November 2, 2009 – Villa Stritch Dinner Time of Remembrance for Cardinal Foley

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – November 2, 2009

WASHINGTON –”Villa Stritch was truly a home for me in Rome,” Cardinal John P. Foley told a gathering that celebrated the Villa Stritch’s more than 40 years of service to U.S. priests assigned to serve the Vatican.

The October 25 gathering took place at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States in Washington and was hosted by Cardinal Francis George, OMI of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia.

Cardinal Foley, who arrived at the Villa Stritch from his native Philadelphia in 1984, to serve as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, recalled the opportunity he and almost all the other U.S. priests working for the Holy See in Rome had at “the Stritch” – to get to know one another, share experiences, exchange ideas, and participate in the special celebration each year of the uniquely U.S. feast of Thanksgiving. He continued to reside there until September 2008, shortly after taking up his current duties as Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

The attendees were told that the Villa Stritch was founded to provide U.S. diocesan priests assigned to the Holy See with a residence including a chapel and common facilities for meals and social gatherings. Nearly two dozen priests from 14 dioceses across the United States live there; they work in 19 different Vatican offices.

Dedicated by Pope Paul VI in June 1968, “the Stritch” is named in honor of Cardinal Samuel A. Stritch, a former archbishop of Chicago who died in 1958, while serving as head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome.

More than simply living quarters, the Villa Stritch offers hospitality that assists priests in taking up new challenges far from home as well as the sense of community that is an essential support to the vocation of a priest.

Most essentially, the Villa Stritch encourages priestly spirituality based on prayer and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In the words of Cardinal George, “The Villa Stritch is not simply a hotel for priests in Rome. Its mission is to support the continuing conversion and diocesan spirituality of the American priests who collaborate with the Holy Father in his ministry to the Universal Church.”

The Bishops of the United States financially support the Villa Stritch through the USCCB.

O’Meara Ferguson is honored to have been retained by the USCCB to assist in raising a minimum of $10 million endowment for Villa Stritch.

O’Meara Ferguson Chairman and CEO Jack Whelan and his wife Katie; Founder and President Pat O’Meara; Dan Conway, President Emeritus, Mission Advancement Services; Managing Director Frank Ferguson; and Vice President Mike Wagner attended the October 25 gathering.