Hosting the American Cardinals Dinner

Hello and welcome once again,

Each year the Catholic University of America (CUA) sponsors what is called the American Cardinals Dinner. On April 25, the 19th annual dinner took place at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston with Cardinals Daniel DiNardo, Francis George, William Keeler, Roger Mahony and Adam Maida in attendance.


The purpose of the dinner is to showcase the ministries of CUA and to raise money for scholarships. This year $1.5 million was raised. One of the reasons that the banquet was so successful was because of the local support of volunteers like Craig and Nancy Gibson and the committee that worked with them.


Craig and Nancy Gibson

The 2008 dinner was a bicentenary event for Boston. We wanted to sponsor the dinner as well as host the cardinals and CUA supporters from all over the country during the 200th anniversary celebration for the archdiocese. Over the years, this banquet has been held three times in Boston — 1993, 1999 and 2008. It travels around the country, held in Las Vegas last year, and next year it will be held in Houston. The new cardinal, Cardinal DiNardo, will be hosting it there.




A very, very beautiful Mass preceded at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. It was also well attended, and the music was spectacular.





There were 750 people at the dinner, including several of CUA’s graduating seniors who had the opportunity to speak about their time at CUA. It really was inspiring to hear the students speak about their faith and how much studying at CUA has meant to them.

The undergraduate enrollment has increased dramatically in these last 10 years and is now larger than even the graduate school, which is quite a change.

Father David O’Connell, the president of the Catholic University for the past 10 years, has done an outstanding job in every way.


CUA’s president, Father David O’Connell delivered the homily at the Mass

Certainly, the way that he has deepened the Catholic identity of the school is admirable. In the past, Catholic University was not without its problems, but in the past decade, he has instituted a wonderful campus ministry and has strengthened the Catholic identity across the board. This focus on the Catholic faith has led to many vocations with young men discerning a call to the priesthood and young women entering religious life. With its renewed Catholic identity, the school models for other Catholic colleges what can be done and shows that one good president makes a huge difference.




The last couple of years CUA has hosted the Renew program, like we are currently doing in the Archdiocese of Boston. Hundreds of students have been involved in the faith-formation groups. There have also been so many wonderful service projects that the young people are involved in.


Apostolic Nunicio Archbishop Pietro Sambi spoke at the dinner
on the importance of Catholic education

As the bishop’s university, CUA has trained so many of the Catholic leaders in the United States and continues to do so. It is, therefore, of great importance to our nation. Many students from the archdiocese and New England go to CUA. It is one of the schools of choice for young Catholics in this part of the country and a huge percentage of the bishops graduated from there, as I did.

Also at the CUA dinner, the American Cardinal’s Encouragement Award was given to Grandparents as Parents, a program of our local Catholic Charities. The organization assists Massachusetts grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren. The award came with a $10,000 grant for the non-profit organization, which will greatly help them in their mission.


Applauding the work of Grandparents as Parents


Cardinal Maida delivered the final blessing

– – –

The previous Thursday, I attended the celebration of several classes of permanent deacons. We had a beautiful vespers ceremony at St. Julia Parish in Weston, and I presented the jubilarians with the deacon’s pin that had the number 25 on it. After, there was a dinner for the deacons and their wives.


At the service of Evening Prayer


The class of 1980


The classes of 1982 and 1983


The jubilee pins

– – –

On Saturday, I confirmed many college students at the cathedral. The confirmation was organized by campus ministry, and a number of the chaplains and campus ministers were present. Each year, I look forward to this wonderful event.

– – –

That evening, I went to celebrate Easter with the Greek Orthodox Church in Boston. Just as we always invite Metropolitan Methodios to our Chrism Mass and give him the opportunity to bring a greeting from the Greek Orthodox community, they invite me to their Easter vigil celebration at which I always read the Gospel in English and bring a greeting to the Orthodox community. I was very happy to be a part of the celebration.


As you may know, the Orthodox and the Eastern Rite Catholics follow a different calendar from ours. Their Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox that is after the Jewish Passover.

We, on the other hand, celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the spring equinox. Their celebration has a tie to the Jewish calendar in a way that ours does not.

Last year, our celebrations coincided. This year our Easter was very, very early — almost as early as it can be.

It is my hope that we might, through dialogue, come up with a common date for Easter. I think that would be an excellent sign of Christian unity. In the past, there was so much animosity over this and other customs which are very long-standing. Today, people realize that the date itself is rather arbitrary, and that the important thing is the mystery we are celebrating. It is the most important article of our faith — that Jesus has conquered sin and death. He lives and touches our lives through the sacraments. He is there in the Church, teaching us in the living Word.

As I said in another recent blog posting, the Eastern Churches in general have always put a great emphasis on an “Easter spirituality.” In the Latin rite, we have tended to stress Good Friday as our day and then, after Lent was over, everything sort of ended. Whereas for the Greeks and Eastern Rite Catholics, the 50 days of Easter and the time to Pentecost are very important. They have the beautiful custom during the Easter season of using the greeting “Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!” or “Christ is risen! He is truly risen!” And after the Easter vigil, many people leave the church with their lit candles, take the Easter flame to their home and light an oil lamp in front of an icon. They keep the flame burning all year, which is a very beautiful symbol.

– – –

From there, I came back to my own cathedral where our Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholics who belong to an Eastern Rite of the Church called the Ge’ez Rite and who also follow the same calendar as the Orthodox. I was able to come back and bring Easter greetings to them.

– – –

On Monday, I participated at a Cursillo Mass. For a long time I have wanted to have a Mass with the cursillistas, and I thought that it would be good to do it during the bicentennial year. Then, when Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló, who led the first Cursillo in 1944, died on Ash Wednesday this year, I asked the leadership of the cusillistas to organize this Mass.



We decided to have it at Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden, a large church which held the 800 people who participated. There were English, Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese speakers there. Bishop John Elya, concelebrated with me as well as a number of priests, including Father Martin Hyatt, who is very active at the Salvatorian Center in Methuen.


Marianne McLaughlin and Neil Finnegan were very much involved in organizing the Mass

The Mass was both a memorial for Eduardo Bonnín and a way for us to bring cursillistas together during the archdiocese’s 200th anniversary year. Since 1944, over 40 million people have made their Cursillo throughout the world. It is now in 1,500 diocese, and I believe it is one of the most effective formation programs that we have had for leaders in the Church.




The Cursillo, that very intense weekend, presents the Church’s faith — the sacraments, the life of grace, the apostolate, the Church and Christology — so that people see all at once and how everything fits together. For many people, it sparks a very deep conversion. If you go to any diocese in the country, many of the permanent deacons today began their journey with the Cursillo. When you go to visit the prisons throughout the archdiocese and see all these people working in prison ministry, they are almost invariably cursillistas. In many parts of the country the Hispanic cursillistas have been the backbone of the Hispanic apostolate. And with the scarcity of priests, they have given valuable leadership that has helped to keep people Catholic.

When I made the Cursillo in 1967, I was a capuchin brother, a seminarian in Washington, D.C. I was very active in the Spanish and Portuguese Cursillo movements for years.

These are two of the early Cursillos I participated in. My beard was a bit more red in those days!



– – –

On Tuesday we held or graduation for the Spanish-language lay formation program of the archdiocese, the Instituto de Formacion de Laicos which is headed by Pilar Latorre.



It was wonderful to see there were a number of husbands and wives in the program (and I believe there was even one mother-daughter set of graduates). Many of the priests from the different parishes where the graduates came from were present for the celebration and reception, which we had in the chapel at Bishop Peterson Hall in Brighton.




It is very important that we have this lay ministry training, and actually I am just establishing a committee to look at all of our programs to see how training lay people for the different tasks, ministries and apostolates in the archdiocese.


– – –

On Wednesday, I had a meeting with the New England vocations directors for lunch and shared with them some of my thoughts on vocations. Some very interesting ideas came up about ways to energize our youth and help them heed God’s call to the priesthood and religious life. Hopefully, we ll share with you more details in he near future.


– – –

In the evening, I went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a wonderful talk by Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete.


At MIT, they have an interreligious program and the Buddhist monk who organizes the program invited Msgr. Albacete to speak on “Faith, Reason and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Msgr. Albacete reflected on many of the themes that the Holy Father spoke about at the United Nations and in his interfaith meeting in Washington. He stressed that our dialogue is not just to reach friendship and promote tolerance but also to try to discover through reason, reflection and our experience what the common values are. Those values are important for the human family. The talk was very interesting and very well received.

Until next week, blessings to you all,

Cardinal Seán

37 thoughts on “Hosting the American Cardinals Dinner”

  1. Hello, I am a 7th grade student at St. Paul School in Hingham, Massachusetts. I Believe that it is great that they raised 1.5 million dollars for scholarships. That is very generous. It is interesting that the banquet has been held in Boston so many times! It is also very interesting that there were 750 people at the banquet. This blog is so interesting and I hope that more people will start to read it.


  2. Good Evening Cardinal Sean:
    Some years ago we had a Pastor that brought new life to a stagnant Sacred Heart Parish in West Lynn. He energized the Parish with his vision to remodel the church and to build an elevator. He knew how to motivate the parish community to action in our Lord’s name. He carried out his duties with humility , gratitude and faith. Please consider assigning Fr.Jerome Gillespie to Sacred Heart in Lynn. He will help to carry out the healing mission that we so desparately need. Thank you for your leadership.
    Peace and Blessings to you , your family and friends in Jesus and Mary.

  3. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Hi! My name is Johnny and I attend St. Paul’s School in Hingham, Massachusetts. This week’s blog is fabulous. There were many parts that interested me but the one that interested me the most was the part about the American Cardinals Dinner. It sounded great and the pictures gave me a great feel of what it was probably like. It must of been great being able to meet up with some of the other Cardinals in America. This was a great blog that taught me alot. I hope that you will keep sharing about all the thing that you do every week. Thanks and God Bless!

  4. Hello again! My name is Hugh and I go to St. Paul’s school in Hingham. I don’t think I could ever have a day as busy as Cardinal Sean’s! I was delighted to read that 1.5 million dollars were raised at the American Cardinals Dinner. Plus, 750 people attended, that sounds like a pretty good turn out. It was great to see that kids are involved in so many service projects. I can’t wait until next week’s blog!

  5. This blog was very interesting to read, and was full to the max with information. I was mostly interested about the American Cardinal’s Dinner. This dinner seems to make sense. There should be more fundraisers, and dinners to raise money for scholarships. This dinner raised 1.5 million dollars, and that is very impressive.
    Thank You Cardinal Sean for Informing Us With All That You Do!!!
    Clara K.
    St. Paul Student
    PS. It would be absolutely incredible if you would stop by our school!!:)

  6. Thank you very much for your blog. It is a great way for people to feel like they can go to the amazing places you go and meet amazing people
    God Bless!

  7. De Colores Cardinal Sean! It meant so much to everyone present at the memorial Mass to have you be the Celebrant! It was indeed a beautiful Mass! Your homily was particularly inspiring and moving.Fr. Martin Hyatt has inquired on the St.Basil’s website if anyone recorded it and no one seems to have.Could you please post it on this blog ? We would be most grateful and would love to pass on your inspiring words!I will pass it on to Fr. Martin Hyatt (at the Salvatorian Center in Methuen).God Bless your wonderful work in the Archdiocese!

  8. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Innocent lives are being butchered in our Boston neighborhoods, daily. We need your physical presence in front of the Allston Planned Parenthood and the other Boston area abortion clinics, on the sidewalk… right there on the sidewalk.

    The luncheons, the get-togethers, the quips at the podium, the smiling photo-ops, the hand-shaking… this is all tiresome in light of the life-destruction being carried out in our neighborhoods.
    Please act!

  9. Cardinal Sean,
    I really enjoyed the blog this week. Eccspecially the part about the CUA’s American Cardinal Dinner. I can’t believe it’s the 200th anniversity. I had never heard about this event before until I read this weeks blog. That happens each week as I read your blog. I always learn something new!


  10. I really enjoyed your blog this week. My favorite part was the Cursillo Mass. The church must have been huge for 800 people to fit in it! It’s great to read about different kinds of people that are all joining together in Christ’s presence. I can’t wait to hear about where you go next.


  11. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Hello, I am a seventh grade student and I go to St. Paul School, in Hingham, Massachusetts. I have enjoyed reading your blog very much. By reading the blog you seen like a very busy man. You seem like a very caring person seeing from all the different variety of pictures you have and reading about how you take your time to visit so many people. You are truly a great person: may God bless you and your works. Now, let me ask you one question: “How do you keep up with everything”?:) Well, hope to se you soon. Bye bye for now. 😉


  12. Dear Cardinal Sean, I think it’s great that you had a meeting with the New England vocations directors. It is good that you talked about youth and how to inspire them to think about vocations. Because, now adays there is so many things to take children’s focus away from the church. Fortunately, a little encouragement goes a long way.


  13. Hello, I am a seventh grade student in Saint Paul School, in Hingham Massachusetts. I believe that it is great that people express their faith. Many people encourage younger people to do their best in everyday life and to treat other people with respect in their everyday lives. I believe that people such as these should be given more credit than they currently get. People do not see how wonderful people are, and when people do bad things, they will be forgiven in the name of God and God belives all human beings are beautiful.

  14. It is great that the CUA holds a banquet to raise money for scholarships. The amount of money necessary to go to college is immense. So immense, in fact, that some people can’t afford to go. 1.5 million dollars is enough for dozens of people to go. Education is incredibly important, especially college, as it is the last step for many people.

  15. Cardinal Sean, I was blessed to be a part of the Cursillo Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Malden. I made my Cursillo in June of 1999 at St. Basil’s in Methuen, and have been an active member since than. I had been on team and have given a fourth day talk, with another scheduled.

    We would love for you to come one Monday night to our Monday night Liturgy to see our community in action.
    I promise you it will be an unforgetable evening.

  16. Thank you for writing this blog! Each time I read it, I keep thinking…Does this man ever sleep? But, keep typing, it helps keep me up to date with what is going on in the church. Anyways… “Hundreds of students have been involved in the faith-formation groups. There have also been so many wonderful service projects that the young people are involved in.” I thought that was wonderful! A lot of students are not really focused on their faith, but on material goods or something to that effect. I like the fact that these kids evangelized, and stood up for what they think is right, and didn’t go with the flow (Kids not paying attention to their faith). Keep writing!


  17. Thank you for writing this blog! Each time I read it, I keep thinking…Does this man ever sleep? But, keep typing, it helps keep me up to date with what is going on in the church. Anyways… “Hundreds of students have been involved in the faith-formation groups. There have also been so many wonderful service projects that the young people are involved in.” I thought that was wondeful! A lot of students are not really focused on their faith, but on material goods or something to that effect. I like the fact that these kids evangelized, and stood up for what they think is right, and didn’t go with the flow (Kids not paying attention to their faith). Keep writing!

    -Christine 🙂

  18. You sure do stay busy! Thanks for all the selfless hard work that you do. Also, thank you for the wonderful good example that you give all of us priests! God bless you! Padre Steve, SDB

  19. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    My name is Kiana. I go to school at St. Paul School in Hingham Massachusetts. I have been reading your blog every week. I love that you describe everything that you do and go. I found this week’s blog was very interesting. I thought it was very interesting that every since 1944, over 40 million people have made their Cursillo throughout the world. I also can’t believe that it is now in 1,500 dioceses. I didn’t know that when you made the Cursillo in 1967, you were a capuchin brother in Washington D.C. I didn’t know that you were active in Spanish and Portuguese Cursillo movements for years. I hope to write next week. GBY
    – Kiana

  20. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Once again! WOW!! You must never have a space open on your scedule!! I liked that you were able to attend American Cardinal’s Dinner. What a honor to have it in Boston! I was amazed that 750 people attended. I think it was wonderful that the American Cardinal’s Encouragement Award went to grandparents as parents. I think they need some reconizing!
    Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  21. Hello Cardinal Sean!
    It must be so cool to celebrate Easter with the Greek Orthodox Church. I would like to find out more about the Greek Orthodox religion. It would be interesting comparing both the Catholic religion and the Greek religion and seeing what is similar and what is completely different.
    Looking forward to your next blog!

  22. My name is Gabriella and I am a 7th grade student at St. Paul School. This was another excellent blog and I appreciate how you are willing to share these interesting events that occur in your daily life with others. This week I enjoyed reading about the annual American Cardinal’s Dinner. I congratulate you and the many others who also helped on raising 1.5 million dollars for scholarships! I can’t believe this tradition has gone on for 200 years! It must have been an honor to be able to celebrate it in Boston for the third time. I hope this tradition continues and I wish the best of luck to this generous cause. God Bless.

  23. Dear Cardinal,

    God bless you! You are a very busy man I see, and we all are very appreciative for all you do! The part of the blog that really interests me was the ceremony to become a lay person. It was very interesting because of the different age groups, like you said, husbands and wives, even mother and daughter! It was so fascinating because we were learning about lay people and all their good deeds in our religion class in school! Its very nice to see so many people becoming lay people! Thank you so much for these wonderful blogs Cardinal!


  24. Hi, this is Susie of Saint Paul School Hingham.
    It seems like the CUA does so much. That dinner you went to seems like it was very inspiring. From the charities to the awards and speakers, it must have been a great night!
    Thank you from taking the time to write this blog!


  25. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am a 7th grade student at St. Paul school. I found your schedule to be very busy. I enjoyed reading about the graduation for the Spanish-language lay formation program. I enjoyed reading this because I am interested in lay minstry training and lay people. I never knew that lay people could have different tasks, ministries and apostolates in the archdiocese. I liked the photographs which give a visual of the ceremony. I can not wait until next week to read your new blog!!!

  26. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Hi! My name is Caroline and I attend Saint Paul School in Hingham. There were so many different subjects on your blog this week. But the one that caught my eye the most was your American Cardinal Dinner. I couldn’t believe that you raised all the money! You must have been so proud… I would have loved to be one of the 750 people there at the dinner. I can’t wait until your next post!

    ~Caroline Smart~

  27. Cardinal Sean,

    Keep up the great work. You are an outstanding Bishop and homilist.

    God’s Peace,
    Father Bellopede

  28. Hello Cardinal Sean, I am a student attending St Paul’s School. I just would like to say that I think its very nice that you inluded te paragraph about the inttereligious program at M.I.T . I would also like to add that I believe its nice that you had a paragraph on your meeting with the New England Vocations Directors. I hope all is well.

  29. Hi, my name in Caroline K. from St. Paul School in Hingham, Massachusetts. This is a great blog. It is so cool that you got to visit the Greek Orthodox celebration of Easter. I never knew that they had a different Liturgical calendar from ours. I too think that we should come up with a common date for Easter. Thank you very much for your blog. GBY!

  30. Hi I am from St.Paul school in Hingham. Do you ever take a day off from traveling. I get tired just reading about what you do during the week. I think it is great that you take time to visit these places even though you have other things involving the church, but I guess going to other churches is part of that.
    Keep up the good work!

  31. Alleluia!

    It is my hope that we might, through dialogue, come up with a common date for Easter.

    What a wonderful thing that would be!

    God love you, Eminent Father.

    P.S. Although I do not attend Saint Paul’s School in Hingham, I understand the students there would very much appreciate a visit from you. 😉

  32. Thankyou for this wonderful blog. I just discovered it and I am very impressed. You are showing us that you are friendly and down to earth. I will pray for you daily.

  33. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you for your blog. It’is a great way of keeping the Archdiocese up to date on the many things you do for us here at home and for others in distant mission areas. I’ve been reading your blog since it’s inception. It helps to show everybody you are a fine man with a great personality and sense of humor, (just knowing those red sox “tread” on yankee soil is brilliant) all the while maintaining the holiness of your Eminence in the very image of Jesus. I particularly like seeing you in those very colorful robes and celebratory vestments at different times of the year, photos of the cathedral and stained glass. Thank you for being our holy leader. God Bless you and your staff… I hope to be able to meet you in person sometime….
    Peace & Prayers for you and all your priests.

  34. Cardinal Sean….

    Your endless, yet seemingly effortless passion for the Church, and Jesus Christ has always added fuel to the fire of my faith. How fortunate that we, and especially the youth of the Diocese, and beyond, has you to guide us all and instill in them the same passion in Christ you hold so well.

    Our youth especially, need a spiritual person like you now more than eve, as our society has become so selfishly man-centered rather than God-centered . Our children are so desperate for spiritual guidance and dont even know it. You are so needed, and we are so blessed to have you.

    Peace be with you.
    Teri Bienvenue.
    Your old neighbor from Fall River, MA.
    P/s…When you gonna come back down for a visit and some shrimp mozambique?…….

  35. Okay, I’m tired!! Tell us you had just one day off. Or an afternoon at least?
    I knew I recognized Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete’s name, author of “God at the Ritz”. They often quote him in the “Magnificat” daily devotional magazine. He’s awesome!
    God bless you, your Emminence, in ALL the ways you minister to ALL those in your flock.

Comments are closed.

May 2008