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Celebrating Bishop Coleman’s ministry

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Hello and welcome!

Last Friday, I visited the house of the Missionaries of Charity in Dorchester. The date was August 22 which, at Mother Teresa’s request, for the Sisters is still the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the normal calendar the feast has been moved to the second Saturday after Pentecost, so some have described it as a heart transplant! The Sisters renew their vows on this feast day and the Sisters of New Bedford also joined the Boston Sisters for the occasion.MoC_photo (4)_1

It is a beautiful feast day and there has been a long tradition in the Church of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It particularly became widely extended through the popular apparitions of St. Catherine Labouré at the Chapel Rue du Bac and the Miraculous Medal, because the back of the Miraculous Medal has a depiction of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Miraculous_medalAt the apparitions in Fatima, the Blessed Mother also encouraged devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

As I reflected in my homily, three of the five Joyful Mysteries of the rosary have references to Mary’s heart: at the Nativity, Mary is pondering these events in her heart; at the Presentation, Simeon predicts that Mary’s heart will be pierced by a sword; and in the fifth mystery, the Finding in the Temple, (which was the Gospel reading for the feast), Mary is once again pondering these events in her heart.  The sisters concluded the liturgy of the word by renewing their consecrations.MoC_photo (5)

We are so blessed to have the presence of Mother Teresa’s community here. They do wonderful work and are a presence of God’s love and mercy in our midst.
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Saturday, I went to Pittsburgh to be present at the solemn profession of three Capuchin friars: Roshan Anthonypillai, John Paul Kuzma and Rafael Anguiano-Rodriguez.Sol.Vow'14-597-01

I was very happy that my schedule allowed me to be able to attend both the simple profession and the solemn profession this year. The simple profession, which I mentioned in July, is for men who just finished their novitiate and take vows for three years. These men are taking perpetual vows.Sol.Vow'14-259-01

Sol.Vow'14-374-01The solemn profession takes place in St. Augustine’s Church in Pittsburgh, which is the church where I was professed and also where I was ordained, so it is filled with great memories.photo (3)

The church itself is very beautiful. It is a replica of a parish church in Munich, and was built over 100 years ago for the German immigrants in Pittsburgh.163449_110641209009848_260156_n

One of the saints that is very visible in the pictures of the main altar is St. Lawrence, because the name of that section of Pittsburgh is Lawrenceville, named after Lawrence Foster, who was father of the famous songwriter Stephen Foster.856443_451251561615476_1283534789_o

It was a very joyous event and I was very happy that so many of our Capuchins were able to attend and celebrate the occasion with us.

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Sunday, I was back in Boston and celebrated the 9:30 Mass at the Cathedral. At that Mass there was a couple who had been parishioners of mine for many years when I was in Washington, Edwin and Ofelia Sommarriba.photo (2)_2

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Monday, Joan and Ned Desmond were visiting relatives on the Cape and came for dinner at the Cathedral. Joan has had a long association with the National Catholic Register, which was founded by her family many years ago and, of course, she continues to contribute to the Register today.

I have known them for over 30 years so it was a nice opportunity to see them and catch up.

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On Tuesday, I presided at the Mass at the Fall River Cathedral for Bishop George Coleman, celebrating his 50 years of priesthood and his 11 years as Bishop of Fall River.

Bishop Coleman will be retiring next month so, in many ways, it was an opportunity for the diocese to honor and thank him for his service to God’s people. It was a very beautiful tribute that included a wonderful musical program with choirs from the Cathedral and Holy Name parish.

There was also a very large number of priests. I would say that half the Cathedral was filled with clergy.Coleman_Mass2Coleman_Mass3Coleman_Mass4Coleman_Mass6

Among the bishops present were Bishop Walter Edyvean, who was a classmate of Bishop Coleman, as well as Archbishop Cronin, a former Bishop of Fall River. photo 1

In my remarks after Communion, I told Bishop Coleman that Bishop Cronin and myself will soon be welcoming him into a very exclusive club – that of the former Bishops of Fall River!photo 2

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This being the last week of August, everything seems to be starting up again, including the seminaries. So, this week I have opening Masses at all three of our seminaries. The first was at St. John’s Seminary on Wednesday, which happened to be the Feast of St. Monica. Afterwards there was a very nice lunch outside on the lawn.SJS

It was an opportunity for me to encourage the seminarians, as they begin a new academic year after their summer experiences, which are also an important part of their formation and preparation for ministry.

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That afternoon, I went for a visit with Dr. Drew Faust, the president of Harvard University, in her offices. With me was Father Bryan Hehir, who is a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. We had a very interesting talk on current events and other topics.

During our visit she presented me with a copy of her book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.

She pointed out that the Civil War is the conflict that has claimed the most American lives. Every war since then, cumulatively, does not reach that total. Faust

She said people have asked her if her book was an indictment of the Civil War. She said her response is that she thinks it is helpful for people to understand the consequences of war the changes that the Civil War brought to our society. She also spoke about some of the parallels she sees between World War I and the Civil War. It was a fascinating discussion.

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After our meeting at Harvard, I stopped in to San Lorenzo Friary in Jamaica Plain. The friars were having workshops on Franciscan spirituality this week and so they invited me to come to Vespers. image001

Cap_image002Cap_image001 (2)Afterward, Brother James and Brother Tino cooked a lovely meal for us.

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Finally, I want to conclude this week mentioning the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

Unfortunately, many of our holidays – even religious holidays – eventually become separated from their original meaning. While, for many, Labor Day may just represent a last chance to head to the beach or a long weekend to do back-to-school shopping, it is of course an important time to remember the dignity of work and the importance of people’s employment in their lives.

The Church has always been an ally of the labor movement and in today’s world, unemployment and underemployment are a constant concern. In particular, the number of youth and young adults who are unemployed or underemployed is of crisis proportions. An article in The Economist magazine not long ago stated that the number of unemployed people in the world under 30 years of age is equal to the population of the United States. This is one reason why the Holy Father is always talking about economic justice and the plight of the young, as well as the elderly, who are often disproportionately affected by economic crises.

In our own archdiocese, we have the tradition the Labor Guild going back to the time of Cardinal Richard Cushing. We have, through this organization, sought to advance the Church’s teachings on economic justice and the rights of workers by promoting strong labor-management relationships through education and mediation. We are truly thankful for them and for all those who contribute to society through their work.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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The Iraq crisis

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Welcome back!

This week we were praying for the spiritual success of the Holy Father’s visit to Korea, which was his first trip to Asia.

It was a very joyous and successful trip, unfortunately the Holy Father’s joy was quickly tempered by the death of three of his family members. His nephew, a young argentine physician, coming home from vacation was involved in a serious automobile accident that has put him in critical condition in the hospital and caused the death of his wife and two young children. I know that people throughout the world are praying for the Holy Father and for his family at this time.

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Another very tragic event this week was the murder of a young journalist from New Hampshire, Jim Foley.


He is from a Catholic family that’s very involved in the life of the Church in their parish. There was a very active prayer group praying for his safety in his last months. There are many beautiful accounts of Jim Foley’s devotion to the Rosary, that being a source of strength for him in his captivity. The death of Jim Foley just underscores the violence that so many people are suffering in the Middle East.

Friday, at the Mass for young Catholic adults on the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady at St. Leonard’s in the North End, we prayed in a very special way for the Church in Iraq, where so many are fleeing ISIS.


Youth entering St. Leonard’s before the Mass


The very ones that killed Jim Foley are also killing religious minorities there, enslaving the women, and have marked the houses of Christians — giving them just hours to decide whether they would convert to Islam or abandon their homes. So, Christians have been leaving in droves from the traditionally Christian parts of Iraq where there have been Catholics since the beginning of Christianity. Now they are being displaced because of this fanatical persecution of the Church by ISIS and people who share their worldview. The Archdiocese will be taking up a collection to help the Christian refugees there, and we urge everyone to continue praying for peaceful solutions in that part of the world.  At the Mass at St. Leonard’s, Mother Olga spoke about the situation in Iraq.

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The next day, I met with a group of leaders from our local Iraqi Catholic community.


The priest, Father Bassim Shoni, Chaplain to the Iraqi Community of Boston, was there with them.


It’s very, very disturbing. All of them have families who have been displaced and who have lost their homes and all of their possessions. Their lives have been in danger.


Later that day, they had a special Mass at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish  in Newton to pray and offer support for Iraqi Christians. Father Michael Harrington, director of our Office of Outreach and Cultural Diversity, presided at that Mass


At the end of the Mass they processed outside to offer their intentions before the Virgin Mary.


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On Sunday I went to Brockton to visit the Sisters of Jesus Crucified, a Lithuanian order of sisters that has been in the Archdiocese for many years and has run schools and a nursing home. They were having their chapter, and I always preside over the installation of their provincial superiors.


So, we had the installation of the three sisters — the major superior and the two councilors. It’s a very small community. There are very few sisters left in the world. That’s the only convent they have. Some of these communities that were founded for ethnic groups never opened beyond that ethnic group and so when the language within that group was gone the vocations kind of dried up.


Part of their ministry of hospitality has been taking people in and they have Dominican sisters from Vietnam with them who are learning English.


All of the themes in their chapel represent the passion and the crucifixion.

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Every year we have a meeting and retreat for the bishops of the New England Region at Saint Edmund’s on Enders Island. That’s the Hartford and the Boston provinces.


This time we had a number of new bishops in attendance. Of course, Bishop Deeley is the new Bishop of Portland, Maine. He was there, and also Bishop Rozanski who was just installed in Springfield, as well as the new Archbishop of Hartford Leonard Blair and the new and future Bishop of Fall River, Bishop da Cunha.



Msgr. James Moroney preached the retreat. There were almost 20 bishops there. It’s always a very wonderful week. We were blessed with great weather, and the retreat house staff takes such good care of the grounds.


They also have a number of ministries promoting the arts. I took some pictures of the stained glass windows in the sacristy — all on a resurrection theme.





They also do a lot of work with people suffering from addictions. They have a recovery residence, The Saint Maximilian Kolbe Sober Living Community. They told me that Saint Maximilian Kolbe has become known as the patron saint of addicts, which I did not know.


They have this beautiful brochure about their ministry with great photos and more information.

Until my next post.

Cardinal Seán

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