From Cardinal Seán's blog

"Yesterday afternoon (Aug. 12) I attended a meeting of the committee planning our second annual Priest Appreciation Dinner." In the photo: Father John Unni, Pastor of St. Cecilia in Boston and chair of the Priest Committee, Tom Martin, CEO of Cramer Online in Norwood, and Kathleen Driscoll, president of the Campaign for Catholic Schools who are serving as co-chairs for the event. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

On Wednesday (Aug. 11) I was interviewed by FoxNews Channel's religion correspondent, Lauren Green, about the upcoming Catholics Come Home program in our archdiocese.

She was interested in learning more about the program, why we were doing it and what we hope to accomplish.

Here in our archdiocese, we try to contextualize Catholics Come Home with the other things we are doing, such as The Light Is On For You, the ARISE program, the Office of the New Evangelization, and the reorganization of our new Catholic Media Secretariat. All of these things are different components in our mission of the New Evangelization -- the challenge of re-evangelizing post-Christian, Western secular society.

During the interview she also asked me about the plan to build a mosque in New York, very close to Ground Zero.

I told her it is a sign of the value we have for freedom in this country, and for religious freedom in particular. We certainly do not want to support groups that promote terrorism, but there are many American citizens who are Muslim, and they have a right to practice their faith. Having a mosque near the site of the attack can be a very important symbol of how much we value religious freedom in this country.

I compared the situation to a historical situation in Ireland: During the Easter Revolution the Irish were very careful to protect the rights of the Protestants in the Free State. They did not take back their cathedral or close their churches. Instead, they wanted people to see they believed in freedom of religion.

Priest Appreciation Dinner

Yesterday afternoon (Aug. 12) I attended a meeting of the committee planning our second annual Priest Appreciation Dinner.

Proceeds from the event go towards the Clergy Benefit Trust, which provides for the medical and retirement needs of our priests.

One of our big challenges is the priests' retirement fund, and we are anxious to have people support this effort. This year's event is on Sept. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Tom Martin, CEO of Cramer Online in Norwood, and Kathleen Driscoll, president of the Campaign for Catholic Schools, are serving as co-chairs for the event. We are very grateful to Tom, Kathleen and all the volunteers who are helping to put this event together.

Last year's event was a huge success, with over 100 parishes purchasing tables and over 1,600 people attending the dinner. Many vendors also support the event through donations and purchasing tables.

We are so grateful to all those who are supporting this effort either financially or through donating their time and talent to organize it and make it a success.

It is just such an important cause. Our priests have given their lives to help people and guide them through some of the most joyous and tragic times of their lives. Now they need us to help them. We pray that everyone in the archdiocese will respond generously to this vital need.

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