September 26, 2017 - Roma Downey to Headline Dinner in Support of Priests at Annual Celebration of the Priesthood Dinner in Boston



On Thursday, September 28, 2017, Emmy nominated Actress and Producer Roma Downey, will headline the Archdiocese of Boston ninth annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner at the Seaport World Trade Center.  Ms. Downey starred in the CBS television hit “Touched by an Angel" and currently is president of LightWorkers Media a joint venture with MGM.  She and her husband Mark Burnett produced the Emmy® nominated miniseries ‘The Bible’ for History Channel, which was watched by over 100 million people in the US alone. They also produced ‘Son of God’ the feature film that stunned the box office when it became the 2nd highest faith movie opening of all time.

Downey's new venture, sees her label come to life as a digital platform and movement.  The mission of is to create and curate engaging, empowering and inspirational short-form content and to build a community of sharing, while igniting a movement that motivates people to share the good all around them.

In welcoming Ms. Downey to Boston, Cardinal Seán O’Malley said, “Roma Downey inspires people throughout the world through her faith and her care and concern for others.  Her work as both an actress and a producer has helped to inspire millions of people searching for a deeper relationship with God.  Roma and her husband Mark recognize the important role of the Church and our priests in promoting the good of our local communities and the wider society.  We are grateful for their willingness to share the Good News as both parents and in their professional lives.”

“What an incredible honor it is to be with Cardinal O’Malley and among friends in the great city of Boston.” said Downey. “My husband and I truly believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, and giving back is a big part of that.”

This year's event is sold out and will bring together more than 1650 attendees, the largest number of guests in the nine year history of the dinner.  The proceeds of the event directly benefit the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust, which cares for the health and well-being of the 590 active and senior priests of the Archdiocese of Boston. 

Co-chairs John and Cathy White

Parishioners at Holy Family Parish in Duxbury for the past 17 years, the Whites are a dynamic presence in the church.  Prior to joining Holy Family, they were at St. Raphael Parish in Medford for 21 years. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Professionally, Cathy is a registered nurse and John is a Managing Director and Head of Capital Markets - Boston, for Barclays.

Cardinal Seán added, “We are blessed by the extraordinary commitment of John and Cathy White in co-chairing this dinner in support of our priests.  Their deep and abiding faith and vibrant participation in parish life is an example for us all.  I join my brother priests and our Archdiocesan community as we express our gratitude to John and Cathy for their exemplary lives of discipleship and assure them of our continued prayers.”

Roma Downey

In a career spanning 25 years, Roma Downey has earned multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe nominations as an actress and a producer. Born in Ireland and classically trained in London, Ms. Downey has performed on stage with the famed Abbey Theatre Company and has appeared both on and off Broadway. Among her many television appearances Downey is probably best known for her starring role as Monica, the tender-hearted angel on the hit show “Touched by an Angel" which ran on CBS for almost a decade. She also played the leading role of Jackie Kennedy Onassis in the Emmy® award winning six-hour miniseries for NBC ‘A Woman Named Jackie’.

In 2016 Downey received the Irish Diaspora Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Screen from the IFTA as well as her star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood trade publication Variety recognized Downey as a "Trailblazer" and listed her as Variety’s ‘100 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood.’ The Hollywood Reporter included her and Burnett as their ‘Most Influential People of 2013’. In 2014, Downey won the ‘Movie Guide Grace Award’ for her role as Mother Mary. That same year, Downey was also honored on Variety’s Women of Impact.

In addition to “The Bible” and “Son of God”, Downey and Burnett have produced numerous television series including "The Women of the Bible" for LIFETIME, ‘The Dovekeepers’ for CBS, ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ for NBC, and “answered Prayers” for TLC.   They were also executive producers on the feature films “Little Boy” for Open Road Films, “Woodlawn” for PureFlix, “Ben-Hur” for MGM and Paramount and the documentary “Faithkeepers” about the persecution of Christians and other minorities in the middle east.

Clergy Health and Retirement Trust

The Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is comprised of four individual trust funds: the Clergy Benefit Funding Trust, the Clergy Medical/Hospitalization Trust, the Clergy Retirement Trust, and the Regina Cleri Trust. These Trusts finance the health, welfare, and retirement benefits of all active and senior priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB) who are in good standing.

Some of the highlights from 2017:

  • Created Senior Care Manager Position to improve home care services and provide priests with information about health care decisions
  • In the 6 months of hire, Senior Care Manager (LSW) visited nearly 90 priests and over 600 follow up phone calls and email to priests and care-givers
  • Formed Clinical Care Team to evaluate the ongoing needs of our Senior Priests to implement the best services available
  • Health Care Coordinator (RN) visited over 200 Priests.  Over 700 Follow up phone calls to priests and their care-givers
  • Nearly 400 call to the benefits office to help priests navigate medical/dental/retirement benefits
  • Maintain Regina Cleri Residence, home to 57 Senior Priests

2017 Celebration of the Priesthood Dinner

As in previous year’s, the annual dinner will highlight the ministry of three Boston priests who exemplify the love, mercy and commitment all our priests devote to our parishes, schools and ministries.  One of the highlights is a video which will be available on

Photos from the event will be posted and available to download at on Friday, September 29, 2017 after 2pm. For further information or to contribute, please visit