On April 27, we will gather to celebrate Peter Lynch and his extraordinary commitment to the young people who benefit from the high quality, life-changing Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston.
If you ask anyone who grew up a Celtics fan in the 1980s what comes to mind when they hear the number 33, I highly suspect the answer will be Larry Bird. The greatest player of a generation and one of the all-time greats. Simply put, Larry Bird is a legend.
If you were to ask a person, who did not grow up in the era of Larry Bird, what comes to mind when they hear the number 33, the answer may be Jesus Christ, since 33 is the generally agreed age of Christ at the time of his crucifixion.
However, if asked of a person from Los Angeles, they may tell you that the first thing that comes to mind is the longest winning streak in NBA history, a record held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. The number 33 has some very meaningful people and events tied to it. Locally, this is a big year for the number 33.
On April 27, the Catholic Schools Foundation will host its 33rd Annual Dinner Celebration. People will come together as they did at the first event to raise funds for the incredible and vital work of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. A lot has changed in Boston, our Church, and this region in 33 years. However, there has been one constant in the mix: Peter Lynch.
If you were to ask people to name Boston sports legends, you would hear names like Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bobby Orr, or Tom Brady. But if you were to change that question to name investment legends, odds are you would hear the name Peter Lynch. During his career as a mutual fund portfolio manager, he averaged a 29.2 percent annual return for his fund, making his fund the best-performing mutual fund in the world. Peter's success in the mutual fund business is truly legendary.
Although his record as a fund manager is what he is known for around the world, it is his work locally that makes him a great man. On April 27, we will gather to celebrate Peter Lynch and his extraordinary commitment to the young people who benefit from the high quality, life-changing Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston.
As Peter stepped back from the grind and stress of being a portfolio manager, he agreed to join the first Catholic Schools Foundation Dinner Committee. Little did he know that over the intervening years, he would become the heart and soul of Catholic education in Boston, personally committing tens of thousands of hours introducing people to the work of the Catholic Schools Foundation and showing them the impact of making a gift. All the while, leading by example and personally committing millions of dollars in support of Catholic education. Hearing one of the greatest-value investors of all time endorsing the work of Catholic Schools has inspired so many to follow his lead and join in support of this vital mission.
As best I can tell, there has only been one thing Peter is more passionate about than Catholic education: his family. After 33 years, Peter is allowing himself to be honored as he takes a step back to spend more time with his three daughters and beloved grandchildren. Making this even more special is that his daughters Mary Witkowski M.D., Annie Lukowski, and Elizabeth de Montrichard are chairing this year's Annual Celebration. As we celebrate all Peter and his family have done as he steps back, we all must be challenged to step up.
Catholic education in Boston was built on the religious sisters, brothers, and priests who gave of themselves serving a mostly immigrant Church, keeping many schools tuition-free or low-tuition through the gift of their service. Today, Catholic schools are still vibrant beacons of hope that transform lives and communities, the big difference being that lay people have picked up the mantle from the sisters, brothers, and priests. These dedicated women and men could work in a public school for more money, but they choose to work in a Catholic school, where they know students are always put first and that the Gospel is not just a text, but a way of life.
Catholic Schools have benefited from the extraordinary commitment of Peter Lynch for 33 years. As we celebrate all he has done on April 27, we also look forward and invite others to join in support of this vital work. Catholic schools change lives, and to keep doing this work, we need more people to join us. The time is now, and the work has never been more important. Hope to see you on the 27th.
To support CSF's work, please go to www.csfboston.org/support-our-work/donate-online. To attend this event, visit www.csfboston.org/2023celebration.
- Michael B. Reardon is executive director of the Catholic Schools Foundation, www.CSFBoston.org.
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