Seton Hall University

Honorary Degree Recipient - Class of 2014

Cardinal Dziwisz - photo credit to Tadeusz Warczak

Honorary Doctorate Degree (degree honoris causa)

The honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters was awarded to Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz during Seton Hall University's 157th Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony held on May 19, 2014. Cardinal Dziwisz has been the Archbishop of Kraków since August 2005. He was created a Cardinal in March 2006. He was ordained to the priesthood on 23 June 1963 and continued his studies at the Faculty of Theology of Kraków, specializing in liturgy and earning a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1967. In October 1966, he was appointed by Archbishop Karol Wojtyła of Kraków, to serve as his personal secretary.

In October 1978, when Karol Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Pope, Father Dziwisz was appointed as the new Pope's principal private secretary and served in this capacity throughout the entirety of Pope John Paul II's twenty-seven year pontificate. In 1981 Father Dziwisz earned the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology from the Faculty of Theology of Kraków, with a thesis entitled The Cult of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop of Kraków, until the Council of Trent.

On 3 June 2005 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Dziwisz as successor to the retiring Cardinal Macharski as Archbishop of Kraków. At the consistory of 24 March 2006 he was raised to the cardinalate, and in May 2006 Pope Benedict appointed him to serve on the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Commencement Remarks

Your Grace, Very Reverend Archbishop of Newark, Mr. President, faculty, dear students, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel so humble to receive this Honorary Doctorate from Seton Hall University - a great Catholic school. I want to express my deepest gratitude to His Excellency, Archbishop John Myers and the whole Faculty of Seton Hall for this highly regarded award. I accept this award in recognition of all the values I have tried to live as I served as the personal secretary of our newly canonized Pope, St. John Paul the Second. He always was my inspiration by his life and ministry to the Church and to our modern world.  Already nine years have passed since his death, but John Paul continues to inspire millions of Christians and the people of good will around the world. They see in him a spiritual leader guiding their paths of faith, hope, and love.

For almost forty years, I was able to accompany the Archbishop of Krakow Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, and from October 16, 1978, I served him while he was Pope John Paul II. These experiences turned out to be the most incredible and greatest privileges of my life. I witnessed daily his prayer life and his work, his meetings, and his service to the Church.

Karol Wojtyła as the intellectual, philosopher, professor and writer was a man of the university. The university was an environment where he felt at home. As a young priest he served as the Academic Chaplain for the students in Krakow. He was their spiritual leader and remained in contact with many of them until the end of his life. As the Archbishop of Krakow and then as a Pope, he maintained friendship with many professors, inviting them to share their reflections on great matters.

I am sure that John Paul II would endorse the vision of the University as "a home for the mind, the heart, and the spirit." This intellectual and spiritual formation – the formation of mind, heart and spirit of students, should help them to be good neighbors, good citizens and to love and serve others. I pray that all of you, my dear young friends, who graduate from this great University, are able to realize your ideals in your lives. As you know, the next World Youth Day with Pope Francis will be held in Krakow in Year 2016. I invite all of you to join us for this special event in Poland.

Your Excellency, Archbishop Myers,  Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, once again, I thank you for bestowing upon me the honor of holding the title of an Honorary Doctor of your University. Since now on, I belong to your academic community in a special way, and I am convinced that we are united by the same ideals of service to God and man, as those of Saint John Paul II.  

I would like to extend special thanks to Archbishop Myers, to whom I am very thankful for His support of the John Paul II "Be Not Afraid" Center in Krakow. His faithfulness to the Apostolic See and his devotion to St. John Paul II can be an example to all of us.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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