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St. Anthony Shrine holds inaugural Franciscan Dinner


Franciscan friars from St. Anthony Shrine in Boston chant a blessing over guests at the shrine's inaugural Franciscan Dinner Oct. 20. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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BOSTON -- Hundreds of people gathered at the Seaport Hotel in South Boston to support St. Anthony Shrine during its inaugural Franciscan Dinner.

The gala raised over $500,000 for the shrine and its numerous outreach and evangelization ministries, and saw Jim O'Connell, president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, receive the shrine's inaugural Pope Francis Award.

Funds were raised through ticket sales for the dinner and donations, as well as a live auction that took place during the event.

Fred Brown, assistant director of liturgy at the shrine and an organizer of the event, said over 350 people attended the gala.

Among the attendees were Governor Charles D. Baker and First Lady Lauren Baker, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Ms. Lorrie Higgins, who were the honorary co-chairs of the evening.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley also attended, and gave the invocation before the start of the dinner.

Mayor Walsh offered some of the first remarks of the night, and he recalled going to St. Anthony Shrine with his mother when he was a child.

He said it's an "incredible place... bringing people together in faith, seeing prayers in action."

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