Media Advisory: WFU’s President to Attend Pope Francis’ Arrival Ceremony in D.C.

Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch and his wife, Julie, will attend the welcome reception in honor of Pope Francis at the White House tomorrow morning.

Dr. and Mrs. Hatch are among an estimated 15,000 who received invitations to the event on the South Lawn.

The Pope’s historic visit is particularly interesting to Hatch, a renowned religious historian whose 1990 book, “The Democratization of American Christianity,” continues to shape discussions about American history, religion and culture.

“It is a great privilege for Julie and me to be in the audience when Pope Francis comes to the White House,” said Hatch.

The opportunity was made possible by Melissa Rogers, a former faculty member of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity who now is Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

“The great appeal of this Pope to believers and unbelievers alike is the humility that adorns his life. He once said that what the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds: ‘I see the church as a field hospital after battle,’ he said. His simple life and commitment to those on the margins is a far cry from the monarchical style of Papal authority that many remember. The Pope’s inviting life will make many listen anew to what he has to say,” Hatch continued.

Prior to becoming Wake Forest’s president 10 years ago, Hatch was an administrator and history professor at the University of Notre Dame. He joined the faculty at Notre Dame in 1975. He was named provost, the university’s second highest-ranking position, in 1996; a Presbyterian, he was the first Protestant to ever serve in that position at Notre Dame, a Catholic institution.

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