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Visiting Sunset Point Camp

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Hello and welcome!

As I have mentioned in some of my recent posts, for much of the first half of this month I have been travelling quite a bit for my meetings with the Holy Father and visits with my family. As such, I was unable to make a full blog post each week, just snippets here and there. So, I want to begin by thanking Fathers Karlo Hocurscak, Mark Storey, Michael Drea for their participation in the blog while I was in Rome and away.

Now that I’m back to my first full post in a while, I want to begin by catching up a little bit.

Earlier this week I met for first time with our new Archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Kathleen Mears, whose appointment we announced today.Mears_Kathy

Our meeting was the final step of the review process for her candidacy. It was very clear to me that in addition to her marriage and her family, Catholic education is Mrs. Mears’ vocation and her passion. I am confident that we will be greatly blessed by her commitment to this important work. Also, I wish to further share my gratitude to Bishop Uglietto, Mr. Jack Regan and all the members of the Search Committee for the many, many hours given to their work and for bringing forth such an outstanding candidate.

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During my time away, the Holy Father also made a number of changes in the Boston Province.

Here in the archdiocese, he recently accepted Bishop Walter Edyvean’s retirement. EDYVEAN_WALTER-J

Bishop Edyvean

We are very, very grateful for the outstanding and generous service he has provided to the Church over the years and we know he will continue to be a presence in the archdiocese. We wish him health and Godspeed in these years of retirement.

We have also had two new bishops named to the province. In addition to Bishop Edyvean, Springfield Bishop Timothy McDonnell and Fall River Bishop George Coleman have also begun their retirements. coleman_opt2 - Copy

Bishop Coleman


Bishop McDonnell

We are very grateful for their presence in the province and the ministry they have so generously provided to God’s people. We look forward to the installation of their successors, Bishop Mitchell Rozanski for Springfield and Bishop Edgar da Cunha for Fall River.

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As you know, I am unable to discuss much of what occurs in my meetings in Rome, but one thing I did want to share was how I came to see this particular fountain, called the Galea Fountain.

During the time when I was meeting with the Holy Father and the council of cardinals, one evening I went to dinner with Msgr. John Abruzzese, who is from the archdiocese and is working in the Synod of Bishops. And after dinner, he wanted to show us this fountain in the Vatican that I had never seen before. In fact, I did not even know it existed. It sits behind the Vatican Museums in an area where people seldom go.Galea-9

He told me there are 100 fountains in the Vatican but of all of the fountains, this is the most unusual, with this huge ship sitting in the middle – it is practically life-sized! So I wanted to share this with all of the readers of my blog and tell you that, if you are ever visiting the Vatican, I hope you get a chance to see it in person.

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This year, the Capuchin province of St. Augustine, of which I am a member, had our profession ceremony on Saturday, July 19. (For many years our profession services were always held on the feast of St. Bonaventure, which was July 14 but now, since the liturgists have changed the feast day to the 15th, I tell people that I was professed on Bastille Day!)Profession_005_10

We had the profession of our seven novices who just completed their novitiate and for the ceremony we use the Chapel of the Franciscan Sisters of Mount Alvernia who have always been very close to the Friars. They work in many of the parishes that we work in and I believe their order also has German roots, so there was that connection as well.SimpleProf'14-49SimpleProf'14-17SimpleProf'14-58-1SimpleProf'14-63

There were about 70 or 80 Friars there to witness the event and I was edified to be one of them. SimpleProf'14-16SimpleProf'14-23SimpleProf'14-28-1

It is an opportunity for all of us to renew our vows as we accompany these men in their life of consecration and we pray that the Lord will grant them perseverance in their vocations. We also pray that the Lord will continue to bless us with young men who want to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis.Profession_004_7

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Sunday I visited St. Patrick’s Manor to visit Bishop John Boles and Bishop Frank Irwin, who are in residence there.  We were greeted by Sister Bridget who is always so gracious.2

I want to share with you this picture of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima which is in the hallway there and think is very beautiful.

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Monday, I paid a visit to Sunset Point Camp in Hull, which is run by Catholic Charities. This is a summer camp that serves over 400 inner-city children who are able to spend a wonderful vacation at the shore. Thanks to the generosity of the Flatley family the camp has been refurbished and I was there to bless the newly restored camp.Sunset_002_SPC Cardinal and Friends of SPC

During my visit, the children sang songs for us and I was able to take a tour where I met many of the volunteers, counselors and supporters of the camp who all do so much to serve these children.Sunset_001_IMG_4049

20140721SunsetPoint_gm_11120140721SunsetPoint_gm_116Sunset_005_IMG_425720140721SunsetPoint_gm_114We are grateful to camp director Brian Ahl, Catholic Charities president Debbie Rambo and Beth chambers who is the regional director for Catholic Charities.

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On Tuesday, I went to Merrimack College for dinner with the new Augustinian provincial, Father Michael Di Gregorio, and Father Bill Garland, who is a very close friend of mine. 5It was a chance to meet with the new provincial and thank him for the wonderful contribution that the Friars make to the life of the archdiocese.

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On Wednesday, I met with Lisa Alberghini and Bill Grogan from the Planning Office for Urban Affairs at their annual meeting to discuss the great work and accomplishments of POUA over the past year.

POUA, one of the justice ministries of the archdiocese, has played an important role in developing permanent affordable housing for families and people in need. Lisa explained the leadership and advocacy roles that POUA has played in working to eliminate homelessness, prevent foreclosures, enable residents to have access to housing and repeal the casino law.

POUA recently completed the development of 51 units of affordable family housing on the former St. Joseph’s Parish property in Salem, which will provide decent, affordable housing in the Latino immigrant neighborhood.poua-salem1poua-salem2

Lisa also talked about POUA’s partnership with St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children and Holy Family Parish in Dorchester to develop 80 units of affordable family housing, with 20 units for homeless families. This special partnership of three Archdiocesan ministries combines their missions, expertise and commitment to serve the poor. Construction at the development looks great and is expected to be completed in 2015.SKUC Construction photos 7.16 members mtg packageSKUC Construction photos 7.16 members mtg package

Lisa also updated me on some of POUA’s current development work, including its work with St. Francis House on a significant development in Boston, and its work with the Poor Sisters of Jesus Crucified and Sorrowful Mother in Brockton on the potential redevelopment of their campus into housing. The increased need for affordable housing and the limited resources to develop housing make the work of POUA all the more critical and important.

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That evening, I attended a meeting of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management at the Boston College Club. NationalLeadershipRoundtable

They had a dinner for Catholic philanthropists from throughout the country during which they spoke about ways that they could contribute to best business practices in the church and help the church in the area of administration, transparency and efficiency.

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On Thursday I was very happy be joined for lunch by my cousin Suzy O’Malley Stevens and her husband Dr. Mark Stevens and one of their children, Brooke, who is a tennis champion. 6_2

They were in town because Brooke was taking part in a high school tennis championship being held at Harvard and they stopped by for a visit. As always, it was lovely to be able to see them again.

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I was very touched to see the news this week of a meeting on Thursday between Pope Francis and Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan because of her faith.  She fled Sudan with her daughter and her husband and made her first stop in Rome, where she had the opportunity to meet the Pope.  He thanked her for her courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith.  Meriam’s commitment to her faith is inspirational, and it should encourage us to deeper faith and a willingness to share that faith with others. 


Lastly, I ask you to join me in prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East who are suffering greatly these days because of their faith.  I’m sure many of you have watched the news coming out of Iraq, particularly out of Mosul where there are very few Christians left after being forced out by Islamic jihadists.  Christians have lived in Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city, for nearly two thousand years.  Now convents, monasteries and churches have all been evacuated and Christian families are being forced out because of their faith.

Last Sunday Pope Francis offered prayers for Iraqi Christians who are “persecuted, chased away, forced to leave their houses without the possibility of taking anything with them.”  He also called for dialogue to resolve armed conflicts.  Please join me in praying for our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq: we stand in solidarity with them, and we suffer with them, for as scripture says – when one member of the body suffers, all suffer.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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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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