Christ Speaks in the City

Welcome to my blog. As we had our first winter snow storm this week, I continued with my daily activities as Archbishop of Boston.

My friends John and Claire Bertucci, who are members of the board of trustees of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, invited me to have a tour of the museum last week.


That’s Anne Hawley, director of the museum,
pointing out a feature of the courtyard.
With us is Damien DeVasto, who works with us at the archdiocese,
and John and Claire Bertucci.

I enjoyed the tour, and it is wonderful to think that we have this grand resource here in Boston that does so much to promote knowledge and appreciation of the arts, particularly among students. Some of our Catholic schools are very tied into the programs of the museum.


Admiring a Raphael artwork titled Count Tommasso Inghirami

I had never been to the museum before, and I was very impressed by its beauty and the number of paintings, particularly the altar pieces and vestments that obviously came from our Catholic tradition.


A beautiful crucifix from XVI century Venetian artist Francesco Terilli


Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saint from Giuliano da Rimini, XIV century,Italian

It was interesting to see how the interior courtyard had been made by bringing actual balconies from Venice.


The museum web site has a very nice animation of the Courtyard. Watch it here

I noticed that one of the balconies in the courtyard even had a coat of arms with a Franciscan symbol on it, as I have on my own — the crossed arms of St. Francis and Christ.


You can see the arms of St. Francis and Christ in my coat of arms

The Church has always been involved in promoting art, music and architecture as a way of manifesting for people a glimpse of God’s beauty. The beauty of art helps people to understand God’s beauty and His goodness. This can attract people to God.


Sandro Botticelli’s Virgin and Child with an Angel, from the early 1470s


I enjoyed the visit very much

– – –

I attended the Catholic Charities Greater Boston annual Christmas Dinner that took place at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston Dec. 7. It had a very good turnout. In fact I think it was one of the best turnouts the dinner has ever had, which is a very good sign.


A general view of the room

The work of Paulo De Barros and others at the Teen Center at St. Peter’s in Dorchester was highlighted. A young lady from the center spoke, and there was a dance group of Cape Verdean youth that entertained the people at the dinner.


A cape Verdean dance group

The new Catholic Charities president, Tiziana Dearing, gave a very inspiring talk. It was her first dinner as president. And of course Vivian Soper, director of Catholic Charities Greater Boston, also spoke. She is doing a wonderful job in that important role at Catholic Charities.


From left Vivian Soper, director of Catholic Charities Greater Boston;
Michael Gilleran, chair of the Catholic Charities Greater Boston Advisory Board,
and Tiziana Dearing, president of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston

– – –

On Saturday, I installed Father Walter Carreiro as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge.


A large contingent of priests and St. Anthony parishioners were there.


Most of the parishioners at the parish are Portuguese, but there is a growing Brazilian presence there.

Father Carreiro’s mother and some of his relatives were also able to be present for the Mass.


With Father Walter Carreiro

Afterwards, there was a huge Portuguese dinner in the parish hall for everyone.



People had a wonderful time, and they were very enthused.

The outgoing pastor, Father Jose Ferreira, who had served the parish for so many years was present at the installation Mass. He received a big ovation from the people, and the good news is that he is able to continue to help out in the parish.


Father Ferreira greeting his “former” parishioners

– – –

On Sunday, I celebrated an Advent Mass at Holy Family Parish in Amesbury.




They had a very good turnout, and afterwards there was a reception in the hall.



– – –

On Wednesday, I met with the seminarians at St. John’s for an evening of prayer. I meet with them occasionally and we always have a holy hour, dinner and then a conversation.

This time, I gave them a talk about Our Lady of Guadalupe — it was her feast day — and the role of the priest in building unity in the community. I spoke about how the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who came in the form of an indigenous woman, helped to break down the barriers that had stood in the way of the evangelization of America.

Today, we also face many barriers in our very secularized culture, but we have to know how to break those down and to build unity. I talked about the first great challenges in the Church. The first Council of Jerusalem is called in the Acts of the Apostles to confront the kinds of tensions that came about because of the ethnic differences in the community. The variety of seminarians we have here in Boston, I think helps the men to learn how to embrace the catholic — universal — nature of our Church.

After my talk, there were many interesting questions. The seminarians wanted to know about the new ministry to youth that is being organized in the archdiocese through a new department for the new evangelization of youth. They were enthusiastic about that. Some of them asked about the school 2010 Initiative and the implications for Catholic education as we go forward. Other seminarians talked about their upcoming trip to Peru to visit our men in the Missionary Society of St. James who are currently serving there.

This time, they did not take any pictures of the evening, but later they sent me the following photo, taken a couple of days later, as some of them were digging out after the first winter storm of the season that left around one foot of snow at St. John’s.


We have a group of new seminarians from South East Asia at St. John’s this year and, I am told, this was the first time they saw snow… and the first time they had to shovel it, lol.


– – –

On Thursday I addressed a group of people attending the Christ Speaks in the City Lecture Series. The event is hosted by the Vocation Office of the Archdiocese at the Old State House located in the heart of Downtown Boston’s Financial Center.


The Old State House is a beautiful venue. It was the seat of government during the British colonial period in Boston and is now a museum.


The Vocations Office has been having a lecture series there for professionals and people who work in town as a way to try to be present to that population and as a way to increasing the Church’s contact with young professionals in the downtown Boston.




I gave a conference on prayer an discipleship. In it, I tried to stress the fact that without prayer it is impossible to lead a life of faith and to really be faithful disciples. The people in the group we very receptive to the message and there were several questions afterwards


I talked to them about Jesus’ example and teachings on prayer, particularly in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.


I tried to give an explanation of the “Our Father” which the Church has always considered the model for prayer the one that Jesus Himself taught us. I tried to stress the fact that in prayer we are trying to achieve union with God and that in prayer we come to embrace God’s will with great trust. I ended my conference by praying the so-called prayer of abandonment of Charles de Foucauld, the prayer that I have in my prayer card:

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures – I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.

The talk was very well attended even as we were expecting a winter storm to hit Boston at the same time. In fact, by the end of the event it was already snowing heavily.


It took us a long time to get home, which is less than 2 miles away from the Old State House. The snow caused great traffic jams in Boston as everybody started going home instead of going for lunch… so everyone tried to leave the city at the same time.

– – –

For the photo of the week I am sharing with you this photo of my visit to the Gardner Museum. I am impressed by the beauty of the place and the amount of art hosted in there.


God Bless,

Cardinal Seán.

16 thoughts on “Christ Speaks in the City”

  1. Have a joyous Christmas Cardinal Sean! I love the Gardner museum. I hadn’t been there in 20 years and it was only a recent visit that I noticed the beautiful Catholic art!

    And thank you for preaching on the need for prayer in our lives. I don’t think most people realize if they don’t put the time in praying and listening, they will not be able to hear the will of God for their lives.

    God bless!

  2. Thank you for your wonderful minsitries Cardinal Sean. This blog is a wonderful source of spiritual food!!!

    God bless you and all the Church!!!

    Philippe Plageman parishioner at St. Agatha’s in Milton

  3. God bless you good Brother Cardinal…I can tell by your comments, and how you express to us, that the Great Brother Francis has been a very special influence to you…Merry and blessed Christmas…Charlie Lloyd, Sylmar Ca.

  4. Your Eminence,
    Thank you so much for allowing the Tridentine Mass to continue at Holy Trinity church!
    My wife and I assisted there at the Feast of Christ the King in October of 2005. The schola was magnificent.
    The beauty of the church is beyond belief.
    The altar rails are still in place. The high altar has not been demolished, it is awe inspiring.
    We now live in North Carolina, but we have both been praying that the Tridentine Mass would return to Holy Trinity. We hope to assist at Holy Mass sometime soon.
    Again thank you so much, Your Eminence, and Have a Holy Christmas.
    Yours in the Baby Jesus,
    Dan and Elena Hunter

  5. Cardinal Sean, christmas blessings to you! May our new born king continue to bless you and your ministry. We are in good hands with you as our spirtual leader.

  6. Cardinal Sean, Peace to you, and thank you for your blog postings.
    It’s great to follow you, and witness some of the wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit in the Archdiocese and beyond.
    Last year, I too, had the opportunity to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the first time. It was Lent, and there was enough inspiration for a silent retreat day. I missed the Franciscan coat of arms, but particularly liked Bellini’s ‘Christ Carrying the Cross’, where violets are displayed in season in a silver cup as specified by Isabella herself.
    Please be assured of prayers and best wishes as we celebrate the immense gift of Christ’s coming to us.
    A blessed Christmas.

  7. Thank you for reminding us that God is manifested in art, music, and architecture. His divine design and intelligence is of course everywhere, and we need to slow down and think on that more often.
    Another local Irishman said this: “There are three things which are real: God, Human Folly and Laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension, so we must do what we can with the third.” President John F. Kennedy

  8. I have never visited this web site before. How wonderful. As I try to mold my 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son into people that Jesus would be proud to call his own, I can’t help but think that this blog will be another tool that I can use to show them service to others. Thank you so much and have a wonderful Christmas season.

  9. I visit your blog occasionally; it is always amazing to see glimpses into your week. The pictures and story that goes along with the pictures are great.

    Blessings and happy advent.

  10. Eminence,

    The Gardner Museum is truly one of the great treasures of the city of Boston. I am glad you enjoyed your first visit…following in the footsteps of your predecessor Wm. Cardinal O’Connell. He was, as you can imagine, attired quite differently for his stately visit …..”pompa magna”, to say the least!

    If you do not know it, you should also visit the Boston Athenaeum on Beacon Street, just down from the State House. It is a fantastic library with collections dating from Colonial times. YOU can brouse some of George Washington’s personal library in the Athenaeum. While a student of English literature at Boston College, many years ago, I spent hours in that library learning all about our New England literary greats!

    Mes meilleurs voeux de Joyeux Noel, Eminence.

    P. K. Murphy

  11. Your Eminence—

    I read with interest you weekly updates. The photos are great and there is no dull moment in Boston – despite the wintry conditions.

    I wish you and the community of Boston a very safe and holy Christmas and a great 2008.

    From sunny Fiji!

  12. As every week, I had the pleasure of reading about your pastoral activities. As a Nicaraguan I must say I missed a reference to the feast of Mary’s Inmaculate Conception in your blog. My best wishes for this Advent. May God prepare our hearts to welcome His birth with hope and joy.

  13. Once again, I am totally captivated by your

    visits, pictures and comments. Many thanks

    for this beautiful idea of a blog so that as many

    people can visit with you and at the same time,

    learn more about the “job” of an Archbishop in

    your large diocese of Boston. My dad at 106 is

    a resident of Waltham with a brother and sister

    close by. He watches Mass each day. Merry

    Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

  14. Cardinal Sean,

    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is very beautiful indeed. I went there for a field trip with my fellow students from North Middlesex Regional High School last October. And I was very pleased with the “lessons” on Catholicism. I’m glad you included some pictures of it in your blog.

    God Bless You and Have a Merry Christmas,

    Rob Carney

Comments are closed.

December 2007