Day: April 4, 2008

Eucharistic Congress

I am pleased to be able to start my post this week with the announcement that Dr. Ralph de la Torre is the new executive director of our Catholic hospital system, Caritas Christi. We are very pleased to have him come on board. He is very well credentialed. He is himself a cardiovascular surgeon with training from Harvard and MIT.


His family has a long association with Catholic health care in Florida and he brings a great sense of dedication to this mission of the Church. Our Catholic hospitals have many challenges but the system is a very important ministry of our archdiocese. We are trying to professionalize the administration as much as possible.

We’re grateful to the wonderful work of the acting president, Dr. John Chessare, who is now the head of Caritas Norwood Hospital and also Jim Karam, John Kaneb and Neil Finnegan, who were very active on the search committee. We are very grateful for all their work.

Our Catholic hospital system is a very important part of the ministry of the archdiocese,

and we are very grateful to Dr. de la Torre for his willingness to serve in this capacity.

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The Eucharistic Congress for young adults, which was held on Friday and Saturday, attracted many university students and others to the North End.


We’re grateful to the Vocation Office and the Office for the New Evangelization of Adolescents and Adults: to Fathers Dan Hennessey, Mike Harrington, Matt Williams and Richard Clancy and all those who worked to promote this congress.


Father Peter Cameron, editor of Magnificat spoke


Kari Marmol of the Community of Sant’Egidio


Father Matt Williams, head of our new Office of Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults



The conference included both service projects and prayer



We were delighted to have a full church at St. Stephen’s for the Mass and also a full church at St. Leonard’s for the closing procession and benediction.


On Saturday, I celebrated the Mass for the Congress


It was a very moving experience to see the devotion and the faith of our young Catholics. We were also very grateful for the hospitality that was given to us by the St. James society and by the friars at St. Leonard’s, and for the generosity of the merchants in the community who put on a wonderful Italian meal and fed hundreds of young adults who were participants in the Eucharistic Congress.


There were opportunities to socialize and enjoy the food donated by local merchants




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The next day, which I said the Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at the Cathedral, organized with the help of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Sister Faustina’s community.


Sister Faustina


The attendance, as always, was very good. This is a devotion that has inspired many Catholics, and has grown in its popularity in an incredibly fast way. I think it underscores the desire people have to experience God’s mercy — the need for God’s mercy — and the love for the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness.

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On Sunday I also visited St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham. I said Mass at the residence. There’s a very large contingent of sisters, both the Carmelite Sisters who run the St. Patrick’s, but also there are many sisters — I think over 30 sisters in all — who are residents at the residence and are members of other communities as well.




There’s a wonderful atmosphere the sisters maintain. It’s a wonderful ministry, and we are so blessed to have them working in the archdiocese.

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This week I also went to Washington, D.C., to the meeting of the Board of Directors for Catholic University. It is encouraging to see the great strides the university is making under the leadership of Father David M. O’Connor, C.M. There’s great excitement at the university, as they are preparing for the visit of the Holy Father within two weeks.

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After I returned to Boston I attended a conference at Boston College given by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, entitled “The Church of Social Justice in the World.” I have known him since he was a priest, 30 years ago, in Tegucigalpa. The cardinal is a Salesian Father.





He was a young priest when I first met him, and shortly after that he became the Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa and from there was sent to a small diocese called Santa Rosa de Copan, but after a few years was returned to be auxiliary bishop again in Tegucigalpa — which was an unusual thing — but the archbishop was elderly and really dependant upon him. Then when Archbishop Santos retired, he became the archbishop and the first cardinal from Honduras.



He is a Renaissance man — a musician, a pilot, and a linguist. He speaks many languages perfectly and he is a great leader in Honduras. I don’t think there is another leader in the country that has the ethos that Cardinal Rodriguez does in Honduras. Besides being Cardinal of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Rodriguez is also the president of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

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This week I also met with permanent deacons. We have a Deacons’ Council which is something tantamount to the Presbyteral Council and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
We are working on trying to organize that, to promote regional meetings of the deacons with the auxiliary bishops, and to have this board meeting several times a year here with myself, so they can bring their ideas, and discussions and conversations from the deacons out in the different regions.

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Wednesday I went to St. John’s seminary for the induction ceremony for the Knights of Columbus. Some seminarians were inducted into the Knights of Columbus and some of the faculty as well.


Quite a number of the leadership of our state’s group was there for the ceremony and afterwards they presented me with checks from the National Knights of Columbus and the State Knights of Columbus. The checks were for $50,000 and for $10,000, to help support the Marriage Initiative in the state of Massachusetts, which is our program to educate people about marriage.


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Thursday, I also had lunch with the mayor of Braintree and the mayor of Quincy. Since our headquarters is moving to Braintree — right on the Braintree/Quincy border, the two mayors were invited by the Chancellor to have lunch with us and to talk about the move. The mayors have been very supportive and very helpful.


Mayor of Quincy Tom Koch and Mayor of Braintree Joe Sullivan

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This week I also had the pleasure of visiting the Coast Guard headquarters here in Boston. Father Bill Cuddy who is in charge of the Coast Guard Chaplaincy arranged it.

He is himself a Navy Chaplain, but the Navy supplies the chaplains for the Coast Guard. Father Bill Cuddy lives here at the Cathedral when he is home, and he had invited myself to meet the local admiral, and to learn more about the operations of the Coast Guard, so we went to the Headquarters here in Boston.


Rear Admiral Timothy Sullivan, First Coast Guard District Commander;Lt. Jason Haag, the Admiral’s aid; CDR Kevin Bedford, First Coast Guard District Chaplain; Master Chief Petty Officer John Downey, First Coast Guard District Command Master Chief; and Father Bill Cuddy


Talking with Admiral Sullivan

Having grown up on the Canadian border, I remember as a child watching the Coast Guards come with their ships to break the ice because the lake in those days would freeze over. They do outstanding work, particularly the search and rescue missions. They are also involved in dealing with the drug dealers and smugglers trying to smuggle other things in. Theirs is a “guarding” ethos, as they describe it, as opposed to the other military branches — which, we can say, have more of a “warrior” ethos. A great part of their mission is to protect, and to help people, to rescue people when they get into trouble on the high seas. Here where we have such an important fishing industry, they try to monitor the safety practices of the boaters and fisherman. They have boats and helicopters to do these rescue missions in time of storms or other challenges. It was interesting. They’ve even invited me come back and to go on their boats!

As a memento of my visit they gave me these coins which, I understand, officers give out in acknowledgment of a job well-done.





Until next week, blessings.

Cardinal Seán

April 2008