Releasing financial reports, celebrating confirmations and breaking ground

This week the archdiocese released the Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2006. Last year we disclosed the financial situation of the archdiocese through an important and significant effort we called the Financial Transparency Report. We presented the financial situation of the Archdiocese of Boston and of all the other agencies of the Church in Boston. That report was meant to help our people understand what our resources were, how they were used and what our shortfall was. Part of our commitment was that, on a yearly basis, we would continue presenting our finances. First I want to thank the staff members who have all worked very hard on this. I am also grateful that The Pilot is publishing the report and printing extra copies that will be available at all the parishes this weekend so that people will be able to see first-hand what our current situation is. We are anxious for our parishioners to understand what our financial situation is. The report will help our Catholic people feel comfortable with how the archdiocese is using our funds on behalf of our mission. The report can also be reviewed online.


The front page of the Financial Report
published in this week’s Pilot

The report outlines the improvement in our financial situation over the past year, for which we are happy. We have reduced the deficit that we had in our central administration�s budget. Although we feel as though there is still a long way to go, we are moving in the right direction.

– – –

Last Thursday all the bishops of our Ecclesiastical Province met in Boston. The province comprises the Archdiocese of Boston, the three other dioceses in Massachusetts � Fall River, Springfield and Worcester � and the dioceses of Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vermont; and Manchester, New Hampshire.


Praying midday prayer with the bishops


Another view of the room


Speaking with Springfield Bishop Timothy McDonnell

Those meetings take place twice a year in order to share with each other what is happening in our respective dioceses. We also invite the retired bishops to come. It is always a good opportunity for us to cooperate. We are blessed to have bishops in the region who are anxious to work together and to build up the Church. Among our tasks at the spring meeting is to make recommendations for candidates for bishop� But, of course, we do not give the names out!

– – –

This time of year we � and all the bishops � traditionally have a lot of confirmations. I find it an important part of our ministry as bishops in the Church: to be present to these young people and their families in a moment when they are recommitting themselves to the faith. I always consider it a very important moment, and I enjoy doing the confirmations.

Last Friday, as we do each year, different college campus ministries brought their students for confirmation at the cathedral. It is always a wonderful Mass. For many of them, it was the first time they had visited a cathedral. This year there were 50-some students there with their families and sponsors. The turnout underscores the excellent work that is being done on college campuses in the archdiocese. We are grateful to Father Richard Clancy, the Brotherhood of Hope and the other priests, religious and lay people who work so hard at the various campuses. We have almost a quarter of a million college students in the Archdiocese of Boston, so it is a very important ministry and service that we do. Campus ministry affects the universal Church because these students come from all over the country and the world. Here we try to give them a good experience at Church, and the programs that are in place at universities are good ones.

– – –

The following day, I went to Harvard and celebrated Mass for the campus ministry group. They meet at St. Paul�s in Cambridge. The Masses are always beautiful there, especially the music and the preparation of the liturgy. After the Mass, I met with the students at a spaghetti dinner, and they gave me a T-shirt. I met with some of the new students who are just applying and are going to start at Harvard in the fall. St. Paul Parish in Cambridge has already invited them to be part of the campus ministry and the liturgy.


In my left hand I am carrying the T-shirt
the students at Harvard gave me


I very much enjoy these encounters with college students

– – –

On Tuesday I went to St. John The Evangelist in East Bridgewater to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. They had so many candidates that I could only confirm half. Bishop Boles, who is officially retired but in reality is still very active, is going to confirm the other half. At the Mass they had a large youth choir, and for young people music is an important part of their participation in the life of the Church, so I was happy to see that.

I also had confirmations yesterday at St. Anne Parish in Littleton. One of parents sent me this photo of his younger son who received the sacrament.


Posing with me are Father Clifton Thuma, the pastor at St. Anne’s,
Timothy David Ryan and Tim’s sponsor, his older sister Eileen Ryan.
Tim took Thomas as his confirmation name.

– – –

On Tuesday I also participated at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new adolescent center for St. Anne�s Home, a childcare center in Methuen that works with children who are emotionally or behaviorally disturbed. They have about 100 young people who are residents there. St. Anne�s Home was originally an orphanage for Franco-American children, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. Many of the sisters were at the groundbreaking. They are still very supportive of this institution. As many other orphanages, it has transitioned from a home for orphans to a residential care center for children and adolescents who have emotional and psychological problems and need special schooling. They also have children from the area who are unable to perform adequately it in the public schools.


Greeting the Good Shepherd Sisters

Methuen Mayor William Manzi attended the groundbreaking and expressed his support of the work that�s being done. I also met many of the children who are residents there. It is just a wonderful institution, and like so many of our agencies, it came about because of the spirit of sacrifice and dedication of the nuns who, since the beginning, staffed it.


The sisters did a great job with the shovels


Some of the students took a turn


Methuen Mayor William Manzi and I applaud the kids


Then it was our turn

At the house there was a picture of the orphanage�s founding in 1925. Cardinal O�Connell presided at the inauguration ceremony. A throng of thousands of people were present for the occasion. Times have changed!


The orphanage was founded by Father Bertrand, who was at the time pastor at the former St. Anne�s parish in Lawrence. He himself was an orphan.

– – –

That evening I attended the monthly LIFT meeting. LIFT is a new ministry recently founded in the archdiocese for youth and Catholics of all ages. I had heard about this and was supportive of the efforts to bring young Catholics together for praise and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The people who organize LIFT asked me to give a talk on �the call.� The meeting was held at the Fontbonne Academy in Milton, and the auditorium was packed with young people. The first LIFT evening took place in August last year, and each month they continue to grow. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and the seriousness of the group. The meeting started at 7 p.m., and they had songs of praise, my talk and adoration with more praise songs.


Father Matt Williams leads the LIFT presentation team in prayer




The visual effects were all controlled from this small laptop


Adoring the Blessed Sacrament



The youth were very enthusiastic


– – –

Next week, the Archdiocese of Boston will launch the 2007 Annual Appeal, our major funding source for so many central activities and ministries. I am grateful to Scot Landry, George Martell, Damien DeVasto and all those who have been involved in working on the materials for the Appeal. I think people are going to especially like the video this year. It captures the spirit of all that is happening in our parishes. For the photo of the week, I have chosen this year�s poster that will be displayed in all parishes with the theme “Giving in Faith, Giving with Love.”


23 thoughts on “Releasing financial reports, celebrating confirmations and breaking ground”

  1. OK I read a bit of “The Spirit of the Liturgy” from here

    Quote[“It goes without saying that the biblical and liturgical texts are the normative words from which liturgical music has to take its bearings. This does not rule out the continuing creation of “new songs”, but instead inspires them and assures them of a firm grounding in God’s love for mankind and His work of redemption”]

    So “new songs” are good when done with respect to Biblical and Liturgical texts.

    I also would note this section

    Quote[“Not every kind of music can have a place in Christian worship. It has its standards, and that standard is the Logos. If we want to know whom we are dealing with, the Holy Spirit or the unholy spirit, we have to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who moves us to say, “Jesus is Lord” (I Cor 12:3). The Holy Spirit leads us to the Logos, and He leads us to a music that serves the Logos as a sign of the sursum corda, the lifting up of the human heart. Does it integrate man by drawing him to what is above, or does it cause his disintegration into formless intoxication or mere sensuality? That is the criterion for a music in harmony with logos, a form of that logike latreia (reasonable, logos-worthy worship) of which we spoke in the first part of this book”]

    I have never been to LIFT but I bet all the music inspires our Hearts to say Jesus is our Lord! I also bet it lifts the hearts of those participating!

  2. Considering the title of the document, I wonder if he’s saying rock must be excluded from the Mass, without an absolute rule on events outside of Mass. If you get technical about defining what is “rock” music, there isn’t much of anything since the Beatles that isn’t influenced by it (at least in the Western world). Gatherings like Youth 2000 make plenty use of rock and all praise-and-worship music is either rock or rock-influenced. I really don’t know how you get around it, unless you decide to avoid anything written since about 1960.

    Of course, the document probably has something to say about that, so I’ll check it out.

  3. Jason asks if Cardinal Ratzinger actually said that rock music should be completely avoided in a worship context.

    “Hence, music of this type (rock) must be excluded from the Church on principle…”
    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Liturgy and Church Music”

    Please read more of Pope Benedict’s writings on the liturgy and music. It’s impossible for me to adequately summarize what the Pope has to say (plus, I’m only sixteen), but I think you will find after reading his brilliant thoughts that you must either reject his claims and the truths they convey, or reject the tactics of LIFT.

  4. I always thought one of the great things about our faith was the incarnational nature of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, because they show us that God doesn’t shy away from this fallen world but embraces it and uses His Creation for our good. If God’s grace can work through the most corrupt — yet validly ordained — priest, why can’t His grace work through modern music and lighting?

    Cardinal Ratzinger makes a good point, but it is a pastor’s job to watch for the dangers that exist in every flock. For example, there’s no doubt that the Tridentine Rite is a good thing, but is it a good thing that people drive 100 miles every Sunday because they refuse to attend a Novus Ordo Mass? Of course, the Church tries to guard against that “cultic character,” but it can’t be entirely prevented. Some people won’t go to church unless it’s a Tridentine Rite, and others won’t go unless it’s rock music, but thankfully the Church can embrace both ends of the spectrum.

    The modern worship services draw a lot of young people and many of them may have a superficial faith. However, there are others, like my roommate who was raised in a nominal Catholic family, got into drugs, but eventually came to believe in Christ through a Baptist church that looks a lot like LIFT (minus the Eucharist and priests, of course). There are similar stories among the people attending LIFT who didn’t think the staid old Catholic Church they grew up in could speak their language. Let’s pray that LIFT not only draws thousands back into the Church, but also starts them on the journey to discover everything we love about the faith.

    By the way, if we could read everything that Cardinal Ratzinger said beyond that quote, does he actually say that rock music should be completely avoided, or is he simply being a good pastor in pointing out the dangers to watch for when rock music is used in a worship context?

  5. I fear that LIFT is not just “dressing up the faith in secular clothes,” as Jason claims in an earlier post, but that it is adorning it with the fruits of our fallen human nature.

    Pope Benedict, says it best in the book he wrote as Cardinal Ratzinger, “The Spirit of the Liturgy.” He is addressing rock music specifically, but his words seem to apply to LIFT: “…it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.”

    Despite claims of LIFT and photos of the Eucharist, it seems that this is just another attempt to popularize the faith for the present moment, in a way that will not have a lasting effect

  6. I believe LIFT is a compromise to those who can’t turn off the clamor of the secular world. It is difficult to ‘be’ with the Lord unless we quiet our minds and go inward. LIFT seems to be analogous to the group hug and many like the shared experience but God talks to us in the gentle breeze.
    One finds the peace of communion in the traditional contemplative manner, gazing at the Lord in silence. The technicolor hype is a distraction.
    I hope these young people will find their way to the real Catholic experience.

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I do not know how many parishes there are in the diocese, but wouldn’t it be possible to cycle through them all if you spent every Sunday joining each one for Mass on some schedule, perhaps even faster if you included Saturday evenings?

    I really enjoyed joining you for mass at the Men’s conference and I think that such a visitation cycle would be of great benefit to the diocese.

  8. That picture of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with the red curtains in the back and the incense around the altar, is just awesome! LIFT sounds a lot like XLT, which I’ve noticed is done in several dioceses, including Covington, Ky. I know that here in Louisville, a lot of college-age and young adults are attracted to the high energy, praise-and-worship settings, but it’s provided by Baptist and Evangelical churches. They definitely aren’t receiving the substance and fulfillment that Adoration offers! Ian has some valid concerns, but I’m sure good pastors will ensure a balance is maintained. The genius of our sacramental faith is that we can dress it up in secular clothes (just like God took on our fallen human nature); so long as the message remains authentically Catholic, the lost sheep will come!

  9. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    It is with great sadness that I again write to beg you to stand vocally and solidly against same sex marriage in our State of Massachusetts. Our State Legislators are conducting a Constitutional Convention on May 9th, next Wednesday, which will determine whether we the people can vote on same sex marriage. Many “Catholic” politicians are voting to support same sex marriage and deny us the right to vote. We as Catholics need to hear your voice loudly and clearly against the morality of same sex marriage, especially addressed to Catholic politicians. You must know what you should do to make the liberal media take notice, and I pray that you gather the courage to speak out and take actions against these politicians who are heretics and call themselves Catholic. You and the other Bishops in our State must at this time strongly and effectively work to defeat same sex marriage. It is late for you to do what you must, but it is still not too late. I beg of you to stand with us at the State House next Wednesday to protect the sanctity of marriage and make clear to uninformed Catholics that same sex marriage is wrong and must be defeated. Be not afraid. God bless you.
    Theresa Gorey

  10. First, I must thank Cardinal Sean for taking the time out of his immensely busy schedule to talk to us at LIFT. Not only was it a challenging speach, but also was a confirmation that LIFT has an acceptable place in our worship lives.

    I also would like to answer to some extent the commentary made by Ian and perhaps a bit of a misperception about LIFT. I do this from the not-quite-inside position of a volunteer at LIFT. While the wonderful people who started LIFT perhaps envisioned it for a younger audience, I find a good number of “over 40” adults actively participating in the audience. I am in that past 40 stage!
    The night starts out LOUD! We shout to the heavens the praise of our God. We raise our hands in praise. We celebrate His glory loud in song. It is but one of many ways to offer our thanks and praise, perhaps feeling that in this way He will hear our voices of praise and worship. The night has a speaker who has always given the audience something to ponder and often a call to action as we heard from Cardinal Sean.
    The evening is capped with a period of Eucharistic Adoration. Indeed, it is not silent adoration. We often have periods of soft contemporary music playing. I almost hate to admit it, but my fifty-somthing year old mind just will not shut off with quiet adoration. The music in the background, for me, acts as a way to center my prayer and adoration. When the evening is complete, my spirit is energized, and my mind is at peace.

    I am fairly certain, as evidenced by Ian’s comments, that some people will not find this a good, satisfying, “proper” worship experience. I can only believe we have a Church which is broad enough to celebrate wonderful and diverse ways to praise, worship, adore, and pray to our God and still adhere to core principles which maintain that we may still be Catholic. Every person is at a different place on their journey of faith and LIFT offers young and old alike a call to mover forward in that journey that is hard to resist. The people who run LIFT are dedicated to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and truly believe this is good and will inspire us to do more for the Church, for others and for our faith. God Bless All.

  11. Has there been any thought to presenting LIFT in a national forum for youth?? Our diocese is in desparate need of something for young people with more substance than yearly beach & ski trips. help!

  12. Thank you, Your Emininance, for hanging in there. All the dryness and frustration and pain that come with such a difficult job at such a difficult time must feel almost impossible to live with at times.

    But we are grateful, many of us, for the witness and example you give. Thanks so much.

  13. Dear Cardinal O’Malley,
    Only YOU, OUR SHEPHERD can save our children!
    You won’t believe this! Would you please visit the following link to see the two videos about homosexual indoctrination of our children in elementary schools!

    First our children are brainwashed into accepting homosexuality at an age when they are too young to understand sexual complementarities, sexual morality, and God’s plan for human sexuality.
    Then they are taught homosexual pornography in guise of sex education.
    Next, they are invited into homosexual clubs where pedophiles await and abuse them.
    This is when they become addicted to a dangerous lifestyle that is deadly for their mental, physical, and spiritual health!

    No, it was not priests who committed horrible pedophile crimes and undermined the church! It was homosexuals who infiltrated the church, wolves in sheep clothing, who found a secure place to deceive and to abuse. Not only did they infiltrate many seminaries, they have also infiltrated the educational system with the aim of abusing our children and converting them to their lifestyle!

    Are we going to watch in silence our children get confused, deceived and abused?

    Only YOU, OUR SHEPHERD can save our children!
    Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-20.

  14. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I’m enthralled with your website. It’s amazing that someone so strong in faith and so powerfully ensconced in the Church can find time to write informal blogs about what’s going on. What is unfortunate is that I wasn’t able to make it to many important masses here, as I’m from Pennsylvania. That being said, would it be possible to post more homilies? I read the passage on the december blog, and I craved more.
    Thank you,

  15. Dear Cardinal Sean – thank you, thank you for the outstanding homily you gave at Confirmation at St Anne Church last Wednesday. There is always a certain celebrity status surrounding an archibishop/cardinal, and an honor when he visits a small parish like ours, at the outer edges of the archdiocese, which is fine. But the highlight was your homily. In 15 minutes you hit on all the key topics – the importance of regular participation in Mass, the difference between seeking fun and seeking happiness, the importance of stable marriage and family life, the ten commandments as the instruction set for human living, the noise and falsehoods so prevalent in our modern culture — all delivered in a way that was engaging to our teens and young adults, comforting and challenging at the same time, with the ring of sincerely and truth and authority, and obviously motivated by concern for the well-being of the young people. Every minute was exactly the right stuff for the occasion, the perfect cap to two years of focussed preparation for confirmation. Your words also inspired parents, catechists, and youth ministers to keep up our efforts to grow our own faith and share it with our children. I am very grateful for your visit that evening, and proud to be Catholic — Bob

  16. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Just want to say thank you once again for your weekly blog each as interesting to read as the other. I am always amazed at the amount of ministry that you perform weekly. How do you do it ? Its almost of the miraculous. God bless you and your important ministry as an excellent shepherd. Sr Ccile in Moncton NB Canada

  17. Dear Cardinal Sen,
    Greetings ! You are a very important person. I am just wondering. When you have those type of high level meetings, are there any arguements and even strong words ?


  18. Wow… you sure do a lot!
    I think the amount of work you do is unknown because you are very humble about it.
    You are a great man… thanks for everything!

  19. Your Eminence,

    Hello from the Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland. I’ve noticed a few Bishops with a web presence (for example Cardinal Justin Rigali’s reflections on, but yours is by far the most candid. I feel sure that this came directly from your fingertips, and that it’s not at all scripted. That, if you ask me, is the distinguishing characteristic of blogging, and you’ve nailed it.

    It was interesting to have a fly-on-the-wall view of the Bishops’ meeting (and your other travels), but the event I’d like to comment on is the new ministry: LIFT. I read that this was not your personal initiative, but I think you were well-justified in offering support to any effort that brings young people together for adoration of the Eucharist.

    Being perhaps 1500kms away, I naturally wasn’t in attendance, but I have observed similar events in my own diocese, and I wonder if the enthusiasm of the crowd might be a little misdirected. I’m 23, and am often encouraged to attend similar meetings (so when exactly do I stop being *youth* lol – I digress); but I am skeptical. Is it not true that God himself chooses the medium by which he speaks to us?

    In that case, I’m concerned that if he chose to speak in the form of a gentle breeze, it might be lost among the sound and fury of this style of worship. By adding special effects and amplified music to the adoration – which I’ve always thought of as a unique opportunity to be still and listen to what the Lord has to say (as well as offer prayers) – might we be adding something artificial to something which, on its own, is beautifully authentic?

    I worry that this may be a case of pouring old wine into new wineskins (resulting in the obligatory “pop”). In taking traditional elements of Catholic worship, like Eucharistic Adoration, and adding the secular trappings of a rock concert, are we maybe causing more confusion in the long run?

    I was listening to the Vatican Radio podcast this morning about the guidelines for the 2008 synod in Rome; one of the major points of discussion will be “diffused ignorance and uncertainty regarding church teaching.” I’m not saying there is anything doctrinally wrong with LIFT (and who am I to judge), but is this a time when we should be radically changing time-tested forms of worship? For young people searching for something solid to grasp onto, I think consistency would be a much better strategy. The Gospel and the Church have always been counter-cultural; why are we now trying to dress them up in secular clothes?

    Perhaps some of this will come up in 2008! In any event, now that I’ve discovered this great blog, I’ll be looking forward to your future entries; and I hope I didn’t come across as overly critical, that wasn’t my intention. I just love the Church and worry about Her sometimes 🙂

    Dominus Vobiscum!


  20. dear Cardinal Sean,

    i always look forward to reading your blog every friday. with your busy schedule, i think it’s amazing that you make time to communicate with boston Catholics and, since you’re on the web, Catholics here in the Archdiocese of Miami!

    i like your style. May the Lord Bless you with the strength to do His will.



  21. kudos to you cardinal sean.along with all your gifts, especially humility,you certainly know how to communicate.too many folks really dont know how to communicate and many times we are left “in the dark”.we did the “word” humility in our neocatechumen liturgy last week. it was super.
    God bless you in all your endeavors and stay well and happy.

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April 2007

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