Boston launches planning for archdiocesan bicentennial

.- Cardinal Sean O’Malley hopes that the bicentennial of the Archdiocese of Boston in 2008 will aid in renewing the Catholic community.

“We are a Church of hope. We are a Church of the future,” Fr. Robert Connors, chair of the committee planning the celebration, told The Pilot. “Sometimes in these difficult times we fail to remember all the incredible work that’s going on in the archdiocese, day in and day out.”

The celebration, under the theme “Journeying Together in Christ,” will begin on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2, 2007, and will end on the Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 23, 2008. Planned key celebrations include an opening and closing mass, a series of symposia sponsored by the area’s Catholic colleges, a youth gathering and regional community days.

Cardinal O’Malley intends to use the anniversary to reinvigorate the spiritual life of the archdiocese by implementing a program of evangelization, such as Renew.

A diverse, 25-member committee of clergy, religious and lay people was formed in 2004 to begin planning Boston’s bicentennial celebration.

Parishes will also participate in individual and archdiocesan-wide events. “We’re hoping every parish in some way or another will get involved,” said Fr. Connor.

Various agencies in the archdiocese are developing plans to incorporate the bicentennial anniversary into their 2008 activities. Boston Catholic Television plans to create an hour-long documentary on the history of the archdiocese. The Office for Ethnic Apostolates is working on a traveling exhibit that will feature videos, pictures and stories compiled from the 25 ethnic apostolates of the archdiocese.

Four archdioceses - Boston, Louisville, New York and Philadelphia - all formed from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the first diocese in the United States, almost 200 years ago, will celebrate their bicentennials in 2008.