Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Ana Rodriguez Soto - Florida Catholic newspaper
MIAMI | The Archdiocese of Miami will celebrate its 65th anniversary by honoring two people from every parish, providing shoes to 2,000 students in the Dominican Republic, and partying with Earth, Wind & Fire.
The anniversary activities will begin with a Mass Oct. 7, 2023 – the actual anniversary of the archdiocese – and culminate with a gala dinner, auction and concert Nov. 11 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The honors will be bestowed at vespers – evening prayer – Oct. 22 at St. Mary Cathedral. Two people from each parish will receive the Jubilaeum Pin; others will receive the Primum Regnum Dei award, the highest honor given by the archdiocese; and still others will receive pontifical honors, such as the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice cross, for service “for the Church and the Pontiff.”
The Jubileaum Pin was awarded to 210 local Catholics, also chosen by their pastors, at the archdiocese’s 60th anniversary celebration in 2018. It is a sign of the unity the honorees share with the archbishop and in thanksgiving for their service to the local church.
Underway since late summer is a shoe drive, led by students from seven archdiocesan high schools. The Reaching Souls through Soles campaign aims to provide new shoes to just over 2,000 students in two schools in La Romana, Dominican Republic.
“Access to shoes and the ability to afford shoes in Third World countries, especially the Caribbean, is very difficult,” explained Katie Blanco Bourdeau, president of the archdiocesan Development Corporation.
The students leading the drive attend Belen Jesuit Prep, Cardinal Gibbons, Carrollton, Christopher Columbus, Immaculata-La Salle, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy and St. Brendan high schools. They are asking for $25 contributions to pay for the shoes, as well as for each donor to “write a message of hope to that student that they’re sponsoring,” said Bourdeau.
Her daughter, Olivia, a freshman at Lourdes, is one of 10 student ambassadors for the project, which concludes Oct. 7. Some of the student ambassadors will travel to the Dominican Republic Oct. 11-15 to personally deliver the shoes and the messages of hope.
Bourdeau said the project dovetails well with the slogan for the 65th anniversary gala: “feeding minds and healing hearts through missionary discipleship.”
“An important part of Christian service is not only volunteering your time in our archdiocese and in our parishes and schools, but also to recognize that the needs extend not just beyond our parish walls but beyond our archdiocese,” Bourdeau said. “There’s a need for us to do good and to bring Christ to people regardless of who they are or where they are. We need to teach that at an early age.”
In fact, the 65th anniversary events, especially the gala Nov. 11, are not just a way for the archdiocese to throw itself a party – which it only does every five years. The goal is to raise $3 million or more to support Catholic schools and religious education programs in the archdiocese.
“We want to raise as much as possible. I’m hoping by the time we’re done we’re close to $4 million,” Bourdeau said.
“It could be used for teacher professional development, it could be for tuition assistance, for technology upgrades,” she explained. “I’m hoping a good portion of it will go toward an endowment to help seed Catholic education not just now but in perpetuity.”
The funds are coming from individuals, businesses and organizations that are sponsoring the gala by contributing between $500,000 and $5,000 for the event; as well as those purchasing $1,500 individual tickets for the evening.
Bordeau is expecting between 900 and 1,000 people at the dinner and concert, which will also feature a live auction.
Though not officially part of the 65th anniversary celebration, St. Thomas University is hosting another event timed to coincide with it as well as with the National Eucharistic Revival, currently in its second year. The university is inviting high school students to “Rise Up for a Revival” on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fernandez Family Center on campus, 16401 N.W. 37 Ave., Miami Gardens.
The keynote speaker will be Joe Melendrez, a renowned international Catholic speaker and recording artist who had an important role at World Youth Day Lisbon 2023. Archbishop Thomas Wenski, STU President David Armstrong, and archdiocesan Schools Superintendent Jim Rigg also will take part in Rise Up.
IF YOU GO
Following are the events taking place to mark the 65th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Miami.
- Saturday, Oct. 7: 65th anniversary Mass, 5:30 p.m., St. Mary Cathedral, 7525 N.W. Second Ave., Miami. Attendance is open to all.
- Sunday, Oct. 22: Solemn Vespers and Pontifical and archdiocesan honors, 5 p.m., St. Mary Cathedral. Attendance is open to all but seating will be limited.
- Saturday, Nov. 11: Gala and concert with Earth, Wind & Fire, 6:30 p.m., Miami Beach Convention Center. Funds raised go to support Catholic education. Individual tickets ($1,500) and sponsorships ($500,000 to $5,000) are available.
- For tickets and information, visit www.adomdevelopment.org/65gala or contact 305-762-1051 or [email protected].
- For information on Reaching Souls through Soles, go to: https://givecatholicgt.org/reachingsoulsthroughsoles and https://givecatholicgt.org/ambassadors.
- For information about Rise Up for a Revival, contact Ivan Diaz: [email protected] or 305-628-6525.