The Rev. David M. O’Connell, 14th President of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., will be the homilist at the Thirty-Third Annual Red Mass in honor of the Bench and Bar, hosted by the Diocese of Greensburg and Saint Vincent Archabbey, College and Seminary. Most Rev. Anthony G. Bosco, Bishop of Greensburg, will be principal celebrant at the Mass, which will be held at noon Friday, Oct. 20 at the Saint Joseph Center, Greensburg.
The Red Mass is celebrated annually in over 25 cities across the United States to invoke God’s blessing on members of the bench and bar at the start of the legal year. The Red Mass takes its name from the fact that celebrants of the 13th century in Europe were vested in red, and the lord high justices of the day dressed in scarlet.
Serving as President of Catholic University since 1998, Father O’Connell is a Vincentian priest and Catholic University alumnus. Prior to his appointment at CUA, Father O’Connell was an associate vice president and dean at St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y.
Father O’Connell has doctoral and licentiate degrees in canon law from Catholic University, in addition to a master’s degree in theology and a master of divinity degree from Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, Pa., and a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Niagara University, New York.
The author of numerous articles, including 19 published in the Encyclopedia of the Vatican and the Papacy, Father O’Connell has also published articles in The Jurist, Religious Procedural Handbook, The Priest and the Journal of Business Ethics. He served as a television co-host for the 1995 visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States, and has provided commentary on CBS News and CNN Newstand.
Prior to his service at St. John’s, from 1990 to 1998, Father O’Connell was interim academic vice president at Niagara University, Lewiston, New York, from 1994 to 1995. At Mary Immaculate Seminary, where he served from 1987 to 1990, he was registrar; assistant academic dean; assistant professor of canon law, theology and philosophy; and spiritual director.
He has served as a tribunal judge for the Dioceses of Scranton and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, and for the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama. He was also an interdiocesan tribunal judge in the New Orleans and Mobile Province. He continues to serve as chair of the Committee for Conciliation and Arbitration for the Congregation of the Mission, Eastern Province, U.S.A.; and on its policies and finance committees.
Since 1998 he has served as a trustee of The Catholic University of America, St. John’s University, Archbishop John Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. He is a member of the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the University of St. Thomas Advisory Board, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Professional affiliations include The Canon Law Society of America, The Eastern Regional Canon Lawyers Association, The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, The American Conference of Academic Deans, The Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and The American Association of University Professors.