Seven new priests for Boston

Saturday, seven very fine men were ordained for the priesthood in service of our people, which was a great joy for the archdiocese.


Our new priests: Fathers Joseph Arsenault, William Lohan, Mark Barr, Joseph Mazzone, Arthur MacKay, Paul Sullivan and Tamiru Atraga

Ordinations are always a great time of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the Church because we are a eucharistic Church and the priesthood is the way Christ makes the Eucharist present throughout the world.


On Friday evening, I had a dinner with the men to be ordained

This year, the attendance at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross was fabulous, and about 140 of our priests were able to come. The cathedral was filled with many, many priests.


For the first time, we ordained an Ethiopian candidate, Father Tamiru Atraga.


Ordaining Father Tamiru

Many members of the Ethiopian community were at the ordination, and Father Tamiru will be bi-ritual so that he can celebrate Mass for the community. We have an Ethiopian-Eritrean Mass at the cathedral every week in the Ge’ez Catholic rite.


You can click the play button above if you would like to view an audio slide show which includes a recording of my homily and many more photos of the ordination

Msgr. Paul Russell, the Boston priest who helped Father Tamiru enter our seminary, returned from Nigeria to be present at the ordination. He is being named chargé d’affaires at the embassy in Taipei, Taiwan, which is a great honor and distinction — a recognition for the fine work that he has done on behalf of the Holy See.



Vocations to the priesthood are, of course, a very important priority for our archdiocese. We are very grateful for the wonderful work being done by our Vocations Office and very pleased that the number of young men in formation at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton has increased dramatically in the last couple of years.



We also had members of the newly-founded local Serra Club chapter present for the ordination along people from parish vocation committees.


This year we celebrated this wonderful ordination ceremony on the eve of Corpus Christi, which was very beautiful for the new priests because they celebrated their first Masses on such a wonderful feast day.



Later in the week, I had a luncheon with the newly ordained priests, their families and seminary faculty. Each year it is an opportunity to meet their loved ones and congratulate them.





Father Mazzone blesses his mother, Theresa

– – –

Saturday afternoon, I celebrated a lovely Mass at St. Ann Parish in Dorchester. The current pastor, Father Tom Foley, was there and will be coming to work in the chancery. Father Sean Connors, the incoming pastor, was also present.





I noticed that in the church there was a rose window with the image of the lamb and a depiction of a pelican on an altar. In my homily I explained the symbolism of those images.

I told them that the Lamb of God, of course, is a very biblical image for Christ that comes, first of all, from John the Baptist who points out Christ to his disciples and says, “Behold the Lamb of God.” That phrase actually appears six times during Mass; five in the English Mass. It alludes to the paschal lamb of Exodus where the blood of the lamb on the doorposts brings deliverance to God’s people. Then, the lamb becomes the center of the Seder meal to remember God’s saving action, and Jesus is the lamb at the Last Supper.


The altar and a closer view of the image of the pelican


The pelican is a lesser-known symbol for Christ that comes from the Middle Ages. It really resulted from people misinterpreting the behavior of pelicans. People saw the pelicans feeding their offspring and thought the pelican wounded itself so that its blood could nourish the young.

Of course, we understand now that pelicans catch fish, predigest them and then feed them to their young. Jokingly I asked the people if they like sushi; I don’t, but pelicans do! In any case, people saw the blood and thought the pelicans fed their own blood, and therefore it became a symbol of Christ who has wounded himself to feed us. It’s a beautiful eucharistic symbol that is not biblical but comes from the tradition of the Church.

St. Thomas in beautiful poetry and songs for the Feast of Corpus Christi, calls Christ “Pie Pelicane Jesu Domine” which translates to “Pious Pelican, Jesus the Lord”.

– – –

That evening I went to St. Tarcisius Parish in Framingham for a confirmation for the Brazilian community. Members of that parish and some from other parishes as well were confirmed. The church was filled. The Brazilians love to sing, and the confirmation lasted for over two hours.



I have four Brazilian confirmations this month. One practically every Sunday and I’m happy to be able to do them! The first was at St. Tarcisius, which has a very large Brazilian community. They have a wonderful community that is a great blessing for us.


That’s Father Pranzo on the right

The pastor there, Father Joseph Pranzo, and the vicar, Father Heitor Castoldi, are members of the Scalabrinian fathers and are doing a fantastic job in that parish. It was originally an Italian parish and now has become very heavily Brazilian.

The Scalabrinian’s charism has always been to work with immigrants, and they do such fine work, not just with Italian immigrants but with Haitians, Brazilians and Hispanics.

They have been a great blessing for the archdiocese.




– – –

We had Mass for the presbyteral class of 1958 in celebration of their 50th anniversary. It was wonderful. So many of the priests from that class from other dioceses actually were there. One priest, Msgr. John Ecker, came all the way from Yakima, Washington. Father Clem DuFour came from Diocese of Fall River and priests from other parts of New England were also there.

It is always a wonderful celebration, and there was a nice dinner afterwards.




– – –

On Wednesday, I attended the groundbreaking for a mixed-income housing development that will be located at the former St. Aidan Parish in Brookline — the church in which John F. Kennedy was baptized. The parish has been closed for 10 years, and this project has taken a long time to come about.


Lisa Alberghini, president of the Planning Office of Urban Affairs, and her office do a fantastic job of planning these projects which, over the last 40 years, have led to the development of 2,300 units of affordable and mixed income housing which provide homes for over 10,000 people.


Lisa Alberghini

There are many Jewish people in the Brookline neighborhood, and Rabbi William Hamilton was there with us at the groundbreaking.


Rabbi Hamilton

Of course, we were also joined by members of the neighborhood associations, those involved in the financing and construction of the development, as well as elected officials who have supported this project.


The children’s choir from St. Mary of the Assumption School sang “Dona Nobis Pacem” four-voice in Latin and in Hebrew. They did a wonderful, wonderful job. Everyone was blown away by their performance.


– – –

In the evening, I went to Boston University for the awarding of the Medeiros Scholarships, which are presented to 14 students from our Catholic schools each year.


With Dr. Brown and the scholarship recipients

BU president Dr. Robert Brown made the presentations and spoke about Cardinal Medeiros. He pointed out that 300 young Catholics have received this wonderful, four-year full scholarship since it began in 1986. He also thanked Sister Clare Bertero and the other members of the committee who helped select the recipients.

Dr. John Silber, the former president, was also there. I publicly thanked him for being one of the architects of this program.

In my comments to the young people, I said that so much has been given to them that they must look for the opportunity now to give back. I encouraged them to be an active part of the wonderful campus Catholic community there at BU. The campus ministry is so strong there with the hard work of Father Paul Helfrich, the Brotherhood of Hope and Sister Olga Yaqob.


Speaking with some of the scholarship recipients and their families




– – –

On Thursday, James (Jim) Mooney Jr., Craig Gibson and Scot Landry joined me for lunch.


Scot Landry, Jim Mooney and Craig Gibson

The lunch was to thank Jim for his many years of service as president of the Catholic Foundation Board of Governors and to welcome Craig as our incoming president. The Catholic Foundation exists to help fund the many important ministries, works and programs of our Archdiocese.

One of it’s major annual initiatives is the Catholic Appeal. All of us at the Archdiocese are grateful for the hard work of Jim, Craig and many other board members as well as the professional staff of the Catholic Foundation.

– – –

Well, that’s about all for this week.

Until my next post, enjoy the improving weather and blessings to you all.

Cardinal Seán

29 thoughts on “Seven new priests for Boston”

  1. God bless you cardina;l sean,
    it is the right time and right thing to use the email to evangelize, I hope the other bishops and we priests we will take this challange and use the morden techknowlge.
    fr patrick Kariuki visiting priest from Kenya

  2. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Seeing the pictures of Holy Cross Cathedral and the ordinations to the preisthood brought back many memories for me. Back in the late 60’s I was a seminarian and Theology study for the Columban Fathers (Milton, MA then out on Brush Hill Road) and I remember one very noteworthy celebration at Holy Cross by Cardinal Cushing as he commissioned priests to send off through the Society of St. James to South America. One of his masters of ceremony place his miter on his head backwards and the tassels fell over his face, as his booming voice let out with “Leave it, so they all can see what an ass you are!” I very much enjoyed my time at St. Jophn’s Seminary and my formation years with the Columban’s. In 1997 I was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of St. Peterburg. My early years of formation have served me very well in preparing me for Diaconal ministry with in the Church. I have enjoyed reading your blog -what a gift to the Church of Boston!

  3. The Symbolism of the Pelican in Early Christianity

    The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life.

    Given this tradition, one can easily see why the early Christians adapted it to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ. The pelican symbolizes Jesus our Redeemer who gave His life for our redemption and the atonement He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have found new life through the Blood of Christ. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us with His body and blood in the holy Eucharist.

    God bless you, Your Eminence.

  4. Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you so much for creating this blog and for your great leadership of Boston’s Archdiocese. I am a devout Catholic living in South Boston and I wanted to share with everyone some information about a great trip to the Marian Apparition sites with a Peace Leader named Immaculee. I think this is an amazing opportunity for any family looking for a great Catholic vacation. Here is a press release with more information:

  5. Hello Cardinal Sean!

    When young men are ordained to be priests, it is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as much as it used to. When seven men are ordained on the same day, it makes you feel that all the anti-religion people out there are losing. Another thing is Cofirmation. When teens are confirmed they become full-fledged members of the Church, and maybe some of them will also go on to be ordained.

  6. Is it possible to get on the e-mail list?

    With your busy schedule how do you find the time to do the weekly blog?

    Your words, photo and comments are so pleasureable, you bring the human, fatherly and spititual outlook to our surrent times.
    God bless you and your staff and may he watch our you in all yor indeavers.

    Vivat Jesus

    John Amico

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    My name is Johnny and I attend St. Paul’s School in Hingham, Massachusetts. What another great blog! I enjoyed this one just as I have enjoyed all the others that you have written over the past months. I am writing this reply to thank you for posting these blogs each and every week. As you probably know many schools are starting to get out and we are one of them. We are out June 11th. This means that we will not be able to reply to your blog every week any more. I hope though that you will continue to write these wonderful blogs in the summer and even when school starts up again in September. Thanks again for sharing all that you do every week in your weekly blogs. Hope you have a great summer!

  8. Your Eminence,
    Assuming that the Ge’ez Rite priest was canonically a member of that Particular Church sui juris, with the greatest respect for You and your intentions, would it not have been preferable for the ordination to have been conducted in the Ge’ez Rite at the hands of a hierarch of that Church? We’ve had similar situations here in the Archdiocese of New York and the solution always seems to be ‘get them a change of rite ( to the Latin, to be sure) and ‘this way they can be ordained with their class.’ I’m afraid that the end result is ultimately a devaluation of the patrimony of the Eastern Catholic Churches and a deracination of an (Eastern) Catholic priest from his tradition.

  9. Hello Cardinal Sean! It is now approaching the end of the school year which means that we will no longer be posting as a class anymore. We hopefully will find time during the summer. I speak on behalf of my entire class, that we all learned a lot from you and respect your teachign authourity. We hope that you could visit us before the 11th and we could meet you in person. Once again, thank you for teaaching us, you enlightened us very much.


  10. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I would like to inform you that this will be my last blog for the school year. I will probably glance at your blog during the summer just to see what you are up to! Thank you so much for the opportunity to look at your blog! Once again thank you and good luck throughout your travels during the summer!!
    ~Clara K.~

  11. Cardinal Sean,
    I am sad to say that this is the last blog I will be commenting on this year. I have enjoyed all of the blogs you have written, I have learned so much from them. I hope that next year my class will still be able to commen on your blog.
    P.S. We get out of school for the summer on the 11th,please stop by someday if you can.
    Thank You,

  12. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Thank you for this wonderful blog. It’s great to be able to read about all the wonderful things you have done, all the places you’ve been, and all the people’s lives you have touched. You have a very busy schedule. I’m sure everyone who has met you has been very thankful for your visit. My school, St.Paul School, would love to have you visit. Our last day of school is June 11, but if you can’t make it this year we most definitely appreciate when our school starts up again in the fall. I look forward to reading more about everything you do.

  13. Hi my name is Kevin from St. Paul School in Hingham. This will be my time commenting on your blog this year because my school gets out June 11. I think you are amazing with the amount of times you travel. I have enjoyed many blogs this year. Thank You and keep up the good work on the blogs.

  14. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    It’s Caroline K. again. I just wanted to thank you for making our school year even better with your blog. I hope to keep blogging over the summer and in the fall. I hope you have a great summer
    ~Caroline K.~

  15. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Hello, I am a seventh grade student at Saint Paul School, Hingham, Massachusetts. Once again, you have pulled off a very well done blog. Sadly to say, this will most likely be my last blog, however, for this year. I am very glad to hear that a number of young men in a formation at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton have increased dramatically in the last couple of years. Well, I really enjoy reading your blog so, hopefully when I can I will read it weekly during the summer time. Well, This is our last week of school. Hope to see you soon! 🙂


  16. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    This will be my last comment on your blog until our class picks it up again next year. I would like to thank you for the chance to be able to learn, not only about acting as a Catholic, but also about the interesting events in your daily life. Responding to your blogs has helped me learn a lot and I am truly grateful for this opportunity. I would also like to add that this recent blog was excellent!

    P.S. Our school gets out on June 11! If not this year, maybe you will be able to visit next year!

  17. Oh my goodness! Every time I read this blog, I learn something new! In this blog, I learned that the pelican is a symbol for Christ! I cannot even type all the things I learn in this blog. Please keep the information coming! I also wanted to invite you to our school because we get out June 11th and we would very much enjoy your presence!


  18. Hi, this is Susie of Saint Paul School, Hingham.
    This week I thought it was really cool that you visited the church where John F. Kennedy was baptized. Also, I am sad to say that this may very well be my class’s last post because we get out of school on June 11th. I have really appreciated that you have taken the time to post these blogs, even though you have an incredibly busy schedule. Thank you very much!


  19. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I have already posted a response but would like to thank you. I would like to thank you for allowing St. Paul school to participate in your blog. I enjoyed reading and learning about what you and the church was doing over the year. I also loved adding new information to my religion education. I can’t wait until next year to do this again. Thank you!!!

  20. Hello!

    My name is John and I attend St. Pauls school in hingham. I just wanted to say thank you for all the hadrwork and effort you have put into these blogs. I would also like to say that this will be my last comment until the next start of the school year. Thank you for your blogs.

    ~ John

  21. Hello, my name is Hugh and I attend St.Paul’s school. I, along with my classmates, have been posting and commenting about Cardinal Sean’s blog since February! Unfortunately our school year as seventh graders is coming to a close and this is my last comment until September. I have enjoyed reading about Cardinal Sean’s daily life and I thank him for being consistent in posting new blog every week.
    -Until the fall! –

  22. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful blog! It has been great reading it and I have really been looking foward to your new blog each week. It has been an assingment from school to read your blog and post once a week. This will be my and my class’ last post untill next fall, but over the summer, I will be checking in. So thank you and I hope to see you around the South Shore sometime soon.
    Have a great summer!

  23. Hello Cardinal Sean!
    Unfortunately, this will be my very last blog this year. School gets out June 11, which is next Wednesday! Maybe if I have some free time I can post a comment! Thank you so much for posting all your blogs this past year!!! I had a great time reading them and learning your very, very busy schedule each week! I am definately looking forward to reading your blog next school year! Good Luck! Thanks again! God Bless You!
    Sincerely, Colby Knobloch

  24. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I would like to thank you for all of your wonderful blogs you have posted, seeing that this is my last comment on your blog that I will leave. I have enjoyed hearing about all the places you have gone and memories you have made. We are almost off for summer vacation, but we will hopefully be back in September reading and commenting on your blogs again! Again, I would like to thank you for every one of these blogs, we have really enjoyed them! Thankyou Cardinal Sean, and God bless!

    Elizabeth ( A student at St. Paul School)

    P.S. If you are ever near St. Pauls please come and visit! We would love to have you!

  25. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Hi, it’s Caroline K. from St. Paul School in Hingham, Ma. This is a great blog! It is wonderful that we have seven new priests for Boston. I hope to keep blogging over the summer. If you find yourself on the South Shore, please give us a visit at St. Paul School! GBY!
    ~~Caroline K.~~

  26. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    This is probably the last blog our class will be responding to this year. As I’ve mentioned before our school year ends on June 11. I am very pleased to see that seven new men have been ordained to become priests in the Boston area! We pray everyday that people will be inspired and fulfill their vocations and become priests.

    Thank you this was a wonderful year!

    Caroline ***A student from Saint Paul School Hingham MA***

  27. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    This blog was so intertesting. You are very busy. I found that the ordination of the new priests was very informative. The pictures helped me understand all of the steps of the ordination. The video also had very nice pictures. These men are so inspurational. They are a real example of people who give their life to God. Thanks for this great blog. I can not wait for the next one!

  28. Cardinal Sean, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. Today’s blog is beautiful – seeing the ordination of 7 priests and the pictures of the ceremony was very impressive. Your church looks beautiful – I’d would love to see it in person. I also want to compliment you on doing a great job with all the entries on your blog – sometimes I wonder how you find the time to do this with everything else you do in your ministry. May Our Lord bless you abundantly for all that you do in His name. God bless.

Comments are closed.

May 2008