Roma Downey, star of the CBS series “Touched by an Angel,” and a noted Hollywood producer of religious films, delivered an emotional talk Thursday to a crowd of 1,600 people at the annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner at the World Trade Center in the Seaport.
Addressing a crowd that included Cardinal Sean O’Malley, priests from around the Boston Archdiocese, and donors, Downey talked about her childhood in the town of Derry in Northern Ireland, losing her mother at the age of 11, and her father dying on the day her oldest brother became a priest.
Through it all, she told the crowd, her faith strengthened and made her more determined to spread God’s message on television, in movies and on the Internet.
She said the nuns who taught her in school would be surprised to find that she was explaining the gospel.
Downey’s new venture is LightWorkers.com, which focuses on delivering inspirational stories on a digital platform.
Downey is president of Lightworkers Media a joint venture with MGM.
She and her husband, Mark Burnett, produced the Emmy-nominated miniseries “The Bible” for the History Channel. They also produced “Son of God,” a 2014 feature film that became one of the highest-grossing Christian faith movies.
Downey talked about her close relationship with Cardinal O’Malley, describing him as a friend and someone who she has consulted on religious and spiritual issues over the years.
O’Malley praised Downey for inspiring “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.”
The proceeds of the event 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.