I said to Mayor Walsh in his car on the way over, "We are lucky to serve a city that has so many people who care for each other." Mayor Walsh responded, "I see this kindness every day."
Walking into the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End of Boston to attend the annual noon time Mass on St. Patrick's Day with Mayor Marty Walsh and my wife Kathy, we were introduced to a group of young adults by Father Kevin O'Leary. They were originally from the Dominican Republic but were now living in Boston. A couple of them told us they were hoping to be priests, another young lady wanted to be a medical doctor, while others told us they wanted go to college and work in the community and help the poor and needy.
It was an amazing coincidence that Mayor Walsh and I would be listening to these committed youngsters talking about wanting to serve the public because we had just left the Mary Brett Food Pantry in Dorchester for their yearly fundraising breakfast. All the money raised goes to provide food for needy residents. I said to Mayor Walsh in his car on the way over, "We are lucky to serve a city that has so many people who care for each other." Mayor Walsh responded, "I see this kindness every day."
But this appreciation for the people of Boston's generosity wasn't over. Watching the parade outside St. Brigid Church in South Boston with several priests, including Father Bob Casey, my 11 year old grandson Braeden, and several prominent dignitaries from Ireland, an Irish nun came up to me and said, "Ambassador, we met before. I was a nurse in a hospital in Uganda and you visited the orphanage there. You arranged for the U.S. government to provide medical equipment and supplies for the patients there, many were children who were dying of atrocities associated with the ongoing civil war in the region." As I personally witnessed, the worldwide humanitarian organization Catholic Concern, from Ireland, was also a big provider for the poor in Africa. They took on the most difficult of jobs that you wouldn't see other countries, politicians, and people in the media or wealthy Wall Street investors perform.
Sharing my concern with a well-informed Boston Police officer that evening, I rhetorically asked him, "When do Catholics rise up and say enough is enough? When the country is in moral decline and it's too late to do anything about it, I guess. When a New York national TV personality and a Washington politician publicly slams Catholic Church teaching as they did recently and nobody says a word of protest, that's why we have to begin to speak out."
Later, talking to Irish Minister Michael Ring from Mayo and other dignitaries at the St. Brigid rectory, I told them what the Irish nun, the young adults at the Cathedral, the generous supporters at the Mary Brett Food Pantry and Mayor Walsh had said about how fortunate we are live in a city and country where people really care about the needy and one another. President Trump is always talking about "fake news." But it seems to me that, in this day and age, a big problem is that "good news" is no news.
How come we only hear about all this good work that caring people do in our city during St. Patrick's Day?
Raymond L. Flynn is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and Mayor of Boston.