Regis honours papal spokesperson

  • May 28, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - Communication in the Catholic milieu is about bringing people together in friendship, says the newest Doctor of Divinity from Regis College.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., received an honorary doctorate from the Jesuit-run graduate theology school in Toronto on May 27. The spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI and director of Vatican Radio was honoured for his contributions to Catholic media as well as to the international Society of Jesus.

At a dinner following the convocation, Lombardi gave a short address on how the Holy See views the role of communications media. He also praised Regis College as an educational institution that strives to speak to the world beyond the church in an atmosphere of love and respect.

The convocation, held in the soon-to-be new address for Regis College at 90 Wellesley St., also saw ecclesiastical degrees bestowed on four Regis faculty. Gill K. Goulding, C.J., Michael Francis Stoeber, and Jesuit Fathers Scott Lewis and Joseph Schner (president of Regis) all received licentiate degrees in sacred theology.

Lombardi, born in Italy in 1942, was ordained a priest in 1972. Most of his years as a priest have been devoted to Catholic media. In 1973, he began writing for Civilta Cattolica, the prestigious Italian Jesuit review, becoming its deputy editor in 1977. He became director of programming for Vatican Radio in 1991 and general director in 2005. Since 2001, he has also been general director of the Vatican Television Centre.

Shortly after the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, he became head of the Holy See Press Office as well.

At the most recent General Congregation of the Jesuits, held last winter, he was elected as a general assistant to the Superior General of the Jesuits.

Lombardi was also in town to be a keynote speaker at the Catholic Media Convention 2008, held May 28-30. This gathering of more than 350 Catholic journalists and communications professionals is the annual convention of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada and the U.S. Catholic Academy of Communication Arts Professionals, along with the Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada.

Besides Lombardi, other keynote speakers included Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and primate of the Catholic Church in Canada, and Dr. Margaret Somerville, an ethicist from McGill University in Montreal. There were also numerous workshops, drawing on the expertise of many Canadian and American media specialists, including CTV News anchor Lloyd Robertson, Dr. Michael Higgins, author and president of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., and Peter Kavanagh, Senior Producer for CBC Radio in Toronto.

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