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27
Aug

Ordaining Bishops Reed and O’Connell

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Hello and welcome!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent much of last week in Kennebunkport, Maine, on my annual retreat with the bishops of the Boston Province, including then Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell. We were also joined by the bishops of the Hartford Province, so we were a large group.

The Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunkport is staffed by Conventual Franciscans, who were wonderful hosts and provided great hospitality. For a long time, this summer retreat was held at the retreat center on Enders Island in Connecticut, but this is the second time we have come to this location.1

Our retreat master for the week was Father Thomas Rosica, the director of Salt & Light Television and a Scripture scholar. During the week we had an opportunity to view a couple of videos on Canadian Brother André Bessette and Vietnamese Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan.

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Following the retreat, I went to Pittsburgh for the Rite of Perpetual Profession of five Capuchins Friars at St. Augustine Church.SolVows16_00001

After the novitiate, the friars take simple vows, usually for three years. Then, they take perpetual or solemn vows. That’s what these men were doing, making their final profession.SolVow16_00006SolVow16_00008SolVow16_00009SolVow16_00012SolVow16_00017SolVow16_00018SolVow16_00019SolVow16_00022SolVow16_00023SolVow16_00026SolVow16_00028SolVow16_00031

It is always a joy to participate in these moments in the life of the community that remind me of my own vows and my ordination to the priesthood, which took place in that same church, the German Church in Pittsburgh.

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And, of course, we were blessed this week to ordain our two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Boston: Bishops Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell, both of whom bring such different gifts to the ministry of bishop.EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_007EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_014EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_018EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_020EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_025EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_026

Their ordination was met with great joy by the presbyterate, which was present in huge numbers, as well as hundreds of the faithful. We were also joined by about 35 bishops for the ordination.  EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_037EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_038EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_041EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_042EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_043EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_047EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_050EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_051EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_053EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_056EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_059EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_071EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_076EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_068

We were also very honored to have Archbishop Christophe Pierre with us, making his first visit to Boston as papal nuncio. EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_083EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_086EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_088EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_089

The choir from St. Paul’s Choir School sang for the Mass, which was just glorious.EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_193

As I mentioned in my homily, for us as Catholics the ordination of a bishop is a defining moment because, without our bishops, we would have no magisterium, no possibility to forgive sins or to celebrate the Eucharist, or to ordain priests and deacons. So, clearly, it’s a very important event in the life of the Church.

This is why the apostolic succession is guarded with such care and why, at an episcopal ordination, there are two co-consecrators, just to ensure the valid transmission of this apostolic succession takes place in the Church. EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_070EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_074EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_102EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_103EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_105EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_107EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_108EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_112EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_116EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_123EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_125EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_134EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_137EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_139EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_069EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_144EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_151EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_152EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_164EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_167EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_168

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The Cathedral was filled for the joyous occasion. We are so grateful to Judy Haglof, Father Jonathan Gaspar, Father Kevin O’Leary, and all the many volunteers who worked so hard to coordinate the myriad of details required to organize this celebration. Thanks to their efforts, it really was a grand day.EspiscopalOrd16-GTracy_241

 

– – –

Finally, I want to note that we are all greatly distressed by the news coming from Italy of the tragic earthquake and aftershocks that struck there this week. There has been terrible loss of life, many injuries, and extensive damage to homes and property.POPE-AUDIENCE-ITALY-QUAKE

Italy is such a beautiful country and yet they have this propensity for earthquakes, which are so terrible. I have experienced many tremors in my life — when I was in the West Indies and once in Mexico — but a full-blown earthquake must be just a horrific experience. There is no way to prepare for such a sudden event, which causes so much destruction.

Certainly, our thoughts and prayers accompany the people in these terrible circumstances.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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20
Aug

Father Matt Williams reflects on this year’s WYD in Kraków

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This week I have been participating at the yearly retreat for the bishops of the New England Province. We usually go to Saint Edmund’s on Enders Island in Connecticut but this year we changed locations and spent the week at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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With the bishops of the Province

I asked Father Matt Williams, who led a group of Boston youth to Kraków in Poland for World Youth Day, to chronicle the pilgrimage. As you know if you follow my posts, I also participated at the event and met there with them several occasions, but I thought it would be good to learn about the event from their perspective.

clip_image002With Father Matt at the Mercy Center in Kraków

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The last time the Church celebrated an Extraordinary Jubilee Year was in 1983-1984, commemorating the 1950th anniversary of Redemption. During this Holy Year, Pope St. John Paul II invited the young people of the world to join him on Palm Sunday for a special celebration. At this gathering he entrusted a special cross that was made for the jubilee year to the youth of the world. This cross would eventually become the World Youth Day Cross, an iconic symbol of this international gathering, which travels throughout the world as a sacred reminder of God’s love and mercy in Jesus Christ. Last month this cross came to the beloved land of St. John Paul II, as the city of Kraków hosted the 2016 World Youth Day (WYD).

Pilgrims from Australia carry the World Youth Day cross during the opening Mass July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) See WYD-OPEN-BLONIA-MASS July 26, 2016.

The theme and location for this year’s WYD, understood within the wider context of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, was inspired by the Holy Spirit. “Blessed are the Merciful” was the theme, and this message was proclaimed in homilies, festivals, and major addresses throughout the pilgrimage. Each WYD there is a song that is written to help expound upon the theme and unite the millions of pilgrims who attend. Here is a link to the official Polish version.

The city of Kraków was the perfect location for this WYD, as it is the central place where the Divine Mercy message was given to St. Faustina. From Kraków, this message came to be celebrated and promulgated throughout the whole world. What better place to contemplate the mercy of God and our call to be merciful than this extraordinary center chosen by Divine Providence. God really knows how to do things!

As you will see below, pilgrims from all over the world, and in a particular way our Boston Pilgrims, were immersed into a fount of mercy. This country, with its great saints, beautiful churches, and devout Catholics, provided the perfect ambiance for a transformative World Youth Day Pilgrimage.

Our pilgrimage began on Thursday July 21st as over 360 Pilgrims departed on multiple flights. Our final destination was Warsaw.

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Flying into Warsaw allowed us to be able to visit the capital city of Poland and also visit other parts of the country as we made our way to Kraków.

After we checked into our hotels, we went to the town of Niepokalanow, where St. Maximilian Kolbe founded a Conventual Franciscan monastery. It was here that they operated a major religious publishing center, seminary and radio station.

There is a beautiful basilica there, dedicated to Our Lady as the “Immaculate Mediatrix of Grace.” We were blessed to be able to celebrate Holy Mass here. Fr. Chris Hickey celebrated the Mass and did a great job of getting us ready for this pilgrimage of mercy. Fr. Chris has been to 8 World Youth Days!

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After a sound night of sleep and a hearty breakfast, we made our way to the parish church of the Holiest Savior for Holy Mass. Fr. Marc Bishop, another veteran of World Youth Day, was the celebrant and did a wonderful job of speaking to our pilgrims about the great things God wants to do during this pilgrimage.

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After Mass we visited Victory Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. This Square is also known for an historic Mass celebrated by St. John Paul II in 1979. Over 1 million attended and together they spontaneously chanted “we want God.” It is believed that this Mass marked the beginning of the fall of communism in Poland.

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After we visited the old city center of Warsaw, we traveled to the parish church of Bl. Jerzy Popieluszko. Bl. Jerzy was martyred in 1984 for his spiritual leadership in opposition to the communist Polish government of the time.

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Our next stop was to join up with over 1,000 US pilgrims for a Polish BBQ.

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After the BBQ there was a mini-rally and talk hosted by Chris Stafanick.

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After his talk we gathered in a parish church named after the Divine Mercy. It was a beautiful, modern church with spectacular mosaics and three levels of seating. Once gathered we had Eucharistic Adoration and Confessions. What a great way to begin a pilgrimage!

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On Sunday, July 24th we made our way to the city of Czestochowa to visit the monastery of Jasna Gora which houses the beautiful icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa (otherwise known as the “Black Madonna”), the “Queen of Poland.”

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We were able to celebrate Holy Mass at the altar directly below the original icon itself. It was very crowded as all of those pilgrims from the previous day’s BBQ were here for the Mass as well.

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It was a such a blessing to be with so many priests from the Archdiocese.

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After Holy Mass we embarked for the “City of Saints” – Kraków. And it was so good to finally get there!!!

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On Monday, July 25th we were up bright and early to head to the former Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

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We were able to walk through these two camp sites and learn about some of the atrocities that occurred on those grounds from a special exhibit on display for WYD which included a telling of the heroic death of St. Maximilian Kolbe, and to spend some time to join hands in prayer together while there on pilgrimage.

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After we visited Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, we traveled to Lagiewniki, which is the location of the Divine Mercy Sanctuary. On these grounds there is the Shrine of Divine Mercy, a center dedicated to St. John Paul II and the convent where St. Faustina lived and is buried (in a chapel that is open to the public).

Cardinal Seán celebrated the Mass at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, along with over 1,500 pilgrims from the United States. The Mass was incredible!

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Cardinal Seán preached: “Indifference to pain and suffering of others is a new extension of the concentration camp. The remedy for this evil is mercy.” He also said that “the face of God is mercy. The face of the Church must be mercy. We must be the face of mercy. Blessed are the merciful.

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After Holy Mass we had our “welcome dinner” with the Cardinal.

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It was great having so many seminarians with us for this pilgrimage!

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On Tuesday, July 26th we were invited to participate in the Pilgrimage of Mercy which began at the St. John Paul II Center and then concluded at the Shrine of Divine Mercy. Hymns, prayers and catechesis were offered, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet was prayed while walking on pilgrimage from the Center to the Shrine.

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On Tuesday evening, World Youth Day 2016 officially commenced with Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Kraków and former personal secretary to St. John Paul II.

In his homily, Cardinal Dziwisz said: “Krakow is alive with the mystery of Divine Mercy, also owing to humble Sister Faustina and John Paul II, who made the Church and the world sensitive to this specific trait of God. Returning to your countries, homes and communities, carry the spark of mercy, reminding everyone that ‘blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7).”

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Now that the WYD events had officially commenced, the Tauron Arena was the host site of our morning Catechesis for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. The morning Catechesis was structured in a very dynamic way; there was an animator who serves as the MC and was responsible for preparing the crowd for the catechesis and threading the session thematically. There were also great musicians there to lead the pilgrims in song, and a variety of people who were designated to give witness talks.

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Our very own Cardinal Seán was the featured Catechist and homilist on Wednesday. After Cardinal Seán delivered his catechesis, he was then asked questions by a few young adults who had been chosen beforehand to participate. The session then concluded with the celebration of Holy Mass.

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Our Boston pilgrims had special t-shirts made for this session. We were O’Malley’s bunch – and we were loud and proud!! The Cardinal told me later that he liked the shirts but he didn’t see the back of them until Mass, and when he saw his name across the back of our shoulders he “almost dropped the ciborium!”

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That Wednesday evening was a night we will never forget! Matt Maher, Bishop Robert Barron, Audrey Assad and Joel Stepanek lead 18,000+ in a “Night of Mercy” featuring an “XLT”. XLT comes from Life Teen and is an abbreviation for “exalt”. It is an evening of praise and worship, a dynamic talk, and Eucharistic Adoration. While presiding over Eucharistic Adoration, Bishop Baron preached: “we want God not just for ourselves but for the world. Go forth everybody with the power of Jesus’ Cross!”

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On Thursday we welcomed the Holy Father to the City of Kraków. In his welcome address, the Holy Father said, “To say that Jesus is alive means to rekindle our enthusiasm in following him, to renew our passionate desire to be his disciples. What better opportunity to renew our friendship with Jesus than by building friendships among yourselves! What better way to build our friendship with Jesus than by sharing him with others! What better way to experience the contagious joy of the Gospel than by striving to bring the Good News to all kinds of painful and difficult situations!”

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On Friday we attended the Stations of the Cross with the Holy Father. During that address the Holy Father told the young people, “Humanity today needs men and women, and especially young people like yourselves, who do not wish to live their lives “halfway”, young people ready to spend their lives freely in service to those of their brothers and sisters who are poorest and most vulnerable, in imitation of Christ who gave himself completely for our salvation. In the face of evil, suffering and sin, the only response possible for a disciple of Jesus is the gift of self, even of one’s own life, in imitation of Christ; it is the attitude of service. Unless those who call themselves Christians live to serve, their lives serve no good purpose. By their lives, they deny Jesus Christ.”

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On Saturday morning, prior to our pilgrimage hike to Campus Misericordia (Mercy Park) which was the location of the overnight vigil and closing Mass, we celebrated Mass with Cardinal Seán at the Basilica dedicated to Our Lady, located in the old city center of Kraków.

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These priests (and their bishop) smell like their sheep!!!! It was an honor being on pilgrimage with these brother priests who have such a heart for the young people of their parishes.

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Some of them were able to share their experiences and reflections about WYD.

After Mass we departed for the vigil site.

The Vigil was beautiful! During his remarks the Holy Father challenged all of us: “The times we live in do not call for young “couch potatoes”, but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced. The times we live in require only active players on the field, and there is no room for those who sit on the bench. Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history because life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark.”

It might be the first time a pope has ever used the words “couch potato” in a public address. After the Vigil, the estimated 2 million gathered there participated in Eucharistic Adoration.

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Then, after a very long day, it was time for bed!

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We woke up bright and early on the field, ready for the culmination of WYD — the closing Mass with Pope Francis. Check out this video of Boston Pilgrims on Sunday morning after the vigil. Early on, all the priests made their way to the concelebrants’ area to get ready for Holy Mass with Pope Francis.

During his homily, Pope Francis told the young people, “We can say that World Youth Day begins today and continues tomorrow, in your homes, since that is where Jesus wants to meet you from now on. The Lord doesn’t want to remain in this beautiful city, or in cherished memories alone. He wants to enter your homes, to dwell in your daily lives: in your studies, your first years of work, your friendships and affections, your hopes and dreams.

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I took a quick selfie with some of my brother priests after the Mass to capture the moment.

For half of the Boston Pilgrims, the World Youth Day Pilgrimage ended once they returned from Campus Misericordiae and boarded buses to the city of the airport they were flying home from. For the other half, we spent a couple of extra days in Zakopane. This beautiful village located in the mountains, close to the boarder of Slovakia, was a place that St. John Paul II used to take young adults and college students for hikes and camping trips. It was so wonderful to have some time to process all that happened on this pilgrimage of mercy and to do so in the beautiful setting of Zakopane, with St. JPII as our guide.

We celebrated Holy Mass both indoors…

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And outdoors…

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There was also time for hiking, shopping for gifts, swimming, rest, processing and prayer.

On the last night we had a special Eucharistic Holy Hour to reflect upon the week and deepen the many ways the Lord was communicating graces of love and mercy to us.

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It was a great way to wrap up the pilgrimage experience before we departed for our return trip to Boston the next morning.

On August 17, 2002 St. John Paul II dedicated the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow. At the end of his homily he shared what was burning in his heart. “Today, therefore, in this Shrine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through St. Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth “the spark which will prepare the world for His final coming” (cf. Diary, 1732).”

Our hope and prayer is that the two million pilgrims who attended this WYD, and in particular our very own Boston pilgrims, will become “the spark” of Jesus’ Divine Mercy to the world and thus prepare it for His final coming.

Special thank you to George Martell for providing all of these photos and videos of the Boston Pilgrims and priests. To see more photos from the 2016 Boston WYD Pilgrimage to Krakow please click here. You can also view many photos and videos on the Archdiocesan Facebook Page.

– – –

On Wednesday of next week, I will be ordaining Bishops-elect Mark O’Connell and Robert P. Reed as auxiliary bishops of Boston. This is a very exciting moment for our archdiocese!

The Pilot, our diocesan newspaper, published a special issue that details the lives of our bishops-elect and the new roles they will take on as bishops. It can be read in the August 19 publication, or online here.

Pages from Pilot_20160819_Bishops

For those of you who want to watch the ordination at home, a live broadcast of the ordination will be provided by the CatholicTV Network starting at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, a half-hour before the Mass will begin.

It will be aired on CatholicTV’s cable channels, on CatholicTVLive.com, and on CatholicTV’s Apple TV, Roku, and mobile applications, and it will also be available for on-demand viewing. The ordination will be rebroadcast at 8:00 p.m. later that day.

Additional information on the ordination of Bishops-elect Reed and O’Connell may be found at ordination2016.com.

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13
Aug

The Oath of Fidelity of our Bishops-elect

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In the Franciscan order, we have a tradition that on the Feast of St. Francis we invite a Dominican to come and preach and preside. In turn, the Dominicans, on the feast of St. Dominic, always invite a Franciscan.

So, this year I was invited to celebrate the Mass and preach for the Feast of St. Dominic at St. Pius V Parish in Providence, Rhode Island. This is also the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Dominican order. So this celebration of St. Dominic’s day had a particular significance this year.Pages from 800th Jubilee Program

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The parish is right across the street from Providence College, and is named for Pope Pius V who was a Dominican.

IMG_6291This picture of Pope Pius V is just inside the entrance of the church

Pope Pius was pope in a very tumultuous time in the Church. He is actually the pope who ended up excommunicating Queen Elizabeth I of England.

He was also the pope who helped resist the invasion of Europe by the Turks. He called for a novena of the rosary before the Battle of Lepanto and out of that comes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary that we celebrate in October.

As I mentioned in my homily, della Robbia, Fra Angelico, Dante and so many writers and artists speak about these meetings between St. Dominic and St. Francis.Andrea della Robbia_Embrace between Sts. Francis and Dominic_1493-95_Florence_Spedale di San Paolo

I was very honored to be part of the celebration and happy to continue a tradition that goes back to the special friendship that existed between St. Dominic and St. Francis.

 

– – –

Also, this week the German Consul General in Boston, Ralf Horlemann, came to pay me a visit.IMG_6292

The German Consulate here serves several states and, although we don’t have a large German immigrant population in this area, there are many Germans who come here to study or work in research. The German government is always trying to promote these types of relationships.

I told him a little bit about my experiences in Germany and we also spoke about the German International School in Boston, which uses the building of the former St. Anthony’s School in Allston.

– – –

I was also visited this week by Bishop Peter Paul Yelezuome Angkyier of the Diocese of Damongo, Ghana. Father Bob Murray, Pastor of St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes in Haverhill, hosted the bishop for a missionary appeal visit to the archdiocese.IMG_6288

Mission appeals, which often take place during the summertime, are a very important way that we support missionary activities throughout the world and also raise mission awareness among our own Catholic people here in the archdiocese.

– – –

Yesterday, I attended the wake of the father of Father Jim DiPerri, which was held at St. Brigid’s in South Boston. The DiPerris are a prominent South Boston family, so it was very fitting that they had the wake in the parish he shared with so many of his friends, family and neighbors.

Father Jim DiPerri is, of course, an outstanding pastor in the archdiocese at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted in Waltham, and that is where visiting hours were held today and where the funeral Mass will be held tomorrow.

I was very happy to be able to tender my condolences and say a prayer with the family.

– – –

Yesterday also was the Feast of St. Clare.StClare

I’ve always had a great affection for the Poor Clares and so on the Feast of St. Clare, I remember all of these holy women, particularly of the two communities we have in the archdiocese, who are leading lives of prayer and witness. They are truly the spiritual powerhouse of our Church, following the beautiful tradition of St. Clare, who is so closely associated with St. Francis of Assisi.

– – –

Finally, this morning, I went to CatholicTV to celebrate a live television Mass. Since it is the Year of Mercy, we celebrated the Mass of the Sacred Heart with the theme of mercy.

In the context of the liturgy, Bishops-elect Reed and O’Connell made their Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith in the presence of the community. During the Mass, we also blessed the symbols of the episcopal office — the bishop’s ring, the crosier and the miter — that they will receive as part of their ordination ceremony on August 24.Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Even before he is ordained, when a man is named bishop and becomes Bishop-elect, the custom is that he immediately begin to wear the pectoral cross and zucchetto for liturgical celebrations. However, the ring, miter and crosier are given to the bishop as part of the ordination ceremony.Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

The rings that I will be presenting to our new auxiliary bishops are similar to those we’ve presented in the past to our auxiliary bishops, which are based on a “fumie” of Our Lady of Guadalupe.Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

As I explained in my homily, during the 1600s, when the first missionaries were evangelizing Japan there was quite a backlash against Christianity and a terrible persecution broke out. One of the ways that the shoguns and others identified Christians was by putting large medallions, called fumies, on the ground depicting either Christ or the Blessed Mother and then lining up all the villagers and having them walk over the images. Those who refused to step on the images were identified as Catholics and tortured to death.519px-Virgin_Mary_tile_to_step_on

One of the original fumies the rings is modeled after

One of the early fumies that was used is actually an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe because there were early Mexican missionaries in Japan, one of them was a Franciscan, St. Felipe de Jesús. So even within decades of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, there was already a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe among the Japanese Catholics.

So to me using the fumie on the bishops’ rings brings together so many different themes. One is the theme of martyrdom and of being a witness – the bishop is called to be a witness of the Resurrection and must, as St. Paul says, embrace the hardships of the gospel. It also reminds us of the patronage and protection of the Virgin Mary in the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe who is the principal American Madonna.

It was a very beautiful celebration and I know we are all looking forward to the ordination of our new bishops in less than two weeks.

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Finally, earlier this summer executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey provided me the opportunity to view an advance release of the new Ben-Hur film, which opens in theaters next Friday.BenHurThe film is a powerful presentation of this classic story of how an encounter with Christ can change a person’s life.  In addition to the compelling human drama, the special effects in this production carry the viewer into experiences beyond our imagination.

We are blessed that Mark and Roma have directed significant resources to produce a faith-affirming film that delivers a message of hope and holds up the power of Christ’s presence in the world.  Following are links to my commentary on the film and those of Cardinal Wuerl and other Catholic leaders.

I hope you will join us in seeing Ben-Hur as it opens next week and encourage your families and friends to do so also.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archdiocese of Boston: https://vimeo.com/178053672

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archdiocese of Washington:  https://vimeo.com/177163308

Mark Hart aka “The Bible Geek” and Lino Rulli aka “The Catholic Guy”: http://sharebenhur.com/what-leaders-are-saying-catholic

Lisa Hendey, CatholicMom.com and leading Catholic author: http://sharebenhur.com/lisa-hendey-judah-helps-jesus

Sister Rose Pacatte, Sister Rose at the Movies: http://sharebenhur.com/sister-rose-pacatte-judah-esther-at-camp

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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06
Aug

Concluding World Youth Day

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Hello and welcome!

As I mentioned last week, I had been giving different catecheses for participants at World Youth Day in Poland, and on Friday we had the last of these in Wadowice. Wadowice_001_IMG_6169Wadowice_002_IMG_6171

The catechesis was held outdoors in the plaza, which was filled with young people from throughout the world, including our youth from the Cathedral the Holy Cross in Boston. Wadowice_003_12Wadowice_004_11

The plaza is just outside the church where Pope John Paul II was baptized, received his first Communion and was confirmed. Wadowice_008_IMG_6175

Right next to the church is his childhood home. His family had an apartment on the second story of a building that belonged to a Jewish merchant. On the first floor was the store, and they lived in a 3-room apartment above it. That whole building has now been turned into a museum, which is very well done. There are a number of interactive exhibits and articles from his life and upbringing.Wadowice_005_IMG_6172

I was particularly struck by a wall with letters from all over the world attesting to his sanctity that were sent in during the process of canonization.Wadowice_007_IMG_6174

As I say, the apartment is just next-door to the church. They say that when Karol Wojtyla’s mother was giving birth in that apartment, she could hear the people in church chanting the Litany of Loreto, they were so close.

It reminded me of my own upbringing, because when I was a child, we lived very close to our church as well. Our priest used to knock on our door at 6 o’clock in the morning if they needed altar boys, so that my brother and I could go serve the Mass. There is something special about living close to your parish church.

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Saturday morning, we had a Mass with the Boston pilgrim group led by Father Matt Williams in St. Mary’s Church, which is one of the spectacular churches around the center square of Kraków.28032008234_7e9d66f828_o28616710336_e537865c8a_o28031997374_4afa0da9d3_o

In addition to the Boston pilgrims, we were joined by the group from Scranton Pennsylvania, as well.

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Shortly after the Mass we left to attend the evening vigil with the Holy Father at Campus Misericordiae. It was a beautiful evening, the weather was perfect.

I was very impressed to see the huge Door of Mercy they set up in the middle of the field.Vigil_009_IMG_6220

The vigil began with a number of musical performances and testimonies, and in his address, the Holy Father made very poignant references to some of those testimonies. Among them was the testimony of a young woman from Aleppo, Syria who talked about the situation in her country, and there was also a man from Paraguay who had been involved in drugs and was rescued from that life with the help of a church organization.

Following those testimonies, the Holy Father gave a very animated address in which he challenged the young people not become “couch potatoes” or to take early retirement, but to be involved in changing the world by changing their own hearts. His remarks were met by a very enthusiastic response from the crowd. Vigil_005_IMG_6208

The event concluded with Eucharistic adoration. The tabernacle was just beautiful, with the doors that open, exposing the Blessed Sacrament.Vigil_001_IMG_6198Vigil_002_IMG_6201Vigil_003_IMG_6202

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The next morning, of course, was the Mass in the same place.Vigil_007_IMG_6218Sunday was a very hot and sunny day. Vigil_006_IMG_6214Vigil_008_IMG_6219

They estimate there were about 1.5 million people present for the Mass.

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Monday morning I made a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp, which was a profoundly moving experience.Auschwitz_1Auschwitz_3Auschwitz_4Auschwitz_5Auschwitz_IMG_6229Auschwitz_IMG_6235Auschwitz_IMG_6241Auschwitz_IMG_6251Auschwitz_IMG_6252Auschwitz_IMG_6253Auschwitz_IMG_6255

The Capuchin Friars arranged for me to be able to go and pray in the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe was put to death.Auschwitz_IMG_6242Auschwitz_2Auschwitz_IMG_6246

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From there we visited Wawel Castle in Kraków, which includes the Cathedral as part of the complex. St. Stanislaus and a number of Polish Saints are buried in the Cathedral, along with many former kings and queens.Wawel_001_IMG_6187Wawel_006_IMG_6192Wawel_002_IMG_6188Wawel_003_IMG_6189Wawel_004_IMG_6190

It was in the crypt of the cathedral that Pope John Paul II celebrated his first Mass.

John Paul II was ordained on All Saints Day. So, the day of his first Mass was All Souls Day and he celebrated three Masses on that altar in the crypt.Wawel_005_IMG_6191

His mother, father and brother had all died by the time he was 20 years old, so none of them were alive to see him ordained a priest. I’m sure it was very meaningful for him that his first Mass was on All Souls Day with that connection to his departed family.

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Monday afternoon, I attended a meeting of about 150,000 young people of the Neocatechumenal Way with their founder, Kiko Arguello.encuentro3EncuentroCNVRomaDanielIdef2016

During the meeting, there was an altar call for vocations. It’s always very moving because literally thousands of young men, women and families come forward answering the call for vocations or to go on mission.CaminoNeocatecumenal_AlvaroDeJuana030816

I was very happy that at the meeting I was able to greet the group of 24 young people from the Pacific island nation of Kiribati led by Przemyslaw Kasprzak, one of our Boston seminarians who has been working there for about a year. They were helped to attend World Youth Day through our Boston office of the Propagation of the Faith.NCW_001_7NCW_003_IMG_6258

The young people presented me with necklace made of shells.NCW_002_6Shells_IMG_4503Shells_IMG_4505

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Because I was traveling back from World Youth Day, I was unable to attend the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention. KofC2016_003_2016-08-05KofC2016_001_2016-08-05 (1)

Though I was sorry to have missed it, I was very pleased that Bishop Peter Uglietto, Bishop Robert Hennessey and many people from the archdiocese were able to attend.KofC2016_002_2016-08-05 (2)

We are very proud that our Massachusetts Knights of Columbus were recognized for the large number of new members they have gained in the past year, and we want to congratulate them.

I also want to reiterate my gratitude on behalf of all those who were able to make use of the splendid center that the Knights sponsored at World Youth Day. The arena, with a 20,000 seat capacity, was very useful, not just for the Americans, but for all the English-speaking pilgrims who attended the many events that were held there.

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And finally, yesterday we had our annual St. John Vianney gathering for priests at St. John’s Seminary. We began our day with a talk by Father Vin Daily on the life and spirituality of Dorothy Day. It was a very fitting topic for the Year of Mercy.Vianney_001Vianney_003

Then we prayed Vespers together and concluded our gathering with a nice cookout in the seminary courtyard.Vianney_009

I always look forward to this day of priestly fraternity.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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30
Jul

With our Boston Youth in Kraków for World Youth Day

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Welcome back!

We are spending this week in Kraków participating in World Youth Day events and are eagerly awaiting the main events with the Holy Father which will take place mostly on Saturday and Sunday.

We arrived Sunday night, and Monday we celebrated Mass at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary, the resting place of St. Faustina Kowalska.

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It was the Feast of St. James, and the organization had invited the English speaking pilgrims to that Mass. The Boston group was there, plus about 4,000 other youngsters. 28257948760_0a5f349152_o

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It was a beautiful celebration, and afterwards we had a meal with all of the pilgrims from Boston.

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On Tuesday, I had lunch at the Capuchin monastery in Kraków.

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A number of our friars from the States were staying there, including Brother Will Terraza, who’s working with us at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. It was wonderful to visit the local Capuchins.

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They run a homeless shelter, and they’re right in the center of town in a wonderful, historic  monastery. It was a joy to be with them.

Then, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I gave three catechesis to the pilgrims at three different locations.

Wednesday’s was in the “Mercy Center,” an indoor stadium that the Knights of Columbus had arranged to be available for English speaking pilgrims.

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Every World Youth Day the Knights of Columbus arrange a wonderful spot to bring together the English speaking pilgrims, but this was the most extraordinary. The stadium is brand new, and it has all the facilities, and it’s just an extraordinary place to have the catechesis.

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About 20,000 English speaking youth attended the catechesis. Someone asked me if that was the largest group I’ve ever spoken to, but actually, I told them that in Fatima I had a Mass for about 300,000 people!

5The Boston pilgrims were wearing these stylish t-shirts

I gave the catechesis, as many other bishops did in other places around Kraków, on the World Youth Day theme this year, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

After the catechesis, we had questions and answers. The young people asked questions about vocations and about freedom, and then there were some witness talks.

The morning ended with a Eucharist that I celebrated and preached at, and many bishops and priest concelebrated.

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28550456596_66558a7676_oThursday, Cardinal Tagle was at the Mercy Center and on Friday, Cardinal Dolan was the keynote speaker there.

The next day I gave the catechesis and Mass in a parish, also named for the Divine Mercy, and it was a more eclectic group. We had not only English speaking youth, but also there were Belgian, French and Eastern European youth that joined us.

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Friday I went to Wadowice, which is the city where Pope St. John Paul II was born, and we had the catechesis there.

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10This the baptismal font where St. John Paul II was baptized
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I can’t say enough about how wonderful the city of Kraków is and, in many ways, it’s an extraordinary place to have a World Youth Day.

On one hand, with the concentration camps so close, you see how much evil there is in our world, but at the same time we see the sanctity of that holiness of so many Polish saints and Polish people who suffered courageously for their faith. So, it’s a wonderful experience for our young people. There’s great enthusiasm for Pope Francis’ presence here, and we’re looking forward to the other events of the week.

As I said in one of my catechesis, I don’t look old enough, but I’ve been to nine World Youth Days! I looked on Wikipedia and calculated that 22 million young people have participated in past events. And that’s not counting the young people that are here in Kraków, which will probably end up being two million! So, we’re possibly talking about 24 million young people who have been touched profoundly by the experience of a World Youth Day.

The World Youth Day celebrations are a real credit to the pastoral genius of St. John Paul II, who came up with this idea. I know that many people at the beginning were very skeptical, but when you look back it’s one of the most important initiatives the Church has had for young people. And when you see that over a third of seminarians in the United States have made a World Youth Day pilgrimage, it gives you some idea on how much of an impact these World Youth Days have made on people.

Since I’ve been here, I am running into people from all over the world.

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Thursday I had lunch with a Portuguese girl that I baptized 17 years ago, so that was a great joy to see that she’s not only living her baptism, but coming and being part of World Youth Day from Portugal.

We have here so many of our wonderful parish priests from Boston who are just doing a tremendous job with our young people. They’re having a great experience, and we’re so grateful for the parents and chaperones that made the sacrifice to be here to accompany our young people.

Tuesday, of course, we heard the news of a French priest who was slain while he was celebrating Mass. The priest’s death was of course on everyone’s mind here. There are many French pilgrims attending World Youth Day. In fact, the Bishop of Normandy was in Kraków with several hundred youth at the time that Father Jacques Hamel was murdered. He immediately went back to his diocese.

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It was quite a shock that once again an act of violence was perpetrated in such a wanton way. Obviously, the people here are very disturbed, and it certainly shows the amount of unrest that exists in our world today.

My post next week will focus on the final events this weekend.

Until next week.

In Christ,

Cardinal Seán

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