Archdiocese of Boston Begins Bicentennial Celebration

Brighton, MA – On the first Sunday of Advent and broadcast live on CatholicTV, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, along with clergy, religious, deacons, representatives of parishes and choir groups from across the Archdiocese, celebrated the beginning of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Bicentennial at an opening mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

The theme of the Bicentennial is: Journey Together in Christ.

Cardinal Seán said, “Today we begin the observance of 200 hundred years of serving Christ and His people here in the Archdiocese. The Advent season provides us the opportunity to prayerfully begin a year of celebration and a renewal of commitment to our Catholic faith.”

The centerpiece of the yearlong celebration will be ARISE: Together in Christ, a comprehensive process of spiritual renewal from RENEW International that will be overseen by Mary Ann McLaughlin, Co-Director of the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life and Auxiliary Bishop John A. Dooher. More information is available on the program by visiting www.rcab.org and clicking on the ARISE link.

Rev. Robert L. Connors, Director of the Bicentennial Planning Committee and pastor of Saint Marguerite d'Youville Parish and Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Dracut said, “We look forward to a wonderful bicentennial year, celebrating our history, parishes, people and our Catholic faith. There will be many events and liturgical celebrations throughout the year so we encourage people to visit the recently launched bicentennial web page to keep up to date.”

In addition to the opening and closing liturgies, the other major events to be held during the celebration include:

•*A Retreat for the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Boston Celebrating the Bicentennial of the Church of Boston at the Beginning of Advent

•*August 9, 2008 – Youth celebration –Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival

•*Regional Days to Celebrate the Catholic Family of Boston

•*Advent Week of Prayer

•*College and University symposiums and talks

Calendars are being produced for purchase by parishes along with banners among other mementos for use throughout the year.

The Bicentennial observance concludes with a closing liturgy at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Sunday, November 23, 2008 (Feast of Christ the King).

Bicentennial Web page ( www.boston200.org)

For more information on the bicentennial celebration, please visit www.boston200.org. Information available includes: a calendar of events, monthly themes, historical perspective on the Archdiocese, parishes celebrating milestone anniversaries this year, logo’s available for downloading, information on ordering a bicentennial banner, and links to other dioceses celebrating bicentennials in the United States.

A Celebration in Music

Musicians for the opening mass celebration included the Cathedral Festival Choir, the Cathedral Hispanic Choir, members from several parish choirs of the Archdiocese and St. John’s Seminary Choir with Dr. Janet Hunt, St. John’s Seminary Music Director.

In addition, choirs from the Brazilian, Haitian, Kenyan, Korean and Vietnamese communities joined in the celebration.

The Cathedral Brass Ensemble performed under the direction of Leo Abbott, Cathedral Music Director and Organist.

Bicentennial Prayer

All loving and gracious God
We thank you for the Gift of your Son, Jesus Christ.
For two hundred years
We have journeyed together
As members of his Church
In the Archdiocese of Boston.
We have tried to live the Gospel message in service to one another.
Continue to walk with us as we seek to be receptive to your grace in Word and Sacrament.
Send us your Spirit to enlighten our minds, strengthen our wills and open our hearts.
By our witness may others know you.
Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, may the Church in Boston
Journey together in Christ with courage, joy and peace. Amen.

(The bicentennial prayer is available online in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean, and in Sign Language via video.)

About the Archdiocese of Boston
The Archdiocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of approximately 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 295 parishes, across 144 communities, educating nearly 50,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156, 000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of more than one million patients annually in its hospitals and 200,000 individuals through its social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit www.rcab.org.

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