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University President William P. Leahy, SJ, right, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM, Cap., Archbishop of Boston, talk with University Historian Thomas O’Connor at the April 21 reception commemorating the publication of Two Centuries of Faith: The Influence of Catholicism on Boston, 1808-2008. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

University Presents Book to Archdiocese

Two Centuries of Faith:The Influence of Catholicism on Boston, was presented to Cardinal O’Malley by BC President William P. Leahy, SJ
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By Reid Oslin | Chronicle Staff
"Our history as an Archdiocese has been like a long rosary,” noted Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM, Cap., Archbishop of Boston, as he accepted a leather-bound copy of the newly-published book Two Centuries of Faith: The Influence of Catholicism on Boston, 1808-2008. “We have our Joyful Mysteries and our Sorrowful Mysteries.”

Two Centuries of Faith, edited by University Historian Thomas H. O’Connor, was presented to Cardinal O’Malley by Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ, at a Gasson Hall reception on April 21 organized by the Church in the 21st Century Center.

“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.

Part of the award-winning Boston College Church in the 21st Century Center book series, 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 O’Connor, 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 book was commissioned as a gift from the University to the Archdiocese, and published by Crossroad Publishing Co. of New York.