'We wanted to explore the potential of forming a coalition of leaders drawn from the religious and scientific communities in Massachusetts.' Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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Meeting with bioethicist
Last Thursday (2/1) I was visited by Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. John is an outstanding layman who has made such an important contribution to the field of medical ethics in the United States. His organization is giving outstanding service to dioceses, Catholic hospitals and other institutions. We are very, very grateful for all that he is doing.
Monday (2/5), I was visited by the Father Tarcisio Vieira, the Superior General of the Sons of the Divine Providence (the Orionine Fathers), as well the Vice General and local superiors.
Father General was on a pastoral visit to the States, visiting the different works of the Fathers here, so he came by to greet me. It was an opportunity to thank them for the work they do at the Don Orione Shrine and St. Lazarus Parish in East Boston, particularly with our immigrant population. We are very, very grateful for their generosity, their pastoral love for our people and their commitment to the Archdiocese of Boston.
Ave Maria University
Also on Monday (2/5), I was visited by Jim Towey, the president of Ave Maria University in Florida. He was anxious for me to see the very generous and energetic response of the students and faculty at Ave Maria to aid those who were affected by last year's hurricanes. They reached out to all the families in the area who were affected and set up shelters in their athletic facilities and did anything they could to help the people.
Coalition of religious and scientific leaders
Finally, yesterday (2/8) and today (2/9), I was pleased to welcome a group of local religious leaders, scholars and scientists to the Pastoral Center.
As we approach the third anniversary of the publication of 'Laudato Si', the Holy Father's encyclical on "protecting our common home and the dignity of the poor," we wanted to explore the potential of forming a coalition of leaders drawn from the religious and scientific communities in Massachusetts to advance those concepts.
The idea for bringing this group together came from Phil Duffy, the CEO of the Woods Hole Research Center, reaching out to the archdiocese through the good offices of Professor Mark Silk, director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford.
This first gathering provided an opportunity to share experiences, ideas and hopes for what we can do as faith communities and the world of science to make our voices heard.
We anticipate that the coalition will seek to continue the conversation and to explore ways we can better pursue public policy proposals related to environmental issues at the state level. We also believe that the coalition can engage in both public education and in partnership with our schools.
There is no doubt that it will take the insights of all of our religious traditions to complement the work of scientists as well as political, economic and cultural leaders to meet the challenge of our day. There are many ways to examine and explain that challenge. We need the hard science to convince, persuade and engage parts of our society that this challenge is so real and so compelling. We also need the insight of religious traditions to provide both understanding and motivation to the public.