Cardinal Arinze to Speak at Thomas More College Commencement

by Thomas More College on February 9, 2009

February 9, 2009
Contact: Charlie McKinney
Phone: (603) 880-8308, ext. 21
Mobile: (603) 913-5939

(Merrimack, New Hampshire)— Francis Cardinal Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will deliver the commencement address on the campus of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts on Sunday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Cardinal Arinze will also receive an honorary degree from the College, honoring him for his life-long service to the Catholic Church.

“Cardinal Arinze embodies the mission of Thomas More College in our world. His tireless service to the Church is a shining example to our outgoing seniors of how to put one’s faith into action and work for cultural and spiritual renewal in our time,” said Thomas More College President Jeff Nelson. “His tireless work of assisting the people of his war-torn region, his unyielding desire to keep the spirit of Catholicism alive in Africa despite strong challenges imposed by the Nigerian government, as well as his ability reach across the table to those of different faiths without sacrificing his own Catholic convictions is an inspiration to us all who are trying to live as faithful Catholics today.”

Arinze, 76, who was considered among many candidates for the papacy during the 2005 Papal conclave, was born in Nigeria in 1932. He converted to the Catholic faith as a boy from a traditional African religion.

He completed the seminary in 1950, earning a degree in philosophy. Later, he earned his doctorate of sacred theology summa cum laude from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome and was ordained a priest in 1958. His doctoral thesis was entitled “Ibo Sacrifice as an Introduction to the Catechesis of Holy Mass”, which became a basis for his Sacrifice In Ibo Religion in 1970.

At age 32, Arinze became a bishop in his native Nigeria, becoming the youngest bishop worldwide. While a bishop, he was forced to live as a refugee because his Diocese was part of a rebelling territory during the Nigeria-Biafra War. During that time, he worked on behalf of refugees and supervised an efficient relief effort. He was later appointed to what is today known as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In 1985, he was named to the College of Cardinals. In 2002, he was named Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The Cardinal has also produced over 1,700 television programs covering Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals and letters and examining the Second Vatican Council.
The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is a four-year college that provides the rising generation with an education that forms them intellectually and spiritually within the Catholic intellectual tradition and with full fidelity to the Magisterium.  Additionally, the College has launched entrepreneurial new centers that seek to advance the teachings of the Catholic Church beyond the confines of its campus.  These centers include the Vatican Studies Center, the Center for New England Politics and Culture, and the Center for Faith and Culture in Oxford, England.


If you would like additional information, or would like to schedule an interview with President Jeff Nelson, please contact Charlie McKinney at (603) 880-8308, ext. 21 or (603) 913-5939, or by email at

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