2008: Five years into the journey


Workshops provide tools for Arise program leaders

Feb. 16: In preparation for the October launch of ARISE, representatives from more than 160 parishes are attending workshops to give them the tools for spiritual renewal. The “ARISE: Together in Christ” program, organized for the Archdiocese of Boston by Renew International, is the centerpiece of Boston’s 200th anniversary celebration. The “Launching ARISE Workshops” are being held throughout the archdiocese, and parishes can sign up for the nine remaining sessions at any time. A parish-centered program, ARISE will create small, vibrant faith communities in parishes throughout the archdiocese, sparking a renewal that will help Catholics to grow deeper in the faith, said Sister Honora Nolty, OP, the Renew representative appointed to Boston.

Archdiocese to streamline central operations

April 9: McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s leading independent consulting firms, presented the Archdiocese of Boston with a set of proposals to effect a streamlining of its central administration operations that better reflects today’s non-profit organizations. It is the first restructuring in 30 years. The changes come as the archdiocese moves its offices from the campus in Brighton to an office building in Braintree and it eliminates 50 full-time positions from the payroll. Father Richard M. Erikson, the vicar general of the archdiocese, said the reorganization is aimed at emphasizing the priorities of serving the parishes and promoting pastoral planning and working as a pastoral service to the parishes. “To me the term ‘chancery’ has the connotation of administration,” he said. “The fact that we are calling the new building in Braintree a pastoral center is very intentional,” he said.

Pope meets with Boston

victims of priestly sexual abuse

April 17: Pope Benedict XVI held an unscheduled meeting with victims of priestly sexual abuse, shortly after pledging the Church’s continued efforts to help heal the wounds caused by such acts. The Vatican said the pope met privately in a chapel at the Apostolic Nunciature with a small group of persons who were sexually abused by members of the clergy. The group was accompanied by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley.

“It’s what I’ve wanted since 2003,” said Bernie McDaid of the papal meeting, “and now I finally got it.” He was one of numerous youngsters abused in the 1960s and ’70s by the late Father Joseph Birmingham. At the end of the meeting, Cardinal O’Malley gave the pope a book listing the first names of the more than 1,000 victims of sexual abuse in the archdiocese. Recalling that moment, Father John Connolly, who is the special assistant to Cardinal O’Malley and was present at the meeting, said that when the pope accepted the book, lettered and decorated by a local artist, he did not pass it off to an assistant. Instead, the pope drew it to himself. “I could hear a short intake a breath as he realized what he was holding.”

2010 Initiative breaks ground in Dorchester

May 5: Four students set to attend Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy this fall broke ground on the project that will create a five-school system out of seven independent grammar schools in Dorchester and Mattapan. The symbolic ceremony took place outside the Columbia Campus of the academy, the former St. Margaret School in Blessed Mother Teresa Parish. The Dorchester project is the second tackled by the 2010 Initiative, which seeks to revitalize Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston by the close of the decade.

Boston archdiocesan e-mail initiative reaches out to local Catholics

May 24: Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has found a new way to communicate with his flock--via e-mail. His first e-mail, sent May 24, reached 10,000 inboxes, but the goal is to send a weekly message to at least one e-mail address for every Catholic family in the Archdiocese of Boston, said Scot Landry, secretary for institutional advancement. Landry is in charge of working with Catholic parishes, schools, agencies and individuals to expand the distribution list. Cardinal O’Malley wants to make sure that the archdiocesan message reaches as many Catholics and anyone else interested in the Church’s ministries as possible, he said.

Vatican rejects parish closure appeals

June 10: The Apostolic Signature, the Catholic Church’s supreme court, has rejected appeals of eight parish suppressions, the Archdiocese of Boston confirmed June 10. The former parishes are: Infant Jesus-St. Lawrence in Brookline, Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere, St. Anselm in Sudbury, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Scituate, St. James the Great in Wellesley, St. Jeremiah in Framingham, Star of the Sea in the Squantum section of Quincy and St. Michael in Lynn. A ninth appeal for St. Jeanne d’Arc Parish in Lowell was rejected by the Apostolic Signature in February. Representatives from all the former parishes will ask the court to reconsider their appeals, according to Brother James Peterson, assistant to the moderator of the curia for canonical affairs. “There is one more level of appeal, and we have heard that all eight are appealing to the full college of judges at the Apostolic Signature,” Brother James said. Representatives from St. Jeanne d’Arc have previously announced their intention to appeal.

Archdiocese releases annual financial report

July 10: The Archdiocese of Boston released July 10 its annual financial report for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2007. The report provides a comprehensive review of revenue growth, assets and liabilities and program initiatives that have been developed or are currently underway. The report also includes an updated accounting of payments related to sexual abuse settlements and related expenses and the sources of these funds. “The financial state of our Church continues to improve, however, we continue to face a number of financial challenges,” said Chancellor Jim McDonough. The full report is available on www.rcab.org/Finance with the audited financial statements of archdiocesan-related organizations.

Boston pilgrims attend World Youth Day celebrations in Australia

July 15: Several Boston groups, with a total of more than 450 pilgrims, attended the World Youth Day 2008 celebrations that took place in Sydney, Australia, July 15-20.

“The young people have had many wonderful moments in which they have experienced the power of the sacrament of reconciliation, the Holy Father’s love and solicitude for young people, the universality of the Church, dynamic liturgies and fun moments of bonding with fellow pilgrims,” said Father Matthew Williams, director of the Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults. Father Williams accompanied 125 teens, college students, young adults, adults and Cardinal Seán O’Malley to the pilgrimage in Sydney. To see more photographs and read perspectives from the Boston pilgrims, visit www.oymboston.org.

Compiled by Neil W. McCabe