Msgr. John Kozar, national director of the pontifical missionary societies in the United States, and Msgr. Andrew F. Connell with his Founders Award. Pilot photo/ Courtesy Society for the Propagation of the Faith
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The director emeritus of Boston’s Pontifical Missions Society received the Founders Award in recognition for his support of the missions of the Church at a Sept. 9 gala dinner at New York’s University Club.
Msgr. Andrew F. Connell is the first archdiocesan director presented with this papal award, said Msgr. John Kozar, the national director of the societies, the host of the event. “For his continuation of and faithfulness to the vision of the founders, and above all, for his love and loyalty to our Holy Father, whose mission societies he has served so heroically for a half century.”
The national director said that the mission office of the Archdiocese of Boston frequently exceeded the contributions of England and Ireland.
During his tenure, Msgr. Connell raised more than $50 million, said Mary M. Bolles, a spokeswoman for the Propagation of the Faith in Boston. Under his leadership the Archdiocese of Boston many times was named the top diocese in the nation for raising funds for the missions.
It was the vision of the founder Pauline Jaricot that the Society for the Propagation of the Faith seek prayer and sacrifice for all the missions of the world. Likewise the other founders of the remaining Pontifical Mission Societies- the Society of St. Peter Apostle, the Holy Childhood Association and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious -- also saw the need for a universal fund of support and approach to developing the missionary spirituality of all Catholics most especially those involved in forming others in our faith, she said.
Msgr. Connell in his five decades as director of these societies in the Boston Archdiocese, worked tirelessly to increase recognition of the importance and necessity of these central funds of solidarity -- support that makes possible the presence and efforts of the Church among two-thirds of our human family, she said.
“Monsignor’s love for the missions permeated through his preaching and actions taken to awaken in each one of us the urgency to reach out and help the less fortunate of the world and to bring Christ’s message to the ends of the earth,” she said.
As the Boston director, Msgr. Connell developed the tools to encourage greater offerings to the Pontifical Mission Societies, including his use of communications, such as his columns in The Pilot, she said.
Bolles said Msgr. Connell also lent his physical presence to these efforts - presentations in parishes, at schools and Catholic organizations. His own personal conviction and deep commitment to the Church’s universal mission have inspired many to support our work, thus benefiting countless thousands in the developing world, she said.