Welcoming Bishop Coyne back to New England
Hello and welcome!
Following the March for Life last week, I stayed in Washington for a couple of days to attend the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown University on Saturday.
Conference on Life is an all-day event sponsored by three groups on campus: the pro-life group, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and their Knights of Columbus chapter. I was asked to give the keynote address in Gaston Hall.
There were several hundred people in attendance, including many students.
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic University in the country.
This is a picture of one of their historic chapels:
This is a picture of a mural that is in the hallway of Gaston Hall, which shows John Carroll the first Bishop of United States in his episcopal robes.
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While in Washington, I went with the Friars to visit the Missionaries of Charity at their house called the Gift of Peace, where they take care of AIDS patients, homeless and mentally ill persons. A number of our Capuchin brothers work there as volunteers.
They have about 50 residents there, as well as a house of formation for the sisters.
There are over 30 sisters at the house. A couple of the sisters had worked in Boston and New Bedford so I knew them from their time in Massachusetts.
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I also had the opportunity to have lunch with Pedro and Alicia Esteban and their daughter. I had married them and baptized their children. They were very active in the pre-Cana program that I used to run at the Centro Catolico and they are still very involved in the church.
It was great to have a chance to see them again.
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By Sunday I was back in Boston and so I went to Northeastern University for a Mass and reception with the students.
Brother Sam and the Brotherhood of Hope are doing an excellent job there and we are so grateful for all they do.
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From there I went to Faneuil Hall to attend Massachusetts Citizens for Life’s annual Assembly for Life.
The keynote speaker for the day was Anthony Esolen.
In my remarks, I spoke a little bit about the events at the March for Life and how over 1,000 people from Massachusetts went down to be with us at the March. I thanked them for all their support for the cause of life.
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Sunday evening I celebrated the Mass for benefactors at St. John’s Seminary.
During the evening they honored Secretary of State Bill Galvin to the Archbishop John J. Williams Award.
We also presented Jim and Pattie Brett with the Saint John the Evangelist Award.
As some of you may know, the rector of St. John’s Seminary, Msgr. James Moroney, has his own blog and he has a very nice post on the event.
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That night I attended the wake of Catherine Abruzzese, the mother of Msgr. John Abruzzese. Monsignor Abruzzese has been stationed in Rome, but was able to come back to be with his mother in her last days and to celebrate her funeral.
We tender our condolences to Msgr. Abruzzese and his family, and assure them of our prayers.
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On Monday evening, I was visited by the responsible team of the Neocatechumenal Way in the United States: Giuseppe and Claudia Gennarini and Father Angelo Pochetti and Adelchi and Franca Chinaglia from Venice.
With the Chinaglias, the Gennarinis and Father Pochetti
They were in town for meetings, and so I asked them to join me for dinner at the Cathedral.
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On Tuesday, it didn’t really matter what I had on my schedule because, like everybody else, it turned into a free day of getting work done at my desk. We were blessed that we did not lose power or heat, as some people did due to the storm. But unlike many local schoolchildren, I only got one “snow day” out of the Blizzard of 2015. So by Wednesday my schedule had resumed as normal.
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On Wednesday,I visited the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline for the yearly Board Meeting. It was a very good meeting in which Father Tony Medeiros, the rector, updated us on the main events in the life of the seminary and alsoinformed us of their current needs.
The seminarians and the rector greeted us with some music as we arrived
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From there I went to St. Patrick’s in Stoneham for their ecumenical service to celebrate the third anniversary of the establishment in the U.S. of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which was established by Pope Benedict for those who wished to enter full communion with Rome but maintain their Anglican traditions.
There were a number of different ministers from local churches present for the celebration.
Father Jürgen Liias organized it with his parishioners from St. Gregory the Great Church, which is the ordinariate community in the diocese.
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Thursday, we traveled to Vermont for the installation of Bishop Christopher Coyne as the new Bishop of Burlington. We are very happy to have Bishop Coyne back in New England.
In addition to their being many, many priests from the diocese of Burlington, there were also quite a number from Boston and Indianapolis. We were also joined by Bishop Salvatore Matano the previous Bishop of Burlington, who is now in Rochester, New York, and the Archbishop of Montréal and his auxiliary. (I had not realized how close Burlington is to Montréal – only an hour and a half away.)
The installation Mass was celebrated in the co-Cathedral, which is a beautiful church dedicated to St. Joseph.
They Apostolic Nuncio was not able to be with us and so he was represented by the first counselor of the Nunciature, Msgr. Angelo Accattino.
Bishop Coyne gave a beautiful homily and seemed very happy.
In my remarks I was able to thank Bishop Matano for all is fine work during his tenure in Vermont and express our support and best wishes for Bishop Coyne as he begins is new ministry there.
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Finally, as many prepare to watch the Super Bowl this weekend, we send our best wishes to the New England Patriots.
It is good to know that Governor Baker, Mayor Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner Evans encourage all fans to have an enjoyable and safe time during the game and afterwards, with recognition of the importance of public safety.
Also, we wish to express our gratitude to the Sloane family and Century Bank, who generously donated four first rate tickets to the Super Bowl, to be auctioned for the benefit of Catholic Charities. The bidding was competitive and produced a substantial donation, which will greatly assist with Charities’ mission of responding to individuals and families in need. Before the coin toss takes place at the 50 yard line Sunday evening, the Sloanes’ game plan has led to a big win for Catholic Charities!
Until next week,
Marching for Life
Hello and welcome!
Each year, Communion and Liberation sponsors a gathering in New York City, which they call the New York Encounter. This year’s theme was “In Search of the Human Face” and the gathering was very much dedicated to the memory of my good friend, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete.
On Saturday evening, I was asked to participate in a panel discussion “Identity and the Challenge of Disability” with Jean Vanier and Timothy Shriver.
Jean Vanier is the much revered founder of L’Arche movement, adult communities of special-needs people, particularly those with Down syndrome. He gave a wonderful talk through video. Timothy Shriver is chairman of the Special Olympics. He has a theology degree from Catholic University of America and is the father of five children. He is a man who is very much dedicated to advancing the cause of people with special-needs.
It was a beautiful dialogue, I thought.
I was also happy to be able to celebrate the Mass for them on Sunday.
One of the most quirky and interesting sights of the Encounter where these jars of Nutella labeled with “NYE” for New York Encounter. I thought it was a riot!
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Following the New York Encounter, I returned to Boston for a couple days of work in meetings before heading to Washington DC for the annual March for Life.
I am president of the USCCB Office for Pro-Life Activities and, traditionally, the head of that office celebrates a Mass for the directors of pro-life offices and other pro-life leaders at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America in Washington D.C. on the day before the March.
Afterwards, I had an opportunity to greet the different pro-life leaders from around the country who were in attendance. Of course our own Marianne Luthin and her husband Henry were there, as well as Janet Benestad, our Cabinet Secretary for the New Evangelization.
Afterwards, there was gathering next door and almost as if on cue, it began snowing just as the Mass ended. It certainly made for some beautiful scenery!
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In the evening I was the main celebrant and homilist at the Vigil for Life, which is held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I understand the organizers estimate there were about 11,000 people in attendance. It’s quite an impressive sight, with people sitting in the aisles and fitting into every possible space.
Another impressive sight is the procession of so many seminarians, deacons, priests and bishops. There are so many that the opening procession took about 40 minutes.
I was particularly happy that Metropolitan Methodios was able to join us for both the Vigil Mass and the March itself. It was wonderful to have him, as well as so many other Orthodox leaders, join us.
I was also able to see Cardinal Karlic, the retired Archbishop of Paraná in Argentina at the Mass. He is an old friend of mine who is just an extraordinary individual. He was visiting some Argentines in Washington and came to the mass. It was wonderful to see him.
I would like to share my homily at the Mass with you here:
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Then on Thursday, the day of the March, as we have for several years now we began the day with a Mass with all the Boston pilgrims at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, the Capuchin church on 16th Street.
It was standing-room-only with all the people from Boston who were there. All told, there were about 1,000 people among the pilgrims, chaperones, seminarians and priests.
Of course, a few parishioners also managed to squeeze into the Mass to come to see me because I was pastor there for many years. In fact, the current pastor, Father Moises, was a member of my youth group!
In my homily I expressed my nostalgia in coming back to Sacred Heart every year and I told the young people about my experience there, particularly during the time of the 1968 riots when there were 700 fires in that neighborhood and we were living in the basement with hundreds of people. I I described the scene, with tanks surrounding the White House and soldiers with bayonets on every corner. It was a very disturbing time. I also told them that the minister who is shown being beaten to death in the film Selma had worked just two blocks away, down the street at All Souls Church.
So I was trying to give a little bit of historical context to our young people and told them that, when I was a seminarian, the greatest issue we faced in the country was racism and discrimination. But then, when I was a young priest, Roe v. Wade came about and we found ourselves facing another great assault on human dignity. This is what brings us to Washington as a people of faith, to witness to the sacredness of life which is a centerpiece of the Catholic social teaching.
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Following the Mass, we headed straight to the National Mall for the March for life.
I have heard reports that there were over half-a-million people taking part this year. It really was an extraordinary crowd.
Along the way, I joined the group from St. John’s Seminary and the young people from the archdiocese for the March.
It was incredible how many people stopped me and asked to take a “selfie” with me this year.
I was glad to do it, but I think I’m “selfied-out” for a couple of weeks!
Until next week,
Ordaining five new transitional deacons
Last Thursday evening we had our annual Christmas Season Mass with the residents of Regina Cleri.
This year we were especially happy to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the ordination of Monsignor Alfonso Palladino. At the dinner following the Mass, they brought out a cake for him, which he ceremoniously cut. Afterwards monsignor gave us all his blessing.
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Saturday, I had the joy of ordaining five men as transitional deacons at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filippucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm, and Sinisa Ubiparipovic.
These are men who, God willing, will be ordained priests in the spring. During this time, they will be finishing up their classes and working in parishes as they prepare for their priestly ordination in May.
While an ordination is always a wonderful occasion, it was particularly nice to be able to celebrate the ordination with the Cathedral still decorated for Christmas.
At the end of the Mass I encouraged those who were present or watching on television to pray for these men, and to pray and work for vocations. As I always say: Vocations are everybody’s business.
And of course, I was especially pleased that this week the Holy Father has announced that during his visit to the United States in September he is going to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra. Blessed Father Serra is the Franciscan Friar who founded the missions in California that went on to grow into many of the important cities of that state. He is, of course, also the patron of Serra International, which does so much to promote vocations in our dioceses and throughout the country.
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Each year during the Christmas season, I celebrate a Mass for survivors of sexual abuse and their families. It is an important moment to bring people together and hopefully help them in their healing. Because it was held Saturday evening, we celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
We were so pleased that Deacon Paul Kline, who works closely with Vivian Soper in our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, invited the youth choir from St. Mary’s in Foxborough to sing at the Mass.
Their singing was just heavenly.
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Sunday, I traveled to Westwood to celebrate Confirmations at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, where Father Peter Quinn is the pastor.
There were about 80 young people receiving Confirmation. It was a beautiful celebration.
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On Tuesday, I attended a meeting of clergy in the city of Boston, which included representatives from a number of the local African American congregations, other Protestant denominations and Catholic parishes. We met at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury to reflect on our ministries and how we can better collaborate for the good of our congregations and the wider community.
We are so grateful to Rev. Arthur Gerald Jr. of the Twelfth Baptist Church; Rev. Jeffrey Brown, the leader of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace); and Father Jim Flavin, our Episcopal Vicar for the Central Region, for all they did in organizing and facilitating the meeting and discussion.
During our conversation it was noted that the Boston Police Department, with its diverse and well experienced leadership, is consistently supportive of community outreach initiatives. We are all grateful to Mayor Walsh, Commissioner Evans and Superintendent Gross for their support of the faith communities in Boston and their being present and available whenever asked to assist us.
We also noted that the clergy have a special role to play in the work of healing, reconciliation and advancement in the city, and can be very effective at these efforts because of the relationships we are able to establish based in faith. We all agreed that we will continue these conversations, sharing resources and experiences and challenging one another to be witnesses of our Lord’s presence to the people we serve.
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Also that day, we had one of our regular board meetings of St. John’s Seminary. We heard very positive reports on the current situation of St. John’s, including enrollment, finances and planning.
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That afternoon, I was visited by Bishop Pierre Jubinville of the Diocese of San Pedro in Paraguay. Bishop Jubinville is a Spiritan, or Holy Ghost Father, from Ottawa. He is a Francophone Canadian, but has been in mission for many years in Paraguay and was recently made Bishop of San Pedro, which is a rural diocese.
I visited San Pedro about five or six years ago and the Archdiocese of Boston has an ongoing relationship with them. One of our efforts has been trying to support diocesan priests there with the fund for emergency medical needs.
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Wednesday, we had one of our periodic meetings with the 30 or so priests who have been ordained for five years or fewer. Bishop Jubinville joined us for our gathering here at the Pastoral Center.
We had a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament and Vespers, followed by a discussion. This month we focused particularly on the Church Unity Octave and pro-life themes. We concluded our evening with dinner together.
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In the evening, we had a meeting of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Among the items at the meeting was a presentation by our chancellor, John Straub in which he presented the process for creating a Strategic Plan for the Archdiocese.
In preparation for the development of the process, John has interviewed many pastors, leaders of archdiocesan ministries and related organizations to determine what a strategic plan for the archdiocese should include.
Evangelization is clearly the priority. A coherent plan that includes two or three very specific goals related to evangelization will be developed.
John spent a lot of time on the question: Who should be included on the strategic planning committee? It is important to create a committee that is workable in terms of its size, yet is representative of the many groups that are part of the Archdiocesan structure.
John highlighted very important components of the plan:
— Clearly articulated goals for Pastoral Center and parishes.
— Clearly articulated mission and vision of the Pastoral Center.
— Execution of measurable strategies and tactics to achieve the goals.
— A clear and achievable financial model to support and implement the goals.
APC members were clearly very appreciative of John’s presentation.
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Yesterday afternoon, I had lunch with one of our recently ordained transitional deacons, Deacon Andrea Filippucci, his mother Lucia, and his brother here at the Pastoral Center. Andrea’s mother and brother came all the way from Italy to accompany him during his ordination, so I asked them to join me for lunch before their return.
We had a very nice talk and I was very happy to hear that Andrea’s other 10 siblings and the rest of the family were able to watch the ordination from Italy online at CatholicTV.com!
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And finally, also this week I had the chance to meet with two Capuchins who were visiting Boston to speak about particular ministries they are working on.
Brother Terry Taffe of the St. Mary’s Province in the Northeast is making the effort to raise awareness concerning children in need of families being better served by adoption, rather than temporary placement in foster homes.
There are a number of studies that indicate children experience better outcomes when placed with an adoptive family that nurtures them through their formative years. It is my hope that more people come to understand that adoption can be a positive development in a child’s life and, in many cases, is the best choice for the child.
Father Michael Crosby of the St. Joseph Province of the Midwest is helping to promote the Catholic Campaign for Clothing with a Conscience, offering people the opportunity to reflect on how their purchasing decisions affect men, women and children in other countries and how we can include consideration of social justice and human dignity in our decision making.
As the world becomes more of an interconnected community, it is good to think about where our goods and services originate and the working conditions of people in those places.
Until next week,
Welcomings and departures
Hello and welcome!
Last Friday, Mother Agnes Mary Donovan of the Sisters of Life came to visit me in her capacity as the head of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. She was accompanied by our Delegate for Religious, Sister Marian Batho.
With Sister Agnes Mary and Sister Marian
She came to share with me her experience surrounding the results of the apostolic visitation of the women religious orders in the United States and also to share thoughts around her experience with the different Congregations in Rome.
We’re always very glad to see the Sisters of Life and we have great admiration for the fine work that they do. It is my hope that they will someday have a presence in Boston.
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Saturday, I celebrated the ordination of two Franciscan priests of the Holy Name Province, Fathers Ross Chamberland and Jeffery Jordan at St. Anthony’s Shrine on Arch Street.
With us were the Provincial Minister Father Kevin Mullen and Provincial Vicar Father Lawrence Hayes and our own Bishop Robert Hennessey.
Since the province stretches from New England to Florida, they vary the location of ordinations. I understand it is only the second time that they have ever had in ordination at the shrine, the last time being more than 30 years ago.
Father Chamberland is from New Hampshire and Father Jordan was raised Protestant in Georgia, but became Catholic about 10 years ago and is now studying in Rome. Both had professed final vows as Franciscans over the summer.
It was nice to be able to celebrate this ordination for the Holy Name Province on the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which is a very Franciscan feast. St. Bernard of Siena was very instrumental in promoting that devotion — in writing Litany of the Holy Name, inserting the name of Jesus into the Hail Mary, and many other aspects to the devotion of the name of Jesus.
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Sunday was of course the Feast of the Epiphany, which is always a very important feast, especially in the Hispanic community. So, whenever possible, I like to celebrate the Spanish Mass at a local parish. This year, I went to Our Lady of the Assumption in East Boston.
They had a very impressive crèche, which had to be something like 20 feet long
Father Guido Marrosu, who is from Italy, is the administrator there and he is doing a great job. It is a very vibrant parish where they have a growing Spanish Mass and a strong presence of the Charismatic Renewal and the Neocatechumenal Way.
With Father Marrosu and some of the members of the Charismatic Renewal
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Following the Mass, I was happy to celebrate the baptism of the first grandchild of Antonio and Reyes Enrique, Olivia Isabel. Antonio is the editor of our diocesan newspaper, The Pilot, and Olivia is the child of his daughter, Ester.
Many members of her family and local community participated in the celebration. Afterwards, we gathered for a reception in the parish hall.
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Monday we learned that Rabbi Jonah Pesner has been named to head the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C. So, I contacted him to let him know that, though we are sorry to see him go from Boston area, we congratulate him and wish him well in his new appointment.
Readers may remember Rabbi Pesner from delivering the invocation at the Catholic Charities annual gala in 2013, the year we honored Barbara and Marshall Sloane.
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Tuesday morning, I was visited by John Liston, Executive Director of Serra International. I serve as the national spiritual advisor of Serra, and he came to update me on some of their recent projects and activities.
Serra is an international organization that works to encourage, raise awareness, and pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in the Church.
It was founded here in the United States, but has now grown to have Serra Councils in a number of different countries. After the United States, Brazil and Italy has the most Serra councils. And, of course, we have a wonderful Serra group here in Boston headed so ably by Brian and Loretta Gallagher.
My own father was very involved in Serra, so I am happy to do whatever I can to support their mission.
There was a group of seminarians who happened to be visiting the cathedral at the time, so we introduced them to John and asked them to take a photo with us.
With Brett Garland, a seminarian for the Diocese of Columbus; Joseph Hubbard from Boston; John Liston; Mitchel Roman a seminarian from the Diocese of Gaylord; and Alex Boucher from the Diocese of Portland, Maine
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Also on Tuesday, I had a lunch with our Episcopal Vicar for the Central Region, Father Jim Flavin, and the vicars forane of the region. It is my intention to periodically gather for lunch with our episcopal vicars and their vicars forane to discuss issues such as pastoral planning and ethnic ministries as well as to just get a general sense of how things are going in their regions. This first meeting went very well and I am looking forward to future gatherings like this with the other regions of the archdiocese.
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That afternoon, I met with Ambassador Charles Stith who had served as U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania and now is director of Boston University’s African Presidential Archives and Research Center. Ambassador Stith was leaving that very day for Kenya, but came to talk to me about repercussions of the Ebola crisis in Africa.
One item in particular he stressed was the economic impact that publicity about the epidemic has had throughout the continent, even though the epidemic is really primarily affecting three West African countries.
Obviously, we have been very focused on the public health issues surrounding Ebola outbreak but, he said, it was important to realize that it is causing suffering in other ways by having a considerable economic impact on countries that are already struggling. For example, he said South Africa has seen something like a $100 million loss in tourism revenue, despite the fact that they are thousands of miles from the Ebola outbreak.
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Wednesday, I had a farewell lunch with Robert Johnson-Lally who retired at the end of the year as the archdiocese’s archivist after more than 20 years.
He was a steady presence and very helpful to everyone who needed his services. We are sorry to see him go.
We are grateful for his careful curation of the documents and artifacts of the Archdiocese of Boston, which in a diocese’s historic as ours can be a very difficult task.
We were happy to be able to have a farewell lunch with him and wish him well in his retirement.
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Wednesday evening, I attended the Interfaith Prayer Vigil at the Congregation Lion of Judah in Boston held on the eve of the inauguration of Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
There was quite an impressive ecumenical and interfaith representation, with clergy from the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic communities.
I gave the invocation and Metropolitan Methodios delivered the benediction. In between, 12 representatives of different faith communities each proclaimed a different Scripture reading that they had chosen for the occasion. Many of the selections were just beautiful.
We also heard remarks by Bishop A.L. Foxworth of Grace Church of All Nations in Dorchester and a reflection from Governor Baker.
In contrast to some official prayer services that can be very staid or reserved, it was certainly a very spirited and faith-filled celebration. At one point, everyone prayed over the new governor. It was truly a very moving experience.
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Finally, I recently had the opportunity to view an advance screening of the new film Selma, which chronicles events that took place 50 years ago as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the civil rights movement in America. The film chronicles how African Americans were systematically denied the right to vote in Alabama and suffered painful discrimination because of the color of their skin.
In the midst of these circumstances, Dr. King led a peaceful but determined campaign to ensure that African Americans could exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. Tragically, violence was inflicted on many of those participating in that campaign and innocent lives were lost. Mr. David Oyelowo, the British actor who portrays Dr. King, delivers an extraordinary performance that he has characterized as the fulfillment of a calling from God.
Mr. Oyelowo is a man strongly grounded in his Christian faith and with his wife is raising four children. Like Dr. King, faith, family and an uncompromising commitment to justice and human dignity are the foundations of his life. These values are powerfully brought forth in this deeply moving film, which I highly recommend for your consideration.
Until next week,
Celebrating with the Haitian community
Hello and happy New Year!
As regular readers will remember, I posted my blog a little bit early last week – Christmas Eve, which was Wednesday.
Earlier that day I had visited Pine Street Inn to distribute food to residents there.
I was joined by Governor-elect Charlie Baker; Lieutenant Governor-elect Karen Polito; Msgr. Frank Kelly, who was very instrumental in founding Pine Street Inn and is still very much involved there; and Lisa Alberghini from our Planning Office for Urban Affairs, who also works very closely with Pine Street Inn.
I began my visit saying a prayer with those at the shelter, and distributing meals to them. I had a chance to visit with a number of them.
In addition to the residents, it is always edifying to meet the volunteers, many of whom have been going there for many years. Some of them now even bring their children or grandchildren. There is a beautiful tradition of people who volunteer and support the work of Pine Street.
They had large crowds this year and, of course, with the closing of the city-run Long Island shelter the private shelters have had to accommodate even more people than they usually do.
I am always so impressed by the fine work that Lyndia Downie, the director Pine Street, is doing and I’m happy to help draw attention to the terrible problem of homelessness in our society. Beyond the shelters here in the city, there are hundreds of families who are being warehoused in motels around the state, which is not a real solution to their situation.
With Lyndia Downie and Lisa Alberghini
It is not uncommon for homelessness to be related to the problem of mental illness. As a community, we need to do much more to help people with the challenges of mental illness. So often, that population ends up on the street.
It is my hope that by visiting places like Pine Street, I can raise consciousness of need to do more to address the needs of the homeless and mentally ill.
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That night, of course was the Midnight Mass at the Cathedral. I was so gratified to see the Cathedral full of people.
It was a very beautiful celebration made particularly so by the excellent job of cleaning and decorating the church done by Father O’Leary and his entire team of helpers.
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On Christmas morning, we had the televised Mass with the Daughters of St. Paul singing Christmas carols so beautifully for us.
In this Year of Consecrated Life, which is also the centennial anniversary of the Pauline family, it was a particular joy to have the Daughters of St. Paul so generously be a part of that Christmas television Mass.
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Later that morning I made my annual visit to St. Francis House.
There we had a Liturgy of the Word with the residents. It was a particular treat to have the niece and nephews of Father Bob Kickham there to lead the music for us. In my homily, I offered a reflection on the message of Christmas and the homelessness of the Holy Family at Bethlehem.
We are working in conjunction with the Planning Office for Urban Affairs in trying to expand the capabilities of St. Francis house.
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On Tuesday, I was visited by Brother Diogo, Brother Francisco and Brother Renaldo. Two of them come from the Dominican Republic and the other is Brazilian and they are all at Capuchin College in Washington D.C.
They were here in Boston visiting relatives, and they stopped by the Cathedral for dinner.
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On New Year’s Eve I went to celebrate Mass at St. Clement’s Shrine in the Back Bay. We have held this Mass with the pro-life and young adult communities at a number of different locations over the years. For the last couple of years it had been at St. Leonard’s in the North End, but we thought the shrine would be a good place to hold it this year.
We began with a holy hour and, as we prayed the rosary, Father Peter Grover gave beautiful reflections on the Luminous Mysteries. Afterwards, we celebrated the Mass.
Following the Mass there was a nice reception with the people.
We are so grateful to Father Matt Williams and Marianne Luthin for helping organize the evening and make it a success.
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On New Year’s Day, the papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, stopped by for a visit. He has relatives here in Boston, and came by to say hello.
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At noon I celebrated Mass at the Cathedral with the Haitian community, because Jan. 1 is also Haitian Independence Day.
Once again the Cathedral was almost entirely full.
A large number of Haitian priests and deacons were there with us for the Mass.
The Mass was celebrated in Creole but I gave my homily in French, which I’d like to share with you here:
One of my favorite aspects of this Mass is that they always end it singing the Te Deum, which is a hymn of thanksgiving and singing it is a beautiful New Year’s custom in Europe and Latin America.
Before the final procession, Marjorie Alexandre Brunache, the Consul General of Haiti in Boston spoke to the people, as well.
Of course, the Mass takes on particular significance this year as we prepare to mark the 5th anniversary of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.
The Holy Father has called for a conference on the anniversary in Rome. Unfortunately, it is the same day as our ordinations of transitional deacons here in the archdiocese, so I will be unable to attend. However I have asked Bishop Guy Sanserique to represent me. Bishop Sanserique is the only Haitian Bishop in the United States. He is now a retired Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, but he was very helpful to me when I was starting the Haitian apostolate in Washington D.C. 40 years ago.
Let us keep the nation of Haiti and the Haitian people in our prayers, particularly in this time.
Until next week,