BPL exhibit focuses on archdiocese’s 200 years of good works

An exhibit featuring artifacts, documents, and memorabilia spanning the 200-year history of the Archdiocese of Boston is on display at the Boston Public Library through Sept. 30. Pilot photo/ Patrick E. O’Connor

The Bicentennial Anniversary of the Archdiocese of Boston has been a grand affair marked by a Mass with Pope Benedict XVI in New York, a Proud 2B Catholic concert in Framingham Aug. 9 and now an exhibition at the Boston Public Library (BPL). The exhibit, which focuses on the history of the archdiocese as told through artifacts, photographs, books, art and articles, will run until Sept. 30.

The materials on display are from collections at the BPL, the archives of the Archdiocese of Boston and from private collections belonging to a number of parishes and religious orders. Some highlights of the display include Bishop Benedict Joseph Fenwick’s journal, which contains his personal account of the burning of the Ursuline Convent in 1834, and an early volume of The Jesuit, the Catholic newspaper launched by Bishop Fenwick which would later be renamed The Pilot.

Also on display is a marriage certificate for Don Juan Stoughton, Spanish Consul in Boston, which was witnessed by John Hancock and bears his signature. There is also a list of donors who contributed to the construction of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, and it includes the name of former president John Adams. Cardinal Humberto Medeiros’ hat and elaborate vestments are also on display.

Discussions for the exhibition began in December 2007 and planning continued right up until it opened July 1. Materials for the display were chosen and collected by staff from the BPL research departments and the archdiocesan archive department and Bicentennial Committee. Members of the Bicentennial Committee, including Robert Johnson-Lally, archdiocesan archivist; Mary Ann McLaughlin, co-director of the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life; and Father Robert Connors, pastor of St. Margeurite d’Youville Parish in Dracut, were involved in selecting articles for the exhibition.

Along with parishes and other institutions, the archdiocesan archives office supplied much of the materials in the exhibition. Because the office was one of the first to move to the new Pastoral Center in Braintree, photographs and other artifacts had to be picked out of boxes before they were moved.

“In some instances, I had to catch things before they went on the moving truck and deliver it to the library,” said Johnson-Lally. However, he said that the exhibition was well worth the extra effort.

“A lot of these pieces don’t get exhibited often so it’s an opportunity for people to see things that aren’t normally seen,” he explained. “We had to identify those pieces and make connection with history the 200-year history of the archdiocese and make sure the items and documents spoke to that history.”

Once the BPL was secured as the site, the work organizing the final exhibit began.

One of the roles of the BPL is to highlight and promote understanding and knowledge of local organizations, said Marta Pardee-King, who works at the library and helped to organize the event.

“It was decided that, rather than a history of the archdiocese, the exhibition would emphasize the good works that the institution has performed in the state since its founding and the extent to which the Archdiocese of Boston has been a part of the community,” explained Pardee-King. ‘‘A secondary objective was to present to people the wide range of materials that are available to citizens in both the Boston Public Library and archdiocesan collections.”

Johnson-Lally agreed and said he wants visitors to the exhibit to see the scope of the archdiocese’s involvement in the city. “I hope they realize that there is a whole 200 years of history in the archdiocese and that they can get beyond thinking about the events of the past few years and realize that the archdiocese has 200 years of some remarkable achievements.”

There will also be two lectures as part of the exhibition. Boston College Professor Thomas O’Connor will give a lecture called “Pastoral Profiles of the Bishops of Boston” on Sept. 10 and Johnson-Lally will present his lecture, “Researching Church Records for Family History,” on Sept. 24. Both lectures begin at 6:30 p.m.

“One of the mainstays of the research that gets done in the archives office is genealogy and family history using records of baptism, marriage and death,” explained Johnson-Lally. “People use these records all the time and I have done presentations to groups who are interested in knowing how to use them and what they can expect to find or not find.”

The exhibition is housed in the Cheverus Room and Chavannes Gallery of the BPL’s McKim Building in Copley Square. The Cheverus Room was named after Cardinal Jean-Louis Lefebvre Cheverus, the first bishop of Boston. The exhibition may be toured during normal library hours: Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact the BPL at 617-536-5400.

Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

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 ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...