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04
Jul

Reflections of a newly ordained priest: Father Karlo Hocurscak

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Hello and welcome!

Each year around this time, after they have had a chance to settle in to their new parish assignments, I like to invite some of our newly ordained priests to share some of their experiences with you.

This week, I have asked Father Karlo Hocurscak to tell you a little about himself. Next week, we will hear from Father Mark Storey.

I wish you a safe and happy Independence Day!

- Cardinal Seán

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FrHocurscak

When I look back on my ordination day of May 24th, I can only remember the joy I felt that day. I lived at St. John’s Seminary for six years leading up to my ordination to the priesthood. Studying at the seminary was a privileged time in my life as I was focused on learning about theology and deepening my relationship with Christ and his Church. Studying at St. John’s Seminary was challenging, but it affirmed in me the conviction that Jesus was calling me to be His priest. Now that my time in the seminary was over after six years, the day I dreamed about had finally arrived.

When the ordination began, the nine of us who were to be ordained processed into the Cathedral and I was able to see all the various groups of people who I knew from my journey toward priesthood. There was a group of people from my home parish of Sacred Hearts in Bradford, where I was for ten years before I decided to enter the seminary. There was also a large group from the tri-parishes in Brockton of St. Edith Stein, Christ the King, and Our Lady of Lourdes where I was assigned as a deacon who came out to watch my ordination. There were other people who came from other locations as well, such as my family and friends including a Third Order Carmelite who prayed for me every day for six years in her daily prayers. It was wonderful to see so many people who walked with me on my journey to the priesthood being able to see my ordination. image

The experience of being ordained is something that is hard to put into words. In the seminary, we learned a lot about what the priesthood is. While study of the priesthood is necessary and beautiful when I think about how Jesus wants me to share in His priesthood, no amount of study can cover the complete reality of the priest as it is wrapped into the mystery of Christ himself whom we can never know completely. God has an individual plan for each and every one of his priests and I will spend the rest of my life discovering what that is. Before the awesomeness of this moment in my life, all I could think to do was to ask the Holy Spirit to come into my heart and to make me a holy priest after the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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You can sometimes worry about things that can go wrong and I had that moment during my ordination. After I was ordained Cardinal O’Malley anointed my hands with chrism oil. Since as a priest, I consecrate the Eucharist and carry out many of my priestly duties using my hands, they are anointed as a sign that my hands are to be used to carry out sacred works.

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After my hands were anointed, I was supposed to wipe the oil off of my hands, but the purificator that I thought was waiting for me was not at my seat. I can tell you that Cardinal O’Malley was very generous with the oil when he anointed my hands. Therefore I started to worry because I had a lot of oil on my hands. Next, we all had to go up and to receive the chalice and paten from the Cardinal as a sign of our priestly duty to offer the sacrifice of the Mass for the Christian people. During our rehearsal we were told to grab the chalice and paten like we were going to take it from the Cardinal. But as you can see, I was barely touching it because I still had the chrism oil all over my hands.

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Now I was really starting to worry because the next part was going to be the kiss of peace where all the priests were going to come up to me to welcome me into the priesthood. There was no way that I could possibly keep the oil on my hand with more than a hundred priests coming to greet me.

The reason that I wanted to wipe my hands clean with a purificator is because there is a tradition that a newly ordained priest gives it to his mother. When the mother of a priest dies, the cloth used to wipe the chrism from a newly ordained priest is placed in her hands and she is buried with it. Then at the resurrection for the final judgment, the mother would have the cloth with the chrism on it to show as a sign that she gave a son to the Church to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Finally somebody saw that I still needed to wipe my hands and got me a purificator which the photographer from the Pilot caught me using.

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Now with oil free hands, I was able to exchange the sign of peace with Cardinal O’Malley and my new brother priests.

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After the ordination, we gathered all together for a group photo with the class. Our ordination class of nine was the largest ordination for Boston in over ten years. Let us pray that more men will listen to if Christ is calling them to the priesthood and to generously answer that call to serve Christ as his priest.

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I had my first Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Lourdes in Brockton. It was where I was assigned for my pastoral assignment for my final two years in the seminary which included my time as a transitional deacon. It was wonderful to be able to say Mass in a parish where many people were able to accompany me on my journey as I drew closer to my priesthood ordination. Having prepared for six years to be a priest, it is a surreal experience to be able to offer the sacrifice of the Mass. I would also like to thank the pastor, and my friend, Fr. Joseph Raeke. His example to me and his willingness to share his 34 years of priesthood with me made my pastoral assignment with him a joy and helped to prepare me for priesthood in a way that I would not have been able to do without his guidance.

My first assignment is in Beverly. I am currently serving in St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Margaret. I am assigned with Fr. Mark Mahoney who taught a course at the seminary during my last year at St. John’s Seminary. When I heard that I was assigned to work with Fr. Mahoney I was very excited to know that he would be my future pastor.

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St. Mary Star of the Sea

 

imageSt. John the Evangelist

 

imageSt. Margaret

The day before my starting date in the Beverly collaborative a fundraiser golf tournament was held for St. Mary’s School. I happily accepted an invitation to join. So I got to play golf for my first day in the parish. If my friends from the seminary learned that, they might be a little jealous.

It was a beautiful day, but my golf skills where not very good. I told anyone who saw me swing at the ball that I spent more time studying theology than working on my golf game. Even though my team did not win, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet people in the parish and for us to get to know each other.

My first few weeks in Beverly have been wonderful. The people have been very welcoming to me as I have been adjusting to life as a priest. I have had many first experiences as a priest in Beverly. In my first three weeks in Beverly, I have had my first anointing, confession, funeral, and many first Masses in the collaborative, as there are nine weekend Masses that are offered in Beverly. My first month of priesthood has been a joy. Yes, the life of a priest is busy, but if God gives strength to His priests to carry out His holy will. One thing that I would ask though is if you have some spare moment during the week, please pray for more holy priests who are willing to serve Christ and His Church to lead the people of God to Christ.

God Bless,

Fr. Karlo

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28
Jun

Celebrating our wedding anniversary couples

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We are gratified that this week the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled to strike down the Massachusetts law that allowed for the creation of 35-foot buffer zones around the entrance of abortion facilities.

For people to be able to express their convictions in public is a right, and we trust that those holding vigils at abortion clinics are not harassing people but rather praying for them and offering them an alternative because we know that many women opt to accept the help that is being offered to them by sidewalk counselors.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a very important one that protects religious freedom in a time when there are many challenges to religious rights.

I’d like to share with you the statement I released through the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops shortly after the decision was announced:

Today the Supreme Court found unconstitutional a Massachusetts law imposing criminal penalties on pro-life Americans who peacefully pray for and offer alternatives to pregnant women approaching abortion clinics. This discriminatory law barred these citizens from gathering on nearby public sidewalks, while exempting “clinic escorts” trained to expedite women into the facility. Clearly this was an attack on pro-life Americans’ freedom of speech, and we welcome the Court’s decision to overturn the law.

This now overturned legislation reflects an ominous trend in our society. Abortion supporters, having long denied that unborn children have a right to life, would deny that their fellow Americans who seek to protect the unborn have the same rights as other Americans — the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association; the right to participate in the public square and serve the vulnerable in accord with our moral convictions. Increasingly we see this trend evidenced at various levels of government. We are encouraged and pleased to know that with regard to this particular issue, our highest court has affirmed the American tradition of basic constitutional rights for all.

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Last Wednesday we celebrated the Jubilee anniversary Mass for our priests and religious brothers in the archdiocese. Along with our diocesan priests who were celebrating 25 years of ordination, there were two Xaverian Brothers celebrating 50 years of religious life, two Brothers of Hope celebrating 25 years, and one Salesian father who joined us for the celebration.JubilarianPriests Bros-GTracy-IMG_4045

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With the jubilarian priests

There was a concelebrated Mass in Bethany Chapel and afterwards we had a gathering with them and their friends and families. JubilarianPriests Bros-GTracy-IMG_4057

With the jubilarian brothers

It was a very joyful occasion to be able to celebrate the jubilees of our priests and consecrated religious.

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Thursday, was the final meeting of the archdiocese’s Improved Financial Relationship Committee. They have been very successful in guiding and implementing the archdiocese’s financial new model that promotes greater cooperation between the archdiocese and the parishes.

Their dedication was extraordinary. I believe they have had more than 50 meetings over the years. We are very grateful to all those who volunteered and serve so generously on that board along with our staff members who have done extraordinary work and particularly Denise McKinnon-Biernat.IFRM-CPineo-IMG_1936

To thank them for all their hard work over these many years at the end of the last meeting we had a light reception with them.

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Friday, I was visited by Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa of the Diocese of Masaka, Uganda. He was accompanied by Father Joseph Kayongo, who is a priest from Uganda who ministers to the Ugandan Catholic community here in the archdiocese while pursuing a graduate degree at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and Fathers Emmanuel Delli and David Ssenkaii.3

Bishop Kaggwa was in Boston for the annual Mass for the Ugandan Martyrs, celebrated at St. Mary Parish in Waltham. The Mass is always an inspiring tribute to the faith of the Ugandan people and an uplifting and joyous celebration.

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Saturday, I visited St. John Parish in Townsend to dedicate and bless their new parish center. It was the Feast of Corpus Christi so there was a Eucharistic procession at the conclusion of the Mass. IMGP7419

The whole parish participated in the celebration and part of the celebration was the blessing of the new parish center.

Father Jeremy St. Martin is pastor at St. John’s. He is doing just a fabulous job there and oversaw the construction of this new center. I know it will be a wonderful resource for the parish for years to come.

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Sunday, as we do each year in the spring, we have an opportunity for couples from throughout the archdiocese who are celebrating significant wedding anniversaries to come to a Mass at the Cathedral and to renew their vows. We had a full Cathedral for the celebration this year.

Couples celebrating more than 60 years of marriage:

Couples celebrating 25, 50 and 60-plus years of marriage join a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June, 22, 2014.  At the Mass the cardinal led the couples in a renewal of vows. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

50th anniversary couples:

Couples celebrating 25, 50 and 60-plus years of marriage join a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June, 22, 2014.  At the Mass the cardinal led the couples in a renewal of vows. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Couples celebrating 25, 50 and 60-plus years of marriage join a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June, 22, 2014.  At the Mass the cardinal led the couples in a renewal of vows. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

25th anniversary couples:

Aniversary25th_01Couples celebrating 25, 50 and 60-plus years of marriage join a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June, 22, 2014.  At the Mass the cardinal led the couples in a renewal of vows. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Couples celebrating 25, 50 and 60-plus years of marriage join a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June, 22, 2014.  At the Mass the cardinal led the couples in a renewal of vows. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Among those renewing their vows were the parents of Father Jonathan Gaspar and Mary Ann McLaughlin co-director of our office of worship and spiritual life.McLaughlin

It is always a beautiful, happy occasion.

During this year’s celebration we were blessed to have a relic of St. John Paul II present at the Cathedral. The relic was brought in procession at the beginning of the Mass and placed by the altar. The relic of St. Pope John Paul II is displayed next the altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross during Mass Sunday June 22, 2014.  Following the Mass, the relic was carried in procession to the cathedral’s side chapel for veneration. (Pilot photo by Gregory L. Tracy)The relic of St. Pope John Paul II is displayed next the altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross during Mass Sunday June 22, 2014.  Following the Mass, the relic was carried in procession to the cathedral’s side chapel for veneration. (Pilot photo by Gregory L. Tracy)

Afterwards, it was taken to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, where the lines to venerate it were out the door.JPIIRelic-GTracy_13JPIIRelic-GTracy_14Hundreds of Catholic faithful came to venerate the relic of Pope St. John Paul II at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June 22, 2014.  The relic was at the cathedral June 21 and 22 as the first stop on a national tour being sponsored by St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. and the Knights of Columbus. (Pilot photo by Gregory L. Tracy)

Hundreds of Catholic faithful came to venerate the relic of Pope St. John Paul II at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June 22, 2014.  The relic was at the cathedral June 21 and 22 as the first stop on a national tour being sponsored by St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. and the Knights of Columbus. (Pilot photo by Gregory L. Tracy)

Hundreds of Catholic faithful came to venerate the relic of Pope St. John Paul II at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross June 22, 2014.  The relic was at the cathedral June 21 and 22 as the first stop on a national tour being sponsored by St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. and the Knights of Columbus. (Pilot photo by Gregory L. Tracy)

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Then, in the afternoon, I went to greet the people at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Mission Church). It was the Feast Day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who is the Patroness of Haiti.4

There was great enthusiasm because the new Cardinal from Haiti came to celebrate the Mass this year, Cardinal Chibly Langlois, who is staying with me at the rectory.Members of the Haitian community in Boston pack Mission Church for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first cardinal from their homeland marking the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 22, 2014. 
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Members of the Haitian community in Boston pack Mission Church for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first cardinal from their homeland marking the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 22, 2014. 
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Members of the Haitian community in Boston pack Mission Church for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first cardinal from their homeland marking the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 22, 2014. 
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Members of the Haitian community in Boston pack Mission Church for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first cardinal from their homeland marking the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 22, 2014. 
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Members of the Haitian community in Boston pack Mission Church for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first cardinal from their homeland marking the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 22, 2014. 
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Members of the Haitian community in Boston pack Mission Church for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first cardinal from their homeland marking the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 22, 2014. 
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

Members of the Haitian community in Boston pack Mission Church for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first cardinal from their homeland marking the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 22, 2014. 
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
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During Cardinal Chibly’s stay with us at the cathedral rectory we were visited by Brother Jim Peterson and Father Frantz Giles, a Capuchin from Haiti who is staying in Boston this month. 1

It was good to learn about the Capuchins’ ministry in Haiti and how they are assisting with the ongoing work of assisting people in need there and rebuilding the work of the Church following the devastating earthquake there.

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Then that evening, I attended the annual gala dinner to support our Redemptoris Mater Seminary which was held in Norwood. The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. Tracy

This year, they honored Bob Mahoney, who serves on our archdiocesan finance Council and John Garvey, President of the Catholic University of America.The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. Tracy

With Bob Mahoney and his familyThe Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. Tracy

With President Garvey and Bob before the dinner

The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. Tracy

President Garvey was the evening’s keynote speaker. The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. TracyThe Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. Tracy

The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. TracyHe delivered a stunning address to the people on the effects that artificial contraception has had on modern society by separating sexuality from the transmission of life and from relationships. It was a very powerful exposition that I think was a very important one.The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. Tracy

The Church’s teachings on contraception are often little understood and sometimes greeted with great condescension on the part of secular society. Even by some Catholics, this teaching is seen as another one of the Church’s “goofy rules.” The Church’s rules are not goofy. There is great wisdom behind them and President Garvey’s very erudite and cogent presentation of the Church’s teaching on contraception was one of the best that I have heard. Fortunately, there was a video taken of the talk, so you have a chance to hear it for yourself:

The dinner was a great success. I understand it was the largest attendance that they have had so far and many priests from throughout the diocese attended.

As they do every year, the seminarians sang a number of songs for us at the end of the dinner. The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. TracyThe Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. Tracy

During one song, they even briefly put a sombrero on the head of Dr. Helen Jackson!The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner held June 22, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  Honorees of the evening were Robert Mahoney, president of Belmont Savings Bank and John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. Photos by Gregory L. TracyIt was just a very joyful evening and we were very happy to be able to honor two very fine Catholic laymen, Bob Mahoney and President Garvey.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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