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Guest post: Father Michael Drea

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Hello and welcome!

This morning, I was pleased to take part in a press conference held by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, at which he expressed his willingness to allow either of two military bases in the Commonwealth to be used to temporarily house refugee children from Central America. This has been a request of the federal government and the governor Massachusetts wants to respond compassionately.

We are very pleased that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is responding to try to help these children who are entering the United States without their parents. Governor Patrick has contacted us and inquired if Catholic Charities and other Catholic organizations would be willing to help. Of course, we were more than happy to do whatever we can to lend our support to this project. I was pleased that representatives from Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim groups were also present to express their support, as well.

I would like to share my remarks at the press conference with you here:

Governor Patrick has recognized the authentic human tragedy, and indeed humanitarian crisis, presented by the children now at the border coming from Central America. This past week, Pope Francis in addressing the question of immigration globally, recognized both the complexity of the question in its broad dimensions, but then focused on the overwhelming immediacy of the needs of these children. The Holy Father addressed directly the human and moral crisis on our border through these words:

“I would also like to draw attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence: This is a category of migrants from Central America and Mexico itself who cross the border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain. They are increasing day by day. This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected. These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.”

The Catholic Church at every level, globally, nationally and locally has long experience in assisting immigrants and refugees often fleeing from danger, suffering and deprivation, and we are willing to enter a collaborative relationship with the government to meet this urgent emergency.

We do not have Church facilities that are appropriate, but we do have social service agencies in the Archdiocese with skilled resources to provide programs of assistance and support within the framework of a larger federal and state program providing finances and collaboration. It is crucial for all of us I believe to begin any discussion with our eyes on these children. The Archdiocesan agencies are already stretched by demands here at home, but we still wish to offer our help in facing this humanitarian emergency. I ask my own faith community and the wider public to understand compassionately the extreme circumstances these children are facing. As a country and a Church we are capable of providing crucial assistance.

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After concluding my meetings with the Holy Father earlier this month, I have been taking a few days to visit with my family and friends. Since I am only now getting back, this week I have asked Father Michael Drea to tell you a little about the many activities going on at his parish, St. Paul’s in Cambridge.

- Cardinal Seán

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I am honored to have been asked to ‘guest blog’ this week for His Eminence, Cardinal Seán.  5795322610031This entry comes to you from the Parish of St. Paul, Harvard Square – Cambridge – home of St. Paul’s Choir School, the only Catholic Choir School for boys in the United States, and the Harvard Catholic Center, providing for the spiritual well-being of the Catholic community at Harvard University. HarvardHolyHour-GTracy-01

As the pastor of this unique parish in our archdiocese and senior chaplain to the Harvard Catholic Center, it is a great privilege to be able to serve the Church and the faithful who are drawn from the four corners of the world in a community that so intentionally engages the vital work of the New Evangelization.  Joining me in this week’s post is John Robinson, our Music Director at St. Paul’s and the Choir School.  I have asked John to share with you some of the highlights of our Choir School for boys in grades four through eight, while I will speak about the ministry to the students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents of Harvard University.

With Cardinal Sean and Choir School director John Robinson

Boston is the quintessential university town – home to some of the finest centers of higher education in America. Situated in this hub of academia, how important it is that we engage the talented, gifted and faith-filled young people who come to Boston and, for the purposes of this entry, to the shores of the Charles River, from the world over to undertake the academic pursuit at the highest level. 

Since 1893 at Harvard, the Church has had a vital and active presence on the campus of what many term the ‘greatest university in world’. With approval from Harvard President Charles Eliot and with the support of Bishop John Keane, the rector of The Catholic University of America, the Harvard Catholic Center officially came into existence that year. At the time, The Pilot stated that the Harvard Catholic Center’s purpose was to “increase the friendship between the Catholic and Protestants which now exists in the University and to make the Catholic faith better known to those outside of it. Moreover, through this Catholic organization, eminent laymen and clergymen will come to Cambridge and lecture on import moral and religious questions.”


As I say so often, as Harvard engages these students in a variety of academic disciplines at the University, the Church must also form and shape these future leaders so as to be bright lights for Jesus Christ who go forth into the board rooms, courtrooms, surgical suites, labs, classrooms and the highest levels of government in the world as faith-filled Catholic leaders. Daily we strive to embrace the early motto of Harvard: Veritas Christo et ecclesiae – Truth for Christ and the Church!

As bright Catholic minds come to this University, the Harvard Catholic Center is fully responsible for providing for the spiritual well-being of the Catholic community on campus by offering an enriching faith experience sacramentally, spiritually, intellectually and through the lived witness of the Gospel in a social outreach context.

As chaplains, we never know whose lives we will touch through an encounter with Jesus. Just think for instance that at the Harvard Catholic Center the future-first Catholic American president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy ‘40, worshiped regularly at St. Paul’s and volunteered at the Center’s reception desk. Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ ‘40, the great American theologian was received into the Church as an undergraduate at St. Paul’s. This year, Aurora Griffin ’14 of California, a Catholic Rhodes Scholar heads to Oxford in the fall having served as the president at the Harvard Catholic Student Association. Countless other Catholic alumni have gone on to distinguish themselves in the world around us and the Catholic Center has helped to prepare them to live their faith in the world.


The work that my brother priests, Fr. George Salzmann, OSFS, graduate chaplain, and Fr. Mark Murphy, undergraduate chaplain, and I engage with our students helps them to live their faith with purpose and conviction in the midst of a world that does not always value faith.  Evangelization and outreach is enhanced by the work of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) who are now in their third year under the guidance of the Catholic chaplains at Harvard. Together our energetic and enthusiastic team serves as a ‘Beacon for Jesus Christ’ at Harvard drawing not only Catholic students, but also those who are exploring entry into the Catholic faith through our RCIA program.  How edifying it is to journey with these young people as they seek to grow in a relationship with Jesus that will impact, shape and forever change them as bright lights for the Lord in the world. 


Young people are searching for the Truth, but unfortunately, the world offers conflicting and unfulfilling answers.  Only Jesus Christ can satisfy the heart of these young people.  This past Spring, we saw an evil message attempting to draw people away from Christ through the ‘black mass’ that threatened the Harvard Catholic community and the campus as a whole.

The Truth of Christ triumphed as over 2,000 young people along with Harvard President Drew Faust joined with us in prayer before our Eucharistic Lord to seek strength and guidance during a holy hour at St. Paul’s.  Many readers of this blog will recall that event and I wish to thank you for your prayers that helped our community through that dark moment.  That event confirmed so clearly that the presence of the Church at Harvard as well as on other campuses is so greatly needed for our young people. Please pray for us in our ministry!

And now, John Robinson will speak about another bright light for the New Evangelization at St. Paul’s – St. Paul’s Choir School.

- Father Drea


Directing the Choir at St. Paul’s is an incredible and varied job. First and foremost the Choir (the only Catholic Choir of men and boys in the United States) is here to raise hearts and minds to God each day at Mass. We sing great music from the history of the Church, which connects us to the prayers of Catholics throughout the ages. God’s great gift of music is a blessing we are thankful for on a daily basis. This great music is at the very heart of the boys’ development, and we are ever more grateful for the chance to sing it in its rightful liturgical context.


In addition to that ‘core’ responsibility we engage in a number of wonderful and exciting musical adventures every year. This last academic year saw us sing alongside the Vienna Boy Choir, the Harvard Glee Club, and the Choir of Guildford Cathedral amongst many others. But the real highlight of the year came in the form of a long-anticipated musical pilgrimage to Rome, in celebration of the Choir School’s 50th anniversary year. It’s very hard to name a high point in a visit which included singing in the presence of the Holy Father, for Mass at the Chair of St. Peter at the very heart of Christendom, as well as singing Mass in the Basilica at Assisi, at Santa Maria Maggiore and at Sant’Andrea della Valle from the glorious 17th century Choir Loft. We sang wonderful Latin Polyphony appropriate to the All Saints season (when we were there) and it was deeply moving to feel the synergy between incredible Architecture, Music, and Liturgy all combining in reverent praise. Many of the boys named this Roman experience as the most memorable of their entire Choir School years. We were so lucky to have a Pastor who knows Rome so well, and who was able to make such a daunting visit run so smoothly and calmly!


The Choir School was founded in 1963 by Dr. Theodore Marier in order to teach boys how best to serve the Church through music and to acquire an excellent Catholic formation and education. It was modeled on the great historic Cathedral and Collegiate Choir Schools in Europe, most of which now survive in England. In celebrating our 50th anniversary year which ran until June 2014, we were really able to ‘take stock’ of the achievements of this small but unique school. So many alumni returned during the year, especially from the early years, and spoke of all they owed to the Choir School. We are most honored to have nurtured a number of vocations to the religious life including even a Bishop in the form of our own Bishop Peter Uglietto ‘65.

Many alumni returned to some of our larger events and spoke of their joy at the Choir School continuing its core musical mission in singing works by great Catholic composers such as Palestrina, Bruckner and William Byrd. In addition to the tour to Rome, our 50th anniversary year also included a celebratory Vespers service with the Harvard Glee Club, an organ recital which featured alumni who have gone on to be organists and Directors of Music, and the highlight of a Mass celebrated by our own Cardinal Sean to round out the 50th anniversary year, at which we had the pleasure of singing his favorite setting: Mozart’s Coronation Mass.

Parents of boys in grade 3 and 4 are encouraged to consider St. Paul’s Choir School – the only Catholic choir school for boys in the U.S. When we work with boys to see if this could be a good fit, all we are looking for is potential. We know that many boys will not have had the chance to sing or be trained to the kind of standards we aspire to, so we are just looking for willingness to learn, and the ability to hold a tune.

When prospective pupils visit the School, we give them a short written test, designed to see how they are progressing academically, and a very friendly and informal singing session. Commitment to the Choir is essential, and so we always talk with parents at length about what this would mean for them, and about some of the challenges of attending such a unique School. In every case, however, the memories and experiences created by the School outweigh the level of commitment required, and Choir School parents are amongst the happiest of any School community.


We were fortunate indeed to get to know Monica and Kevin Fitzgibbons of Aim Higher Media during the past year. Having been aware of the Choir School for many years since Monica was at Boston University, this dynamic Catholic recording company contacted the Choir School after hearing the boys live at an event in Holy Cross Cathedral. After hearing the remarkable story of their careers in the (very high-end) recording industry, this all began to get very exciting.

This couple has done something remarkable for Church music in making best-selling recordings out of Catholic music sung by nuns. It seems very clear they are blessed with great vision, and guidance. Over the months, Fr. Drea and I got to know this wonderful Catholic recording team better and better, and we were overjoyed to be able to get to the point of actually making a recording with them.

The best kind of distribution and promotion will be used, which will all go to help raise awareness of the wonderful tradition of Church music, as well as to raise the profile of St. Paul’s Choir School, and to help advance our mission of singing beautiful Church Music in service to the liturgy, and increasingly to draw people to the Church as well. We could not be happier to be involved with this great project. As the Choir develops, having a fine recording or two is always a great catalyst to higher-profile tours, concerts and recruitment. Our first recording (a Christmas release) will be available on Amazon from October 7th this coming year, so please do support the Choir School by purchasing this perfect Christmas gift.

Please do join us during term time at the 11.00 a.m. Solemn Mass at St. Paul’s, Harvard Square. Please also share this post with parents of boys in grades 3 or 4 who seek a unique Catholic education.


- John Robinson

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Reflections of a newly ordained priest: Father Mark Storey

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Hello and welcome!

I hope you are all having a good start to the summer.

As I mentioned in my post last week, as I usually do this time of year, I have asked two of our newly ordained priests to introduce themselves to you through a guest post on my blog.

Last week, we heard from Father Karlo Hocurscak, who attended St. John’s Seminary and this week we have a post from Father Mark Storey, who attended Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston.

- Cardinal Seán

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Hello everyone!

I’m Father Mark Storey, but please feel free to call me Father Mark.FrStorey

I was born in Montreal just shortly after the melting of the northern polar ice caps, and I grew up in southern Ontario in the city of Hamilton, Grimsby which is close to the city of St. Catharines and Niagara Falls in southern Ontario.

Map picture

In my late teens, my family moved back to Montreal for two years, just prior to moving to the Boston area in 1973. At that time we lived in Needham, right next door to Dedham. By the way, because inquiring minds want to know, I am a Boston Bruins fan, although I haven’t had much time to watch the game over the past four years.

I studied Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University where I received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering. Shortly afterwards, I joined an old historic Boston company with its origins in the mid 1800s, The Badger Company, located in Cambridge, where I worked with a great group of scientists, engineers and dear friends until the time that I left in 2010 — about 30 years.

The Badger Company specialized in the design, construction, startup and licensing of large commodity chemical plants, as well as refineries. Most of my work life involved projects and travel to the Far East, specifically in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and South Africa for projects.

I have been married twice, the first time in 1982, and the second in 1992. I have a 28 year old daughter from my first marriage, Elizabeth, who lives at the family home on the South Shore. My first wife, Sandra, died in 1989 after a lengthy battle with metastatic cancer. Elizabeth was three years old at the time. My second wife, Mary Catherine, died in 1999 after extensive complications from diabetes and an almost two year period of time in nursing homes and hospitals. I believe that they have both gone to our true home, which is in heaven, and that they are praying in support of my vocation to the priesthood.Cardinal Sean with my family

Cardinal Sean with my family

As for my faith life, I grew up in the Anglican Church in Canada and I remember as a youth regularly attending each Sunday morning. I was baptized, but not confirmed. It was convenient to attend each week since we lived right next door to the church. My mother sang in the adult choir and I sang in the children’s choir. But something happened in my life during my late teenage years and twenties. Either I grew complacent or perhaps just plain lazy, but I stopped going to church on a regular basis. I was searching for something, but I didn’t know just what. I certainly still believed in God and, if anyone were to ask me, I would have said that I was spiritual, but there was something lacking. There were even flirtations with other Christian denominations, which I attended only sporadically but I certainly had fallen away from any weekly praise and worship.

It wasn’t until my first wife Sandy died that I was suddenly shocked into the reality of being a single parent caring for a young child. As I mentioned previously, my daughter was three years old at the time. I realized that it was up to me, and me alone, to teach Elizabeth about the Christian faith. I was scared and I didn’t know how or where to begin. I prayed one afternoon for God to help me make the right decision. I remember like it was yesterday, that I committed my life to him if only he would help me. Soon thereafter, I began going back to church on a weekly basis, without missing a beat — first to the local Episcopal church, and then later with my fiancée, Mary, to the Catholic church in Hanover. Hanover_StMaryoftheSacredHeart_01

St. Mary’s, Hanover

At St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Hanover I was immediately drawn to the beauty of the liturgy and the welcoming community and pastor there. At long last, I had found my new home. I entered RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and at the Easter Vigil 1992, I was officially confirmed into the Catholic Church, and Elizabeth was baptized.

Mass of Thanksgiving at St Marys Hanover L to R Fr Alfano dcn McLaughlin Dcn Joy, myself Bishop Dennis, Fr. Chris, Dcn Harrington and Fr. Henry Doherty

Celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Mary’s Hanover in May. With me at the altar are  Fr. Alfano, Deacon McLaughlin, Deacon Joy, Bishop Dennis, Fr. Chris Hickey, Deacon Harrington and Fr. Henry Doherty

They say that “Man Plans and God Laughs.” Well, after Elizabeth graduated from Emmanuel College, I had thoughts of retirement and living part of the year in Florida and the other half in Massachusetts.

My plan. But God had a very different idea for me. Presbyteral ordination of Fathers Jeffrey Archer, Steven Clemence, Peter DeFazio, George Fitzsimmons, Kevin Hickey, Karlo Hocuscak, Mark Storey, Lawrence Tocci and Jiwon Yoon at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross May 24, 2014. Pilot photo by Gregory L. Tracy

My vocation came very suddenly when one Friday evening I was praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and in a flash I just knew, I received an incredibly strong call that God was inviting me to study for the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Within a month, I was meeting with the Vocations Director for Boston and I entered Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, in August 2010.

During my studies, I have been assigned to some great parishes with some wonderful priests, and friends. My assignments took me to St. Agatha Parish in Milton, St. Mary’s Parish in Franklin, the collaborative of Sacred Heart and St. John’s Parishes in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Essex, and last year to St. Catherine of Alexandria in Westford. FrStorey_photo (5)

Besides my seminary professors and pastors who helped in my formation, I have several friends who have guided me along the path to my own priesthood and shown me great examples of what parish priesthood is like. They have mentored me and stood by me when times got tough. Specifically, Father John Carmichael, Pastor at St. Ann’s in Marshfield, Father Chris Hickey Pastor of St. Mary’s in Hanover and St. Helens in Norwell, Father Richard Curran in Somerville, Father Henry Doherty former pastor in Hanover and Father Martin Connor a longtime spiritual director at St. John’s Seminary, who was my spiritual director before I entered Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary. In my opinion, the seminary Fathers, professors and staff are world class and all had a hand in taking “the likes of me” and forming me to become a priest of Jesus Christ.


I am very excited, and blessed to have been assigned to St. Mary’s in Dedham by Cardinal Seán.  With the Help of God, I will always try to do my very best for each and every one there.


God Bless you All,

Father Mark

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