On Friday, May 6, Rev. Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Diocese of Dallas will celebrate Mass and lead a Eucharistic procession to honor the consecration of the University of Dallas’ campus to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
President Jonathan Sanford commented on the significance of consecrating UD’s grounds to the care of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“This campus consecration is a beautiful reflection of our Catholic identity, and a wonderful opportunity for our entire community to come together in a meaningful way to honor Our Blessed Mother and to place ourselves under her protection,” he said.
Campus chaplain and rector Father Joseph Paul Albin, O.P., described consecration in this context as declaring something sacred. “When we consecrate a place, or an item, another way to understand consecration is that something is set apart or blessed,” he said.
By consecrating the campus to Our Lady, UD actively invokes her intercession. “We are saying that the grounds of the school are set forward for a sacred purpose under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” he said.
The consecration of UD’s campus represents a public commitment to its Catholic identity. Citing recent surveys and his experience with students, Sanford stated that it is precisely UD’s Catholic identity that attracts students of all backgrounds and faiths to attend.
“Consecrating campus in a public way, and welcoming the wider Dallas community to participate, is meant to be a powerful expression of who we are as a Catholic, liberal arts university,” he said.
UD’s campus is home to a unique shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe which stands as one of the reasons that UD chose to dedicate its campus to her. The bronze statue, made by artist Jaime Dominguez and dedicated in 2015, has become an important part of campus.
In addition to the shrine, the Haggar Student Center houses a rock that is a relic from Tepeyac Hill, a Marian Apparition site, which Sanford cited as another reason for UD’s choice of consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Additionally, Our Lady also has significance for this particular region. Sanford went on, saying, “Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness both of the Diocese of Dallas and of the Americas, it seems fitting to consecrate our campus to Her.”
Although the focus of the event is on the Consecration, Fr. Albin commented on the importance of the Mass that accompanies it. “To have a mass is to remember who and what it is that we are about. We are about Jesus Christ and his mission,” he said
Fr. Albin noted that the greater purpose is to seek Christ under the guidance of Our Lady. “Our Lady of Guadalupe, while beautiful in her own right, is always pointing us to Her son, our Lord,” he said.
Commenting on the significance of the Eucharistic procession, Fr. Albin described it as a beautiful Catholic tradition, but as having another purpose too. He said, “It symbolically encircles the campus with the presence of Christ, which Our Lady is always pointing us to.”
UD espouses Catholic virtues and intellectual tradition, and Karen Bless, assistant to the chaplain and rector, commented on the importance of consecration to the pursuit of those things. She said, “The University of Dallas and all of her students, faculty, and staff should be striving for holiness and growth in virtue. And who better to assist us to growing in holiness and learning how to love the Lord than His own Mother?”
Consecrating UD’s campus to Our Lady of Guadalupe marks the beginning of a new chapter in the university’s history by entrusting the life of the university to her.
“My wife and I have had a personal devotion to Our Lady for many years, and entrusting the important work that our students, our faculty, and our staff do seemed the right way to mark this new era in the life of our university,” Sanford said.
Friday’s events include a Mass at 3 p.m., a Eucharistic procession at 4 p.m. and a Consecration Prayer at approximately 5 p.m. at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Cookies and refreshments will be served on the Mall following the event. Students, staff, alumni and friends of the university are welcome to RSVP on UD’s website.