Last Thursday evening (April 23) I attended a reception at the home of Deacon Chuck Clough and his wife, Gloria.
We are very grateful for all of the support that Chuck and others are giving to the Church’s development activities. In these times of economic distress, the demands on our services are ever-increasing, so we are very, very grateful to all of those who have come forward to help us.
Annual Cardinals’ Dinner
On Friday afternoon, we made a lightning trip to Houston for the Annual Cardinals’ Dinner to raise scholarship money for The Catholic University of America.
The evening started with a Mass at the new cathedral in Houston. This was the first time that I had been in the cathedral and I was very impressed.
Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza built it towards the end of his tenure as bishop of Galveston-Houston and, of course, now they not only have a new cathedral but they also have a new cardinal, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.
The archdiocese has grown considerably. There are probably 1,200,000 Catholics in Houston now and the cathedral was built in response to that growth.
I remember when I was Bishop of Fall River the people in Sandwich wanted to build a parish church. They said: “We want a Church that looks like a Church,” because sometimes churches are built today that you could mistake for a bowling alley.
Well, I think the people in Houston got a cathedral that looks like a cathedral -- it is very bright, large and the artwork is stunning.
They had a wonderful diocesan choir that sang for the event. The church was filled and I and eight other American cardinals attended the Mass.
Father David O’Connell preached the homily and he always gives a very inspiring talk. Cardinal DiNardo, of course, presided at the Mass. The nuncio, Archbishop Sambi, was with us as well.
After the Mass, we went to a hotel for the gala dinner. There were a number of students there from Catholic University who gave speeches. It was very impressive to see the very strong Catholic identity and commitment of faith of the institution as reflected in the testimonies of the students.
There were also a number of musical programs. One student played the violin, another sang opera and a duet performed some more contemporary pieces.
At the dinner, they presented the “American Cardinals Encouragement Award” to Sister Maureen O’Connell, the executive director of Angela House, which is a transitional housing facility for women recently released from prison.
I think they raised close to a million and a half dollars for scholarships!
St. Elizabeth’s fundraising event
So, having been in Houston for a few hours, we jumped on a plane the next morning and came back to Boston in time to be here for another fundraiser, the third of the week!
This time it was for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. That was also a very successful fundraiser. There was a lot of enthusiasm and hope among the hospital staff and personnel with the recent dedication of the new Emergency Room, so it was a beautiful evening.
I am comforted by reading St. Paul, who spent a lot of his time taking up collections for Jerusalem, so we are following in that tradition!