Boston College began the Church in the 21st Century Project in September 2002 as a three year response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The project put the resources of the college at the service of the church to assist in exploring three issues – the role of lay men and women, priests, and bishops; handing on the faith to the next generation; and sexuality in the Catholic tradition and contemporary culture. Rev. Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ, vice president for university mission and ministry guided the project, and has accepts the ward on behalf of the college.
Not only has Boston College sponsored conferences, lectures, and programs for students and the local community, but they also have free publications, C21 Resources, and an extensive website, www.bc.edu/church21/, that includes audio and video streaming as well as print resources. They are also offering on-line courses. Their success can be measured by the fact that the college has decided to transform the project into a permanent institute. The Catholic Common Ground Initiative is proud to bestow its 2005 Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Award to Boston College and the Church in the 21st Century.