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From Cardinal Seán's blog

We are very pleased that Pilot reporter Christopher Pineo has received the Archbishop O'Meara Award from the Pontifical Mission Societies. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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We are very pleased that Pilot reporter Christopher Pineo has received the Archbishop O'Meara Award from the Pontifical Mission Societies. The Pontifical Mission Societies (the most well-known of which is the Society for the Propagation of the Faith) gives the award each year to recognize excellent coverage related to the missions in the Catholic press. Chris won the award for his story about youngsters from Plymouth running a lemonade stand to raise money for the Missionary Childhood Association. Father Rodney Copp and Maureen Heil of our local Pontifical Mission Societies office were present for the official presentation of the award in my office Wednesday afternoon. The Pilot has always been a very important instrument for raising mission awareness so, it seemed very fitting that there should be a recognition of the good work that is being done there to help people grow in their knowledge and commitment to the Church's mission "ad gentes," to the peoples.

SMA Mass and social

That evening, I went to Dedham to join the Society of African Missions house in Dedham for their annual Mass and social. The provincial was the celebrant, but I addressed them at the end of the Mass. The SMA fathers have been in the diocese for about 50 years. Previously they had a seminary here but now they have a mission house. They always send a group of about a dozen priests for the summer who help out at different parishes. It is a wonderful assistance for the archdiocese because very often our own priests are looking for a replacement so they can take a little time off during the summer. The SMA Fathers were there, as well as a number of pastors and some of the parishioners of the parishes where they have been helping out during the summer. At the Mass they sang in French and English and some members of our local African communities sang in some of their native languages. The meal following the Mass featured a number of different African foods.

Visit with Ambassador DeLaurentis

Thursday afternoon (8/14), I was visited by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the newly named Chief of the American Interests Section, which is what we call our quasi-embassy in Cuba since we do not have formal diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. They have their representatives in Washington and we have ours in Havana, but they are not a full Embassy though Ambassador DeLaurentis has full ambassadorial rank. He has had a very interesting diplomatic career. He has been most recently involved in the United Nations, but in the past he has worked in the mission in Cuba. So, he is returning to a country where he spent time before. This is a very important moment in American diplomacy, particularly around the issue of Alan Gross's captivity and the desire to normalize the relationship between our countries and bring an end to the embargo. It was an interesting opportunity to hear some of the ambassador's ideas and share some of my own recent experiences in Cuba. He also told me he is very aware of the important work that is being done here in Boston to support Caritas Cubana, particularly through the efforts of Consuelo Isaacson and Micho Spring. Their work with Friends of Caritas Cubana is vital in supporting the Church's programs helping the elderly and children and through food and medical aid programs.

You can read Chris Pineo's award winning story at www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=16351.

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