BC opens 150th celebrations with Fenway Mass

More than 20,000 attend a Mass at Fenway Park to mark the 150th anniversary of Boston College and Boston College High School Sept. 15, 2012. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

FENWAY PARK -- An estimated 20,000 people filled the seats between home plate and Pesky's Pole at Fenway Park Sept. 15 to participate in the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated to commemorate 150 years of Catholic education at Boston College and Boston College High School.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their families from both institutions joined in the Mass to kick off three semesters of Sesquicentennial Celebration, with the liturgy traditionally celebrated by Catholic academic institutions at the start of every school year.

"It is a grand manifestation I think of the spirit of loyalty and commitment of Boston College and Boston College High School alumni. You look around and see all the people who are here, priests, lay men and women. I think there is a common bond that we all share, a faith tradition and a commitment to community that manifests itself in all of the people who are present," Boston College president Father William P. Leahy, SJ, said.

Staff, trustees and faculty of both institutions processed into the stadium behind a liturgical cross dating back to the founding of Boston College in 1863, a symbol of the heritage shared by the university and the high school.

In the first 50 years since Father John McElroy, SJ, founded the Catholic educational institution, the university and the high school remained one Jesuit school. In 1913 Boston College relocated to its present site in Chestnut Hill as enrollment swelled. The two shared one administration until they separated in 1927, becoming two distinct institutions.

Boston College developed into a university, as it was originally incorporated, expanding graduate studies from the 1920s through the 1940s, and opening the first residence halls in the 1950s. At that point, the university began a transition to a modern university by welcoming women into studies for the first time.

The campus in Brighton became home to the School of Theology and Ministry in 2008.

Today, the university confers more than 4,000 degrees in roughly 50 fields, as an internationally recognized leader in Jesuit education.

Nearly one hundred Jesuit and alumni priests concelebrated the Mass with principal celebrant Father Leahy. Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley presided at the Mass and was joined in choir by Bishop John A. Dooher and Manchester Bishop Peter Libasci.

"Today we begin the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Boston College and Boston College High School, started in 1863. In the midst of the civil war, the decision was that there was a need for a school largely for the Irish immigrants in the Boston area. Today here at Fenway Park where a lot of Bostonians have worshiped in another way, we are together to celebrate God's goodness to the society," Jesuit New England provincial Father Myles Sheehan told The Pilot.

Father Michael Himes, a theology professor at B.C., said he felt surprised when he was invited to deliver the homily despite not being a Jesuit. Nevertheless he demonstrated his understanding of the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola in a Catholic context of education.

"What you hold on to you lose. What you give away you can never run out of," Father Michael Himes said. "Let me suggest to you that that applies to our education as well."

"The reason to be educated is to teach somebody else. You never fully grasp the fruits of your education until you give it away," he said.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley gave delivered remarks before the final blessing.

He thanking Father Himes for his homily, he said, "Father you hit it right out of the park. The Boston Red Sox should get you."

The cardinal praised the virtue of the two Jesuit educational institutions in their years of service to the archdiocese.

"The Church's vision is to pass on the Catholic faith and to serve the whole community through our parishes, our schools, social services, healthcare institutions and B.C. High and Boston College have been a very important part in the history of our local Church, and we are all delighted to be a part of this magnificent celebration here in Fenway park," he said.

The Mass formally launched the university's Sesquicentennial Celebration, concluding in November 2013, that will feature six academic symposia; a sesquicentennial speakers series; a founder's day celebration; a student concert at Symphony Hall; a convocation of Catholic college presidents; a service program in which each B.C. student and alumnus will be asked to perform 150 minutes of volunteer community service; and the release of a GPS-guided campus tour app called "Tour of the Heights," two books and a documentary, among other events listed at www.bc.edu/150.

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Nation
Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Nation
Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Local
Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

World
Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

World
Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

Nation
'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Local
Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Local
Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

Local
CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Local
Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Nation
Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Nation
Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...

Nation
Book tells about behind-the-scenes search for St. Peter's bones

HOUSTON (CNS) -- Two Houston men shared a journey through centuries of history and a decades-long archaeological dig under the Vatican to unveil a story ...

World
Update way priests are chosen, accompanied, pope tells new bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The best way to help the Catholic Church, Pope Francis told new bishops, is not by pointing fingers and creating scapegoats, but ...

World
Vatican confirms ongoing Sistine Chapel Choir finance inquiry

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican confirmed an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities involving the directors of the Sistine Chapel Choir. ...

World
After meeting pope, cardinal says he's hopeful about addressing crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston struck a determinedly hopeful tone after his long-awaited meeting with Pope Francis ...

Nation
DA clears Indiana bishop of misconduct, says claim has harmed prelate

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend welcomed findings by a Pennsylvania district attorney that cleared Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ...

World
Cardinal DiNardo calls meeting with pope lengthy, fruitful

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has called a Sept. 13 meeting between Pope Francis and leaders from the Church in United ...

Nation
What do Church abuse policies mean by 'vulnerable adult?'

Denver, Colo., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- A Vatican summit this February will gather the presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world. While ...

World
'Elitist, clericalist' church allows abuse to thrive, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where ...

World
Cardinal Wuerl to ask pope to accept his resignation

Washington D.C., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- An archdiocesan spokesman has confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl will soon ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation ...

Nation
Pope accepts resignation of West Virginia bishop as inquiry into abuse claims launched

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis Thursday accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield from the pastoral government ...

World
Leaked German report shows 3,700 cases of abuse of minors in 68 years

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A 350-page document leaked to German media and published Sept. 12 documents nearly 3,700 cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors by ...

World
Pope accepts resignation of Brazilian bishop arrested for embezzlement

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a Brazilian bishop who was arrested and charged with embezzling thousands of dollars in ...

World
Love breaks chains of slavery to sin, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Only true love for God and neighbor can destroy the chains of greed, lust, anger and envy that enslave humankind, Pope Francis said. ...

Nation
Washington cardinal to meet with pope to discuss resignation

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington has told the priests of the archdiocese that he will meet soon with Pope Francis to request ...

World
Pope to convene world meeting on abuse prevention with bishops' leaders

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis is calling the presidents of every Catholic bishops' conference in the world to Rome Feb. 21-24 to discuss the prevention ...

Nation
Supreme Court petition next step in effort to stop natural gas pipeline

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A Pennsylvania religious congregation planned to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether their religious freedom rights ...