Visiting Sacred Heart, Roslindale
Hello and welcome!
As I mentioned in my last post, the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in California ended on Friday. So, from there I went to New York where, at the invitation of Cardinal Dolan, I celebrated Mass on Saturday for the New York Catholic Bible Summit.
This is an annual, bilingual event sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York together with the American Bible Society, and this year the theme was around the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The Mass was celebrated at the New York Catholic Center. There is a parish there, St. John’s, but the crowd was too large for the church, so we used the gymnasium of the parish high school. It was wonderful to see such a great turnout for the event.
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The following day, I was back in Boston and I went to Sacred Heart Parish in Roslindale for a Mass to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hispanic community there, which has grown to be very large and vibrant.
We were, of course, joined by the pastor, Msgr. Frank Kelley as well as Father Mario Guarino, who is in charge of the Hispanic community there. We were also joined by Father Larry Borges, who is a native son of the parish and for a long time celebrated with the Spanish Mass there.
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Monday morning, I was visited by Father Red Raux, who has been a military chaplain for many years and is home on leave.
He is currently stationed in Germany but always stops in to “touch base,” as it were, when he’s home visiting his family during the summer. He told me about how things are going with him and mentioned that some of our seminarians studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome have been up to help out on his base.
We are so grateful for his generous service, and the service that so many of our Boston priests give in the Armed Forces. The presence of the Church to our servicemen and servicewomen is so important.
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Also that day I was visited by Archbishop Emmanuel Obbo of Tororo, Uganda and Bishop Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp, South Africa.
Archbishop Obbo was here for the celebration of the Feast of the Ugandan Martyrs at St. Mary’s Parish in Waltham. Bishop Phalana was also in town, so Father Michael Nolan of St. Mary’s arranged a visit.
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Then, that afternoon, I attended the board meeting of Catholic Charities, held at the John Hopkins Building in Boston.
We are very grateful for the very active participation of the board in supporting the works of Catholic Charities. It’s always gratifying to realize how many people are being served by their extraordinary programs.
I told them that, particularly during this Year of Mercy, what an important role Catholic Charities plays as the face of mercy of the Church to our world today.
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Tuesday, I spent the day with our seminarians who are on their summer retreat at the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine.
Father Vin Daily gave them a number of talks over their time there and during my visit I celebrated Mass for them and gave them a conference, as well.
The monastery in Kennebunkport is run by the Franciscans from Lithuania.
Here I am with the provincial who was visiting the house, a number of Friars from Lithuania, and Bishop Paul Baltakis, who was the bishop for the Lithuanian community in exile and is now retired and living at the monastery.
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Finally, Wednesday afternoon I had lunch with Father Paul Soper and a group of pastors who are in Phase IV collaboratives.
They told me a little bit about how things are going in their parishes, and they all seemed to be doing very well. I was very happy to be updated on their progress.
Until next week,
Reflecting on the Orlando tragedy
Hello and welcome,
Before sharing information about my events and activities of the past week, it must be recognized that our nation continues to recoil from the horror of the killings that took place in Orlando.
As the names of those whose lives were taken during the attack were made known and family members and friends shared their grief, our shock at the unprovoked killings gave way to recognition of the depth of the loss. In particular, the gay and lesbian communities in Orlando, here in Boston, throughout the United States and throughout the world were understandably devastated by this targeted assault. The Archdiocese shares in their sorrow and concern. There is no place in the Church or society for hate and vilification of any person or group of persons. All people are created in the image and likeness of God, blessed with the gift of human dignity that calls for our respect and love.
We also stand in solidarity with members of the Muslim community when they are wrongly and dangerously assigned shared responsibility for the attack in Orlando and other violent assaults, simply because they are Muslim. There is no justification for linking their sincere faith and goodwill with these horrendous attacks or for promoting hatred and suspicion of people based on their religious beliefs. At a time when our society is best served by our coming together in shared strength and resolve, such unwarranted appeals to suspicion and isolation threaten the common good. May we rise above these calls to divisiveness and together walk in the light of the Lord.
I’d like to share with you this interview I conducted with WBUR earlier this week, discussing these and other matters related to the Orlando tragedy.
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As I mentioned in my last post, I spent much of last week in Rome for meetings with the Holy Father.
I returned back to Boston on Saturday, and that afternoon had an opportunity to see the progress of the construction of the new Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel in South Boston, which is coming along splendidly.
John Hynes IV, great grandson of Boston’s Mayor John Hynes of the mid-20th century and son of John Hynes III, the developer of Seaport Square, was kind enough to give us a tour of the building.
At this point, the main structural aspects will be completed by the end of the summer and then they will begin work on the interior. It is our hope that all the work will be completed and the chapel will be ready for use by next spring.
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Saturday evening, I departed for the Diocese of Orange, California to participate in the Spring Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with Bishop Uglietto, Bishop Kennedy and Bishop-elect Mark O’Connell. The Diocese of Orange is the home of Christ Cathedral (the former Crystal Cathedral), and several of the bishops had a chance to celebrate Mass there during the week.
Though the Spring Assembly is meant to be more of a retreat than our fall gathering, we take advantage of all the bishops being together to hold a number of board meetings over the weekend. Then, on Monday, we began the General Assembly, which ran through the entire week.
St. Junípero Serra, who is one of the founders of the Church in California
On Monday, we had an opportunity to welcome the new apostolic nuncio to the states, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who is coming to us from Mexico. He is a very experienced Papal representative, having had 10 previous postings in other parts of the world. He gave a wonderful talk introducing himself to the bishops and, of course, he was officially welcomed by Archbishop Kurtz, the president of our conference.
Every third year, the Spring Assembly is dedicated to being a time to reflect on our ministry as bishops.
So, during the course of the week, we heard a number of talks from Cardinal Tagle of Manila on the ministry and role of the bishop. He did an extraordinary job, and I know all the bishops were very, very pleased with his talks. He has experience as a teacher himself, and so he spoke a great deal about the importance of the teaching role of the bishop. For my part, I also had an opportunity to speak on a panel on the role of the bishop as teacher.
At our gathering, they have different images on display. I was particularly drawn to this one of the Last Supper, which I found very beautiful. It depicts John the Apostle resting his head on the Sacred Heart, which is a theme I often use in my preaching.
Finally, I want to also mention that during our time together, the bishops endorsed a letter from our president to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as the Orthodox Churches are preparing for their Holy and Great Council in Crete next week. We are praying for an increase in unity among the Orthodox Churches themselves, which will be a very important step toward greater unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Your All Holiness,
Gathered together in special assembly in Orange County, California, with my brother bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we turn our thoughts to Your All Holiness, the primates of the other Orthodox churches and the other bishops who will be participating in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church on the island of Crete in just a few days’ time. We are aware that over the past several decades an enormous effort has been made to convene this Council, and we rejoice with you that these efforts have reached fruition.
The topics that Your All Holiness and the other Orthodox bishops will be considering are of the greatest importance not only for the Orthodox Church but also for other Christians. All of us await Orthodox insights on these matters that draw upon the rich and ancient Tradition that is yours.
In particular, we look forward to new perspectives on the relationship between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Along with Pope Francis, it is our desire to deepen the fellowship that already exists between us, and to find new ways to work together for the benefit of our world that needs the Good News of Jesus Christ so much.
Along these lines, we were deeply moved by the recent images of Your All Holiness, Pope Francis, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece visiting the island of Lesbos to offer support and encouragement to the many refugees who have arrived there. Pope Francis has often observed that it is in caring for the needy together that ecumenism is most meaningful. We make our own your affirmation with the Pope and the Archbishop in the April 16 Common Declaration that "we firmly and wholeheartedly resolve to intensify our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians."
Your All Holiness can be sure that all the Orthodox bishops gathering together at the Holy and Great Council will be very much in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days.
Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Archbishop of Louisville
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Until next week,
The ordination of Archbishop Paul Russell
Hello and welcome!
Last Thursday I was very happy to attend the annual gala dinner to support our Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the seminary’s establishment, and so during the evening they showed a video highlighting the history of the seminary and also showing a little bit of the daily routine of the seminarians.
This year the seminary honored Archbishop Charles Chaput.
He gave a very beautiful reflection as a keynote address, which I would like to share with you here:
They also honored Father Kevin O’Leary, who also addressed the group, talking about his experience of the Neocatechumenal Way in the Cathedral Parish and what a positive influence it has been.
I presented both Father Kevin and Archbishop Chaput with their awards.
Before we concluded for the evening the seminarians performed a selection of secular and religious songs for us, which is always very lively and enjoyable.
It was a very successful event, with about 500 participants. I was particularly happy to see many Hispanic parishioners participating in this event. There are not many archdiocesan events at which you would see so many members of the Hispanic community. That to me was a sign of the impact that the seminary is having in our community.
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As I mentioned last week, Friday morning we had the announcements of our new auxiliary bishops for the archdiocese, which was a wonderful event.
Of course, there had already been planned the events around the episcopal ordination of Archbishop Paul Russell. Until recently, Archbishop Russell has served in the Holy See’s diplomatic service as Apostolic Delegate to Taiwan, and now he has been named Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan. As nuncio, he was ordained a bishop to represent the Holy Father there.
Following the press conference at the seminary with the new Bishops-elect, we had a luncheon for the family and guests of Archbishop Russell before the ordination. A great number of those in attendance at the ordination had traveled from all over the country and indeed all of the world, including several people who traveled from Taiwan to be present.
Then, in the afternoon we had the ordination Mass itself. It was a very beautiful celebration. The co-consecrators with me were Archbishop Alan Vigneron of Detroit and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in Scotland and there were a great number of bishops and priests in attendance, as well. As I mentioned in my homily, it was the very anniversary of the death of Pope St. John XXIII, who was himself Apostolic Delegate to Turkey. In fact, I’d like to share the full homily with you here:
It was a very beautiful celebration and we are so happy that Archbishop Russell chose to celebrate his Episcopal ordination here with us in Boston.
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That evening, I departed for Rome to attend meetings with the Council of Cardinals advising the Holy Father.
On Saturday, the day I arrived in Rome, the Holy Father published his motu proprio “Like a Loving Mother,” which clarifies the existing norms already in place for abuse cases, particularly with regard to negligence on the part of bishops, eparchs and religious superiors.
This is clearly an important and positive step forward by Pope Francis. Its purpose includes establishing a clear and transparent means for ensuring greater accountability in how we, as leaders of the Church, handle cases of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. We are grateful that our Holy Father has received the recommendations from our Commission members and that they have contributed to this new and significant initiative.
Then in the early part of this week, the Council of Cardinals met for three days with the Holy Father to continue our work to reform the curia.
This time we continued our conversations about the different dicasteries, with a particular focus on the Secretariat of State, the Congregations for Bishops, Catholic Education, the Oriental Churches and the Clergy, and the Pontifical Councils for Culture, Promoting Christian Unity, and Interreligious Dialogue.
We also presented the Holy Father with the conclusions of our work on other congregations, Doctrine of the Faith, Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Causes of Saints, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life — as well as the new dicastery on “Charity, Justice and Peace.” Of course, he will review them and may proceed with further analysis and consultation.
We were also updated on matters related to the Council for the Economy as well as the Secretariats for the Economy and Communications.
Msgr. Dario Vigano told us about the progress of reforms of the Holy See communications department and on the ongoing integration regarding Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre.
I was given the opportunity to report on the activity of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, and we reflected on the Holy Father’s new motu proprio.
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On Thursday I joined members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors in making a presentation to the Congregation for Religious. The entire congregation was there with Cardinal João Braz and Archbishop Carballo and all the staff.
Msgr. Robert Oliver, Father Hans Zollner and I gave about a three-hour session with conferences on child protection, followed by a period of questions and answers. The Congregation for Religious is a very key congregation, dealing with religious all over the world, so we wanted to ensure that they are aware of the work of the Commission and engage them on the subject of child protection.
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As I always like to do while I am in Rome, I took occasion of my visit to see as many people from Boston as I can.
On Tuesday I gathered with our seminarians who are studying in Rome and I had a chance to meet with Father John Abruzzese and our newly ordained Father Kevin Staley-Joyce during the course of the week.
Also, this morning Boston College president Father William Leahy accompanied me to the daily Mass celebrated by the Holy Father at Casa Santa Marta and afterward he had a chance to meet the pope.
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Finally this week, I want to leave you with this photo. As I was admiring the new lighting in St. Peter’s Square, which is very bright and inviting, I saw these two Sisters with a selfie stick and I couldn’t resist taking the picture!
Until next week,
New auxiliary bishops for Boston
Today is an important day in the life of the Church of Boston as our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has announced that Father Robert Reed and Father Mark O’Connell have been named Auxiliary Bishops of Boston.
I am most grateful to our Holy Father Pope Francis who has recognized in them the qualities necessary to be Bishops in the Church. I am also very grateful to Bishops-elect Reed and O’Connell for their willingness to accept the Holy Father’s call to serve.
We had a press conference at St. John’s Seminary to introduce the newly named bishops.
CatholicTV streamed it live and I would like to share it with you.
The Archdiocese of Boston is blessed with wonderful priests — and I thank God every day for the gift of the priests who serve with me and serve the People of God in humility and love. Bishops-elect Reed and O’Connell are two fine examples of what the true face of the Priesthood is in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Today was a full day as later in the afternoon we celebrated the ordination of Archbishop Paul Russell at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
Archbishop Russell has been serving the Holy See for many years in the diplomatic service and most recently was charge d’affairs in Taiwan. He has been appointed nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan and the Holy Father named him an Archbishop.
We will chronicle his episcopal ordination in next week’s blog post.
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And now, to the events of the week.
Last Thursday we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first class of permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of Boston. It was Cardinal Medeiros who initiated the first program and who ordained these men.
We celebrated Mass at the Pastoral Center and we were very pleased to be joined by quite a number of deacons. After the Mass we had a luncheon at which we presented each deacon with a small gift as remembrance of their anniversary.
In my homily, I commented on the fact that they were pioneers and how challenging it was because people did not have an understanding at the time of what a permanent deacon was. Yet, they very generously and courageously embraced this vocation that has made such an impact on the Church. I expressed how grateful we are to them.
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Friday morning, we went to Regina Cleri to celebrate Mass with the Golden priest jubilarians, those celebrating 50 years of ordination. It was quite a big group of jubilarians this year and we also celebrated the 100th birthday of Msgr. Paul McManus.
It was a very beautiful day and after the Mass we had a reception outside followed by a lunch together.
We calculated that the men in that ordination class had celebrated about half million Masses over their lives as priests. It is just such an amazing legacy of faith!
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From there I went to attend the chapter of my Capuchin province, the St. Augustine province. We have elected a new provincial, Father Thomas Betz.
During the chapter we heard some very encouraging reports on vocations. We also heard from Father Jonathan Williams, a classmate of mine who is the vice provincial from Papua New Guinea. He spoke about the mission there, which was started about 60 years ago with six friars, and now there are 60 friars.
We also had a report from the vice provincial from Puerto Rico which was also very encouraging. There they are trying to establish more relationships with the friars in Cuba, Haiti, Santo Domingo and the other islands nearby. Like Papua New Guinea they have also grown. When I was a sub deacon I worked in Puerto Rico in the town of Utuado, and at that time all the friars were from either the United States or Germany — I think there may have been one or two Puerto Ricans. Now, the situation is exactly the reversed, all the Friars are Puerto Ricans and there may be one or two Americans.
This is a replica of the statue of our Lady of Mercy, which is in the Capuchin shrine in Bavaria Altotting, which is where St. Conrad, a friar from our province, was the porter. So we have had this long connection with the Bavarian province and that famous shrine.
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Wednesday, I addressed the annual gathering of faith formation leaders held at the Pastoral Center. We are very pleased to see the excellent response, the large number of people who came to participate in the training and discussions around the subject of evangelization.
I was very happy to be able to greet them and thank them personally for all of the generosity and their efforts on behalf of the new evangelization.
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Then at noon, we celebrated a Mass at the Pastoral Center for our jubilarian priests celebrating 25 years of ordination, as well as for three religious brothers, one of whom was an OMI celebrating 50 years of religious life and the other two were Xaverian brothers, one celebrating 50 years of religious life and another 70 years of religious life.
I was very happy to celebrate this occasion and express to them how grateful we are for their vocations.
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Thursday morning, I met with Olivia Colombo whom we selected as the winner of the Witness to Life Video Contest, run by the Office for Lifelong Faith Formation.
She is a sophomore at Sacred Heart School in Kingston and she had prepared a video about the pro-life group at her school.
It was very lovely to meet her with her parents and Dr. Mike Gill, her school Principal.
She told me that she had been part of the March for Life in Washington, DC and prepared this very clever video.
I watched on her iPhone
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Then later that day I was visited by the consul general of Taiwan and his vice consul, who came to have lunch with me at the Pastoral Center. They were representing the vice president of Taiwan who wanted to be present for the ordination of Msgr. Paul Russell but was unable to come.
The Taiwanese government and people are so grateful for the ministry of Msgr. Russell in Taiwan and for the many good works of the Catholic Church there. Although the Catholic population of Taiwan is very small, there are many universities, colleges, schools, nursing homes, clinics and other institutions run by the Catholic Church in Taiwan. The institutional footprint of the Church there is enormous.
They brought me a very interesting gift.
I understand it’s a replica of one of the most important works of art in Taiwan — a jade cabbage.
Clearly the cabbage is a very significant symbol to the Chinese people. We Irish people just eat them in boiled dinners!
It will certainly make an interesting conversation piece!
Until my next post
Ordaining nine priests for the Archdiocese
On Thursday last week, Catholic school students and their families packed the cathedral for the annual Catholic School Foundation Scholar’s Mass.
Every year more and more young people attend. These young people will graduate from 8th grade this year and are headed to Catholic high schools in the fall. Due to their impressive academic achievements, they have all received scholarships from the Inner-City Scholarship Fund.
There was a reception for them afterwards.
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The following evening, I gathered with the nine men who would be ordained on Saturday for dinner and evening prayer. I gave them their assignments and then we all gathered at the cathedral for their ordination the next morning.
It was a beautiful celebration, and all of their families were able to be with them. Also present were busloads of parishioners from their home parishes and diaconate assignments.
During my reflections, I spoke about St. Christopher, one of the Mexican martyrs. It was his feast day, and he was a diocesan priest.
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On Sunday, I welcomed scouts to the cathedral.
They had a procession and all the scouts and their families walked through the Door of Mercy. Their presence in the cathedral was, for them (as it is for anyone), a pilgrimage. One of the requirements for some of the merit badges was that you make a pilgrimage, so for many, this event was their Jubilee of Mercy pilgrimage.
After the procession, I greeted them and thanked them for their participation in the scouting programs. I also congratulated those who were receiving their Catholic medals like the Ad Altare Dei and other merit badges for their participation in the various activities of the Church. Father Matt Williams celebrated the Mass.
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On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending a joint committee of Catholic and Orthodox bishops at the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire.
Both I and Metropolitan Methodios, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, were named co-chairmen last year.
He was appointed by the Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada and I by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The joint committee has been meeting for many decades, and it is always good to get together with Orthodox leaders to talk about ways that we can promote unity between our churches.
On Monday, the Orthodox bishops came to our Catholic Mass and the following Tuesday we attended their Divine Liturgy celebration. It was a wonderful experience.
I certainly learned a lot about the relationships between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. I gave a report on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si. In the opening chapter, Pope Francis quotes extensively from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the primus inter pares (first among equals) of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
There was also a report on the upcoming Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which will be held on the Greek island of Crete on June 17-27. It will be the first time that leaders of all 14 churches will meet together. It has been a very long time since they’ve had this kind of meeting, and of course, the more that the Orthodox can be united among themselves, the greater the possibility for unity with the Catholic Church as well.
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On Wednesday, I traveled back to Pastoral Center to spend time more time with the newly ordained and their families. We always have a luncheon for the ordinands and their parents the week after their ordination.
It was a very nice get together, and one of the highlights is always the opportunity to hear about their experiences celebrating their first Masses.
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I also received the annual report on St. Sebastian School in Needham. I am chairman of their Board of Trustees, and I met with headmaster William Burke, board president James Elcock and board member Kevin Driscoll.
From left to right Kevin Driscoll, William Burke and James Elcock
The report was very positive. It’s a unique school. Not only do the educators there prepare their students for top flight universities, but at the same time, they instill a very strong Catholic identity. They really prepare young men to live their faith in the modern world. The school will be celebrating their 75th anniversary next year.
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The same day, I attended the wake of Father Francis Garrity, cousin to Msgr. Paul Garrity, who celebrated the funeral Mass.
The wake was held at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Swampscott, and his sister spoke about how much Father Garrity loved being a priest. I also want to share with you a beautiful tribute, written by Joe Fitzgerald in the Boston Herald.
Until my next post.