byChristopher S. Pineo
Guests of the seventh annual dinner in Celebration of the Priesthood, Sept. 17, at the Seaport World Trade Center in South Boston. Pilot photo/George Martell
SOUTH BOSTON -- Just before heading to Cuba with other Boston pilgrims for the visit of Pope Francis, Sept. 17, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley attended the seventh annual dinner in Celebration of the Priesthood at the Seaport World Trade Center with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and supporters of the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston.
According to the archdiocese, the dinner drew 1,600 guests and set a record as it raised over $1.8 million.
The proceeds from the annual event directly benefit the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust, which cares for the health and well-being of the 614 active and senior priests of the archdiocese. Independent from other archdiocesan entities, the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is governed by a board of trustees including local business leaders and priests.
In off-program remarks, Mayor Walsh spoke about his own experience with priests who made a difference in his life growing up in the Church in Boston and in the life of the city in his 22 months as mayor.
"I want to thank all of the priests in the room for your prayers. I want to thank you for your commitment, your calling to God, your calling to the people of the world. It's incredible how a priest can make a difference in lives, and certainly have made a difference in my life. I have seen many priests make a difference in communities as well," he said.
Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, gave remarks before a video highlighted the ministry of Boston priests who serve parishes and ministries. The video featured the theme of family as reflected in the work of Father Francisco J. "Paco" Anzoategui, director of the Hispanic Apostolate; Father Vincent E. "Vin" Daily, a collaborative pastor in Mattapan and Dorchester with three uncles who became priests; Father Thomas K. Macdonald, ordained in 2013 and serving in Dorchester; and Father Gerald A. Souza, who serves as parochial vicar of a collaborative in South Boston.
Father Robert Reed, president of iCatholicMedia, Inc., emceed the evening event and introduced the cardinal.
"The beautiful video we saw here tonight highlighted the importance of family. Our priests belong to many families, including the parish families that are at the heart of their ministry, as well as their fraternity with their fellow priests. Our priests care for us and our families, yet they still belong to a family of their own and have the same responsibilities that many of us have, to care for our parents, siblings and importantly their fellow priests," Cardinal O'Malley said.