ď(On Saturday March 28) I celebrated the confirmations of a large group of college students who have become involved in campus ministry programs at the various colleges in the area. There were about 60 students confirmed at the cathedral and, as always, it was a very beautiful event that brought together a lot of the chaplains from the colleges and universities, as well as the students and their families. Pilot photo/ George Martell, The Catholic Foundation
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The Little Sisters of the Poor, for the past couple of years, have had what they call their Black Tie Gala fundraiser. This year it was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston.
As you might imagine, I very seldom get to the Four Seasons, but I was happy to see the doorman whom I knew as he was one of my deacons from the Fall River Diocese.
The sisters do such extraordinary works of mercy caring for the elderly poor at their house in Somerville where they have been present for over 130 years.
The event chairperson was Bill Raftery whose aunt is a Little Sister of the Poor. She is a missionary in the Philippines who just recently (at 75-years-old!) started a new home for the elderly there.
He started this dinner six years ago and has chaired the event each year with outstanding success. He has raised almost $1 million dollars to support the Little Sisters and their important work of caring for the elderly poor. vBill is a senior executive at EMC Corp. Each year he reaches out to fellow EMC employees and other friends with encouragement to be part of the dinner.
We congratulated the Sisters on the wonderful news that their foundress, Jeanne Jugan, will be canonized in the fall. There will be representatives from each of their houses to participate in that wonderful event.
Bishop Timothy McDonnell, from the Diocese of Springfield, and Father Douglas McGonagle, the chaplain at UMass Amherst, have been inviting me for some time to come and visit the Newman Center on campus and celebrate Mass for the students. After all, half of the students are from the archdiocese!
I was so inspired by the wonderful facilities that Bishop Weldon built there, which has become one of the largest Catholic missions found on a secular college campus.
They have a huge cafeteria and many meeting rooms. Apparently, it is a favorite place for students to gather to eat and partake in all kinds of activities. They have a beautiful, large chapel there, as well. The Mass was also attended by Gottfried Leich and his wife. Gottfried is a Lutheran minister who is a scripture scholar.
After Mass they presented me with a bound copy of Cardinal Cushingís inaugural sermon when they dedicated the student center around 60 years ago. I said I was relieved when they gave it to me because I was feeling guilty that I preached so long, but Iím sure my sermon wasnít a fraction of how long Cardinal Cushingís was at the inaugural talk!
Also on this weekís blog:
Confirmations at St. Maryís in Billerica.
Gathering of local leaders of religious education.
Visiting the Franciscan Hospital for Children.
Youth rally at Xaverian Brothers High School.
Catholic Schools Foundationís Annual Inner-City Scholarship Fund Dinner.