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17
May

Gathering with my brother priests

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Hello and welcome!

I want to begin this week noting that on Tuesday we had our annual Spring Gala to benefit Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston.

I was very happy that this year they honored the outgoing board chair, Jim Gallagher. He has been a great supporter of Catholic Charities over the years, and we were pleased that he allowed them to recognize his service at the gala.CC gala

We are also pleased to welcome Kevin MacKenzie, our new incoming chair, who is a longtime member of the board. We know he will do a fabulous job.

Catholic Charities is the second largest social services agency in the Commonwealth, after the state itself. We are very proud of the wonderful work that they do, and are so grateful to the many benefactors, supporters and volunteers who make the work of Catholic Charities possible each day.


Much of last week, I was in Rome for meetings of The Papal Foundation, as well as meetings of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Our meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was on Wednesday. In fact, this particular type of gathering of the congregation is commonly known as the “feria quarta,” or “fourth day,” because they are always convened on a Wednesday. These are special sessions of the congregation that are called periodically to discuss important matters and form recommendations to be presented to the Holy Father. There are about a dozen cardinals who attended this meeting and, as a member of the congregation, I was requested to attend.


That evening, I celebrated Mass at my titular church in Rome, Santa Maria della Vittoria, for members of the Papal Foundation. There were a number of bishop concelebrants with us including the new Archbishop of Washington Wilton Gregory, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver and Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas. We were also joined by a number of Boston priests, and our seminarians served the Mass.


Thursday was the meeting of The Papal Foundation. In this photo, you see Eustace Mita, president of The Papal Foundation, addressing the members. IMG_0446_1

The young priests you see in the photo are scholarship recipients of the Foundation. The Papal Foundation has given scholarships for about a thousand priests and religious sisters from Eastern Europe and mission countries to be able to study in Rome.

This is just one of the many examples of the great work that the Papal Foundation carries out. They also support many of the charities of the Holy Father, help Mother Teresa’s community and do a great deal of work helping in relief efforts after natural disasters, just to name a few.


Thursday evening was the annual Rector’s Dinner of the Pontifical North American College. The honoree this year was Cardinal DiNardo who, unfortunately, was unable to be present due to his health, though we were very happy to hear a message from him and to learn that they will hold a gathering for him later in the year when he is able to travel.IMG_0494th_050919_JW_00359778260_2359410727449986_755649884563963904_o59830927_2359410650783327_7205355045506777088_o60253990_2359410524116673_4434059537003053056_oth_050919_DN_098

Also honored during the dinner were Mr. and Mrs. George Strake Jr. of Houston. 60149184_2359409304116795_2086250737347592192_o

The Strakes have been exceptionally strong supporters of the Church. In fact, Mr. Strake’s father was the person who, for many years, underwrote the cost of the excavation of the Scavi, the necropolis under St. Peter’s Basilica, begun by Pope Pius XII. That excavation led to the discovery of the bones of St. Peter.59890640_2359410540783338_2634542134891380736_o


Friday, the members of The Papal Foundation had an audience with the Holy Father, and I invited Msgr. Kevin O’Leary and the Boston seminarians to accompany me.IMG_0456AUDIENCE-VATICAN-PAPAL-FOUNDATIONAUDIENCE-VATICAN-PAPAL-FOUNDATIONAUDIENCE-VATICAN-PAPAL-FOUNDATIONAUDIENCE-VATICAN-PAPAL-FOUNDATIONAUDIENCE-VATICAN-PAPAL-FOUNDATION

After the audience, we celebrated a Mass together followed by dinner at the Lateran Palace. I had actually never been in the Lateran Palace, so I was very happy to be able to see it. It is just stunning, with many beautiful paintings, tapestries and sculptures.IMG_0487IMG_0478IMG_0479IMG_0480IMG_0483IMG_0486

In the last few years, the Lateran has been refurbished, and it looks just stunning. It is one of the original Constantinian basilicas of Rome. It is the pope’s cathedral as Bishop of Rome and, during the Middle Ages, it was where the Holy Father lived. IMG_0463IMG_0466IMG_0471

That is the palace that St. Francis went to with his first friars seeking approbation for the Franciscan Rule. The famous story goes that Pope Honorius III had a dream in which he saw the Lateran Basilica collapsing and a scruffy friar holding up. Then, the next day Francis arrived. So, he was anxious to approve the rule!


On Saturday, I had dinner with our Boston priests and seminarians who are in Rome. I also asked Eduardo Verástegui and Alejandro Monteverdi who were with us for the meetings of The Papal Foundation to join us. Many will remember Eduardo and Alejandro for their work on films such as “Bella” and “Little Boy.”IMG_0492

In fact, we will be welcoming Eduardo to Boston in June for the gala to benefit our Redemptoris Mater Seminary.


Sunday, I came back to Boston, and on Monday evening I went to St. Camillus Church in Arlington to celebrate a bilingual Mass in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. Father Michael Zimmerman has a Marian Mass at the parish once a month and this month was, of course, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.IMG_1158


Tuesday, I was very happy to join our Pastoral Center employees who were participating in Parish Service Week at the Tri-Parish Collaborative in Brockton.DSC_6453

Each year, employees from the Pastoral Center spend a week working at a parish or collaborative in the archdiocese. Throughout the week, they help with a variety of chores — everything from landscaping and planting to cleaning and painting.DSC_6389DSC_6491

Every year they come up with a new toy for me to use. This year I got to use the weed wacker!DSC_6511

We are so pleased that our staff spends this week serving in our local parishes. It is very much a sign of the connection between the Pastoral Center and the parishes. When people visit the Pastoral Center, they see the photos of all the parishes lining the walls throughout the building, which symbolize the fact that the Pastoral Center exists to be of service to the parishes. This practice of having us go out to help in the parishes is a very meaningful reminder of that connection.DSC_6534


Then, at noon, I was very happy to be able to celebrate a Mass at the Pastoral Center Chapel for our permanent deacons who are celebrating their 25th and 40th anniversaries of ordination this year.Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

During the Mass, the deacons renewed their ordination promises.Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Afterwards, we had a very nice lunch with the deacons and their wives.Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Permanent deacons celebrating 25 and 40 years of ordination  are honored at a Mass and lunch at the Pastoral Center, May 14, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy


That evening, we had one of our Sts. Martha and Mary Dinners for young women considering a vocation to religious life. Modeled after the St. Andrew’s Dinners for young men considering a vocation to the priesthood, last year we began holding these dinners for young women, as well.

We were joined for the evening by a number of young religious sisters, two of whom gave witness talks — a young novice from the Daughters of St. Paul and a novice from the Sister Disciples.IMG_0505IMG_0504

I think these dinners are a very important step to introducing the young women of our archdiocese to the vocation of religious life. As strange as it may seem to those of us of older generations, many young people today have very little contact with religious. Some have never even met a sister. This is a great concern for me, and so I’m very pleased that we have begun hosting these dinners to help connect our religious women to our young people.


Wednesday, I gathered with my brother priests of the archdiocese for our spring convocation. This is an opportunity for us to gather together as a presbyterate, celebrate a day of fraternity and to reflect on our ministry and lives as priests.Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

During the day we heard from two excellent speakers — Msgr. Dennis Sheehan and Father Tom Macdonald. Msgr. Sheehan has been a priest for 55 years and Father Macdonald has been ordained for 6 years, and each witnessed for us their experience of the priesthood.Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

There were also different reports given to the priests, and I was able to address them as well.Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

The convocation is also an opportunity for us to honor two or three of our fellow priests. This year, the honorees were Father Bill Kelly and Father John Kiley.Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Archdiocese of Boston spring priest convocation, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood, May 15, 2019.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

It was a beautiful day, and I know it was a very enriching experience for all our priests.


Wednesday evening, I attended the Young at Heart Gala to benefit Bethany Health Care Center, which is a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph.Bethany-2

Bethany Health Care is an extraordinary organization, which consistently receives some of the highest ratings in the state. The sisters do extraordinary work, and the care that is given there is just exemplary, not just for the sisters but also laypeople. In fact, it is a place that many of our priests recommend for their parents because they know they will receive extraordinary and loving attention. So, it really is a wonderful institution in the archdiocese, and I was happy to be there to support them. It was also a chance to publicly thank the Sisters of St. Joseph for their witness and service, which is such an important part of the history and life our archdiocese.


Finally, I want to remind everyone that tomorrow we will be ordaining 13 men to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. It will be our first opportunity to hold ordinations there since the renovations have been completed. It is perhaps fitting that our inaugural ordination of the refurbished cathedral will be the largest class in many years.2019-4

Though I understand that not everyone will be able to attend the ordination in person, I invite everyone to watch the Mass on CatholicTV and in that way be able to share the joy of welcoming these 13 new priests for the Archdiocese of Boston.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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11
May

Celebrating confirmations

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Hello and welcome,

I want to begin this week by sharing with you a statement I issued on Thursday regarding the Holy Father’s motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi:

Following the international summit in Rome this past February, Pope Francis pledged “concrete measures” to respond to the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Church. Vos estis lux mundi is one means of fulfilling that pledge, establishing specific mandatory protocols and reporting systems for matters concerning such abuse.

This document directly addresses needed improvements to the Church’s response by requiring all dioceses in every country around the globe, within one year’s time, to establish a public, accessible and reliable system for reporting crimes of clergy sexual abuse and any cover up of abuse. It also requires the establishment of new procedural norms for investigating crimes by bishops and supreme moderators of religious institutes, including both allegations of sexual abuse and any cover up by way of actions or omissions intended to conceal information or to interfere with investigations.

These new norms address the sexual abuse of minors and they also expand the definition of the “vulnerable persons” who suffer abuse. But it is also quite significant that Vos estis lux mundi includes adults who suffer sexual offenses through violence or intimidation or the abuse of authority.  People who suffer abuse from those in positions of authority can include, for example, seminarians and religious.

It is notable and of great importance that the new provisions require that information be given to the victim of an alleged offense regarding investigations and, further, that the Holy Father places particular emphasis on lay persons participating in the investigations.

During the past year it has become far more clear that the people of the Church and our wider society rightfully demand substantive action for disclosure, transparency and accountability with regard to any occurrence of sexual abuse, or intimidation, or cover up in the life of the Church and that that all Church personnel, regardless of office, be subject to the same policies, procedures and sanctions. Vos estis lux mundi is an important and substantive response to that demand.  I am grateful to the Holy Father for his recognition of the critical need for these new policies and procedures and his actions to as best possible assure the protection of all the people we serve throughout the world.


We were very sad to learn this week of the death of Jean Vanier after a long battle with cancer. His spirituality and his service to the developmentally disabled made such an impact, not just in our Church, but throughout the world through the L’Arche movement that he began. It was my privilege to have met him on a number of different occasions, and he was someone whom I admired very, very much.OBIT-VANIER

He was from a very prominent Canadian family and his father had been Governor General. As a young man, he embarked on a military career but came to discover his vocation in serving the developmentally disabled and forming communities in which they could live with dignity. One of those who was very much impacted by him was Henri Nouwen, the spiritual writer from Holland, who went also to live with the L’Arche community.

His life and ministry have made such an impact on the world, and his passing is a great loss for the Church. He underscored the preciousness of life in a world where women are encouraged to abort children with Down syndrome and other developmental problems. Yet, he saw these people as his brothers and sisters, made in the image and likeness of God. That testimony is so valuable in today’s world.

The Holy Father was able to speak with him by phone before he died, which I am sure was a great blessing for him. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy goes on, and his work at L’Arche is a great tribute to his humanity and to his Catholic faith.


This week, I also want to note the passing of Kay McAvoy. McAvoy_kay

Kay was an extraordinary laywoman and a person of deep Catholic faith. She was so dedicated to the Church and in so many different ways supported Catholic causes, particularly the St. James Society and Maryknoll.

Bishop Hennessey celebrated her funeral on Saturday at St. Camillus Church in Arlington. I understand there was a very large group of family and friends there to bid her farewell, as well as more than a dozen priests who concelebrated the funeral Mass. She will be sorely missed.


Last Saturday, I celebrated confirmations in two parishes in the archdiocese – St. John the Evangelist in Canton and Corpus Christi Parish in Lawrence. Originally, I was scheduled only to celebrate the confirmations at St. John’s in the morning, but in order to allow Bishop Hennessey to celebrate the funeral of Kay McAvoy, I took his confirmation at Corpus Christi in the afternoon.

The Easter season is such a wonderful time of year when so many sacraments are celebrated, particularly baptisms, confirmations and ordinations.StJohnCanton_004

With Father Tom Rafferty and the servers at St. John’s in CantonStJohnCanton_002StJohnCanton_001

IMG_0439With Father Frank Mawn and the altar servers at Corpus Christi. Also with us is Father Patrick Armano, whose niece was being confirmed.IMG_0440

I took this photo of the altar of the “Three Saints,” Sts. Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino, in Corpus Christi because, of course, the parish is very famous for the Three Saints Festival they hold each year.IMG_0442

It is so fitting that we celebrate the Easter sacraments in our parishes, and confirmations are such an important event, not just in the life of the individual young people who are being confirmed, but also in the life of the parish and the Church. It is a time to call people to a deeper commitment to their faith and a sense of mission and vocation, and I am always very happy for the opportunity to address these themes with the young people. I often talk to them about vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, but most especially to marriage, to which most of them are being called. I like to tell them how the gifts of the Holy Spirit can help to prepare them for their vocation in life. So, it was a great joy to be able to celebrate the confirmations at these two parishes.


Sunday, I went to St. Anne Parish in Readville to celebrate a Mass for their centennial anniversary. Father Ron Coyne is the pastor there, and we were so happy to have a number of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth also with us. The sisters had run the school there for over 90 years.StAnne100-IMG_8378StAnne100-IMG_8397StAnne100-IMG_8433StAnne100-IMG_8435StAnne100-IMG_8460StAnne100-IMG_8479StAnne100-IMG_8589StAnne100-IMG_8592StAnne100-IMG_6781StAnne100-20190505_132131

The parish is very vibrant, with many different groups and activities, and I was very happy to be able to celebrate this important milestone with them.


Monday, I celebrated the funeral for Father Ned Carroll at St. Barbara in Woburn. IMG_0445

Father Carroll would have celebrated his 52nd anniversary of ordination next month. In his many years in ministry, he served in parishes in Lowell, Plymouth, Quincy, Needham and Everett, with his last assignment before retirement being at St. Barbara’s. In the last several years he had been living at Regina Cleri.

Many of his friends, family and classmates were there with us for the celebration. Father Joe Fagan, who was one of his classmates, delivered the homily. It was a wonderful send-off for a wonderful priest.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

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