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  • Utterly Unacceptable

    October 1, 2015

    President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, about the shooting at the community college in Oregon. The shooting happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., about 180 miles south of Portland. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, about the shooting at the community college in Oregon. The shooting happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., about 180 miles south of Portland. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    photo credit

    Again and again and again.  Gunshots ring out, students are dead.  When will it stop?

    Our hearts go out to the community of Umpqua Community College in Oregon where yet another gunman killed yet more people who thought they were in a safe place of learning and intellectual advancement.  As President Obama said bleakly in his news conference yesterday evening, “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”  When will we — We, the People who supposedly govern this nation — when will we do something about the endless carnage?

    This time last week we were reveling in the gauzy glow of good feelings that Pope Francis seemed to exude at every stop along his journey through Washington, New York and Philadelphia.  But along with the bright smiles and cheerful waves, he had a very serious message for our elected representatives in Congress:

    “Your own responsibility … is to enable this country…to grow as a nation. …You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.” (Pope Francis addressing the U.S. Congress, September 24, 2015)

    That’s the best statement of the moral responsibility of lawmakers imaginable:  they have a clear responsibility to “defense and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens,” to “demand pursuit of the common good,” to ensure the growth of the nation by protecting all members.

    Of course, Congress acted like bad boys with spitballs hidden behind their backs, returning to their customary disgraceful antics the day after the Pope left town, heedless and even contemptuous of his call to work together for the common good.  And so it is, just one week after that moment of grace, more bodies lie bleeding their young lives away on classroom floors because this nation’s lawmakers worship at the altars of greed and self-interest.

    This is the same Congress, by the way, that cloaks itself in thunderous righteousness should any college or university suffer criminal actions on campus, since Congress sees fit to impose on collegiate administrators a standard that approaches what lawyers would call strict liability to protect students from any and all harms.  While I surely do not shrink from my responsibility in this regard, how dare Congress hold me to the highest standard while allowing the most appalling dangers of virtually uncontrolled weapons to roam freely across the landscape, victimizing children in schools and people in churches while elected politicians protect their seats and pay obeisance to the gun lobby.  Surely, the victims of gun violence, especially those in schools, are among “those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk” that Pope Francis insisted are those most in need of legislative protection.

    President Obama was right to call out the opposition today, saying that if they want to call his remarks political, so be it — as the Pope himself said, political action is absolutely necessary to defend and grow the life of the nation.  And let’s not allow those tired old refrains about “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” or “good guys with guns” to obscure the most fundamental issue:  the prevalence of guns — enough guns for every single person living in America right now, and then some — is clear evidence of the violence of our society.  The gun is the symbol of the evil that will not stop, the predator that makes everyone afraid and constantly wary, the ultimate sign of a society that has lost its moral center in a confused argument about words in a Constitutional Amendment that meant something quite different in a colonial culture that existed 225 years ago.

    No justice, no peace, that is true.  Getting a grip on guns in this country is a fundamental issue of justice; until that happens, there will be no peace.


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    More Memories of Pope Francis!

    September 28, 2015

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    Tamar C. Gilbert who is earning her MSA in Federal Program Management writes, “This was such historical moment. I had the opportunity to see Pope John Paul in 1979 right on the corner of 4th & Franklin Street, NE. , who was the first Pope to visit the United States. Now I have experienced the blessing of the current Pope Francis realizing the magnitude of the Pope’s presence to the world.”  Her photos are above and below.

    gilbert 1

    Monica McCall-Matey, a senior in the School of Professional Studies writes, “I was able to witness a historical moment and be apart of a Mass with over 25,000 of God’s children. I am so happy to be apart of the Trinity family and thanks again for that amazing opportunity to witness Pope Francis. ”  Her photos:

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    How thrilling to see the St. Augustine Choir sing for Pope Francis and President Obama last week at the White House.  And that’s Trinity’s own Gospel Choir Director Samuel Cromwell leading his choir from St. Augustine’s which includes some Trinity alums as well.  Congratulations!  Here’s a great photo of Mr. Cromwell with our alumna and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi ’62 at that same White House event with the pope:

    Cromwell and Pelosi

    We are so grateful to Mr. Cromwell for his amazing leadership of Trinity’s Gospel Choir — so much beautiful song for the Cap & Gown Liturgy yesterday!

    This reflection is from Trinity Center Director Shae Agee:

    “As Pope Francis emerged from the Vatican embassy, he greeted many kids who were there to get a glimpse and most likely a selfie with the Holy Father. I was touched by the excitement of this generation and also by one particular Latina girl.  She was interviewed by a reporter who asked her why she was so excited to see Pope Francis. To paraphrase, she enthusiastically declared that Pope Francis helps her believe in her dreams. As I thought about the political climate and the immigration reform issue, one overwhelming thought came to mind. Pope Francis is helping her to dream, while some people in our political system are trying to take away the dreams of many Hispanic families in our country. I am so grateful that our next generation has such a great role model who embodies love. “

    Do you have photos or memories to share from the visit of Pope Francis?  Send them to or comment below

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    Voices of Trinity: More Reflections on Pope Francis

    September 25, 2015


    Trinity student Alexis de la Rosa is featured in this Catholic News Service video from the Pope’s Mass at the National Shrine on September 23:

    “This is a great experience that we will never forget,” writes Erica Lozano (left, below) and Mia Palatucci who both submitted photos:

    Mia 2

    Mia 1Mia 3

    Assistant Professor of English Wendy Bilen had these thoughtful reflections on the “amazing experience” of seeing Pope Francis this week:

    “The Pope is a human like the rest of us. He is also a pastor in the unique position of having the world’s stage around him and a long history of papal behavior behind him. That is why his actions are so telling: a man who fires the corrupt, foregoes lunch with lawmakers to feed the poor, rides in a tiny Fiat instead of a limo–these are the actions of humility and justice that depart from the pomposity often associated with the Vatican, and they set a tone not only for the church but for the world. 

    “He is drawing attention to the things that matter, and he is showing us that it is possible to be both principled and loving. Clearly there is a hunger for this balance, as his popularity shows. But the reason he does all of this is because of an abiding faith in the One who did it long before. 

    “I am not Catholic, but I am a Christian, and I see Francis as my brother. I believe that the churches of the world should focus on what unites us rather than on what divides us–this is the church as it is meant to be. This extends to relationships with the Jewish and Muslim communities as well.

    “So I was pleased to hear Pope Francis yesterday in person and again today on television. I hope we don’t too quickly forget his words and example. I, for one, will remember the hush on the lawn as he spoke and the way his face lit up when he walked among the children and homeless.”

    And students in Professor Bilen’s classes take note!

    “His speech to Congress will provide an excellent example for my ENGL 107 students–the way Pope Francis used four individuals to structure his ideas. We will definitely be discussing that next week!”

    Here’s a photo from Professor Bilen:



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    Voices and Images of Trinity Reflect on Pope Francis

    September 24, 2015

    Following the Pope’s Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine, Trinity students offered these reflections and photos:

    “Today’s event has been a blessing!  I feel nothing but joy!  I feel so blessed to witness history. As an educator, I have witnessed the Pope’s humble affect on the poor, marginal, and the exceptional.  This humbleness gives me the courage and aspirations to become an educational leader that will make a difference in the lives of our future citizens.  God Bless America!” (Natalie McCollum)

    Sophomore Ayantu Jinfessa took these photos of monks praying outside the Shrine and the people perched on Trinity’s hillside:


    trinity hill

    Senior Airen Washington captioned her photos below this way:  “Student (Senior) Kirsten Collins and (Senior )Airen Washington actually experienced seeing the Holy Father Third Pope Francis at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception! There was such a wave of tranquility and thankfulness as we watched his Popemobile ride by”

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    MBA student Maria Williams writes about “…the once in a lifetime opportunity to see Pope Francis conduct the service today. Witnessing the mass and so many people coming together was a life changing experience that words cannot describe. In those few hours I gleaned what it means to be for the people, serve the people and love unconditionally. It’s time for me to implement changes in my life to reach my biggest purpose.”  Maria sent these photos:


    Silvia Medina Balcazar sent these photos:

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    Do you have reflections, opinions, photos or other comments about your experience of seeing and watching Pope Francis this week?  Send them to and I will publish them on this blog!

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    Voices and Images of Trinity Greeting Pope Francis!

    September 23, 2015


    Sr. Mary Johnson, SND, Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies (above, left) at the Basilica of the National Shrine before the Pope’s Mass Canonizing Junipero Serra begins.

    Professor Jamey Piland sent these great pics from the site of the Papal Mass at the National Shrine:


    jamey joejamey camilla

    Sr. Camilla Burns, SND, Professor of Religious Studies (above with Dr. Piland), reminds us that “The Pope does not preach the Catechism but the Gospel!”  Students will have essays on that topic tomorrow!!

    And here is Trinity’s SND delegation including Board Chair Sr. Patricia O’Brien, Sr. Camilla Burns, Sr. Eucharia Madeuke (who has been with the Nuns on the Bus of NETWORK!), Sr. Anne Mary O’Donnell and Sr. Mary Hayes!


    Trinity Trustee Kathy Raffa and her husband Tom are also at the National Shrine and they sent along some pics of the Mass and the papal parade prior to Mass:

    Kathy and Tom

    Raffa 6

    Raffa 1

    Raffa 2

    Raffa 4Wow, quite a crowd!

    Earlier in the day….

    Cheering for the St. Augustine’s Choir and Choir Director Mr. Samuel Cromwell who sang for the Pope and President this morning.  Mr. Cromwell also directs Trinity’s Gospel Choir!

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    Student Diana Escobar shares this photo of Sacred Heart Parish making their pilgrimage to see Pope Francis at the White House:

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    Trinity’s Director of Trinity at THEARC Beverly Lucas posed with this Pope Francis cutout at the Washington School for Girls, our partners at THEARC:

    Lucas 1

    Beverly writes,

    “I have been following the events leading up to Pope Francis’ visit.  Days leading up to his arrival, like many others, my excitement has amplified.  Yesterday, as I watched him walk out of the plane from Andrews Air Force Base, I found myself clapping and jumping.  Pope Francis is, “the Pope of the people.”  I respect and honor his leadership – his love for all people, his humility, and his concern for the poor and disenfranchised.  His words of encouragement captures the heart and mind of all people across the globe.  He has reached beyond faith and religious barriers.  I believe Pope Francis is a man after God’s own heart.

    “This picture was taken at Washington Middle School for Girls where they have placed an elaborate cut-out of Pope Francis in the lobby.  As I noticed it out of the corner of my eye, my heart dropped because it appeared so real.  I had to take this picture to capture the moment…. I capture it:  “My Moment with Pope Francis.”


    Have a photo, a comment, a memory of the visit of Pope Francis?  Send them to me and I will post them here!

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    Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
    Phone: 202.884.9050   Email:



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