Cardinal Seán’s Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Breaking ground in Dorchester

This has been a very busy and interesting week with many events and meetings!

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Last Friday, I celebrated the First Friday Mass for archdiocesan staff at Bishop Peterson Hall in Brighton. I also invited the consecrated virgins of the archdiocese to the Mass, and then we had a breakfast meeting with them afterward. We meet occasionally, and at this meeting they had the opportunity to share about the different activities and ministries they are involved in.


Beth Lee was visiting from the Diocese of Fall River and shared with us the paper she will present at an international meeting of consecrated virgins that will take place in Rome next week in Rome. She will join another 500 consecrated virgins from 52 countries, including 31 from the U.S.

Another consecrated virgin, Sr. Kathleen, has developed a website, that provides e-mail delivery of a brief Scripture message for each day. She told me that within a few weeks, there will be another website: that will provide a similar service, but will be short messages taken from the talks and writings of the Holy Father.

I was impressed by the activities and the witness of these wonderful women.

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Later that day, I met with the leaders of Women in God’s Spirit (WINGS). The organization has sparked many parish women’s groups. Many of the women have also been involved in the annual Boston Catholic Women’s Conference. I thanked them for all of their help in promoting women’s ministry.

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Also on Friday, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, recently named archbishop for the Military Services, stopped by to pay a visit. Our vicar general, Father Richard Erikson — who is himself a military chaplain also attended.


Archbishop Broglio also planned to go later in the day to Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford. The Archdiocese for the Military Services is one of the largest archdioceses because it includes many thousands of military personnel and their families.

Previously, Archbishop Broglio served as the apostolic nuncio in Santo Domingo and at the same time as apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico. He is a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland and has been in the diplomatic service of the Holy See for many years.

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Then, I met with the superior general of the Daughters of St. Paul, Sister Maria Antonieta Bruscato. She is from southern Brazil, so we spoke Portuguese at the luncheon.



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On Friday evening, I participated in a holy hour, evening prayer and dialogue with the seminarians at St. John’s. I do this several times during the year, and on this occasion we spoke about the impact of the Holy Father’s visit, what he said and the seminarians’ participation in the papal events. The Boston seminarians went to New York for the youth rally on Saturday and Mass on Sunday.



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On Saturday, the Knights of Columbus had their state convention in Burlington. I went to address the knights and then visited the wives who had their own meeting at the hotel.


Many of the Knights were wearing cowboy hats and sheriff badges, and they had a Dolly Parton-like singer. It was very nice.


William Donovan is the newly elected State Deputy. Here is with mother Eileen and wife Annmarie


The Lynch Family of Walpole received the Knights’ Family of the Year Award

I told them how grateful the priests and others in the archdiocese are for all of the wonderful work the knights do to promote vocations, family life and defend the gospel of life. I mentioned how pleased I was that the Holy Father spoke quite a bit about Father Michael McGivney, founder of the knights, through the course of his talks.


Past State Deputy Dick Guerriero and wife Patricia
receive plaque for years of service on State Board.
So from left to right we have Dick, State Deputy, Vincent Rumasuglia,
Patricia Guerriero and Renie Rumasuglia

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Then, I celebrated a very beautiful Centennial Mass at St. Brigid Parish in South Boston.



They have a lovely choir. At the end of Mass, they had the children perform a piece on the tin whistle, which is a very Irish instrument.



Later, at a dinner at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the pastor, Father Robert Casey sang an Irish song. After he finished singing, John “Wacko” Hurley, the famous South Boston politician, said to me, “Cardinal, tell Father to learn a new song.” Apparently Father Casey always sings the same song. I had never heard him sing before, and he has a magnificent voice, although his repertoire may be limited.


UMass Boston is quite near the parish, and they have a lovely view of the city and the harbor from there. At that dinner, the parish honored the Sisters of Nazareth who have been at St. Brigid School for generations. One of the sisters who was honored has been a religious for 75 years.


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On Sunday, I celebrated a Mass at Sacred Hearts Church in Malden to mark the centennial of the parish’s school.


The interior of the church is stunning, particularly the windows





It is named the Cheverus Centennial School because it was founded at the time of the archdiocese’s centennial and named after our first bishop. As I said at the Mass, I am sure that the school’s founders had no idea that 100 years later we would be reaping the benefits of their vision and sacrifices.



Cheverus Centennial School Principal Susan Degnan

I was so impressed by the number of alumni who joined us for the celebration; there was standing-room only. The mayor of Malden, Richard Howard, attended the Mass. He is a graduate of the school.


Speaking with Mayor Howard before the Mass.
Many of Sisters of Providence were there and were honored for their years of service.

I had not been at that parish since 1985 when I was there for confirmations, but the pastor, Father Daniel Hickey is the same pastor who was there when I went there over 20 years ago.


Father Dan Hickey

While I was bishop of the Virgin Islands, I used to do confirmations here in Boston. It is common for bishops to invite missionary bishops to help with confirmations since they often have only a few parishes in the diocese they are serving. In the Virgin Islands I had only eight parishes!


The choir was wonderful



Some of the school’s second graders performed a song at the end of the Mass


This gentleman wore his Cheverus uniform tie from 1967!

I very much enjoyed doing those confirmations and the chance to visit the bookstores while I was here. I did that for years, so I had been to many of the parishes here before I became archbishop. In particular, I was often invited to the parishes with large Hispanic and Haitian communities because the parishioners wanted someone who spoke their native language.

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That evening, I attended a Mass at Boston University that commemorated the archdiocese bicentennial celebration and the month of Our Lady. Marsh Chapel was full of students who attended the celebration that ended with a May crowning. The statue of Mary and the crown made of flowers were very beautiful, and the students showed a great affection of the Mother of our Church.







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On Monday, I visited the South Shore Chamber of Commerce for an event honoring Ken Quigley, head of Curry College in Milton. He has been a volunteer in the archdiocese and has been a great help with some of our hospital projects.


Speaking with Jack Spurr and Ken Quigley

There were 500 people at the luncheon, and I was happy to be greeted by the owners of Lombardo’s who told me that they had been at the Cursillo Mass the previous week. They are cursillistas as are many of the others who attended the luncheon.

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Later, I was present at the groundbreaking for the Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester, which is the second project of the 2010 Initiative, which has shown great promise in Dorchester already. The enrollment for the fall has already increased by more than 200 students.



The ceremony was held at the Columbia campus, site of former St. Margaret’s School and renovations have already begun. The school is absolutely gorgeous with hardwood floors that have been redone, new windows and new marker boards.








Many people who have helped make this project a success were there, including Jack Connors, John Fish, Sister Kathleen FitzSimons and Paulo Debarrios. Also there were Mayor Thomas Menino, head of the city council Maureen Feeney, Mary Grassa O’Neil and Tiziana Dearing.


John Fish presented a multi-media show and spoke about the 2010 Initiative. Jack Connors spoke a little bit about the fundraising aspects of it. He talked about what he calls “Jack’s math,” which is how he calculates when the money needed to complete the project will be raised by. The committee has already raised $25 million toward the $68 million goal. Jack predicted that the amount will reach $45 million by Labor Day.





I was amused that afterward, Sister Kathleen Fitzsimons asked the children about “Jack’s math,” quizzing them on the amount raised, Labor Day goal and final amount. They remembered everything exactly. All the children are smart and looked great in their little hardhats. They also had tiny shovels and did the groundbreaking out front after I said the prayers of blessing.


Sprinkling the earth with Holy Water


The children really put themselves into the shoveling

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On Wednesday the New England Pro-life directors dropped by, and I spent an hour with them. We talked about the different plans they have. We listed to Chris Godfrey, a wonderful guy who founded Life Athletes in 1986. He played professional football as a New York Giant for nine years. He spoke with us about his program for chastity education.

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Thursday, I had a Mass at CatholicTV, and afterward I had the chance to see their new set for the children’s program WOW. The set is just fantastic. They have developed a children’s quiz show on catechetical-type questions. The podiums and everything they have done are so state-of-the-art. The kids really love it, and there’s an energy and joy about the program. If you have not had the chance to see the show yet, I urge you to.


I am so grateful to Father Robert Reed who is very creative in coming up with these ideas. The staff at CatholicTV that constructed that set is very, very talented.

As we finish the Easter Season, I encourage you to watch a video of WOW dedicated to the resurrection. Just click on the arrow below.[flv: 449 252]

As I said at the beginning, this was a very busy week.

Until my next post.

In Christ

Cardinal Seán.