Cardinal Launches Historic $200 Million “Inspiring Hope” Capital Campaign, Expands Church’s Mission in Parishes, Schools and Social Services, Peter Lynch takes leadership role in Campaign

News January 30, 2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Braintree, MA ---- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Boston, today announced the public launch of a $200 million capital campaign to strengthen and expand the work of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese. It is the first Archdiocesan-wide capital campaign undertaken in nearly two decades and it is one of the largest faith-based fundraising efforts currently being conducted in the United States. Peter Lynch assisted Cardinal Seán as chair of the quiet phase with extensive leadership outreach over the past two and half years.

Inspiring Hope: Our Cardinal’s Campaign for the Future of Our Catholic Faith is a five-year campaign designed to support many important efforts underway in Catholic parishes, schools and social service agencies across 144 communities.

Unparalleled Impact - Now and in the Future 

The Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Boston is the spiritual home for 1.8 million Catholics with a mission that extends far beyond the walls of its 282 parishes. The Church has an extraordinary track record of success as the largest and oldest private education system in the nation, one that has been cited as the most successful pathway out of poverty for urban students. A network of over 110 Catholic schools educates more than 32,000 students, with 60% of these students living in urban areas. In these urban schools’ more than 43% are minority students, with over 60 different languages spoken at home. All families are welcome in our schools and currently 67% are Catholic and 33% are non-Catholic.

The Church operates one of the largest social services agencies in the Commonwealth with Catholic Charities serving 165,000 annually at more than 20 locations. Catholic Charities serves our communities with basic needs support, family and youth services, workforce training, immigration services and much more. We are helping many people who are struggling on the margins of society to become self-sufficient, to be able to provide for themselves and their families. Our Pregnancy Help Centers and palliative care services are among a myriad of initiatives that seek to preserve the dignity of life for all people.

The Inspiring Hope campaign will strengthen and expand upon this work, which is at the very heart of Christ’s mission to serve others and pass on the faith. 

“Through this campaign we seek to strengthen our communities of faith, with a particular focus on evangelization, community outreach and engagement with the women and men whose efforts are the foundation of a strong and vibrant Church," said Cardinal Seán. “Pope Francis reminds us that as Christians, ‘the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Hope is the virtue of a heart that… does not simply get by in the present but is able to see a tomorrow.’ Inspiring Hope gives us confidence and optimism that we are working to sustain the good works of mercy in our parishes and for all people of good faith, those whom we serve today and the generations that will follow us," he added.

Campaign Priorities

The five main priorities of the campaign are: 

Investing in Social Services - a just and compassionate society for all

For 117 years Catholic Charities has served our communities with basic needs support, family and youth services, and refugee and immigration services. Through the Inspiring Hope campaign, Catholic Charities of Boston will expand its programming and services for a growing number of people who live on the margins and who strive to move from crisis to stability. 

Investing in Catholic Education – vitality and availability for all families 

More than 32,000 students attend 110 Catholic schools with 60% of those students in urban areas. The campaign will prioritize support for nearly 3,100 teachers and principals by providing leadership training and increased compensation for retention of top educators. The campaign will also provide significant resources to enhance academics, provide new governance models and to help ensure a Catholic education remains within reach of all families, regardless of religion or race.

Investing in Parishes - evangelization and community engagement

Our parishes are the home base for evangelization and local community engagement. The campaign aims to support programs and initiatives that strengthen our parish faith communities. Participating parishes in the Campaign have been able to expand programs, address critical capital needs such as accessibility for parishioners with physical challenges, and establish endowments for long-term stability.

Supporting our Priests - expanded care for our priests  

Another priority of the capital campaign is bolstering the care and support of our nearly 600 priests in good standing, from fostering vocations and training in the seminary to the care of our senior priests. The campaign is raising funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust, as well as the $8 million capital project of renovating the Regina Cleri Residence for senior priests in Boston. This updated facility will expand care for a greater number of our priests.

Renovation of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross - Cornerstone of the Campaign

The first visible result of the work of the campaign is the newly renovated Cathedral of the Holy Cross, which re-opened this spring for worship. An 18-month cornerstone project of Inspiring Hope, the renovations to the Archdiocese’s 1875 ‘Mother Church’ were made possible entirely through private philanthropy. As the second largest Cathedral in the United States it was a remarkable achievement in efficiency and low-cost. About half the renovation budget was used to replace critically outdated infrastructure as well as the installation of new safety measures such as all new electrical wiring and a sprinkler system to prevent the type of damage experienced at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Improved lighting and new flooring were also installed. Space was reconfigured, pews were refurbished, walls, ceilings, new flooring and the treasured stained-glass windows were cleaned, repaired and repainted. It is a vibrant, warm and welcoming church in which all may worship, serving 21,000 weekly Mass-goers and the broader Boston community through its social justice outreach. 

$150 Million Raised including 22 Leadership Gifts in Quiet Phase

In support of the leadership of Cardinal Seán and the future of the Church, a number of gifts have been received over the past thirty-two months during the campaign’s “quiet phase” including:

  • Over $150 Million in gifts and pledges raised from hundreds of donors across the Archdiocese
  • 22 gifts of $1 Million or more committed to date, including three gifts of $10 Millon or more
  • Participation of 32 parishes raising a combined $31.5 Million for specific parish needs, while also raising and directing an additional combined $6.2 Million toward other campaign priorities 

Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation have made an eight-figure commitment to the Inspiring Hope campaign for student scholarships and aid to Boston area Catholic schools, support for continued growth and development of talented teachers and principals, as well as high quality, affordable early education and care for our youngest learners. 

Lynch is the President of the Lynch Foundation and Vice-Chairman of Fidelity Management and Research Company. He has been Chairman of the Catholic Schools Foundation’s Inner-City Scholarship Fund for the past 29 years.

Speaking about the Inspiring Hope capital campaign and its purpose, Lynch said, “There is no other organization that is improving lives and offering hope to hundreds of thousands of individuals as the Archdiocese of Boston does. Thanks to our priests, deacons, religious and volunteer lay people in our parishes, schools, Catholic Charities and our numerous other organizations, countless individuals are assisted and strengthened in over 144 cities and towns. Through this work we are able to provide adult literacy programs, job training for immigrants, legal services for refugees, food pantries, shelters for the homeless, affordable housing solutions, addiction recovery programs, daycare and a superior Catholic education in a loving environment and so much more. The work of the church reaches so many regardless of their religious beliefs and this campaign will strengthen this mission long into the future,” Lynch added “This is a tremendous moment for our faith, and I am honored to be involved with this transformative effort.”

Lynch said, “Cardinal Seán has supported an ambitious plan and I hope our family’s gift inspires others to join me and make a worthwhile investment in our next generation of civic, business and religious leaders who can continue to make all the difference in our communities.”

Catholic Community Fund

Inspiring Hope is being conducted through the Catholic Community Fund of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Church’s community foundation. Its 12-member Board of Trustees, two-thirds of whom are lay people, will oversee the management and distribution of all Inspiring Hope funds and file a Form 990 for complete transparency. This will ensure that the campaign funds raised are dispersed and utilized in accordance with the restrictions and designations of the donors. To find out more about the Inspiring Hope Campaign please go to