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Cathedral concert to benefit Gulf Coast parishes

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BOSTON —In an effort to help the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which is struggling to serve parishioners after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast six weeks ago, there will be a Concert of Hope and Healing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.

“As a Catholic community we want to reach out to one another,”said Bonnie Rogers, a parishioner of St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester who is co-organizing the event.

Rogers said she has been following the news about the Archdiocese of New Orleans and checking the diocesan Web site for updates.

“Employees of the archdiocese don’t know what their status is, people don’t know when their schools are opening or when their religious education classes start back,”she said. “They really just need some seed money to get back on the ground.”

“The Catholic parishes have recently learned that they won’t qualify for the government funding for restoration because they’re churches,”she added.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is currently operating from Baton Rouge, but all the churches and schools in the parishes (counties) of St. Charles, St. John, Washington and “almost all of St. Tammany have resumed activity,”said New Orleans Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes.

Most portions of Jefferson Parish were expected to resume activity by early October, he said.

“This marks a move toward bringing Catholic life in those areas to some degree of normalcy,”the archbishop added. “Obviously, the challenges facing significant portions of Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes will require a much longer recovery process.”The hurricanes inspired Rogers and fellow parishioner Regina Pontesto to change the focus of a concert that was already in the works. They had been planning a concert with performances by Catholic artists and teenagers that would benefit youth groups in the Boston Archdiocese.

“We started real local and then got ourselves down to the Gulf Coast,”Rogers said. “You really have to go beyond your own parish and think about what they need elsewhere.”

“We’re just really looking forward to being able to have some money to donate to the parishes in New Orleans,”she added.

The Concert of Hope and Healing will feature performers Marty Haugen, Jeanne Cotter, Donna Pena and JoJo David, who have all donated their time.

Proceeds from the concert will go directly to Catholic Charities’Parish Partnership Program, which was formed to allow Catholic parishes to contribute directly to other parishes affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“People all over the United States are looking for structured and concrete ways to respond to our brothers and sisters forced to rebuild their lives after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina,”explains the Catholic Charities Web site. “By entering into partnership with people during the process of recovery, we have the opportunity to start on a journey of transformation of self, society and the unjust structures that keep others from reaching their God-given potential.”

CNS materials contributed to this report.

[Editor’s note: More information on the concert is available at www.endzonepad.com/catholicconcertforrelief.html.]

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