.- The Archdiocese of Boston celebrated the Closing Mass of its bicentennial year on Sunday afternoon at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.
Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, Cardinal Justin Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and more than 20 bishops from around New England and the United States concelebrated the Mass with hundreds of clergy, religious, deacons and parishioners from across the archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Boston reports on its website.
The Mass began with a procession of flags representing the people whom the archdiocese serves in their native language each week. During the liturgy, the Cardinal O’Malley blessed a plaque to be installed in the cathedral to commemorate the archdiocesan bicentennial.
“We have been blessed as a Church during this Bicentennial Year,” Cardinal O’Malley said at the Mass. “Our people, clergy, religious, deacons, parishes, schools, and ministries have all joined together in the presence of our Lord to celebrate our faith as one Catholic community. From every corner of our Archdiocese, we have prayed and worshiped together reflecting on our rich history and with great joy for the future of our local Church.”
Cardinal Rigali expressed his pleasure at joining the archdiocese in its celebration of “this important and prayerful moment in their history.”
“As brothers and sisters in Christ, the faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia join with the Catholic community of Boston in celebration of our Bicentennials recognizing God's sustaining presence in our parishes, schools, and social service ministries,” he continued. “We pray that God continues to bless the Archdiocese of Boston with His loving grace.”
Ethnic choirs represented the local Church, with their service coordinated by Leo Abbott, organist and choir director for the Cathedral. They included the Cathedral Festival Choir, Cathedral Hispanic Choir, Archdiocese of Boston Black Catholic Choir, and choirs of the Ugandan, Chinese and Syro-Malabar Catholic Communities.
The "Bicentennial Hymn" by Rev. Francis Patrick O'Brien was sung at the Preparation Rite and Cardinal O’Malley bestowed the inaugural Archbishop Cheverus Award to individuals found to have demonstrated “outstanding Christian leadership and service” at parishes, agencies, and schools in the archdiocese.
Various events were held throughout the archdiocese’s bicentennial year, including parish retreats, the Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival in August, Regional Days to Celebrate the Catholic Family of Boston, an Advent Week of Prayer in 2007, and eight college and university symposiums and talks.
A three-month exhibit was also held in collaboration with the Boston Public Library in summer 2008.
The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to an archdiocese in 1875. It serves the needs of about 2 million Catholics. About 46,000 students attend its schools while more than one million patients annually attend its hospitals and more than 200,000 benefit from the archdiocese’s social services.
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