Around the Archdiocese

A few big events took place around the archdiocese during the past week or so, and though several are covered in The Boston Pilot, we thought we would use this post to highlight a few of them.

1) 2011 Eucharistic Congress in the North End

This was the 4th annual Eucharistic Congress for College Students and Young Adults, held April 1-2 at Sacred Heart Church in the North End.  It drew over 400 people.  You can read about the talks and substance of the event in The Pilot.  What we most wanted to share with you are the beautiful photos of the eucharistic procession throughout the streets of the North End.  As The Pilot describes, attendees along with Cardinal O’Malley carried candles and processed with a monstrance blessed by Pope John Paul II through the North End.  Here are some of the photos taken by George Martell, hosted on Flikr.

2011 Eucharistic Congress - North End, Boston

2011 Eucharistic Congress - North End, Boston

2011 Eucharistic Congress - North End, Boston

2011 Eucharistic Congress - North End, Boston

2011 Eucharistic Congress - North End, Boston

2) Inner-City Scholarship Fund Annual Gala

This year’s Inner-City Scholarship Fund Dinner took place on March 31.  The event raised $2.4 million for need-based scholarships to inner-city students to attend area Catholic schools.   Here is a photo of Cardinal O’Malley at the event, along with (from left): Tom May, chief executive of NStar, Joseph Tucci, chief executive of EMC Corp., and event chairman Jack Connors Jr.

Coincidentally, the $2.4 M Jack helped raise for scholarships is almost exactly the same amount as the $2.5M the archdiocese gave from closed parish reconfiguration funds to Jack’s Trinity Academy in Brockton instead of using that money to repay obligations to the employee pension fund as previously promised. It is also, coincidentally, about the same amount as the shortfall between the $15 million the Catholic Appeal raised in 2009 vs the amount raised in 2010 by the new fundraising entity Jack and the Chancellor helped put together.  That is the entity that is supposed to be “independent and accountable” yet has still not publicly accounted for the 2010 Catholic Appeal  or the Catholic Schools Campaign 2010 Initiative months after the campaigns have ended.

3) Red Sox Opening Day

BCI was glad see the Sox finally won, and what better time for it than Opening Day at Fenway Park against the New York Yankees!

There were two places that people who work in the Pastoral Center could watch the game.  The rank-and-file enthusiastic baseball fans at the Pastoral Center watched the Sox play the Yankees on the big screen in the Pastoral Center Main Auditorium on Friday afternoon at 2:05pm.

If you were a level or two above the rank-and-file, such as Chancellor Jim McDonough, you would have enjoyed the opening day game wearing a red sweater from the comfort of the luxury box at Fenway Park.  We hope Jim enjoyed the game, and that the time out of the office watching the ballgame did not too badly interrupt his efforts to sit down and finally write that darned cover letter for the archdiocese’s 2010 annual report. Even Peter Meade’s dog knows the annual report has been done for a while now, and people are wondering if will take until June again to recycle last year’s cover letter and plug in the 2010 numbers so the report can be released.

13 Responses to Around the Archdiocese

  1. Little Red Hen says:

    Of all the events described here, the one that attracts my attention (and pains me the most)is the one on the Inner-City Scholarship Fund Dinner. I would pose two questions. First, how many observant Catholic families will benefit from these scholarships? Given the demographic shifts of the past few decades, I’d guess not many at all. Second, is the support of corporate donations dependent on a policy of “non-discrimination”? Remember when the controversy at St. Paul School in Hingham was in the news — Jack Connors proclaimed that “we” would be unable to raise money from sources like NStar and EMC if Catholic schools refused admission to the children of same-sex couples. Last year, another Catholic elementary school — St. Tarcisius in Framingham — closed its doors for good. That school served the children of immigrants from Brazil — where was the scholarship help for them? And there’s the Cardinal, apparently approving of the whole misguided business…

    • Michael says:

      Apparently? He has a smile on his face … I would call that blatantly.

    • Suzanne says:

      NO ONE has ever suggested that the Inner City Scholarship Fund is for “observant Catholic families”. It is for children in economic need in inner city Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston (including Framingham). Children from “observant Catholic families” (I’m sure you have interesting criteria for judgment in this area), non-observant Catholic families, non-Catholic families . . . families with all sorts of faith practice. Even sinful families.

      • Little Red Hen says:

        Suzanne, there’s nothing *interesting* about my criteria for judging who observant Catholic families are; to my way of thinking, an observant Catholic family is three things — observant, Catholic and a family.

      • DBP says:

        Suzanne – I can’t speak for anyone except myself, but the problem isn’t support for “Catholic” schools but rather what a “Catholic” school is, exactly.

        The problem to which the others posting here refer is not so much whether non-Catholic kids benefit from fundraising as it is whether the schools they attend are, in fact, something other than “Catholic.”

        I’ll wager that, if you are over 50 years of age (and if you’re younger than that and “have succeeded in life” then more power to you!) the school in which you were educated actually fostered the Catholic faith. You actually attended Mass; you actually had religion classes about Catholicism; you actually had teachers who were practicing Catholics; you weren’t taught things like moral equivalency and universalism. Importantly, most of your classmates were Catholic also.

        You have to realize that today things are quite different, particularly in inner city “Catholic” schools. The majority of students are non-Catholic in many cases, and the pressure that single fact brings to bear upon the dynamic of “Catholic” education is enormous. Even if the teachers were predominantly practicing Catholics (they’re not), the fact that there is such a great number of non-Catholic students makes the possibility of the school’s passing on the faith practically insurmountable.

        So here’s the crux of the matter – is the “Catholic” school’s purpose to (a) educate and preserve the safety of children of all faith and non-faith backgrounds (as an alternative to the dreadful public school system, as a matter of charity); or (b) to pass on the faith while educating children, some of whom might not be Catholic?

        Many of us feel that the purpose of the extremely costly Archdiocesan school system is to foster the faith in the young, a duty which is impressed upon parents at baptism and which is formalized in Canon Law. Others (like Fr. Bryan Hehir) feel that the Church has a duty to fund education for the poor which is essentially (and necessarily) secular.

        It depends on which side of the divide you find yourself as to how you view the Foundation’s work. What many people are trying to say to you – and you are apparently unable to hear – is that there are a lot of parents who are practicing Catholics, who don’t live in the inner-city areas supported by the Foundation, and who are struggling to educate their children in a woefully inadequate and overwhelmingly secular public school environment, and NOBODY is helping them out at all! They are frankly a little bit tired of throwing money into the collection basket each week to support a parish and its school that is beyond their means, and they wonder, “What’s so special about the non-Catholics in Brockton and Jamaica Plain that make them more worthy of support than my own children, who I’m trying to bring up as Catholics in Weymouth or Everett?

  2. Mom says:

    As a former RCAB teacher, I can say that few practicing Catholics attend the schools that benefit from the scholarship fund. It always amazed me that most of the student body at my school didn’t know what to do at Mass and would have to be guided and reminded before and during the celebration of Mass.I always viewed my time with them as an oppotunity to guide and foster the future of our church. So it is not wasted effort.

    Sadly, the scholarships in the RCAB are for inner city schools and do not serve a good portion of the RCAB schools. You raise good points. It is one of the reasons that my own children were unable to continue attending Catholic school. Unfortunately, my children are practicing Catholics who would love to return to the Catholic school they used to attend….they long for religion within their everyday school lives but we don’t have a zipcode to allow us to benefit from the fund.

    • Suzanne says:

      Factually inaccurate.

      ALL of the funds distributed by RCAB are distributed among ALL of the Catholic schools in the archdiocese. These funds are collected from the parishes without schools and distributed to the parishes with schools.

      As hard as this may be for some of you to believe, the Inner City Scholarship fund is ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT from RCAB. It is a private organization (The Catholic Schools Foundation) organized and operated by private individuals.

      Why does it seem so difficult for some of you to come to terms with these facts?

      Is it so difficult for you not to hate the archdiocese every minute of every day?

      • A pastor says:

        Suzanne, I don’t think what you said is 100% accurate either. Though the Inner City Scholarship fund is a private entity organized and operated by private individuals as you said, they were able to throw an ARCHDIOCESAN priest, Fr. Rafferty< under the bus last May when he declined to admit the child of gay parents to his parish school, and they declared the Catholic Schools Foundation would withhold funding from any archdiocesan school that did as Fr. Rafferty did. See this article:

        http://www.ncregister.com/blog/grant_official_threatens_catholic_schools_over_lesbian_case/

        That led to the policy released in January BY THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON.

        I know the Catholic Schools Foundation is structurally a different entity and operates out of an office in Boston. But it's very clear to me and other pastors that Jack Connors and the "independent" Catholic Schools Foundation threw a great ARCHDIOCESAN PRIEST, Fr. Rafferty, under the bus last May, have a lot of influence over the ARCHDIOCESAN Catholic Schools office, and had key input towards the admissions policy released in January and forced upon all ARCHDIOCESAN schools.

  3. Michael says:

    What … you want the Catholic Schools fund to help people in the “outer-city” Come on. Get real. That has no ring to it. That is not sounding like social justice to me at all. The Catholic Outer-City Scholarship fund. That is ridiculous.

  4. Suzanne says:

    What unfortunate comments.

    Why would anyone begrudge the fact that there are people who have a particular interest in sacrificing their money to assist the education of children in inner city Catholic schools? As much as you seem to resent it, there are people who choose to donate their money specifically to Catholic children and (horrors!) non-Catholic children in inner city Catholic schools. As I understand it, we are actually free to be as specific as we like in choosing the people we help in this world. Or did I miss a section of the gospel on this?

    Newsflash: Many of us have succeeded in life because of the education we received in inner-city Catholic schools. For many of us, people other than our parents funded our education. We want to do for today’s children what others did for us. What is the problem with that? Another newsflash: Many of the most generous donors to inner city Catholic schools are not Catholic. Do you have the same objections to the way they choose to sacrifice to help others?

    People who have a particular interest in sacrificing their money to assist the education of children in non-inner city Catholic schools are equally free to do so, right? There are thousands of people contributing to non-inner city schools throughout the archdiocese. (By the way, are you among them, if this is such a big issue for you?) If you are concerned about expanding this kind of charity on an archdiocesan level, why don’t you form an organization with that mission? That would seem like a much more productive use of your critical energies.

    • sheila says:

      Suzanne is a little testy this afternoon!!

      I’m really happy you feel it’s necessary to tell everyone that you “have succeded in life.”

      Now that is an “unfortunate comment”

      • Suzanne says:

        “Many of us” are making millions of dollars a year while others are hungry. I am not personally making millions of dollars a year.

        “Many of us” are suffering with cancer and benefit from the progress of medical research. I am not personally suffering with cancer.

        “Many of us” learned everything we know about baseball by playing in Little League. I did not personally play in Little League.

        “Many of us” have succeeded in life because of the education we received in inner-city Catholic schools. I make no claim to have personally succeeded in life.

  5. We appreciate the passion on the Inner City Scholarship Fund issue, but based on what we are seeing in the comments, we would like to request a truce on comments about this topic. We will come back to the Catholic schools as a topic at another time in the future.

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