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27
Jun

A disappointing decision by the Supreme Court

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Hello and welcome,

As a citizen of the United States and a Catholic bishop, I am saddened by the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage.

The institution of marriage understood in its human, moral and legal dimensions is a fundamental building block of any society. The protection of marriage and families is a shared responsibility for all of us.

In a pluralistic society we inevitably  face disagreements about important political and legal questions. But our division over this question in its moral, political and legal significance is particularly painful.

Certainly every citizen of this land, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserves to be respected in their personal and civic life. But enshrining same sex marriage in our constitutional system of governance has dangers that may become fully evident only over time.

I can only express my disappointment with the decision and invite members of my own religious community to remember and reaffirm the fundamental truths of our faith about marriage. At the same time, faced with a decision that embodies a quite different understanding of the meaning of marriage than held by the Church, we should as citizens and Catholics both protect our own deeply held values and participate with civility and charity in the continuing national discussion about this decision.

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Last Saturday, the Portsmouth Institute at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island held their Summer Conference, which focused this year on the ministry of Pope Francis.Abbey-02-IMG_4289

The conference was sponsored by Portsmouth Abbey, the Benedictine’s St. Louis Abbey, as well as the Portsmouth Abbey School.

I attended the Vespers service and then delivered the evening keynote talk on Pope Francis.Abbey-03-IMG_4290

The conference included many fine speakers including Ross Douthat and John Carr, who formerly worked with the USCCB and is now at Georgetown University.Abbey-01-IMG_4288

During my visit, I ran into Deacon Tim Flanigan, the doctor who had been in Liberia working to reopen the Catholic hospitals during the Ebola crisis. I was very happy to have seen him.

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Saturday, here at the Cathedral we had a Family Day Festival, which was very lively. They started with Mass and then had an outdoor festival with food and a concert.IMG_4294

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Then, I celebrated a Mass with members of Opus Dei to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of their founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá.StJosemaria

In my homily, I reflected on one of the themes of the Second Vatican Council: the universal call to holiness, which was a very important part of the spirituality of St. Josemaría. Of course, it was also an important part of the spirituality of Pope John Paul II, who canonized about 500 saints and beatified over 1000 others. I talked about how many of these saints who lived closer to our time have had a great impact on us, and that it is an encouragement to realize that we are all called to a life of discipleship and holiness.

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That afternoon, I went to St. Columbkille’s in Brighton to celebrate the candidacy of seminarian Tom Olson, who studies at St. John’s and has been working at that parish for the last couple years. Admission to candidacy is the last major step a man takes before being ordained a transitional deacon and then a priest.StC-02-IMG_4298

His parents and a number of his classmates were there for the occasion, along with a large number of the young adults that he works with at the parish.

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Sunday, I went to St. Lawrence Church in Brookline to celebrate a Mass at which we instituted three new lectors and two acolytes from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The ministries of lector and acolyte are what we used to call the “minor orders” and mark important milestones on the path to priesthood.Institution of lectors and acolytes for Redemptoris Mater Seminary at St. Lawrence Church in Brookline June 21, 2015.<br />
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy<br />
Institution of lectors and acolytes for Redemptoris Mater Seminary at St. Lawrence Church in Brookline June 21, 2015.<br />
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy<br />
Institution of lectors and acolytes for Redemptoris Mater Seminary at St. Lawrence Church in Brookline June 21, 2015.<br />
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy<br />
Institution of lectors and acolytes for Redemptoris Mater Seminary at St. Lawrence Church in Brookline June 21, 2015.<br />
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy<br />
Institution of lectors and acolytes for Redemptoris Mater Seminary at St. Lawrence Church in Brookline June 21, 2015.<br />
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy<br />
Institution of lectors and acolytes for Redemptoris Mater Seminary at St. Lawrence Church in Brookline June 21, 2015.<br />
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy<br />

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That evening I attended a prayer service at the Bethel AME church in Jamaica Plain held in remembrance of the victims of the church shooting at the Emmanuel AME Church Charleston, South Carolina. I was asked to give the opening remarks for the service.

The church was just packed and there was a great cross-section of clergy from around the city, including a rabbi and an imam.

I think it was an important event to come together to show solidarity. We pray that these tragic and violent racist acts will end.

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Each year, we have a spring retreat for our seminarians who come together from the different seminaries. This year our retreat was held at the Franciscan Guesthouse in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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It’s always a great experience to have all the seminarians together – those who study in Rome, at St. John’s, at Redemptoris Mater and Our Lady of Providence.FGH-03-IMG_430006FGH-01-IMG_430107

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On Wednesday, we had a Mass at the Pastoral Center to honor the priests and brothers in the archdiocese who are celebrating their 25th anniversaries this year. In all, there were nine priests and two brothers celebrating their silver jubilee.Mass for priest and brothers celebrating silver jubilees, June 24, 2015. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Mass for priest and brothers celebrating silver jubilees, June 24, 2015. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Mass for priest and brothers celebrating silver jubilees, June 24, 2015. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Mass for priest and brothers celebrating silver jubilees, June 24, 2015. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

We were joined by many other priests and several of our auxiliary bishops for the occasion.Mass for priest and brothers celebrating silver jubilees, June 24, 2015. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Afterwards we gathered for lunch.

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Then that evening, we had one of our regular meetings of priests ordained within the last five years. We gathered together for a holy hour and dinner. Mass for priest and brothers celebrating silver jubilees, June 24, 2015. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

During our gathering, we always like to talk about different aspects of spirituality and ongoing formation. This time, among the topics we discussed was the Holy Father’s new encyclical on the environment.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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20
Jun

Laudato Si’

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Hello and welcome:

I want to begin this week addressing the tragic events in South Carolina.

We join all people of faith and good will in prayerful solidarity with the Emanuel AME Church congregation and community of Charleston during this time of loss and heartache. It is foundational to our country’s heritage that places of worship always be sanctuaries of prayer, safety and peace. We must reject these senseless acts of hatred and brutality in society. Commending the victims of this attack to God’s loving mercy, we pray for healing through the words of the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

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Now, on the events of my week…

Last Saturday I traveled to Brockton where the tri-parish community was celebrating the 100th anniversary of St. Edward’s Church of St. Edith Stein Parish. Brockton-St Edith Stein_Brockton 02

Many of the priests who formerly worked there came back for the celebration. Following the celebration in the church, they had an outdoor celebration with a very large cake.IMG_4270IMG_4272

They showed me the bench that was the memorial for Father Brian Smith, who had been the associate there at the time of his death at a very young age.

This week it was brought home to me how many young priests we have had in recent years who, after very short tenure, passed away.IMG_4275

In particular this week, we remembered Father Dan Kennedy who was honored in Needham by having a bridge named after him. Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />

There was a ceremony at St. Bartholomew’s, followed by a blessing of the bridge and unveiling of a memorial plaque on the bridge. The ceremony and dedication was very well attended by family, friends and many from the community, despite the driving rain.Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />
Father Daniel Kennedy memorial bridge dedication in Needham, Mass., June 15, 2015.<br />
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo<br />

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Sunday was a very full day, with many important celebrations. We began in the morning with the Gold and Silver Wedding Jubilee Mass at the Cathedral. It was a very beautiful celebration, during which about 250 couples renewed their vows.WeddingAnniv-GTracy_IMG_0382WeddingAnniv-GTracy_AX5E2010WeddingAnniv-GTracy_IMG_0402WeddingAnniv-GTracy_AX5E2031WeddingAnniv-GTracy_AX5E2036WeddingAnniv-GTracy_AX5E2028

The cathedral was nearly full with family and friends who were there to witness the occasion. I always find this celebration a wonderful witness of the importance of married life in today’s world.WedAnniv2015-GTracy-25years-01WedAnniv2015-GTracy-25years-02WedAnniv2015-GTracy-50years-01WedAnniv2015-GTracy-50years-02WedAnniv2015-GTracy-50years-03WedAnniv2015-GTracy-Over50-IMG_0429

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Then, in the afternoon I went to St. Theresa’s in West Roxbury to celebrate the Mass for the 100th anniversary of the Daughters of St. Paul. We were happy that many of the members of the Pauline family were there including several Pauline priests and the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master. We were also joined by many priests of the archdiocese, as well.Daughters100-CPineo-01Daughters100-CPineo-02Daughters100-CPineo-03Daughters100-CPineo-04Daughters100-CPineo-05Daughters100-CPineo-06Daughters100-CPineo-07Daughters100-CPineo-08Daughters100-CPineo-09

Following the Mass, there was a reception in the parish hall that Monsignor Helmick graciously hosted for us.Daughters100-CPineo-10Daughters100-CPineo-11

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In the evening was the annual gala to benefit the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston. RMSGala2015-GTracy-038RMSGala2015-GTracy-044RMSGala2015-GTracy-105RMSGala2015-GTracy-097RMSGala2015-GTracy-107During the evening, the rector, Father Tony Medeiros announced the seminary’s plan to expand its current facilities in Brookline.RMSGala2015-GTracy-131RMSGala2015-GTracy-103

They also showed a video highlighting the ministry of Pope Paul VI.

The keynote speaker of the evening was Professor Robert George, a very famous Catholic intellectual from Princeton University. He gave a very excellent presentation.

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Monday I met with Jim Towey, the president of Ave Maria University. He was very happy to share with me that their enrollment has almost doubled and that he has established an institute there for Mother Teresa. 2332R-Web

One of the things that they have been doing has been sending their students around the country — and around the world — to work in projects that were initiated by Mother Teresa. They are trying to very strongly incorporate service of the poor as part of their formation of these young Catholics.

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That afternoon was the St. John’s Seminary board meeting.LOGO_AUG_8_2014_w2

We are very grateful for all the hard work of the board members in support of the seminary’s formation programs.

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On Tuesday, I celebrated the funeral for Father Bill Garland, who was an old friend of mine. IMG_4285-2

He had a long and distinguished career in Catholic education and served as the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Fall River when I was bishop there.

Father Garland was an Augustinian, and the funeral was celebrated St. Augustine Church in Andover. Father Peter Gori and the Augustinian provincial, Father Michael Di Gregorio, were with us.

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In the afternoon, I attended the groundbreaking for a new building of the St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, which will provide housing for 12 formerly homeless families. The new building will be very close to the St. Mary’s Center, which will provide them with support and services that will assist them during their time of transition.244

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Following, that I returned to the Pastoral Center where I visited with Mr. John Nash and Dr. James Mandell, a board member from the Franciscan Hospital for Children, who spoke with me about a number of their initiatives.IMG_4277

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Following that, I met with Bishop Joseph Zziwa of Kiyinda–Mityana, Uganda; Father Francis and Father Michael Nolan (whose Ugandan name is “Father Bbaale,” incidentally).IMG_427912

Bishop Zziwa was here to celebrate the feast of the Ugandan Martyrs at St. Mary’s in Waltham. We have a large Ugandan Catholic community in the archdiocese, and often, a bishop will come from Uganda to celebrate the feast day with them.

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Wednesday, Father Michael Harrington and six priests from different countries serving in the archdiocese who had recently completed their enculturation program came for a visit.IMG_4282

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Following that meeting I went to the wake for Jonathan Dos Santos, the young man who was tragically gunned down in Dorchester.

This young man had been a regular participant in activities at the Catholic Charities’ St. Peter’s Teen Center in Dorchester, and it would appear that the reason he was killed was that he resisted pressure to join a local gang.

His parents are immigrants from Cape Verde, and are active parishioners at St. Peter’s where the wake was held. There were hundreds and hundreds of people at the wake and the line was down the street.

I was happy to be there to try to console his parents and sister, and lead the prayers and Portuguese hymns to bring some consolation to that community, which has suffered so much.

While I was there I met other people who told me that their children had also died in this type of gun violence. The presence of so many firearms and the violence that claims so many innocent lives in that community is just heartbreaking.

We are very happy that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston has been very much involved in addressing some of these problems, particularly with the Teen Center, which has been a godsend for so many neighborhood teenagers — keeping them in school, out of gangs and preparing them for college.

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And, of course this week the Holy Father issued his long-awaited encyclical on the environment and protecting creation, Laudato Si’. It is gratifying to see the kind of attention that this very important statement has commanded in the media.LAUDATO SI 2.indd

I gave an interview to the Spanish-language network Univision. I find it interesting that all the research indicates that the Hispanic community has been very concerned with the issue of the environment, and I’m very happy Univision wanted to cover the pope’s words on this matter. IMG_775214

Perhaps some wonder why there is such interest in this among Hispanics. I think, firstly, as the Holy Father often says, there is a connection between the poor and the fragility of the ecology, and many of these people have seen the suffering they can come about because of devastation of the environment. Also the Hispanic population is a very young population, and I believe young people in general are more focused on issues of the environment. I think, in part, that is because they see they are inheriting this world that, as the Holy Father says, is crying out for protection.

Earlier this week, I issued a statement urging everyone to read this new encyclical, and I would like to share it with you here:

I welcome with joy and gratitude the encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’” (“Praise be to You”) on the urgent human, moral and religious issue of the environment.  The first pope to take the name of Francis opens the letter with a phrase from St. Francis of Assisi whose spirit and vision is evident throughout the encyclical.

The Holy Father has given us a powerful, careful, prayerful analysis of two great ideas.  The first idea, “Our Common Home,” the phrase he uses to describe the environment; the “home” for the human family is in severe danger and needs immediate protection and healing at the global, national and local levels of life.  The second idea is that while the threatened state of the environment is a universal challenge affecting us all, those most in danger in the present and future are those already poor and vulnerable, within states and across the globe.

This constant linkage throughout the encyclical of the dual need to respect and protect “Our Common Home” and the need to respect and protect the dignity and lives of the poor may be regarded as the distinctive characteristic of this powerful message of Pope Francis.  Both of these themes have been evident since the beginning of Pope Francis’s pontificate but this letter joins them with new depth and specificity.
“Laudato Si’” is permeated by a sense of human, moral and religious urgency, but the Pope recognizes the factual complexity of the joining of the environment and poverty.  He states his case this way: “We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental” (#139). In preparing the encyclical the Holy Father has consulted broadly in the scientific community, convinced, as he says, that the challenge facing “Our Common Home” provides a moment when religion and science can be joined in a crucial partnership.
The encyclical letter provides an overview of the specific issues which are well known in secular discussions of the environment: climate changes, shortages of safe clean water, the economic impact of choices made to address environmental threats and the need for wise and courageous political choices nationally and globally.

The letter is the voice of a pastor and teacher who leads a universal church across regions, cultures and nations.  Pope Francis draws deeply on the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and the Catholic social tradition as he develops the religious and moral foundation of his message.  He relies heavily on the teaching of his immediate predecessors in the papacy; beginning with John XXII though Paul VI and particularly St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  Chapter Two of the encyclical “The Gospel of Creation” draws deeply and broadly from biblical and theological scholarship to stress the specific meaning the environmental challenge is for Catholics.  But the letter in the Pope’s mind has a broader audience.  He states his intention at the outset to enter into the diverse global dialogue already underway about the threats to “Our Common Home.” He offers this letter as a contribution to the global conversation.  He acknowledges with gratitude the resources other religious communities and traditions have made to the conversation, and he explicitly states that while many participants addressing the environment do not hold a religious perspective, he invites consideration of what religious vision and tradition can offer.

When Pope Francis turns to the moral dimensions of the environment and poverty, his themes are solidly grounded in the Catholic tradition of social teaching. Familiar Catholic themes of social justice, the option for the poor and the demands of the common good permeate the letter.  The Holy Father adds a distinctive note to these in his call for an “integral ecology” seeking to bring the traditional ideas to confront the authentically new challenges posed by the environment and poverty.

“Laudato Si’” is a teaching document to be sure; but it is also a call for action at every level of our common life.  In the final two chapters of the letter, Pope Francis highlights some of the choices which face individuals, states and international institutions if the twin problems of protecting the environment and honoring the equal dignity of all are to be faced effectively.
This encyclical, appearing still early in a new century, is designed to have a long shelf-life.  The problems it analyzes are both urgent and complex; the responses to these must begin now, but will take time to come to fruition.  I commend the letter to audiences inside and beyond the Catholic community and I pray for its reception and effective implementation.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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13
Jun

Celebrating the Cardinal Cushing Centers

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Hello and welcome!

Last Thursday, we had the annual anniversary Mass at Regina Cleri for the priests both diocesan and religious who were celebrating 50 years of ordination. ReginaCleri_04

We began with Mass and afterwards we had dinner together.ReginaCleri_01ReginaCleri_03ReginaCleri_05

At the dinner we presented Msgr. Paul McManus with a birthday cake marking his 99th birthday.

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On the cake there was one candle, which I held out for him to blow out.

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Following the Mass at Regina Cleri, I attended the annual fundraising banquet for the Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover. CCUshingCntrs

The event supports the wonderful work of the center, taking care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There was a time when I believe most of those served by the center would have been children with Down syndrome, but now they serve people with of a variety of disabilities and adults as well as children.

IMG_4245With Lisa Alberghini of our Planning Office for Urban Affairs; Franciscan Sister Joanne Schatzlein from Milwaukee who is on the Board of Directors; and the director of the Cardinal Cushing Centers, Jo Ann Simons

IMG_4247During the evening they presented the Franciscan Leadership Award to Leo and Paul Vercollone of VERC Enterprises for their commitment to helping employ people with intellectual disabilities.

As I like to say, there were so many initiatives the Cardinal Cushing began that I could spend my whole life going around celebrating the anniversaries of the many great institutions – mission societies, hospitals, seminaries and schools – that he founded. But of all the many things he did, his favorite was the St. Coletta School, which is now the Cardinal Cushing Centers. StColettaCushingCenters

In fact, it was for that reason that he asked to be buried there in a Chapel which is a beautiful replica of the Portiuncula in Assisi.chapel

The gift that they gave me for the evening was a drawing of the Portiuncula by a young man who is at the Cardinal Cushing Centers.IMG_4246

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Saturday, I went to celebrate the Capuchin ordinations for the St. Augustine Province in Pittsburgh.

There were two Friars ordained, Brother John Paul and Brother Manuel, who is from El Salvador. There were many Salvadorans in attendance so, of course, we commented on the recent beatification of Archbishop Romero.2015ORD03(2)2015ORD06(2)2015ORD09(2)2015ORD10(1)2015ORD11(1)2015ORD122015ORD16(1)2015ORD182015ORD192015ORD202015ORD22

It was a great joy to ordain two more Capuchin Friars to the priesthood and to be with my brothers from the St. Augustine Province of the Capuchins.

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Following the ordination, I departed for Rome for meetings with the Holy Father and the group of Cardinals who are advising him.IMG_4251

On Monday, we began our meetings.

As has been announced, one of the issues that we addressed was the establishment of a new tribunal that will deal with bishops in cases where there has been a lack of oversight or other malfeasance in the direction of a diocese concerning abuse of minors. A new section will be established within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Ever since the abuse crisis began, one of the strongest objections has been that the Church has not had a mechanism to really deal with issues of accountability, or that the structures that were in place were insufficient. So, it is our hope that this new tribunal will be able to address that problem.

The new tribunal will also help to deal with the backlog of open cases against accused priests, of which there are many. This has also been a very great concern among those in the Church — that it has taken so long to process these cases. It has been a great source of anxiety for the accused priests, the victims, the parishes and the dioceses involved. So, this tribunal also will help to address another very important need in the Church.

We are grateful for all the work by the members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors and Msgr. Robert Oliver around these issues. It is something that we have been working on for a long time and we are very glad that it has come to fruition.

Another issue that we dealt with was the establishment of a plan to reorganize the communications departments of the Holy See, bringing together the various entities such as L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Television, Vatican Radio, the Holy See Press Office and other related entities.

We are very grateful to the Holy Father for having accepted these two recommendations.

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As I always like to do when I’m in Rome, I spent some time visiting with our seminarians who are studying there.IMG_4259

One evening, we went to the Piazza Navona where we had ice cream and watched a performance by a fire dancer, which was quite a treat!IMG_4254IMG_4258IMG_4260

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On Tuesday, I joined a group of Catholic journalists led by Father Roger Landry for dinner by the Pantheon.IMG_4253

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On Wednesday, I happened to meet this group of students from Ave Maria University on the street and they asked to have their picture taken with me.IMG_4257
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During this time, the bishops of Puerto Rico were in Rome for their ad limina visits and I had the opportunity to have dinner with Archbishop of San Juan Roberto González, who had been auxiliary Bishop in Boston; Bishop Álvaro Corrada del Río, who is Bishop of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. We were also joined by Father Chris Marino, who is the rector of the Cathedral of Miami.IMG_4250

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And yesterday, before leaving for home, I went to have lunch at the Capuchin curia with our Father General.

While I was there, I noticed this painting of several Capuchin saints including Padre Pio and Father Leopold, a very famous confessor whom I believe the Holy Father mentioned in his letter announcing the Year of Mercy.IMG_4262-2

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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06
Jun

Groundbreaking at Pope St. John XXIII Seminary

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Hello and welcome!

Thursday, the consecrated virgins in the archdiocese joined us for our daily Mass at the Pastoral Center and afterwards there was a luncheon and meeting with them.

During the lunch, we had a discussion of some of our activities for the Year for Consecrated Life and also the upcoming Jubilee Year for Mercy. They were also able to share some of the activities they are involved in.

Also with us at the lunch was Elizabeth Lee from Fall River and Sister Marian Batho, our Delegate for Religious Life in the archdiocese. The vocation of the consecrated virgin is an important one for the Church that has been restored by the Second Vatican Council and we are very blessed to have so many consecrated virgins here in the archdiocese.

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That afternoon, we had the annual meeting of the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, commonly known simply as The St. James Society, held at their headquarters in St. Stephen’s Church in the North End.StJamesSoc2

It was a very positive and hopeful meeting. The director of the society, Father David Costello, was happy to report that there have been a number of new applications for membership by priests who would like to be missionaries in Latin America. StJamesSoc-IMG_4221

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From there, I went to New York to celebrate the ordination for the Capuchin Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis, which is the New Jersey province of the Capuchins. They had one priestly ordination, a young man by the name of Father Robert Perez.FrPerez-162FrPerez-209FrPerez-37FrPerez-41FrPerez-49FrPerez-53FrPerez-54FrPerez-56FrPerez-92FrPerez-98FrPerez-100

Though it is the New Jersey province, they have a parish in the Bronx and that is where the ordination was held. It has been a very historically important Italian-American parish and today many other immigrant groups are there as well. IMG_4222

The parish also has a community of cloistered Capuchin Sisters, who were allowed to attend the ordination as well.IMG_4223

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By Trinity Sunday I was back in Boston, and I went to Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston for a special Mass of Thanksgiving to celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador, which took place on May 23. Photo_IMG_3989

Archbishop Romero was a personal friend of mine, and so it was a very moving experience. I would have attended his beatification myself if it were not that we had so many very important events taking place here in the archdiocese on Pentecost weekend, including our ordinations to the priesthood.

The Salvadoran community turned out in great numbers for the Mass. The church was standing room only and they had screens set up downstairs for the overflow crowd. HREB-IMG_4224

In my homily, I spoke about the role Archbishop Romero played in his lifetime. Jesus talks about his mission of being a messenger of good news to the poor, and that is certainly what Archbishop Romero was, and he paid for it with his life. Yet, his memory has had a great impact in the Church.

I reflected on how most Americans learned about Archbishop Romero through the movie “Romero.” Romero_(1989,_film_poster)

As I have mentioned here before, the actor who played Archbishop Romero in the film was Raúl Juliá who, to prepare for the role, read the sermons that made such an impact on the people of El Salvador. The actor was so moved by the sermons that he returned the practice of the faith and, shortly thereafter, died himself. So, in a sense, even he was saved by Archbishop Romero, whose life, ministry and witness touched so many people.

Of course, hundreds of thousands of people attended the ceremony in El Salvador. We were so happy to be able to mark the occasion with the local Salvadoran and Hispanic communities in Boston.

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The following day, we had the annual board meeting of The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. CUA-Logo

Catholic University is the bishops’ university and one where so many priests, bishops and religious have been trained over the years and it has important ecclesiastical faculties that serve our Church all over the country.

I am honored to be on the board and, in fact, at this meeting I was elected president of the board for a three-year term. Archbishop Allen Vigneron was concluding his term, and we are very grateful for the fine job that he did. IMG_4227

Though I wasn’t seeking the position, having studied there and taught there, I was very honored. But, as Cardinal Wuerl joked with me, “You come to all the meetings anyway!”

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On Wednesday, we had the groundbreaking at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary of a new facility that will be their library and communications center. Many alumni of the seminary, members of the board of trustees, and benefactors were present for the occasion.

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The hope is that the center will be completed by Christmas, and I know it will be a wonderful addition to the seminary.11402756_996108263742104_4070547866631055201_o11406234_996108773742053_6096120828623267198_o11402265_996108817075382_3187189661895228758_o11402314_996108720408725_2020240002210930573_o

11406124_996108997075364_38028834535574848_oPope St. John Seminary is flourishing and this is just a further enhancement of the facilities that are required for the wonderful formation of priests that takes place at the seminary, which over the last 50 years has formed almost 800 priests for Boston and the world.

CatholicTV produced this fine video of the occasion and I want to share it with you here:

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Finally this week, I received a surprise visit from Father Jose Ignacio Somoza, a Franciscan Friar who worked with me in Washington for many years. Father is Cuban, and is now working at St. Timothy’s Parish in Miami.Somoza-IMG_4231

Father Somoza was very involved with the Hispanic community in Washington and, in fact, even worked in the bilingual program in the public schools.

It was wonderful to see him.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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30
May

Five new priests ordained for Boston

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Welcome back!

Last Friday night we gathered with the deacons at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on the eve of the ordination, to pray together, to have a meal. After that meal, I gave them their assignment letters and their faculty letters.

Then the next morning at the Cathedral was the ceremony itself. It was very well attended with five men being ordained to the priesthood.

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Ordinations are always a very important moment for the archdiocese — a time of renewal, a time of great hope, and many priests and people filled the cathedral.

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Ordination Mass of Fathers Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23, 2015. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

We were blessed with a beautiful day. It was about 60 degrees out and sunny, which for a ceremony is perfect since the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is not air conditioned.

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This was the Vigil of Pentecost. I told them that they were our Pentecostal priests, because their ordination was on the vigil and their first Masses were all on the Feast of Pentecost.

Ordination Mass of Fathers Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23, 2015. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Ordination Mass of Fathers Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23, 2015. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Ordination Mass of Fathers Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23, 2015. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Ordination Mass of Fathers Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23, 2015. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Ordination Mass of Fathers Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23, 2015. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Ordination Mass of Fathers Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23, 2015. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

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That afternoon we had our Pentecost Vigil.

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We had a full cathedral for that, and the various apostolic movements and ecclesial communities were invited along with the different language groups and the neophytes, the new Catholics — those who were received into the Church on Holy Saturday either by baptism or by profession of faith.

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We decided to invite them this year because due to our winter storms, we were unable to celebrate the Rite of Election in the cathedral. So this gave these new Catholics an opportunity to experience the broader Church and to be part of a ceremony at the cathedral. We were very happy to do that. There were also 25 confirmations for the Cathedral of the Holy Cross parish.

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The Gospel was read in eight languages. A lot of Catholics had never experienced the Pentecost Vigil. Some of our priests didn’t even know about it. I myself must admit that I didn’t realize it was in the missal until Pope Saint John Paul II did it in the Vatican. He also did it with the ecclesial communities because he wanted to stress that these communities are a result of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He wanted to stress also the unity that these new communities need to work together to build up the Church. IMG_3910

The format is similar to the Easter Vigil, the extended Liturgy of the Word, four Old Testament readings, from the Epistles, and then the Gospel. Pentecost, most people I don’t think realize, is the third most important feast day in the Church after Easter and Christmas. So, I’m very happy the response has been so good— it’s a long ceremony, but it’s a very beautiful ceremony — to this vigil.

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That Sunday, we had confirmations for the Brazilian community. Many of them came.

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Sister Elisete helps to organize that, and the Daughters of St. Paul filmed. It’s always a wonderful event. The Brazilian community has a great sense of joy and enthusiasm. They bring their own musicians.

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The next day, the Capuchins of my province gathered the entire province together.

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They asked me to give a keynote on Monday, so I went on Monday and came back on Tuesday. It was wonderful to see all the friars there. I think there were about 150, and it was almost the whole province. Bishop Bill Fey, who is the Bishop of Kimbe in Papua New Guinea came. The local bishop of Harrisburg, Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, came and led us in the vespers Monday, which was very nice. It’s always wonderful to see all the friars.

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Wednesday, we had guests at the Pastoral Center.

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It has always been the custom here to have the newly ordained come to the Pastoral Center with members of their families for a luncheon.

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It is very nice, because the day of the ordination with all the people and everything we don’t really have a chance to spend any time with them. At the luncheon, all of them were reporting back on their first Masses. As I said, we were very blessed with good weather for the weekend. That made it very nice for the Pentecost celebrations of their first Masses.

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That day we also met with all the pro-life directors from New England. They gather here once a year. Of course, they do such wonderful work.

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Our pro-life director Marianne Luthin is very much involved with them. Of course, among the many topics discussed this year was that of physician assisted suicide. We are very indebted to the hard work and commitment of these pro-life directors. I’m glad that they have a support community and are able to share their ideas and resources in this very important centerpiece of our social doctrine of the Catholic Church — the sacredness of life.

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Last but not least we had a meeting with the APC, at which Kathy Mears, our head of Catholic Schools, gave a report on Catholic education and Father Matt Williams on the importance of ministry to youth and young adults. Then I talked to them a little bit about the Jubilee Year. It was a very good meeting.

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