Inner-City Scholarship Fund dinner

Hello again to you all. I hope you have been having a blessed Lenten season.

Friday evening I celebrated Mass at St. Mary Parish in Waltham for the Communion and Liberation family. Many people who are involved in the movement attended, including the Memores Domini — the members of Communion and Liberation who follow a vocation of total dedication to God while living in the world — the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St Charles Borromeo and other friends of the movement.


Some of the friends of Communion and Liberation who attended the Mass

All those gathered were part of this wonderful charism that came to the Church through the life and vocation of Father Luigi Giussani, who died three years ago. We are blessed to have so many people who are living his spirituality here in the Archdiocese of Boston.


Seated are Father Jose Medina; St. Mary’s pastor, Father Michael Nolan;
and Father David Barnes.

Each year the local community holds a Mass near the date that Father Giussani died — February 22 — and the anniversary of their approval of their way of life by the Holy See, which happens to be the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes that we celebrate on February 11.


Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, celebrated Father Giussani’s funeral and preached at it so,in preparing for this Mass, I reread his homily. I was struck by so many different things once again (it had been awhile since I read it) particularly the hunger for beauty in the life of Father Giussani that led him to that deep relationship with the Lord and his apostolic and missionary zeal.


Msgr. Giussani with Pope John Paul II in 1998

One of his phrases was, “Whoever does not give God, gives too little.” That is so true. Sometimes we think that other things are enough. The works of mercy, working in the paths of social justice and all these things are important, but if we are not giving people God and opening them to the transcendent, then we are not doing enough for them. I encourage you to read the homily of Father Giussani’s funeral Mass here.


The group was very attentive




It was a beautiful Mass, and I was glad to be able to celebrate it. The choir sang some beautiful Italian songs, Gregorian chant and four-voice polyphony. They have some wonderful musicians in their group and always have exquisite music. I am sure Father Giussani would have approved; he was quite a lover of good music!

– – –

The following day, I visited St. Agnes Parish in Arlington for the launch of the 2008 Catholic Appeal.


We had our kickoff press conference there as a way to showcase this very vibrant parish.


St. Agnes’ has a grade school, high school, social service agency and a huge religious education program.



The children performance was very inspiring


They certainly deserved an ovation

Their religious education program begins very early and uses the Montessori Method. They do some creative and interesting things at that parish.


Posing with the children together with St. Agnes’ pastor, Father Brian Flatley

This year the appeal office asked me to tape a homily that could be shown at the Masses throughout the archdiocese, and so I did that using the beautiful Mass readings of that Sunday. It was an opportunity to try to connect our support of the works of the Church to our Lenten call for sacrifice, conversion and generosity. Of course at the Mass that I celebrated for the kickoff, we did not show the film because I gave it in person. It may have been better on the film; I don’t know!

There was quite a crowd there for the Mass, and so they had Mass in the main church and also the basement chapel. There was not enough room in the main church, so they had two simultaneous Masses for all the parishioners.


– – –

On Monday, I met with the Liturgy Committee so that we could talk about the needs of the archdiocese, and we reflected on the importance of helping train our parishioners involved in liturgical ministries. We talked about the need for good liturgical music and also workshops to help priests and deacons to improve their abilities to preside at the liturgies. It was a very good meeting. They gave me a report on the revision to the archdiocesan guidelines that they have been working on and are almost finished with.



The liturgy is the center of our life as Catholics and so we are very grateful to have the expertise and the dedication of so many people on this committee who are anxious to help us to improve our execution of the liturgy to make it more meaningful and to help our priests in the parishes with the multiple needs that exist for the beautiful celebration of the holy Mass.


– – –

Every year sister Marian Batho, who is our Delegate for Religious, organizes a luncheon with the newly elected major superiors of women religious during that year.

So on Wednesday we met with them. This annual event provides an opportunity for me to greet the new superiors personally and offer my best wishes and congratulations as they assume the responsibilities of leadership.

During lunch, we spoke about the importance of the religious communities to the life of the Church of Boston.

This year we had two religious communities represented at the lunch, the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Grey Nuns.

From left: Sister Mary Boretti, SND, Sister Andrea Walsh, SND, Sister Mary Farren, SND, Sister June Ketterer, SGM and Sister Marian Batho, CSJ, our delegate for the religious

Founded by St. Julie Billiart “to make known God’s goodness, especially among the poorest and most abandoned people,” the Sisters of Notre Dame have educated countless generations of Catholics. The Sisters of Notre Dame continue to serve the Archdiocese in a variety of ministries.

The Grey Nuns, founded by St. Marguerite d’Youville to care for the sick, started Mary Immaculate Health Care Services in Lawrence and Youville Hospital in Cambridge. Covenant Health Care System was created in 1996 to sponsor the Grey Nuns health care ministries.

The sisters spoke about vocations to their communities and new ministries. The celebration of the Archdiocesan Bicentennial provided the opportunity to talk about each community’s beginnings in the Archdiocese.

– – –

The Catholic School Foundation sponsors an annual dinner for the Inner-City Scholarship Fund dinner. At this dinner, they raise about $7 million that is used for scholarships for low income youngsters to go to our Catholic schools.


Students helped direct guests to the dinner



Peter Lynch and I go to meet some the students from St. Marks before the dinner


The ballroom


Greeting John Fish

This year’s dinner was held at the Boston Copley Marriott on March 5. There were over 800 people at the dinner, and Boston Mayor Tom Menino attended. It was a great success, as always.


Mayor Menino with our new Superintendent of Schools, Mary Grassa O’Neil

In great part, the success of the evening is due to the dedication of Peter and Carolyn Lynch who work so hard to bring this about every year. They have been doing this for many, many years. Paul Birmingham started an effort that was taken up by Peter and Carolyn, they have followed through and have been so successful in raising this money.


Peter Lynch

The Lynches presented an award to the 2010 Strategic Committee, which is working to revitalize our schools by the end of the decade. Jack Connors, the committee’s chair, received the award in the name of John Fish and all the other members who have done so much to refurbish and strengthen our Catholic schools.


Peter and Caroline Lynch, Peggy Noonan, Mary Richardson and Jack Connors


Jack delivering his remarks

The keynote speaker for the evening was Peggy Noonan, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and well-known author. Her speech was very interesting and helpful to the cause of Catholic education. Earlier in the day, she had paid a visit to Cathedral Grammar School and Cathedral High School, where she met with students, teachers and staff.


Peggy Noon delivering her keynote address


Talking with Peggy and John Fish before the prgram

I was impressed and happy to hear Peter Lynch say in his public remarks that Peggy Noonan accepted the invitation to the gala with the condition that she would not receive any compensation for the appearance, not even for her travel to Boston. So her coming did not detract in any way from the money raised during the evening to benefits Catholic schools.

The dinner is always an opportunity for us to showcase different things about Catholic schools. Mary Richardson, from Channel 5 and the evening’s emcee, showed a video about a project that the station did to make improvements to St. Patrick School in Roxbury.


WCVB Channel 5’s Mary Richardson

The children from St. Mark School in Dorchester, under the very able direction of Mary Swanton provided entertainment. I addition to their beautiful singing, they played violins and tin whistles.




Then, there was a beautiful presentation from a young student at North Cambridge Catholic High School, Jennifer Etienne. She is a Haitian immigrant, and talked about the help she received through the Catholic Schools Foundation.


Jennifer Etienne


Jennifer with the Lynches and Peggy Noonan

That evening we also recognized our new superintendent of schools, Mary Grassa O’Neill, and we presented a bouquet and publicly acknowledged the fine work of our interim superintendent of schools, Sister Kathleen FitzSimons.


With Mary Grassa O’Neil and Sister Kathleen



Our Vicar General Richard Erikson delivered the final blessing


With Jack Connors, Peter Lynch, Peggy Noonan and Mayor Menino

31 thoughts on “Inner-City Scholarship Fund dinner”

  1. Good Afternoon,
    I am writing because I do not understand why you would close St Thomas Moore Chapel and The Propogation of the Faith Store on Franklin Street in Downtown Boston.
    I have workd downtown for many years and I am always making purchases and visiting the chapel. i am going to be lost without this truly spiritual and inspirational place to go when i need a little boost of faith. I know you do not care about me or me needs or the needs of the faithful who work downtown, but I felt I needed to say something. I live nowhere near braintree and have little desire to travel there. I leave now and say I know I have to pray for you and the selfish deed you are doing.

  2. Your Emminence,
    This is all very good, and I pray for you regularly, and am grateful for you.
    But I cannot find even a mention of Holy Week in the whole website, or the cathedral’s, except that on Holy Monday you will speak about St Patrick!! We are having Holy Week this year, aren’t we? Please ask someone to tell me if there are services at the cathedral. I was hoping perhaps you might perside.

  3. Cardinal Sean – thank you for your support of Communion and Liberation. I must commend you for being so active in supporting the many good things that are going on in the Archdiocese. This web blog is great, so many more people like me get the benefit of your activity in the Archdiocese. I am not a C&L member but I have benefited greatly from what I have read about their approach to being Catholic, the importance of the personal encounter with Christ, it’s been an important element of growth for my own faith and also helpful in my parish youth ministry.

  4. I thought it was interesting when the Cardinal was writing about the funeral mass of Father Luigi Giussani. I read the homily to the massand it was very nice. I thought it was great that the Cardinal mentioned him in his blog. I thought his phrase is exactly how people should be.

  5. I enjoyed reading Cardinal Sean’s blog yesterday. There were many interesting facts in his blog. The fact that grasped my attention the most was the one about the Sisters of Notre Dame. We have one of the schools in Hingham, Massachusetts and I know many people including my grandma, Joan, who have gone to Notre Dame Academy, you think of an excellent education including religious studies. Some day I hope to go to Notre Dame Academy and add to my religious education that I have received at St. Paul School in Hingham, Massachusetts.

  6. The part that I liked most on Cardinal Seans blog was when it showed him visiting St. Agnes School in Arlington. It was interesting to see how other schools conect at Mass. Quoting Cardinal Sean he said that “the musical performance was inspiring”. I wish we had a choir at school, so that we could all praise God in a singing way.
    I also liked the video of him preaching at Mass. I liked it because it gave me a visual perspective on the Mass.
    Caroline Sull.

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I thought this week’s blog was truly inspiring. The part I enjoyed most was the part about when you visited St. Agnes School in Arlington, Massachusetts. All the pictures and small blurbs told me a ton about what happens at the school. It also interested me because seeing that you went to St. Agnes gives me faith that you will come to visit us at St. Paul’s. I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s blog!

  8. Hi,I am a 7th grader at St.Paul school. I liked Cardinal Sean’s blog about visiting the schoool because it shows that even though he is probably very busy, he takes time to inspire young chyildren to explore their faith. Also when I read about how there was not enough room in the church and how they had to do two masses instead. So many people came to celebrate Christ!

  9. Hi, this is Susie from Saint Paul School Hingham! As I read your blog this weel I thought it was really great that the local community holds a mass near the date of the death of Father Giussani. Also reading one of Father Giussani’s homlies was a great thing to do to rememeber him! The way you described him in your blog, he seems like he was a very religious and inspirational man! I read his homily and it was exellent! thank you for taking the ttime to post your blog!

  10. Hi, I’m Christian Leahy for St. Paul school in hingham. What I liked the most about your new blog was how you mentioned the Sisters of Notre Dame and how they spread the word of God out to others. Then you mentioned the Grey Nuns who help the sick and the poor. When you put all of this hard work togeather you get a better world for all. God Bless!

  11. Hello, my name is Hugh, and I attend St. Paul’s school. It seams to me that Cardinal Sean had a very busy week. Out of all of the things he did I thought him attending “The Inner – City Scholarship Fund Dinner ” was the most special. I think that dinner is a great way to help children who can’t afford proper educations. I was shocked, but happy, that Major Menino was able to show up to the dinner. I’m very glad to see that even adult, who have finished school, are still willing to help others who haven’t.

  12. In Cardinal Sean’s new blog, there were pictures of St. Agnes’ grade school and high school. The pictures were very beautiful. The children were singing and participating in the mass. From the expressions on both the children’s faces and Cardinal Sean’s face, it seemed they were all having a good time. I think this shows that there is hope of Cardinal Sean coming to visit our school. I believe it would be a pleasant experience for all!!
    -Student for St. Paul’s

  13. In Cardinal Sean’s blog, I was especially fond of the video of him saying a homily. He talks about how you should not look at people’s physical appearance, but their hearts. I think that is extremely true, particularly in today’s society. In this age, everyone is focused on how they look, and how others look. Many people judge other people by the way they look, even if they don’t know them. If everyone grows in faith, then we will learn to see others for who they are, and not what they look like.
    -Student of St. Paul School

  14. Dera Cardinal Sean,
    I think that its great that you find the time(seeing you are very busy), to visit Catholic schools and attend dinners. You meet every kind of person and I realize that each person has a special talent or gift. You are very well known and are probably asked to do many other things, but instead, you go to spread the Catholic faith to everyone who comes in your way. You are one, we at St. Paul School in Hingham, should use as a role model because of your knowledge about Christianity and Jesus Christ. You can obviously tell that you are a true follower of Christ!
    – Megan ☺

  15. My favorite part of the latest addition of cardinal Sean’s was reading about the different Catholic children at the annual dinner. I liked this the most because more young kids are getting involved as being Catholics. I also enjoyed when the St. Mark children sang and played the violin and tin whistle. Though my favorite part was when Jennifer Etienne, spoke about how thankful she is about the helped she received at a Catholic School. I’m glad to see that more and more young Catholics are getting involved.

  16. Hello, I am a student from Saint Paul School in Hingham. I believe that it is wonderful that the Catholic School Foundation raises $7,000,000.00 that helps younger children to get into Catholic Schools. It is very generous and thoughtful to help those people who are less fortunate than others of us. I also believe that it is interestingthat in one of the pictures, the children were playing Irish Whistles called “Feadogs” instead of playing the recorder. In almost every Catholic School I know of, the children would play the recorder, but this is a suprisingly nice twist on normal activities. Saint Mark’s looks like a very beautiful place, and it looks like you had a very nice time there. It is also interesting to have the chilren direct the adults to the place to eat. I would assume that they would use adults to do that because they are more trustworthy.

  17. In this week’s blog I was extremely delighted to read adout the annual dinner for the Inner-City Scholarship Fund. I think raising scholarships to help children go to our Catholic schools is a great cause. The part I like most about this great act of kindness is how people are willing to give their money so children can gain a better understanding of and a close relationship with God. It makes me glad to know that low income children can get a religious education just as I get at St. Paul School. I encourage this tradition to continue to help children and to do well each year.

  18. My name is Curtis and I attend St.Paul School. I found all of Cardinal Sean’s activities ending in a good cause. I appreciated the Sisters of Notre Dame the most. The different groups that they have found are so needed and helpful: The Care for the Sick and Inner – City Scholarship Found Dinner. They raised over seven million dollars. I think everyone can benefit from a great Catholic education. Unfortunately some people cannot afford it and they never know what they are missing. I am glad that those inner – city kids are getting the chance they deserve.

  19. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I personally believe that out of all your blogs this was my favorite because this blog truly insprired me, and made me appreciate going to a Catholic School. To know that people that are younger than us or even our age are getting the privilege to attend a Catholic Scool is very uplifting! I know that if I were one of those fortunate students, I would be rejoicing inside! I was shocked to see that the Catholic Schools Foundation had raised over 7 MILLION DOLLARS!!! It is also very nice to see the children of St. Mark School had the courage to get up infront of more than 800 people and sing. If that were me I would be very jumpy and nervous. Again I thank you for taking time and posting your weekly blog. I can’t wait for your next post!

    ~Caroline S.~ a student of Saint Paul School in Hingham MA

  20. I think it is terrific that Cardinal Sean had the chance to visit St. Agnes Parish of Arlington for the launch of the 2008 Catholic appeal. It is wonderful that the appeal office asked him to tape a homily, which was shown at the masses all through the Archdiocese. It is great that he had the chance to present the homily in person, and how it was reflecting the works of the Church to our Lenten call for sacrifice, conversion, and generosity. Once again, reporting from St. Paul School, Hingham, Massachusetts

  21. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    This blog post is the best you have ever done. It is great to see students from other Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. I was intrigued by the pictures of the children from St. Mark School in Dorchester. They must have done a beautiful job singing, as well as playing the violin and the tin whistle. Thank you again for your wonderful blog. We are all tremendously inspired by what you do, here at St. Paul School in Hingham. God Bless You (GBY)
    Caroline Kenneally

  22. I think that Cardinal Sean’s help with the Catholic School Foundation Inner City Scholarship is very inspiring. In school we talk about how important it is to get a good education close to Christ. But what about the parents that can’t send their children to a Catholic School? Cardinal Sean made sure he thanked everyone who worked to help the children, and the children from St. Mark School in Dorchester. I was touched when he mentioned that there was a presentation from a student at Cambridge Catholic High School, Jennifer Etienne. Jennifer is an immigrant from Haiti and talked about the help she received through the Catholic School Foundation. I never realized that the Catholic School Foundation was such an outreaching program! I commmend Ms. Etienne, the children from St. Mark’s, and everyone who helped make the program what it is today!

  23. I enjoyed reading about the luncheon with the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Grey Nuns. While I was reading, I noticed that I had heard about some of the things in this blog, such as Saint Julie Billiart. I also thought it was nice that the Grey Nuns care for the sick. The way some people are treated because they have a disease, or are considered “outcasts” is horrible. They deserve the best possible and from what I read, are most certainly in good hands. At St. Paul School Hingham, MA we are collecting money for the people in need, as part of the Lenten Campaign. Everyone needs to help the needy people, for it not only helps everyone but it also brings you closer to God.

  24. Cardinal Sean,

    This blog is so amazing! Just seeing pictures of students on the blog, students just like us, was so nice. Plus, I was amazed at how the children sang and played instruments at the dinner party! It was great! I was also impressed by the high school girl who went up to speak the catholic schools. I really enjoyed this blog. I can’t wait for the newest blog for next week!

  25. I think that it is just excellent that The Catholic School Foundation sponsors an annual dinner for the Inner-City Scholarship fund. It’s amazing to read that it raises over 7 million dollars each year to send less fortunate children to Catholic schools. This makes me realize how hard my parents work to ensure me a great Catholic Education at St. Paul School in Hingham. The blog also states that they had some pretty important people attend the dinner such as Mayor Menino, Peggy Noonan, and Mary Richardson. I am looking forward to reading next weeks blog.

  26. I find it interesting that Pope Benedict XVI (or Cardinal Ratzinger) preached at the funeral of a priest from our diocese. How long before Pope Benedict’s ordination did that take place? You also have a picture of Monsignor Giussani being blessed by Pope John Paul II. Where did that happen?

    By the way, this April I am going to Pope Benedict at Yankee Stadium.

  27. I heard a talk by Father Mitch Pacwa, from “EWTN’ It was about abortion. In particular The Democratic contenders for the presidental Office. Fathermitch Pacwa said it like it should be said. Any Catholic that votes for a politician,that is for abortion, is in jepordy, of commiting a mortal sin. I believe if you want your parishiners, to believe in what you preach, put some teeth in it, all our priest, including our Bishops, dont want to offend any one. We are loosing catholics, because we do not think you believe in what you are saying. You want to be heros of the church, speak with athority, let us know that we can be excommunicated, and let the Catholic politicians know that they will publically excommunicated. Speak the real truth and you will see a lot of the lost catholics, comming back. I believe you have it in you
    Cardinal, to lay the wood to thoes, that don’t speak up against Abortion, with penilaty for advocating. remember thoes that say nothing are just as guility as thoes that are speaking for it. let’s hear some noise Father jim Boyle

  28. Good day, Cardinal Sean!

    My visits to your website, even when there’s less than happy news, is always inspiring. Your weekly posts are a beautiful testament to the faith of Boston Catholics and the regenerative, life-giving Spirit of God that at work throughout your archdiocese.

    You serve as an inspiration for all us beyond Boston.

    We are all grateful!

  29. The photos of the students are proof of the need for religious based education. The students are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your evening and special thanks to the Peter Lynch family who has given so much to those in need.

    God Bless,

Comments are closed.

March 2008