparation collage

The official preparation for the papal visit to the United States began in November 2007 when the papal nuncio to the United States publicly announced the itinerary of the Holy Father’s trip, to include an April 17 speech on campus. That same month Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., Catholic University President, assembled an 18-member committee that included faculty and staff from the president’s office, student life, campus ministry, facilities, information technology, public safety, public affairs and other offices. The committee oversaw numerous organizational matters, for example, printing hundreds of invitations and distributing thousands of tickets; implementing campus improvement projects; coordinating security with the U.S. Secret Service; engaging the campus community, especially the student body; publicizing the event; and establishing a media center on campus for hundreds of journalists. The committee was responsible not just for the Holy Father’s visit to campus on April 17; it also oversaw issues related to security, media coverage and spectator access on the CUA campus on April 16, when the Holy Father visited the adjacent Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.