News & Press

July 16 - Cardinal Makes Appointments To Office Of Worship And Spiritual Life

Braintree, MA -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley announced today the appointment of Father Jonathan M. Gaspar as Co-Director for the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life and Monsignor Dennis F. Sheehan, S.T.D., as Associate Director in that office.  Father Gaspar has accepted this new position in addition to his responsibilities as Secretary to the Cardinal. Monsignor Sheehan has accepted this new role in addition to his responsibilities as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady, Help of Christians in Newton.

The Cardinal stated that his desire is, "to enhance the work and mission of the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life. We are blessed by the willingness of Father Gaspar and Monsignor Sheehan to serve the Church in these additional roles which we see as so important in the ministry of liturgical catechesis and renewal across the Archdiocese of Boston.  We pray for their success and we offer our full support as they begin this ministry."

Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia, said, “Father Gaspar will be working closely with Co-Director MaryAnn McLaughlin. Father Gaspar's focus will be on worship and liturgy while MaryAnn's will remain on spiritual life. I am grateful to Janet Benestad, Secretary for Faith Formation and Evangelization, for all the groundwork she has done to help lay this foundation.  I am also grateful to Amy Strickland, chair of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, the primary consultative body to the Cardinal on liturgical issues, for her recommendations on behalf of the Commission on enhancing the work that is being done in the area of Worship. I am confident that the team that Father Gaspar and Monsignor Sheehan have begun to build will address well the needs of the Church and ensure that Divine Worship will remain at the heart of our mission.”

Janet Benestad, Secretary for Faith Formation & Evangelization said, "Father Gaspar brings extraordinary gifts to the table.  His sense of the Sacred, his deep appreciation for the Liturgy, and his extensive knowledge of parish life prepare him well for the work ahead in assisting parishes in strengthening their liturgical life.  Immensely respected by his fellow priests in the Archdiocese, Monsignor Sheehan has played a key role in serving the Cardinal in a number of important roles in recent years while continuing his parish work.  We welcome his wise counsel, his extensive knowledge of liturgical norms and his desire to assist us in implementation of ongoing reforms."

Father Gaspar was ordained by Cardinal Seán in 2004 and served as Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish, Marlborough where he worked closely with the English speaking community, as well as with the Brazilian and Latino communities in Marlborough.  In February of 2008, Cardinal Seán appointed Father Gaspar to serve as one of his Priest Secretaries.  Father Gaspar is a trained musician and has been active in music ministry for many years, both as cantor and organist.  He has been associated with the National Pastoral Musicians (NPM) and with the Church Music Association of America (CMAA), and brings with him a great love for the Church's beautiful liturgical tradition.  His work in ethnic communities has given him great experience with multi-ethnic liturgical celebrations.  In his role as secretary to the Cardinal, Father Gaspar has been active in planning Archdiocesan liturgies and has been serving as the Cardinal's Master of Ceremonies.  Father Gaspar received degrees in Philosophy and Theology from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton.

Father Gaspar said, "I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the Cardinal and our Church in this new role.  I look forward to collaborating with Monsignor Sheehan, MaryAnn McLaughlin and the Liturgical Commission, and with other local experts to continue the implementation of the authentic liturgical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council and emphasized by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict.”

Monsignor Sheehan holds a doctorate in liturgical theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. He has served as Professor of Liturgy and Rector at Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston. From 1990 to 1996, he was Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Worship and adjunct professor of Liturgy at both Blessed John XXIII and St. John's Seminaries. Monsignor served as director of Liturgy at the Seminary Department of the North American College in Rome and Rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. Before being named Parochial Vicar at Our Lady's in 2006, Monsignor was pastor at St. Paul's in Cambridge and Senior Chaplain at Harvard Catholic Student Center. Ordained in 1963, Msgr. Sheehan is currently a member of the archdiocesan Liturgical Commission.

Monsignor Sheehan said, "We are blessed by the leadership of Cardinal Seán and his commitment to the mission of the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life.  I look forward to collaborating with Janet, Fr. Gaspar, MaryAnn and the entire staff in advancing the Cardinal's vision for the Office and in meeting the varied and important pastoral needs of the people and communities we serve in the Archdiocese."

Father Erikson added, "we thank Father Brian Mahoney who has served as Co-Director of the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life for the past 6 years while also serving as Pastor of St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish in Sherborn, MA.  I am certain Father Gaspar's and Monsignor Sheehan's expertise and leadership will continue to build on the work of Father Mahoney. I look forward to Father Mahoney's contributions as part of the team Father Gaspar and Monsignor Sheehan are building.”

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Archdiocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of nearly 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 292 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 46,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach and in support of a health care ministry that meets the needs of some 1 million patients each year.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit  www.BostonCatholic.org .