This past weekend (3/6), we launched our annual 2011 Catholic Appeal in the archdiocese. The theme of this year's campaign is "Offering Hope by Sharing God's Gifts." I opened the appeal by celebrating Masses last weekend at three parishes in the area -- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta in Dorchester on Saturday afternoon, as well as St. Michael's in North Andover and St. Bridget's in Framingham on Sunday morning.
This annual appeal is for the diocese what the Sunday collection is for the parish. It's very important for the works of mercy and evangelization the diocese does. Msgr. Strahan (of St. Bridget's in Framingham) has chaired the Catholic Appeal Pastor Advisory Committee since its inception. That important group assists me in shaping and advancing the campaign every year. We're very grateful for the support of the pastors and the people throughout the archdiocese.
Lent and Catholics Come Home
As you all know, this past Wednesday (3/9) was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the solemn and holy season of Lent. Ash Wednesday is such an important day in the life of the Church. It's a day when Catholics naturally gravitate towards the Church to receive their ashes and it's an important symbol for the Catholic community.
This year the day was particularly special because we began our Catholics Come Home initiative, which is an effort to welcome back members of our Catholic family who have drifted from the regular practice of faith. We hope that this year the Catholics Come Home program will help people who are on the periphery of the Church to become more involved in a life of faith and in our community.
We are so grateful for all the help that was given to us as a result of Evangelization Sunday, which we held in January. The second collection that was taken up at Masses that weekend allowed us to be able to present these wonderful commercials about the Church on television and radio in various languages, along with the trainings that have been done with parish leaders to welcome Catholics back to the Church. We're encouraging everyone to pray for this initiative and to take advantage of this holy season of Lent to invite people who have stepped away from the Church, who have no faith to be part of God's family. ...We launched the campaign with a press conference that included Tom Peterson, the president of the national Catholics Come Home organization. We also had representing the archdiocese Scot Landry, Janet Benestad, Father Richard Erikson and Father Paul Soper, from St. Albert's in Weymouth. I was very pleased that most local media participated and reported on the initiative.
The Good Catholic Life Radio Program
After the press conference I was privileged to be a part of the inaugural broadcast of The Good Catholic Life, a local Catholic radio program hosted by our very own Scot Landry and produced right here in the Pastoral Center. The show airs Monday through Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. on the local Catholic radio station WQOM 1060 AM....I encourage you to listen to The Good Catholic Life. You can, of course, listen live on the radio at WQOM 1060AM. But you can also listen to the recorded show at www.TheGoodCatholicLife.com and if you have an iPod, iPhone, or iPad you can subscribe to the show as a podcast in iTunes and have it download automatically to your computer each day.