Boston hosts annual cardinals dinner

ON -- Cardinals Seán P. O’Malley, Daniel DiNardo, Francis E. George, William H. Keeler, Roger Mahony and Adam J. Maida were the guests of honor at the 19th annual American Cardinals Dinner, held in Boston on April 25.?Boston has hosted the event that benefits The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington D.C. on two previous occasions, in 1993 and 1999, and all proceeds go towards CUA scholarship funds. This year the dinner took place at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel following a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End. Cardinal O’Malley was the principal celebrant at the Mass.?In his homily, Msgr. David M. O’Connell, CM, president of The Catholic University of America, spoke about how believers should respond to the uncertainties of life. They must be humble, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and putting both at God’s service, he said.?He added, quoting Pope Benedict XVI who spoke at CUA the previous week, that Catholic identity requires a “conviction of faith.” That conviction assures believers of God’s love for them even when they are alone, sad or feel that their life is out of control, he added.?“The conviction of faith leads to the witness of hope -- and hope changes lives,” he said. ?Later, at the hotel, Msgr. O’Connell told the 750 guests that the cardinals dinner raises much-needed scholarship money for CUA students. This year the sum of $1.5 million was collected.?“We are so proud of our students,” he said. “They are the kind of citizens we need desperately -- citizens who will serve the Church and the nation.”?Throughout the evening, students presented the speakers and witnessed to the benefits of their CUA education. Several students participated in mission trips to Jamaica and Tanzania and all praised the spiritual formation they received from the school.?CUA student Peter Osgood who plans to enter medical school recently won a scholarship contest that allowed him to meet Pope Benedict during his recent visit. He asked the Holy Father to bless his hands, which he hopes will someday save lives. He told the dinner crowd that he is “eternally grateful” for his education at CUA.?A video about CUA shown at the dinner spoke of the university’s three pillars -- reason, faith and service. It said that the school has 6,500 students and the largest campus of any college in the nation’s capital. In addition, this year, the school has been blessed with its largest incoming class, $7 million more funds raised than the previous year, and a visit from the Holy Father.?Also present at the dinner, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, spoke about the importance of Catholic education, especially for promising students with modest resources.?“From the beginning, the Church in America understood that Catholic education is integral to its mission,” he said and praised supporters of CUA for their help in bringing about a “new Pentecost.”?As part of the evening’s festivities, the American Cardinal’s Encouragement Award was given to a program of Catholic Charities called Grandparents as Parents. The award came with a $10,000 grant for the non-profit organization that supports grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren by providing them with financial advice, information on available services and support groups. ?Cardinal O’Malley said hosting the dinner in the Archdiocese of Boston during its 200th anniversary year was a “very special joy for all of us” and noted that the papal visit, which had just concluded, was a “blessing on all American Catholics.”?At the end of the evening, Cardinal DiNardo invited all the guests and their “kissin’ cousins and friends” to his home archdiocese, Houston, for next year’s fundraising dinner.?“Listen y’all, next year we have an invitation for the cardinals dinner. For the first time in its 20-year history, you’re coming to Houston,” he said. “It’s the best time of year to come to Houston in late April. The humidity is only 91 percent, the mosquitoes are still small and the hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1.”