Ordaining Father Francis Pham

Hello and welcome!

There has been a long-standing tradition in Boston of the archdiocese and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis exchanging delegations on our patronal feasts, mirroring the practice of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy Father. Each year, the Holy Father sends a representative to Constantinople to be with the Ecumenical Patriarch for the Feast of St. Andrew in November, and the Patriarch reciprocates on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in June.

Last Friday evening was the vigil of the Feast of St. Andrew, so I went to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis to join their Vespers Service for the feast.StAndrew-IMG_20191129_190341746

The five loaves are a symbol of St. Andrew because it was St. Andrew who pointed out the boy with “five barley loaves and two fish” at the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.StAndrew-IMG_20191129_195408457

It was a very uplifting celebration and I always look forward to these opportunities to pray together with our Orthodox brothers and sisters.StAndrew-IMG_20191129_201703020


Then, on Saturday, I had the joy of ordaining Father Francis Pham to the priesthood at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Parish in Waltham.FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-001FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-002FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-006FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-007

He was serving his pastoral year in Nova Scotia and was unable to be ordained with the rest of his class earlier this year.FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-010FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-011FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-012

FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-038We were so glad that many of Father Francis’ siblings, aunts and uncles were able to be there with us, but the Mass was also live-streamed so that his mother in Vietnam would be able to share the day with us, as well.FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-013

There was also a very large contingent from the local Vietnamese Catholic community as well as many people from the different parishes where Father Francis had served, including a busload of people who came down from St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Sydney, Nova Scotia with their pastor, Father Bill Burke.FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-035FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-032

It was a very beautiful bilingual celebration with readings and songs both in English and Vietnamese.FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-028FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-019FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-020FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-023FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-030FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-037FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-040FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-041FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-043FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-044FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-045FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-053FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-058FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-066FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-068FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-079FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-081FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-085FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-094FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-097FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-100FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-102FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-103FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-104FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-105FrPhamOrdination-GTracy-106

It was a joyous day, and we are very blessed to have a new priest to help us in ministering to the large Vietnamese Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Boston.

We are so grateful to Father Jim DiPerri and parishioners from Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted for their gracious hospitality.


Following the Mass, I returned to Rome for meetings with the Holy Father and the Council of Cardinals.

Of course, it is the first week of Advent, so I was very happy to see the Vatican crèche as well as the Christmas tree, which is a gift of the people of the city of Trent.IMG_1302IMG_1303

It was a very beautiful sight. I have never seen St. Peter’s Square as lit up as it was this year.IMG_1303IMG_1302

And, on Sunday evening, I got together with our Boston priests and seminarians who are in Rome.IMG_1282


Our meetings with the Holy Father began on Monday, and we continued our discussions on the draft of the new Apostolic Constitution, particularly the relationship between the curia and the various bishops’ conferences, as well as the importance of having laypeople in decision making roles in the Church.

We also heard from Cardinal Michael Czerny, who addressed us about the post-synodal document coming out of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon. I offered some remarks on the Synod, as well. They were very much along the lines of what I shared with the U.S. Bishops Conference at our fall meeting and with the priests of the Archdiocese of Boston at our convocation.


On Thursday, we also had a meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on “Promoting and Protecting the dignity of persons in allegations of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults: Balancing confidentiality, transparency and accountability.”IMG_1304


This evening, Brother Nicholas Koss, OSB visited me with a delegation of five bishops from China. The bishops were: Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of the Kunming Diocese, Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu of the Mindong Diocese, Bishop Paul He Zeqing of the Wanzhou Diocese, Bishop John Wang Renlei of the Xuzhou Diocese, and Bishop John the Baptist Li Suguang of the Jiangxi Diocese.

The bishops are spending a few days among us and, earlier in the day, they visited St. John’s Seminary.

They were very anxious to share with me the latest events in the life of the Church in China, and they are very hopeful and desirous of a closer relationship with the Universal Church.

Fittingly enough, the visit was on the feast of St. Nicholas and they brought many gifts. (When I was in the seminary, St. Nicholas Day was the time of putting up the Christmas trees, exchanging gifts and singing German Christmas carols.)

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

December 2019
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