By Arlene Edmonds

Special to The CS&T

PHILADELPHIA – It is important for the Catholic community to offer hospitality to all, especially those who take up temporary residence in the Delaware Valley. Among those who this applies to are college students, including those from abroad, and all migrants and immigrants. Yet many may be unaware of how they can fulfill this directive. No need to fret, help is on the way.

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, will speak on this very topic at Chestnut Hill College, 9601 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia. His lecture will be held in the East Parlor on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 12:30 p.m.

“We are thrilled to have Archbishop Marchetto come to speak to our students and the community,” said Sister Cecelia J. Cavanaugh, S.S.J., associate professor of Spanish and the undergraduate studies dean.

“We want our students to make as many concrete connections as they can beyond the campus experience to the Church. We have a contingent of international students on campus and our students are engaged in service learning projects in the city of Philadelphia. We participate in the (international) welcome center in Kensington run by the Sisters of St. Joseph,” Sister Cecelia said.

Archbishop Marchetto’s visit to Catholic colleges and universities in the United States seeks to expand knowledge of the 2004 instruction from the Pontifical Council titled, “The Love of Christ Towards Migrants” (Erga migrantes caritas Christi) within this country.

The instruction emphasizes the need for Catholic colleges and universities to be a primary place of welcome to all, including Muslims, Jews and those of other Christian faiths. It also encourages Catholic higher learning institutions to seek out opportunities of faith development in other countries. Thus, Archbishop Marchetto is particularly concerned about the care of international students.

“I think it’s wonderful to have someone from the Vatican here on campus,” continued Sister Cecelia. “I think his presence will help deepen our students’ understanding of some of the dynamics of the Church. I think it will serve as confirmation of many of the values and mission experience on campus. I hope from Archbishop Marchetto’s visit that they will personalize their understanding of the lessons we already stress in our Catholic social teaching.”

Archbishop Marchetto was born Aug. 28, 1940, in Vicenza, Italy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1964 and then ordained a bishop in 1985. He was appointed to his current position on Nov. 6, 2001.

In this post he often lectures on the need for “enculturation” of the Christian message, specific measures to care for migrants and refugees, and advocating for immigrants, particularly those in distress.

The Archbishop is the author of “Ecumenical Council of Vatican II: A Counterpoint of Its History” published by the Vatican Library in 2005. He also lectures on how the Second Vatican Council was not a break from the past, but a bridge to the future.

“It’s really cool that Archbishop Marchetto will be here just two days after the presidential inauguration,” Sister Cecelia said. “I think that this will give our students another angle on the Church’s values in our world.”

The Jan. 22 lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the School of Undergraduate Studies at 215-248-7177 or e-mail Sister Kathleen Letts, assistant to the undergraduate dean, at

Arlene Edmonds is a freelance writer and St. Raymond of Penafort parishioner. She may be reached at