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From Cardinal Seán’s blog

Posted: 11/20/2009

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“Speaking with the (St. James) Society’s president, Father Kevin Hayes, and WBZ Radio host Dan Rhea, our emcee for the evening.” Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

As you may know, last week the House of Representatives passed its version of the health care reform bill that included the Stupak amendment, which prevents the use of taxpayer money to support abortion.

We were very pleased that the amendment was passed by such a large margin in the House. I think it shows that the representatives are aware that the American people, as a whole, do not want the government to be funding abortions. We’re very grateful for all the pastors and the parishioners who contacted legislators to share with them our concerns.

Of course, in addition to the taxpayer funding of abortions, other issues of concern for Catholics are the protection of conscience rights for health care workers and care for the immigrants and the poor.

We will be very interested in how the Senate bill addresses all these issues.

Please continue to join me in praying that our government leaders will act with justice and prudence, and maintain the wording of the Stupak amendment in the final bill. If you have not contacted your senator, please do so. Also, if your representative voted for the Stupak Amendment, I encourage you to thank them for their courage.

Cushing Awards Banquet

(On Sunday) evening, I went to Boston College High School for the St. James Society’s Annual Cushing Awards Banquet.

The banquet is held each year to support the work of the society, which is made up of diocesan priests who work in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

The society was founded 51 years ago by my predecessor, Cardinal Richard Cushing. Since then, about 300 priests from all over the world have served in the society. Many of them not only served in those countries, but then returned to Boston, having been immersed in the language and the culture, to carry on our Hispanic ministries here in the archdiocese. So, in many ways, the St. James Society has always been a double blessing for us.

One of those missionaries who went and returned was our own Bishop Robert Hennessey, regional bishop for the Central Region. I was happy to present him with a Cardinal Cushing Award, along with former state legislator and president of the New England Council Jim Brett and a lovely couple, Robert and Rose Crimmins who have traveled to Ecuador and helped build Catholic schools and clinics there.