Epiphany week

I’d like to begin my weekly post with an upcoming event which is of particular importance to me.

On Jan. 22, I will be attending the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. We expect to have very good attendance from Massachusetts, particularly with young people. We have been encouraging the youth to participate in the march as a way of experiencing another reality of the life of the Church.

However, we also want to encourage others who are able to travel to the nation’s capital to be a part of the celebrations at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the march itself. Those who cannot attend can participate by praying for the safety of everyone there and for the success of the march. They can also view the Masses and the other programs part of the March for Life on Catholic television stations.

The campaign against abortion in our country has been a long one, but we have seen great strides made. In part, that is because we have not let the issue die. Many are committed to continue to witnessing to the gospel of life, and we are very grateful for those who can go to the march and be personally present.

– – –

Last Saturday I went to visit the Trappistine sisters at Mount St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham. The Trappistine community there has over 50 sisters and many young women in formation. Their chaplain is Father Aquinas, from St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer.


Two of the communities novices, Sister Christine and Sister Pauleen


Sister Katie praying the rosary on a walk

The Trappistine life is one of prayer and work. There is such a joy and a peace in the place that it is always a wonderful spiritual experience to visit them.


Three of the current four postulants, Left to right: Eve Marie, Sofia, and Francesca. They are all in their 20’s!

The sisters support themselves by manufacturing candy. I always say that they are so successful recruiting vocations because they make chocolate there; I’m sure that is one factor!… lol.


I believe they are preparing what they call “Butter Nut Munch” here

They also have a flock of sheep, and one year they gave me a blanket made from the wool of one sheep. I was very impressed.


Sister Rafaela working on the fencing of the sheep pasture

During my visit, I celebrated Mass with their community, along with some lay guests. Afterward, we had lunch together and dialogued about the Church today, religious life and so forth.

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Also this week I had Mass for the cloistered Carmelite sisters in Danvers. That community also has sisters in formation, and they have a wonderful community life. They live the traditional cloistered life of the Carmelites — the spirituality of St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Edith Stein.

During the Mass, my cell phone rang. Afterwards, one of the sisters asked me if that ring was my telephone. I said, “Sister, it was your imagination.” But then I had to get it out because I wanted to take a picture of the sisters for the blog, and the only way to do that was to use the camera on my phone.

Usually I beg for photos when I go to a place, but the sisters, of course, did not have digital cameras, so I had to improvise with my spiffy phone that has a camera. It was one of the first pictures that I have ever taken on it.


What do you think of my cell phone photos?


We are very blessed to have five communities of contemplative sisters in the archdiocese — two convents of Poor Clares, two convents of Carmelites and the Trappistines, which is the largest community.

– – –

On the Feast of The Epiphany I celebrated Mass at the Cathedral for the Hispanic Community. The Feast of the Three Kings is such an important feast in the Hispanic world, particularly for the Puerto Ricans. In their country, the Fiesta de Reyes is very, very important, and they have many processions and parades and, of course, they exchange gifts. In fact, it is a national holiday.

There, they always celebrate it on the 12th day of Christmas — Jan. 6 — whereas in the United States we transfer the Epiphany to the Sunday. This year, of course, Jan. 6 happened to fall on a Sunday.

Father Carlos Lopez, who is assigned at the cathedral and is working with the Hispanics, concelebrated the Mass. He has been such a wonderful addition to the life of the Hispanic community at the Cathedral. Most of our parishioners at the Cathedral are Puerto Rican, yet this is the first time we have had a Puerto Rican priest working wit us there, so it has been a great blessing for us.

– – –

I was also with the Ge’ez-rite Catholic community on Sunday night because they celebrate Christmas on what for us is the Epiphany. The Ge’ez-rite community, which has its origins in Ethiopia and Eritrea, is based out of the cathedral so I try to join them for their important feast days.


The Christmas Mass went on for many hours, ending at 11:30 p.m. I stayed with them while they sang Christmas carols (which involves a great deal of drum playing). After the Mass, they had their traditional Ethiopian Christmas meal at midnight, and I blessed the food for them.

At the celebration, the women were all in their traditional attire. There was a Capuchin sister visiting from Ethiopia, so we have a picture of her with her mother and her sister.


One of our seminarians who was present at the Cathedral is also from Ethiopia, Tamiru Atraga. He is being ordained a deacon next month.


– – –

As a follow up to our two convocations of priests held in the fall, we’ve begun a series of regional meetings in which the priests can come together in their own areas of the diocese for prayer, a light lunch, some presentations and dialogue. This week, we were in the South and Merrimack regions. The meetings were moderated by our Vicar General, Father Rich Erikson.

Central to the conversation was the work of the six-priest team which is the Clergy Services Group. To have six priests — four full time and two part time — looking out for the priests and deacons of the archdiocese is a blessing and a sign of the diocese’s esteem and care for her clergy.

Since I’m sure many of you are unfamiliar with the Clergy Services Group, allow me to share a little bit about who the members are and the role they play assisting their brother priests:
Father Art Coyle is the Cabinet Secretary for Pastoral and Ministerial Services and acts as convener and coordinator of the group.

Father Brian Clary is the Director of the Priest Recovery Program. He assists clergy and their communities with issues related to addictions.

Father Ed Condon is the Vicar for Pastoral Care of Priests, making personal visits a major part of his work.

Father Bob Deehan is the Director of Clergy Personnel, with particular responsibility for coordinating and recommending assignments of priests and deacons.

Father Jim Flavin has just begun full time work as Director of Pastoral Care of Priests and Moderator of the Clergy Fund, having just completed his term as pastor at St. Edith Stein Parish in Brockton. He gives special attention to the emotional and physical health of our priests and has oversight of the funds that provide for priests’ health benefits and retirement needs.

Father Bill Kelly is the Director of the Office for Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation. He is responsible for fielding questions, planning retreats, lectures and workshops, and also reaching out to priests and deacons on a daily basis.

We are blessed, and unique among dioceses, to have so many priests serving their brothers and we look forward to the rest of the regional meetings in February.

– – –

On Wednesday I attended the inauguration of Dr. Carmen Mariano as president of Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree.


Dr. Mariano

Many parents participated in the event and many alumni came back to the school for the occasion. (In fact, Dr. Mariano himself is a 1964 alumnus of the school.)


The Archbishop Williams High serves over 30 communities, and more than 9,000 students have graduated since its creation in 1949 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. It is currently a Catholic private school.

They have a lovely auditorium where we celebrated Mass.



Distributing communion

I was glad to see that they’re doing very well there: The chapel has just been refurbished, enrollment is up and they have a very active campus ministry at the school. Father Keymont is the chaplain there and he is doing a wonderful job.


– – –

On Wednesday evening, I attended a St. Andrew’s Dinner, sponsored by the Vocations Office.


There were about 60 young men who came from the parishes. We had vespers, dinner and then after dinner three seminarians addressed them. The young men visiting are high school students, and the seminarians are all in college. They talked about their own spiritual journey, discernment and their experience of seminary. Each of the seminarian speakers studies at a different college: one is at Providence College, one is in St. Charles in Philadelphia and another is at the Franciscan College in Stubenville.


– – –

We had a lovely celebration on Jan. 4 to mark the 25th wedding anniversary of Antonio and Reyes Enrique. Antonio is the editor of our archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot.


Many friends and relatives of the Enriques attended the Mass, held in the chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
Some of their children proclaimed the readings and provided the music. Antonio and Reyes renewed their marriage vows and I blessed silver rings to commemorate their silver anniversary.



During the Mass, I baptized Elena Carmen, the Enriques’ 11th child, a beautiful little baby girl who was so well behaved during the Mass that I was amazed.



Afterwards, there was a little repast with some tortilla Española and a lovely wedding cake. It was a wonderful and joyful celebration, and everyone was very happy for the Enrique family.


The Enriques after the Mass

– – –

For the photo of the week, I have chosen this photo with Trappistine Sister Anne Kohl. Her 100th birthday is Jan. 21. Happy birthday Sister!


Until my next posting, blessings,
Cardinal Seán

17 thoughts on “Epiphany week”

  1. Eminent Father!

    I agree that Father Carlos Lopez is a true blessing to our parish.

    I also agree that your cell phone photos are quite good.

    That said:

    Please, people!

    Turn your @*$&@Q* cell phones off during Mass! 🙂

  2. Greetings Cardinal! Thank you for your faithfulness to handing on the faith in the many and varied ways that you do. HOpe to see you in DC at the March for Life.

    God bless you and congratulations to the Archdiocese on its Jubilee year! Graces in abundance!


  3. This is my first time visting your website and I looked around on it for a little while and it is pretty spectatular. I would also liek to add that I think it is very impressive to dedicate your whole life to God and give up everything you have to serve him as best as you can. I would also liek to add that you should sometime give my school of Boston College High School a visit in the near future as we could use an inspirational speech from an inspirational and Godly man!

  4. Dear Cardinal Sean
    I’m an italian boy from Rome. I wrote on this blog to tell you that your Eminence is a great person. You are very humile and I’m very happy when I see what you do for the Church and for The People of God. I hope to see you in the future as bishop of my city.

  5. I really appreciate you. I love that you posted a picture of a family celebrating their marriage and baptism of their child.


  6. Thank you Fr. Sean for sharing your uplifting life as a Bishop with us. Your humility and spirituality shine through for us all. We need to know that there is much life in your work and that you are not a CEO, and the office itself is not like a business. Your blog makes that clear. You realize how much your diocese is benefitted by these contemplative communities of sisters. Much grace comes to us through your blog. I stumbled upon it through Spirit Daily. I too am going to DC for the first time by bus at age 69. I read the words of the Lord who said, “I want you to stand up and defend me!”

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean: Many thanks for your weekly blog. I appreciated hearing of your visit to Regina Cleri, and your mention of Msgr. Bill Granville. I taxed his patience more than once. When I was leaving the Archdiocese and heading for Roland Park, Msgr. called my father and asked him to become the prysician for St. John’s…which he did. I recent years I got to visit wich him and other rertired priests on Wings Nech Road at a cookout.

    Now I’m about to do a “Sean thing”. I’m saying Mass for Sister Mary Anne Kohl on her 100th and for the other sisters at Mt. St. Mary’s. Thanks for reminding me of them and their needs.


  8. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    This is the first time I have read your website. Yes’t I met your pro-life secretary at the tribute to Cong. Hyde at Faneuil Hall. She told me where to find your blog.

  9. I loved the pictures of the Enrique family, celebrating their parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, and the baptism of their baby sister. Great parents and great kids. Congratulations….
    A Blessed New Year…

  10. Dear Cardinal Sean:

    I am simply in awe of your passion in spreading God’s love! I love that you visited the nuns and took pictures of them. I love that you posted the names of priests and what they do. I love that you posted a picture of a family celebrating their marriage and baptism of their child. I love that you included young men in this post. Most of all, I love the picture you chose to be the best picture of the week. It portrays full life and joy. What a great gift you have! And what an inspiration you are to all of us!

    God bless you abundantly, Cardinal Sean!

    Your wonderful blog will be on my sidebar. I thank you!

  11. Your Eminence,
    I’m an Italian boy. I’m sorry for my bad english! It was very impressive for me to see what a Catholic cardinal has made as Archbishop! You’re so humile and I admire your poor francescan style! I’m the spiritual son of a very good priest, who has great knowledge in “Sacra Scrittura”. He obtained two licences at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem! I bless God because He let me know him who has let me love Jesus and the Church.
    Exscuse me again for my bad written comment.
    May I ask you to read the letter to Jesus I have written for this Christmas? If you want I can send it to you!
    May God and San Francesco bless you and your wonderful work.

  12. Your Eminence,

    Thank you! I found your site through a google alert for the Little Sisters of the Poor. When I read the blog for this week, it made me realize how wonderful it is to have great leaders in the Church. May God continue to bless your work and I will keep you and your diocese in my prayers as I ask for your prayers as I discern what religious community God is calling me to. Thank you for the pictures of joyful, young sisters!

  13. Your Eminence, well done with your cel phone pictures. You’re more advanced than I am–I don’t think I’ve taken a picture once with my phone! I know my home diocese of Wichita will be bringing plenty of youth for the pro-life rally, but the best I can do is hope to make it to Archbishop Chaput’s Mass here in Denver next Saturday. As always, I enjoy your blog and never miss a post!

    Nathan in Denver by way of Wichita

  14. Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you so much for attending the March this year. I am the president of our student pro-life group here at Villanova, and we will be bringing a bus full of students down with us. This event is so important, it is one small thing we can do to give a loud voice to those who are never even given the opportunity to cry. I was fortunate enough last year to attend the Students for Life America Conference the weekend leading up to the March, as well as the Mass at the Basilica (I saw you there!) led by my own Cardinal Rigali. What a beautiful Mass it was! Unfortunately I will not be at the conference and Mass this year, but I am very excited to join in solidarity and prayer with my fellow marchers of all faiths, as well as solidarity with those truly least among us for whom we fight. Thank you once again for your continued powerful witness to the hope of Christ which breaks through all despair and loneliness, the hope which our Holy Father reminds us is the hope which saves. In Christ I hold fast to this hope that this enemy of life will indeed be conquered, if not in time then certainly in eternity. Peace be with you, Cardinal!

    In Christ,
    Michael Hallman

  15. Cardinal Sean
    We need more good news Catholic web-sites by our Bishops. We need once again to be able to look up to the Bishops and put the recent past behind us. This is a great blog, I found it through Spirit Daily. May the Good Lord Bless you and your Diocese, may he bring many new Priestly Vocations, we Pray after every Mass for Vocations to the Priesthood, I know he is listening, just sometimes wish he would be a little quicker with his approval. THANKS from Sin City

  16. Dear Cardinal Sean,Thank you for another wonderful
    weeks reading of your work during the previous week.I
    look forward to reading your weekly blog,which we get on
    a Saturday due to the time zone.I pray that God will give
    you the health and strength to carry on the great work
    that you are doing.May Gods blessing be with you.Regards,
    Bernie O’Halloran,Sydney.

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January 2008