Hello and welcome!
Last Thursday, I went to St. Catherine of Siena in Norwood for a Mass with the parish school. They have a wonderful parish community, led by Father Stephen Donohoe, and a thriving school, under the leadership of Principal Beth Tanner.
I told the young people at the Mass that I came to St. Catherine’s for the first time around 1985, also drawn there by young people — I was celebrating confirmations when I was bishop in the Virgin Islands. It was then, as it still is today, a vibrant and wonderful faith community.
Catholic education is one of the key ministries of the Archdiocese of Boston, and we are grateful to all of those who do so much to support our schools — the pastors, teachers, board members, students and their families.
Saturday, I went to the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brighton to celebrate a Mass for their patron saint in this special Year of St. Joseph.
Sister Lee Hogan, President of the Sisters of St Joseph Leadership Team
The Sisters of St. Joseph have been such an important part of the life of the Church in Boston, and they are one of the principal reasons we have such a strong Catholic school system. Today, the sisters continue to be involved in the archdiocese in our parishes and in their outreach to women who have been victims of human trafficking. In our own Central Ministries, Sister Marian Batho’s work with the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and Sister Pat Boyle’s work with Pastoral Planning are just two more examples of how important the Sisters of St. Joseph are for our archdiocese.
In the evening, I went to the Madonna Queen Shrine in East Boston for a Hispanic Youth Encuentro.
It was good to see how, after not being able to bring the youth together last year because of the pandemic, Sister Elsa and all those working in Hispanic ministry prepared this beautiful convocation this year.
On Sunday, I went to Good Shepherd Parish in Wayland to celebrate a Mass for the parish’s 10th anniversary. With us at the Mass were the present pastor, Father David O’Leary; Father Jim Laughlin, who had been the pastor there when the merger began; and Father Joe Hennessey, who is residence. Father O’Leary has provided excellent leadership to the new, merged parish.
I told the people that I consulted with Siri to find out what the appropriate gift is for a 10th anniversary. She told me it was tin because it is both flexible and durable, which I thought was very appropriate for parish life!
Sunday afternoon, I went to St. Mary’s Church in Nantucket to celebrate the baptism of my great-nephew Charles. I baptized his father; and married his parents, Nick and Amelia, in that very church; and now I had the joy of baptizing little Charlie, my sister’s first grandchild.
Tuesday, I had another of our ongoing formation meetings with our priests who have been ordained within the last five years. There were about 40 of them who joined us for lunch, a time of dialogue, and a holy hour at the Pastoral Center.
During our time of reflection, I asked the priests to share what they saw as signs of hope in their pastoral ministries. I found their answers very encouraging, and there was a lot of dialogue around that question.
Wednesday, I participated via Zoom in a meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors with the bishops of Poland who are currently in Rome for their ad limina visit.
We met for about an hour, during which I gave them a talk followed by a time for questions. The question-and-answer session was somewhat interesting because, as always happens with technology, there were glitches. They could hear me, but I could not hear them. Thankfully, the secretary of the commission, Father Andrew Small, was there with them, and he was able to write out their questions so that I could address them.
Wednesday afternoon, we held a virtual convocation for the priests of the archdiocese. Originally, we had considered holding it in person. However, because of ongoing concerns related to the pandemic, it was deemed better not to bring all the priests together in one place.
During our gathering, we heard a report on the work that Bishop Robert Reed and Father Paul Soper are doing in preparation for the Synod on Sodality. We also heard from Father John MacInnis on a pilgrimage for priests that he is organizing next year following the footsteps of St. Paul. We are very grateful to Father MacInnis for organizing this.
We reflected on some of our past pilgrimages for priests to the Holy Land, Ars and Malta. Those former experiences were very enriching, and I am hopeful that this will be a similar opportunity to bring together a good number of our priests.
We concluded with a conference that I gave on the spiritual life of priests and the importance of prayer in our lives.
It was a rather brief gathering, but it was an opportunity to bring the priests together and connect with them. Many of the priests told me afterward how much they appreciated having the convocation, and we look forward to our planned in-person convocation in May 2022.
Wednesday, I went to St. John’s Seminary for a Mass and reception for benefactors, potential benefactors and the trustees of the seminary. We were also very happy to be joined by some of the parents of our seminarians and the superior of the Carmelites, who are now sending seminarians to St. John’s.
Father Salocks was very happy to once again be able to bring people in to see and experience the seminary, and I think everyone enjoyed the event.
Until next week,