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Seven new priests ordained for Boston

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Hello and welcome!

Last Friday I went to Catholic Memorial School to celebrate Mass with the students, faculty and friends of the school and for the dedication ceremony of the renovated student lounge, which has been named the Kennedy Commons for Father Dan Kennedy.

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It was amazing to reflect on his short life as a priest — he was ordained less than a year before he died ten years ago, and since his death a bridge in Needham has been dedicated to his memory and now his alma mater has dedicated the Kennedy Commons.


Clearly he’s made a very deep impression on people and his ministry touched so many lives. It was certainly very encouraging to be there.

They began the celebration with a video showing Father Dan leading a prayer and the video ends with him giving a blessing. It was a wonderful tribute.

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His father, siblings, nieces and nephews, and other family and friends were there. Also there were Barbara Finigan and Paul Fitzgerald and their children, who made the lead gift to fund the Kennedy Commons.

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Father Dan’s chalice was used during the Mass, and I’m told that he designed the chalice with Catholic Memorial in mind. It is silver and red, the same colors that represent his alma mater. Several priests who knew Father Dan concelebrated the Mass with me.
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The next day, I had the joy of ordaining new priests here in Boston. This year, because of the upper church of the Cathedral being closed, the ordination was held at Mission Church.

There is a beautiful chapel in the monastery there, and we gathered in it before the Mass with the ordinands.


There were seven ordained for the Archdiocese and there were two ordained for the Diocese of Thanh Hoa in Vietnam.


Fathers Joseph Tung Tuan Nguyen and Joseph Son Van Trinh studied with us at St. John’s Seminary and they will continue into graduate studies in the states and then they will go back to Vietnam to be part of the formation program to train priests there.

It was a full church and a beautiful celebration. It was a cross section of the population with people from every different background, including those of Hispanic, Korean and African heritage.



Ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston were Priests Benito Moreno, Andrea Povero, Eric Velasquez, Joseph Kim, Michael Rora, Baldemar Garza and Lambert Nieme.

It was on the eve of Pentecost so it was really the Pentecostal experience! The next day, the young priests celebrated their first Masses on the Feast of Pentecost, which is such a beautiful day. It’s the birthday of the Church, and the beginning of the Church’s mission to preach the Gospel to all peoples.












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That evening I celebrated Mass with the Little Sisters of the Poor at their Jeanne Jugan Residence before their annual fundraising gala.


There were a number of priest concelebrants, especially those whose mothers are in the Jeanne Jugan home. The sisters have such a wonderful ministry in the Archdiocese and we’re so grateful for the great work that they do.


It also gave me an opportunity to visit Bishop Elliot Thomas, the retired bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas, who is in residence there.


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On Pentecost day, I was at St. Anselm College, where I gave the commencement address and received an honorary doctorate.



While I was there, I had lunch with Abbot Mark Cooper of the St. Anselm Abbey and college president Steven DiSalvo.

Dan Flatley’s son, Daniel, graduated from the school. It was very nice to be able to be there with the Flatley family.

There was a little rain so the graduation ceremony was held indoors, but graduations are always very joyful celebrations. St. Anselm is a Catholic college with a strong religious identity and the presence of the Benedictine monks and the liturgical life of the monastery is a great blessing on that campus.

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The next day, I was at Boston College to offer the benediction for their commencement celebration.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Atlanta, was their commencement speaker, and he gave a beautiful commencement address and he was given an honorary doctorate.

His address was on the power of words and the importance of living lives coherent with our words, and he talked about the need for civility and discourse. It was a beautiful and very well-thought-out address, and he received a standing ovation at the end.

Interestingly enough, The Pilot carried this week an article about one of my predecessors, Bishop Fitzpatrick, and referred to the moment in the mid-1800s when the bishop met with the Jesuits in Rome and asked them to come to Boston to found a school. Clearly the Jesuits really did a great job!

That evening I went to Boston University for the presentation of their Medeiros Scholarships.

Every year B.U. awards about a dozen full scholarships to graduates of Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese. This tradition was begun many years ago by B.U. president John Silber in honor of Cardinal Medeiros.

In total, the scholarships are worth about $2.5 million, and since the beginning the scholarships that have been given out total over $50 million. It’s a very great blessing for those families and the young people who receive the awards.

We know that in today’s world, college education is so expensive and many people graduate with huge debts. These young people have the opportunity to receive a wonderful education debt free, so we always challenge them to be aware of all they have received in their Catholic education and in this scholarship and to look for opportunities to give back in their professional lives going forward.

Father David Barnes , our Catholic chaplain at at B.U. also attended the event. It’s always a very joyful occasion.
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On Tuesday, I traveled to Regina Cleri to celebrate Mass with the priests marking their 50 year ordination anniversary.

It was a very happy time, and we were joined by not only our diocesan priests but also by some religious priests.
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In the evening, there was the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization graduation at St. John’s Seminary. This year, there were 21 graduates and I think this was their largest graduation class.

Sister Janet Eisner,SND, president of Emmanuel College, gave the commencement address and one of the graduates, Ronna Petrilli, gave the student address. Both of them gave very beautiful witnesses.

At the end of the commencement ceremony, I thanked and congratulated them all, and I encouraged all of the graduates to help us recruit new students to the program.

I certainly want to also encourage people reading this blog to consider the possibility of taking advantage of the wonderful programs offered by the Theological Institute and St. John’s Seminary for leadership training in the Church.
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The next day, I was able to have lunch with the newly ordained priests and their families at the Pastoral Center.

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It’s a very special event because at the time of the ordination ceremony and the first Masses there are such huge crowds you don’t really have the opportunity to spend time with the new priests and their families. This lunch that we hold every year gives us that opportunity.

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Father Andrea Povero said a few words on behalf of the class and I also addressed the families.

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Many of the priests talked about their experiences with their first Masses. They seemed to have all gone very well and the priests were very happy.
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Later on, I welcomed scientists and faith leaders to the Pastoral Center for a press conference to urge action on climate change.

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Several months ago, we had a meeting at the Pastoral Center with scientists and Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders to discuss the environment and climate change, and out of that came this follow-up meeting.

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At the press conference, there were religious leaders from many different churches, including two episcopal bishops, one from Eastern Massachusetts and one from Western Massachusetts. Dr. Philip Duffy from the Woods Hole Research Center, Rev. Mariama White-Hammond from Bethel AME Church, and I addressed the group.

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The conference, of course, came at a time when we are completing the installation of our solar panels at the Pastoral Center.

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The panels are an initiative to use sustainable energy and to accept the challenge the Holy Father is giving all of us in “Laudato Si” to protect our common home by taking care of the environment.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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Catholic Charities’ Spring Celebration

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Hello and welcome!

Last Thursday I went to the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston to attend Catholic Charities’ annual Spring Celebration.42064772652_8c5c2e717f_k42041267521_f238fc68b0_k

My sister was visiting from Mexico, so I asked her to attend the gala with me.IMG_8652

They hold this dinner each year to support their work and to present their Justice and Compassion Award. The award is presented to persons who embody “the values of charity, compassion, and service to those in need; and who demonstrate, through actions and words, a shared commitment to building a just and compassionate society rooted in the dignity of all people.”40233503530_5b85b9915a_k42064931682_8178dbc748_k

This year’s recipient was Barry Schrage who is the director of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.42041280401_c267007f4e_o42041274351_164d28226e_k

Recently, as the situation for immigrants has become more difficult, he approached us to say that, while Combined Jewish Philanthropies does not provide direct services, they wanted to help support Catholic Charities’ legal aid to immigrants. Certainly, the Jewish community remembers their own history of exclusion and difficulty trying to immigrate during times of oppression and hardship. So, thanks to their generous support, over $600,000 was raised for Catholic Charities’ legal services. We are so grateful for that and were very happy there were many members of the Jewish community with us as we honored him.42041269051_078ae9a8ad_kI also want to express our appreciation to Debbie Rambo and Jim Gallagher for their fine leadership of Catholic Charities and to all those who worked so hard to make this celebration the success it was, raising over $1.1 million to support the good works of Catholic Charities.

Friday, I went to Washington for the wake and funeral of one of our young Friars, Brother Saul Soriano who died very suddenly of an aneurysm.8948050a-6c15-49f6-82e7-d9948bd1c231

It was a very sad moment for us. Brother Saul was a young man, full of promise, and he was a very gifted and beloved member of the community. He was going to be ordained a deacon in a few months and was going to go on to work with our friars in Cuba. I know he was looking forward to this missionary assignment, but God called him home. I keep thinking it was a lot like our losing Father Dan Kennedy here in the Archdiocese of Boston.

There were many hundreds of people who came to the wake all day at the monastery on Friday. The following day, Saturday, we had the funeral Mass at Sacred Heart Shrine. Our provincial is in Papua New Guinea, so I was asked to celebrate the funeral Mass. It was standing-room-only with so many religious men and women and people from the whole community gathered to bid him farewell. Though his father died many years ago in an accident, his mother, sisters, and grandmother all live in the Washington area and were there with us. Of course, it was a terrible blow for the family as well as for his religious family and his Capuchin brothers who had such a great affection and respect for him.

Since I was already in Washington, I had a chance to attend the luncheon following the commencement of the Catholic University of America which also took place on Saturday morning.grad_dana_00295

I particularly wanted to congratulate Maria Hamm who has been a prominent leader in the pro-life movement and was given an honorary doctorate at the commencement. Her family was very involved with me in my ministry at the Centro Católico, so I have known her for many, many years.honoreesdr9_5946-1200IMG_8658

At the luncheon, I was teasing her that the only reason I got my doctorate from Catholic University was because her sister, Manella, typed up my dissertation for me. In fact, I told her, I wasn’t planning to go to the graduation, but Manella put me under a death threat that I had to be there! So, you can see this is a family that I am very close to and I am very indebted to them for their friendship and their involvement with my ministry for so many years.

The following day was Mother’s Day, and we had a celebration at the monastery where we had many of the mothers of our friars come to be with us.

I also had a chance to meet with some of the members of the Third Order fraternity that I had started many decades ago, which I’m pleased to see continues to grow and is filled with young people. It was a great consolation for me to see that this fraternity has had such a missionary and evangelizing experience and it has continued to attract young people to Franciscan spirituality.IMG_8655

With the current leadership of the fraternity

Monday, I was back in Boston and went to Matignon High School for their annual Tradition of Excellence Gala.Matignon-thumb

Matignon has a wonderful history. I believe it was the first high school that Cardinal Cushing started 70 years ago. The Sisters of St. Joseph, of course, were the original teachers and founders along with Cardinal Cushing. It was very significant that Sister Lee Hogan was there representing her community and gave the invocation.

During the evening I was presented with their Cardinal Cushing Service Award, and their Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to John Griffin of the class of 1961, who has been involved with the board and supporting the school for years.Matignon1

Matignon’s Green and Gold Legacy Award was presented posthumously to Corporal Donald Curtin, a young soldier who was killed in Vietnam, and his family was there to receive the award on his behalf. I was very pleased that the school still cherishes his memory and wanted to honor him.

Matignon has been through some challenging times, but they are thriving now, and headmaster Tim Welsh is doing just a fantastic job. They have also taken great advantage of their geography, being in Cambridge, and have associated themselves with MIT and Harvard in some of the programs that are available to the students.

As the gala demonstrated, they also have a very dedicated group of alumni and supporters. I was very pleased to see Hap Redgate and his wife Sue were there among them.

It is a wonderful school that certainly continues to live up to its tradition of excellence.

Tuesday I went to visit the employees from the Pastoral Center who were taking part in our annual Parish Service Week.Parish Service Week 2018 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

This year they were working at Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Good Counsel Churches of Holy Trinity Parish in Quincy, which is led by their pastor, Father Marty Dzengeleski.Parish Service Week 2018 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

A number of the employees from the Pastoral Center were there doing such work as planting and painting.Parish Service Week 2018 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. TracyParish Service Week 2018 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. TracyParish Service Week 2018 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. TracyParish Service Week 2018 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

I even got a chance to use the leaf blower. I had never used leaf blower before, and it was a lot of fun. They practically had to wrestle me to the ground to get it away from me afterwards!17cardinal

From there, we went to the offices of Elkus Manfredi Architects for an update on the progress of the renovations to the cathedral. Throughout the process, we are trying to preserve the essential elements of the original Keeley church. (This, of course, is the largest of the 700 churches designed by Patrick Keeley.) So, this was a chance to hear how things are progressing.IMG_8670

We are looking forward to having the Cathedral open for Holy Week next year.

Wednesday, I went to the Boston College Club for St. John Paul II Catholic Academy’s Jack and Eileen Connors Award Reception.20180516Driscoll_gm_006320180516Driscoll_gm_005820180516Driscoll_gm_007420180516Driscoll_gm_0101

The children from the Academy began the evening sing for us. They did a great job!20180516Driscoll_gm_008020180516Driscoll_gm_008520180516Driscoll_gm_010120180516Driscoll_gm_010220180516Driscoll_gm_0108

This year, the award was presented to Kathleen and Kevin Driscoll for their involvement, from the very beginning of the school, in establishing, promoting and raising funds for the Academy.20180516Driscoll_gm_011820180516Driscoll_gm_0168

This weekend is, of course, Pentecost and on Monday we will be marking the new feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. This is a very ancient title of Mary, but Pope Paul VI lifted it up, and now Pope Francis has initiated this new feast day.MARY-MOTHER-CHURCH

It is very appropriate that it is marked at this time because at the very beginning of the Church the Apostles, the first followers of Jesus, gathered with Mary in the Cenacle and prayed with her for nine days before Pentecost, waiting for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit overshadows Mary in the Gospel and Jesus is born; and the Holy Spirit is poured out on Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost and the Church is born. So, it is a beautiful title and I am very grateful to the Holy Father has initiated this new feast. We encourage everyone to be aware of this new Feast because it is the first time that it will be celebrated and, going forward, it will always be on the Monday after Pentecost.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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