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From Cardinal Seán's blog

On Saturday, March 8, Cardinal O'Malley attended the gala dinner celebrating the 40th anniversary of Montrose School in Medfield. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

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Over the weekend, I celebrated two Masses at parishes in the archdiocese as part of our Catholic Appeal Announcement Weekend.

The first was at St. Jude's in Waltham on Saturday.

The second was at St. Patrick's in Watertown on Sunday.

In Watertown, we heard the testimony of a member of the Watertown Collaborative, Katherine Zuccala, which I found particularly moving. She certainly points out the reasons that the Appeal has made a difference in her life and the reasons why we should be motivated to support these works of mercy and evangelization that are supported by the Catholic Appeal.

Gala dinner

Also, on Saturday, I was very happy to attend the gala dinner celebrating the 40th anniversary of Montrose School in Medfield.

During the dinner, they posthumously honored Father Dick Rieman, who was the chaplain there for many, many years.

The gala was held at 60 State Street in Downtown Boston, which made for a beautiful backdrop for the gala.

It was a lovely celebration, and I was very happy to be able to be there.

St. Patrick's Day gathering

On Saturday evening, I attended the St. Patrick's Day gathering of the Clover Club at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, where I was asked to give a talk. This is the second time that I have attended one of their St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

The evening featured skits and parodies and, in keeping with the light mood of the evening, I began by telling some of my favorite jokes and stories. Then, on a more serious note, I reflected a bit on the life of St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland. They also had a wonderful glee club, which is directed by Richard Rouse, who is Father Paul Rouse's brother. They sang a lot of Irish songs during the evening. The highlight was when they sang "The Soldier's Song," which is the national anthem of Ireland, in Irish and English.

ADL New England

Sunday was ADL New England's annual "A Nation of Immigrants" Community Seder. This Seder brings together people from many ethnic and religious groups in the community in order to highlight the fact that we are truly a nation of immigrants. This year, voter registration was one of the prominent themes, as we prepare for the election this November.

They also had a number of exhibits around the subject of immigration.

In my remarks, I thanked the ADL for hosting this important gathering at a time when there is so much anti-immigrant sentiment in our nation. I said that it was a great service to call people together to celebrate our immigrant roots in the United States.

I also reflected on some of the aspects of what it means to be an American. I said that America is unlike other countries that have so many unifying factors -- ethnicity, language, religion, and history. Instead, what has unified us has been religious freedom, democracy and, economic opportunity. So, we have been a very pluralistic society from the very beginning and, therefore, we have a great capacity to assimilate people into our country.

I also noted that it is important not to "write off" the value of working-class immigrants. There is talk about only allowing professionals -- the ballerinas, the surgeons and the soccer stars -- into our country. But the people who built our nation were very often poor, sometimes illiterate, working-class people who did very hard jobs, and their children have gone on to be successful professionals and make an incredible contribution to our society.

I also spoke about the history of Boston, which was transformed by the Great Famine in Ireland. One year after the famine, one-third of the population of Boston was Irish Catholic -- and the welcome mat was not out. It was viewed almost as a sort of invasion. But I said that I am very proud of what the Irish have accomplished in our city and our country, even though their coming here was under very difficult circumstances.

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