Sharing Wonderful News This Week – New Auxiliary Bishops & The Arrival Of The Sacred Relic Of St. John Vianney

Good afternoon everyone.

We had a joyous day yesterday in the Archdiocese with the wonderful news from our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI regarding new Auxiliary Bishops and the arrival of the sacred relic of the heart of St. John Vianney in Boston, here to inspire us and call us to pray for priests and a greater commitment to building a culture of vocations.

Because Boston is such a large Archdiocese, there are pastoral regions that have been set up and its very important for us to have the presence of Auxiliary Bishops in each of these regions to work with priests, vicars, religious, the lay people and deacons. The men who have been named by the Holy Father as Auxiliaries, Bishop-elect John Dooher and Bishops-elect Bob Hennessey, come to us from parishes, which I think is very important, when at this moment in our history we are trying to revitalize our parishes. These are men who have been successful in their parishes – in outreach, in evangelization in having very vibrant faith communities. So I am hopeful that they will be able to encourage the parish communities.

They will be visiting the parishes. One of the things that we have done with the Auxiliary Bishops is to set up a schedule of parish visitations with the leadership of each parish the pastor, priests, deacons, religious education directors, the parish councils, the finance council and principals of the schools.

Their presence in the regions is way of extending the ministry of the Archbishop to the different areas of the Archdiocese. These two particular men have vast pastoral experience and have been very successful as pastors. In addition to his work in the spiritual life office, Fr. John Dooher has worked with the priest council and the Board of Consultors. Fr. Hennessey has been a missionary, has been working with inner-city communities and with immigrants. He has also helped on the personnel board, which is a very important function and has helped him to have an understanding to grasp at what some of our personnel needs our at these times of aging clergy and priest shortage.

So I think these two men have very deep lives of faith and enjoy the esteem of their brother priests, religious and the people they serve. I think they are going to enhance the central administration and the regional efforts that are taking place in the Archdiocese.

I want to share some pictures with you from yesterday. Fortunately, photographer George Martell was able to join us to capture images of the wonderful day.


Bishop-elect John Dooher.


Bishop-elect Robert Hennessey


We shared the wonderful announcement during a press conference in the Peterson Hall Chapel yesterday.


Fr. Erikson and I met with the Bishops-elect prior to the press conference.


Yesterday was a very auspicious day for us with the announcement of our new Auxiliary coincided with arrival of the relics of St. John Vianney. It was a wonderful coincidence, at a time when we are trying to encourage people to pray for parish priests and for vocations that the Holy Father would single out two exemplarily parish priests and call them to a higher responsibility for the service of our Archdiocese.all of this at a time when we are focused on the very special vocation of St. John Vianney, whose life as a parish priest serves as a model for all pastors and parish ministry.

The relics that we have here are actually from the body of the saint. Sometimes you talk about relics that are things that were associated with the saints, that were used by the saints. From the early Church with our belief in the Resurrection, the body is part of who I am. Descartes changed the philosophy of the modern people and gave the impression that we are ghosts in the machine. Je pense, donc je suis – I think therefore I am. But, as human beings, the Church teaches that we are body and soul here, and a body is part of who we are. The deity of the body is underscored by our belief in the Resurrection. This is why we tell people to respect their bodies and why we bury our dead with great reverence because our earthly remains will one day be gloriously raised and reunited with our souls – thats part of who we are forever.

The bodies of the saints underscore our Resurrectional theology. This is a practice that comes from the early Church. I have mentioned previously, the catacombsthe first masses were celebrated on the tombs of the martyrs and therefore we have the custom of having altar stones with martyrs relics in all of our altars. In virtually all the altars in the Archdiocese, Im sure there are martyr stones there, usually containing bones or relics of martyrs of the Church. In many important cities the dioceses of Europe really grew up around where a saint was buried. People saw that as a great source of pride for community.

The saints were seen as a way of contact with the transcendentin their lives, the masterpieces of Gods grace become visible for people. So, our devotion to the saints is part of the way the Church holds up heroes and heroines for people to imitate how they live their life of discipleship and sometimes under adverse circumstances. Some of the saints began their lives as great sinners and very far from Godand then had very dramatic conversions that changed their lives, turning from a life of selfishness to a life of service and love. All of that is encouragement to us in our lives as Christianswe are all being called to a life holiness. That takes many different shapes.

Pope John Paul II canonized so many saints during his tenure as Pope, more than any of the other Popes previously, precisely because he wanted to underscore the fact that everyone is called to holiness from all walks of life regardless of whether you are a teacher, a housewife, a scientist, a police officer, or whatever no matter what your position in life is, you are still called to a life a love and holiness. That is open to everyone.


We gathered to receive the sacred relic of St. John Vianney at his statue located outside St. John’s Seminary. Pictured with me above is Bishop Bagnard, Bishop of Belley-Ars, France, who traveled to Boston with the relic.


The sacred relic of St. John Vianney.


Yesterdays procession.



It was very fitting that our Director of Vocations Fr. Dan Hennessey (left) and Assistant Director of Vocations Fr. Michael Harrington carried the relic during the procession.


Praying before the sacred relic in the Seminary’s Chapel.


It’s interesting to note that the potrait behind us is the first Bishop of Boston, Bishop John Lefevre Cheverus. He was from France and came with Fr. Matignon to work in Boston at the time of the French Revolution as many priests were expelled at that time from France. He became our first Bishop of Boston in 1808. Of course at that time the Archdiocese of Boston was the Diocese of Bostonit was all of New England. Bishop Cheverus did a lot of work in Maine with the Indian tribes. He was a very fascinating man and was very beloved in Boston.

In fact this painting is one of the Gilbert Stuart portraits the same artist who created the famous George Washington Lansdowne Portrait from 1796 that Im sure you may be familiar with. This painting of Bishop Cheverus was commissioned by prominent Protestant families in Boston. Later, Bishop Cheverus was called back to France and became the Archbishop of Bordeaux in 1826 and was later named Cardinal in 1836. So it is very fitting to have this picture of our two new Auxiliary Bishops taken in front of the portrait of Bostons first Bishop.

I also wanted to include the schedule for the sacred relic of the heart of St. John Vianneys visit in Boston. I encourage and invite you to participate if you are ableand if you are not able to participate, I ask that you please pray for parish priests and for vocations.

Open to the public
St. Marys Church, 133 School Street, Waltham, MA
4:00pm-10:00PM: Veneration of relic/priests available for confession
4:00PM: Procession of Relic into church and daytime prayer
5:30PM: Rosary for vocations
6:00PM: Talk on the life of St. John Vianney by Fr. Philippe Caratge, Moderator of Sanctuary of St. John Vianney
7:00PM: Mass celebrated by Bishop Bagnard, Bishop of Belley-Ars, France
10:00PM: Night Prayer led by Cardinal Sean OMalley

Open to the public
Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 1400 Washington Street, Boston, MA
9:00am-2:00PM: Veneration of relic/priests available for confession
9:00AM: Mass
12:00PM: Rosary for vocations
2:00PM: Daytime Prayer and Final Blessing

I hope you and your families have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the beautiful Fall weather here in Boston.

Until my next post.

God Bless,

Cardinal Sen

25 thoughts on “Sharing Wonderful News This Week – New Auxiliary Bishops & The Arrival Of The Sacred Relic Of St. John Vianney”

  1. Cardinal Sean, thank you for the explanation of the Jerusalem Cross and what it represents. I always wear a cross as a sign of my Christian faith. It will now be even more special. Also, the relics are such a blessing to see. You have Beautiful pictures and your blog is very informative. Kansas, USA

  2. I definitely think it is time for the Catholic church to rethink their strategy on recruiting men for the priest hood, obviously it is not working. I mean no disrespect to you or the church, but when one of our priests at this mornings mass fell down the stairs while serving Communion I knew something had to change. I feel that either we need to consider having women priests or let priests marry. We need to try something or the church will just fall apart. It just seems so cruel to have these poor men who have worked so hard in their roles being spread so thin and not allowed to retire and enjoy their twilight years. Although I respect these men greatly, their sermons really do not catch the ears of the younger generation. We really need the younger generation to make the church grow. My aunt recently spoke to me on this subject saying not to worry God has a plan. My question is how do we know what Gods plan is? I think he is giving us a test by not having any men join the priest hood. Maybe he is telling us in his own way that we need to find other options. We need younger men or women to continue on with the church. I find comfort in the church and do not want to see the end of the church in my lifetime. Thank you for your time, Marie Hoyle

  3. Have courage. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth in love, like John Vianney. His passionate sermons speak of holy fear, something that is not spoken of much anymore.

    We must have holy fear of God. At the end of time, the only thing that will matter is the extent to which you cooperated with the grace of God. The rest all passes away.

    Please do not fear the world or human respect. Be at peace and enjoy the courage of the Holy Spirit.


  5. Good Morning,

    I enjoy reading your blog from time to time.

    How did the heart of St. John Vianne came to be separated from his body? People keep asking me questions about the details of the relic and how it came to be. It is a fasination to many in my parish. I wish I had a good answere.


    Fr. St. Martin

  6. Praise be Jesus Christ!

    Hi Cardinal Sean! I am Dexter from the Philippines. I am glad to know that a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Catholic Church has a blog! I love reading all of your posts especially those of your travel in Rome. I am very interested about the cardinals, bishops and priests of the catholic because I admire all of you for your service to God. Actually I am thinking about entering into religious vocation and I think I need help and advice regarding this matter…

    Thank You! and I also pray for the ministry of the new auxillary bishops of your Archdiocese…

    God Bless us!

  7. Thank you, your Eminence, for your simplicity and sharing in the latest sphere of influence. God surely always reveals to the simple what He kept from the “wise” and the “learned”.

    Your blog has inspired new ideas for my Mule of Christ ministry page. May the Good Lord keep you always in the Immaculate Heart.

    Please remember me in your daily Holy Masses.

    Fiilially yours in Christ.

  8. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I am delighted to have this opportunity to post on your blog. As a memeber of the Diocese of Manchester, NH and having come to know you in the last two years, I became excited as I read The Pilot’s latest article on your blog. I was especially pleased because you mentioned you are taking this on to engage young adults. I am a young adult actively participating in Young Adult Ministry just north of the border in NH and gratefully appreciate your sensitivity and committment to our peer group in the Universal Church. Thanks for all your support and may I add it was a pleasure meeting you in Dusseldorf, Germany for WYD 2005. Daniel Horan

  9. i’d like to read on the “comments” part of this blog any stories of answered prayers on the occassion of the visitation of the relic of Saint John Vianney . . . there probably are more than one . . . i know that reading Abbe Francis Trochu’s biography of Saint John Vianney made a lasting impression on me.

  10. Dear Cardinal Sean
    I so enjoy reading your blog. It is just fantastic that you make such great use of technology & reaching out to people all over the world to teach and preach! The way you combined photos, tourism, history and theology on your posts from Rome was amazing. I don’t suppose there is any chance of you leading tours to Rome in the near future?!
    It also is really inspiring to read such deeply pastoral replies to the concerns & queries & comments which are posted, and to be ‘taught’ via the web with your continuing posts. I hope the good people of Boston appreciate how really lucky they are to have you as their pastor.
    With prayers & best wishes from North Yorkshire, England,

  11. Cardinal Sean-
    you encouraged questions in an earlier post and I am wondering if maybe you could explain to me the recent buzz about the Tridentine Mass and it’s potential ‘restoration.’ What will this mean, specifically for the Archdiocese of Boston? Will our Priests have to say a Latin Mass or will this be optional? Thank you for your time and work that you put into this blog. I must say I agree with Peter Skipper when it is said that you are the coolest Cardinal in the whole Church! And I also wish to thank you for starting the conversation and idea in Bishop Bagnard’s head to bring the heart relic of Saint Vianney ‘on tour.’ I very much enjoyed Saturday’s Mass and Veneration. You’re the best Cardinal Sean!

  12. Thanks for sharing the arrival of the Relics of St. John Vianney and the appointment of your new Auxiliary. May God bless you and your Auxiliaries and the people of your Archdiocese and continue on with this wonderful work of sharing with us your work and happenings in your Archdiocese,

  13. Your Excellency,

    I am writing today to applaud everyone that played a role in bringing the Heart of St. John Vianney to Boston. What an awesome experience it was in Waltham on Friday evening. The faith of this Archdiocese is alive and well, as I attended a standing room only but very prayerful event at St Mary’s in Waltham. Fr Hennessee and Fr Harrington and all the others did a beautiful job in bringing us all closer to Jesus Christ. Thank you……………………


  14. Your Eminence,

    With rumors flying of a release of the Traditional Latin Mass/Universal Indult, I am curious…will you be encouraging priests in the Archdiocese to incorporate a TLM into their Sunday Schedule?

  15. Boston has much to thank God for!

    Last night, I visited St. Mary’s to venerate the heart of St. John Vianney along with my 3 children. This was the second time my oldest son, now 13, and I have had this awesome priviledge. The first time was when we made a pilgrimage to St. Vianney’s parish in France in 2004 where we venerated his heart and also his incorrupt body. We also celebrated Mass and received the Precious Blood from his chalice, and prayed for our priests! That was an incredibly holy experience.

    It was wonderful to see so many people in attendance, along with the many priests and religious. It was nice to see so many nuns in their habits…many young women too. They brought back so many great memories that my children unfortunately don’t have.

    Thank you for allowing us to have a photo with you as you were about to leave. You are always so generous with your time. It came out great! I am going to frame it.

    God bless you, Cardinal Sean!


  16. Sorry if this sounds morbid, but what part of St. John Vianney is in the reliquery? I ask, because to me it looks like it might be his tongue . . . and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

  17. I cannot help but remember Fr. Charles J. Foley, who was the founding pastor of the only parish in the Archdiocese ever to be named in honor of the Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney parish in the Point of Pines, Revere. He was a towering man, over six feet tall, who had served in the Navy, I believe as a chaplain. He was absolutely wonderful to the children of the parish. He was a true “gentle giant” with them. Throughout these past years, I have often thought of Fr. Foley. He named the new parish, served it well, and even though the parish is now long closed, I cannot think of St. John Vianney without remembering Fr. Foley. The “gentle giant” of the Pines shared a great deal with the “donkey of Ars.” His memory serves as a blessing.

  18. Hello Cardinal Sean: Greetings from Denver, CO. Thank you for the blog. Is it possible to post your Sunday homilies on your blog or on the Archdiocese website? I realize that around the core of your preparation for a Sunday homily much more that you say may be extemporaneous, but for those of us unable to listen to you in person any posting of your homilies, even in outline form, would be most helpful.
    john slaughter

  19. Laudetur Jesus Christus!
    Dear Cardinal Sean!
    My name`s Oskar .I have 20 years old.I from Poland. I study in College in Czestochowa. I`m interesting of Cardinals of Holy Roman Church and Bishops on the world and liturgy.
    I congratulate New Auxiliary Bishops on their elevation to the College of Episcopal.
    P.S. I would like to personal contact to you.
    Yours sincerely,

  20. Your Excellency,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the call to use technology as a means of evangelizing. I have been greatly enjoying reading your blog.

    I want to tell you how much I appreciate seeing you in your Franciscan habit. It sounds like such a simple thing, but to see a Cardinal of the Church wearing such a visible sign of his vow of poverty, it really sends a powerful message out into the world. I am a future Augustinian myself, completing my studies at Villanova before entering the seminary. Recently, we had the innauguration of our new president, Fr. Peter Donahue, OSA, and present on the stage was Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, and also our own Augustinian provincial, Fr. Donald Reilly, OSA. And while by all means, I love the attire that a cardinal often wears, as you yourself I’m certain do, as well, because it is in recognition of the great dignity of the office, I just couldn’t help but feel a warm spot in my heart seeing my own provincial up there, seated next to the Cardinal, looking just like every other Augustinian in the room.

    For me, the habit displays such a strong bond of solidarity, with our fellow brothes, and also with the truly lowly throughout the world. It is such a wonderful symbol of humility to see the Archbishop of Boston wearing a simple brown habit with a cross around his neck. So anyway, thank you for your tremendous witness to Christ, and I continue to pray for you and for all our leaders around the globe. God bless!

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October 2006

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