.- The Cardinal Newman Society announced on Monday that one of its divisions is partnering with Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland. Society leaders expressed hope that the move will foster a renewal in Catholic identity within universities across the nation.
“This is an exciting moment for Catholic colleges,” president Patrick J. Reilly said.
The society's Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education will relocate to the Emmitsburg, Maryland university July 1 under the leadership of renowned scholar Monsignor Stuart Swetland.
Msgr. Swetland currently serves as vice president for Catholic Identity and Mission and director of Homiletics and Pre-Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.
As a Naval Academy graduate, he studied at Oxford University and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1991 for the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois.
“Monsignor has extensive pastoral, teaching and leadership experience in higher education, and is a natural fit for leading the Center,” Reilly said.
The society announced that as director of the new center, Msgr. Swetland will be tackling “key issues” in Catholic higher education such as formation programs for new faculty, improvements in core curricula, addressing threats to religious liberty, reinforcing sobriety and chastity on college campuses, and facilitating collaboration among college officials.
Msgr. Swetland said that as head of Mount St. Mary’s Catholic mission and identity department he has been “intimately involved with our university’s efforts to implement and live in accordance” with Blessed John Paul II's apostolic constitution on higher education, “Ex corde Ecclesiae.”
“This constitution offers a beautiful vision of how Catholic universities serve both the Church and the world by being consecrated ‘without reserve to the cause of truth,'” he said. “I believe that the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Education can significantly help our universities in their efforts to fulfill their mission.”
Msgr. Swetland said it is “crucial” that “the Church be actively present to our young adults during this vitally important stage of development by radiating Jesus Christ in word and sacrament to and for them.”
“The apostolate of Catholic higher education, at its best, serves this purpose,” he noted. “The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education will aid our universities in their efforts to form the next generation of Catholic leaders.”
Mount St. Mary's University president Thomas Powell said he is “honored” that the Cardinal Newman Society chose his university as the new home for the center.
“The Center will provide valuable resources to aid Mount St. Mary’s and other colleges and universities to strengthen their Catholic identity,” Powell said.