Historic meeting of Cardinals in Houston

April 24, 2009 5:38:42 PM PDT
For the first time ever, every U.S. Cardinal is here in Houston. Friday afternoon, they attended a special mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Then, they went to a reception and dinner as part of their annual effort to raise money for scholarships. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The private dinner is expected to raise $1.4 million for Catholic university scholarships. It's hosted in a different location each year, and this year, it was here in Houston.

To begin mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Friday, there was a procession of Cardinals, any of whom could be called to be the next Pope. For Catholics, this is the star power of their church.

It's the first time the 20-year tradition of the Cardinals mass and dinner has been held in Texas. With Galveston-Houston's elevation to an archdiocese, the selection of a local Cardinal and the new Co-Cathedral, the region has arrived.

"On the one hand, it can show the rest of the Catholic church outside of Texas and outside of Houston, that we're dynamic, we're a large and growing community and we're delighted to be able to host an event like this," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

The archdiocese is considered one of the fastest growing Catholic populations in the country. It has more than a million people and counting and Friday was a real opportunity for them.

"It could be another 10 or 15 years before they ever come here again," said one parishioner with whom we spoke. "So I think it's an important event."

It's an important event for them and for Catholic University scholarship funds.

"To praise God and also, yes, to have a wonderful dinner and hopefully raise a successful amount of money for the continuing education for Catholics at Catholic U.," said Co-Cathedral Director Father Lawrence Jozwiak.

The mass lasted from 4pm until 5:30 Friday. The dinner was at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. More than 100 people were expected to attend.

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