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BRIGHTON -- This week the Archdiocese of Boston launches the Web site for its bicentennial celebration at www.Boston200.org.
The 200th anniversary of the archdiocese will be marked during the upcoming liturgical year. The opening event will be a Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2.
The celebration’s Web site will contain information about bicentennial events, news stories and resources as well as the history of the archdiocese.
“The Web page now really is a great way for people to begin to learn more,” said Father Robert Connors, director of the Bicentennial Committee. “It’s exciting to have the Web page come up. It reminds us that we are getting closer to the beginning of our celebration.”
Boston, along with the Archdioceses of New York, Philadelphia and Louisville, Ky., was created from the territory belonging to the Diocese of Baltimore in 1808.
Over the past 200 years, Boston has contributed much to the world, including the St. James Society, which sends priests to serve in South America, Father Connors noted.
“We have lots to celebrate,” he said.
Father Connors also acknowledged that the local Church has faced challenging times in the past few years and needs to draw people back while reaching out to young people and young families.
“We don’t want to ignore the fact that we have gone through a lot of trauma and change, and that’s an important aspect,” he said.
With that in mind, the bicentennial is also an opportunity for renewal, he added.
“It is an opportunity for us to reach out, to evangelize to so many people who have been separated from the Church. This is a very powerful opportunity, and it’s one to take advantage of,” he said.
In February, the archdiocese unveiled the bicentennial logo as well as the year’s theme “Journey Together in Faith.” Recently parishes had the opportunity to attend informational sessions on a new adult faith renewal program, entitled “Arise: Together in Christ.” The program was created by Renew International, a canonically-recognized Catholic organization based in Plainfield, N.J. and is meant to be the centerpiece of the bicentennial.
The home page of the bicentennial Web site has a greeting from Cardinal O’Malley.
He wrote: “This site is dedicated to keeping you informed about the many events planned throughout the year in the more than 140 communities that make up our archdiocese. We will celebrate our history and our people, remember those who have gone before us and pray for those who will come after us.”
The Web site will have a calendar of all the events planned for the bicentennial. The Bicentennial Committee has requested that all parishes begin the celebration with three days of prayer. There will be the opening liturgy on Dec. 2 and closing Mass on Nov. 23, 2008, the feast of Christ the King.
Father Connors added that the Bicentennial Committee is a catalyst to coordinating other activities, which will also be posted on the Web site. Parishes and Catholic organizations, including colleges, in the archdiocese have been encouraged to host their own events. More than 20 archdiocesan parishes will be celebrating significant anniversaries of their own. In addition, the committee plans to partner with the Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival, a family and youth day, on Aug. 9, he said.
On the Web site parishes will find resources they can use in their churches to promote the celebration as well as the bicentennial prayer, which will be translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Cape Veridian Creole, Haitian Creole and Vietnamese. The site will also feature a video of the prayer in sign language featuring Father Jeremy St. Martin, coordinator of Deaf Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Boston.
The Web site is a tool for all Boston Catholics to be involved in the bicentennial, said Antonio Enrique, editor of The Pilot and Director of Print and Digital Media for the archdiocese.
Enrique said The Pilot is privileged to be a part of the bicentennial efforts through developing and maintaining its Web site.
As always, The Pilot seeks to “communicate the faith and communicate the Catholic culture to the broader audience,” he said.
“The bicentennial is about the past but mostly it is about the evangelization of the archdiocese in the third millennium,” he added.