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Two Centuries of Catholic Faith in Boston

bc presents newly-published book as gift to boston archdiocese

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (April, 2009) – Two Centuries of Faith: The Influence of Catholicism on Boston: 1808-2008, a new book commissioned by Boston College as a gift from the University to the Archdiocese of Boston, was presented by University President William P. Leahy, SJ,  to Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston, at an April 21 reception in Gasson Hall. 

 "Our history as an Archdiocese has been like a long rosary," said Cardinal O'Malley, as he accepted a leather-bound copy of the newly-published volume, which was edited by BC Historian Thomas O'Connor. "We have our Joyful Mysteries and our Sorrowful Mysteries."

Historian Tom O'Connor, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, President William P. Leahy, SJ"But today as we look back over 200 years, our hearts are filled with gratitude for all of the past and also for the great hope for the future in the great mission that the Lord has entrusted to us," Cardinal O’Malley continued.

(l-r) BC Historian Tom O’Connor, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap., and BC President William P. Leahy, SJ. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

Two Centuries of Faith traces the history of the Archdiocese of Boston from its official beginnings in 1808 to the present day through the eyes of historians, scholars, clergy and parishioners. Its chapters explore subjects such as the intersection of politics and the Church in Massachusetts; Catholic schools; charitable works of the Church in Boston; and the changing role of women in the Archdiocese.

Contributors include Boston College’s Clough Millennium Professor of History James O’Toole; Lynch School of Education Dean Joseph O’Keefe, SJ; English Department faculty member Carol Hurd Green; and Francois Gauthier, general consul of France in Boston.

"This book reminds us of so much about our heritage and tells us who we are," said Fr. Leahy as he presented to book to Cardinal O’Malley. "So it is with our Church. We need to recall our roots, our heritage."

The history of Boston College is entwined with that of the Archdiocese, Fr. Leahy said. "We, in our own way, have tried to contribute to the Catholic faith through our graduates, through the work of our faculty, and through the alumni of this institution," he said. "So, there is a great reciprocal relationship. Just as with the great Catholic universities throughout the world, there is a connection with the Church.

"We have this opportunity to be here and acknowledge 200 years of the Archdiocese of Boston, and all the good things that have gone on; all of the ways in which this community – this whole region – has been blessed by the activities of the Archdiocese, its leaders, its parishioners," Fr. Leahy said.

"Thanks to the efforts of Tom O’Connor and his fellow authors, we have a magnificent volume that I have the honor of presenting to Cardinal Sean," Fr. Leahy said.

Two Centuries of Faith was commissioned as a gift from the University to the Archdiocese, and published as part of BC's Church in the 21st Century Center Book Series by Crossroad Publishing Co. of New York.

-Reid Oslin