It is now a tradition that the Archbishop Williams community is proud to experience. It is an important reminder of the roots and values of an AW education. Each April, the school community comes to gather to recognize the birthday of John Joseph Williams, the fourth Bishop and first Archbishop of Boston. Archbishop Williams was gifted with a Catholic school education as a boy and young man. That education laid the foundation for one of his missions as the leader of the Boston diocese. Williams devoted his ministry to growing the opportunity for any child that desired a parochial education to have one. Parochial schools flourished during his tenure. In November of 1945, the cornerstone to Archbishop Williams High School found its place on Independence Avenue. To acknowledge the leadership of Archbishop Williams in Catholic education, Richard Cardinal Cushing named our school in his honor.
Each year, our school community gathers for a liturgy to recognize Archbishop Williams, the man. Principal Dr. Michael Volonnino welcomed students and guests by sharing the history of Archbishop Williams and his special compassion for the immigrant children of Boston whom he saw as students who would thrive with the gift of a Catholic education. Dr. Volonnino then introduced the celebrant of the Mass, Bishop Reid. Bishop Reid spoke to the motto of our school, “the love of Christ drives us on”, and how to activate those words in our daily actions so that our interactions with family and friends and even strangers are driven with or urged by Christ’s love. It was a fitting homily to recognize a man whose service was clearly driven by God’s love.
Not missing an opportunity to make the day feel like a birthday celebration, students were treated to cake at their lunches. Lacking divine intervention, Archbishop Williams was not here to blow out his candles, but his spirit can be felt each day in the classrooms of Archbishop Williams High School.