Rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah

Welcome back to my blog!

This weekend parishes throughout the archdiocese are participating in a postcard campaign to let our Federal elected officials know that we, as Catholics, strongly oppose the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act,” commonly known as FOCA.


Already, 35 million postcards have been requested by the dioceses throughout the United States. This is probably the largest postcard campaign ever and it seems to already be having a good effect, but we don’t want to rest on our laurels.

Although FOCA itself might be sidelined and not voted on as such in Congress, individual issues — conscience protections for health care workers and so forth — are very much at stake. Many of the unacceptable programs in FOCA could be tacked on to other kinds of legislation and we could, as the old saying goes, die the death of a thousand cuts.

A close-up view shows literature used in a campaign against the Freedom of Choice Act at the office of the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment in Washington Jan. 26. Staff in the office were shipping boxes of postcards to dioceses and others as part of a national campaign against FOCA. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Jan. 26, 2009) See POSTCARDS Jan. 23, 2009.

So, we are encouraging everyone to participate in this very important initiative of the entire Church. It is going very well and we would hope that in Boston our people will be very supportive in participating in this program.

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This year, the Men’s and Women’s Conferences will be held on the weekend after Easter, April 18-19, at Boston College’s Conte Forum — a wonderful location for it.

These Conferences are one of the largest gatherings of Catholics in our Archdiocese.  An outstanding program has been assembled.

They offer a number of speakers, confessions, Adoration and time for Catholics to gather to discuss, deepen and renew their faith.

This year’s keynote speakers at the Men’s Confernece are Jim Caviezel, Coach Jerry York, Jim Stenson and Curtis Martin.  For the women’s conference, Jim Caviezel will be joined by his wife Kerri, and we’ll also hear from Johnnette Benkovic, Sr. Nancy Keller and Dr. Mary Healy.

I will celebrate the closing Mass at each Conference.

I encourage fathers and sons and mothers and daughters to come. Also, we would ask people to invite friends and neighbors and use this as an opportunity to evangelize and reach out to inactive Catholics — those who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to participate in something like this. We would ask everybody to make a special effort not just to be there but also to bring somebody with them.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, you can visit the Conference website: or see the brief promotional video below.  I hope to see you on April 18 and 19

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Last Friday, we met with the heads of the Catholic schools offices of New England. We talked about the future of Catholic education, its importance, some of the strategies to promote it and the possible plans for a future meeting with all the bishops in New England around the issue of Catholic schools.

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Later in the day, I attended the 2009 Co-Workers in the Vineyard Conference for laity at the Campion Renewal Center in Weston.

This event was sponsored by the MAM program and the Office of Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation and co-sponsored by many of the Archdiocesan pastoral offices with support from Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic publishing company.


The conference was called “Hope for the Parish of the Future.” Monsignor Bill Fay and Father George Evans spoke on the issue of Pastoral Planning, along with Aldona Lingertat, the director of the MAM program.

MAM-Cardinal, Mary Healy, Aldona

Mary Healy, of the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, was the keynote speaker for the conference and she gave a very inspiring talk entitled “Hope Does Not Disappoint Us.”

Copy of St. John's Chelmsford

Copy of St. Mary's Melrose

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On Saturday, I went to Springfield for the Men’s Conference held at Cathedral High School. I gave a talk to the Hispanic men and then had the closing Mass. Father Gary Dailey, the vocations director for the Diocese of Springfield, ran the event and did a wonderful job. Tony Melendez, a renowned musician who was born without arms, performed at the event.


Tony Melendez at a recent performance in Wilmington, Del.

Springfield-conf2 p10 top lft

Over 800 men attended. They have been holding the conference for a couple of years and it has been very successful and well received.

Spfld Men's Conf 2009 (9) Large e-mail view

Spfld Men's Conf 2009 (2)

All of the Springfield Diocese’s seminarians were there, which was good to see. Many of them are studying at St. John’s. We had dinner with them and Tony Melendez afterwards at a nice Italian restaurant in the area. It was a big gang of us!

Spfld Men's Conf 2009 (16) Large e-mail view

At the restaurant with Father Dailey and Tony Melendez

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The next morning, I went to St. Mary’s in Brookline for the confirmations of the children of the St. Lawrence and St. Mary’s communities.

With the Altar Servers and Father Jack at St. Lawrence Church. From left: John Elcock, Clara Dorfman, Desomond Bayer, Jordan Bayer, Nora Bayer, Jack Corcoran and Paul Corcoran

The confirmations were in the Church of St. Lawrence, which has a beautiful choir. It gave me the opportunity to publicly thank Father Jack Ahern for all of his years of service and pastoral care to the people of Brookline. He was wearing a new Archimandrite Russian cross that looked like a Celtic cross (I thought this was in honor of St. Patrick’s Day that week!)

Not that many people know that Father Ahern is an archimandrite, which is a title almost equivalent to Monsignor that is given in Eastern rite Churches and it was granted to him by an Eastern Rite Bishop.

Spring 09 031

With Brian Corcoran and his sponsor Jacqueline Corcoran

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On Sunday evening, I flew down to Washington for meetings at the Bishops’ Conference. We had a meeting of the Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations Committee in the morning and in the afternoon, the Pro-Life Committee.

The following day we had the Administrative Board meeting, which meets prior to our spring session to plan our agenda and to deal with business that has come up in the meantime.

At the meeting a very positive report was presented on the FOCA campaign that I mentioned above. I was very pleased to see that FOCA has been having a very good effect already and that Catholics across the country are gravitating toward this effort.

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Wednesday, we had the re-dedication of our Holocaust memorial Yom HaShoah Menorah, here at the Pastoral Center.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

After the controversy concerning the Lefebvrite Bishop Williamson, I met with survivors of the Holocaust and leaders of the Jewish community in Boston to reassure them of the Church’s commitment to the teachings of “Nostra Aetate,” the document of the Second Vatican Council concerning our relationship with the Jewish people.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

At that meeting I announced that I was going to take this occasion to transfer the Holocaust menorah from our former Brighton property and bring it to our new headquarters. I asked them to participate in the event and they seemed very pleased to be a part of it.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

It worked out beautifully because the next day I found out that Cardinal Kasper, the Holy Father’s representative to the Jewish people, was going to be in the country and I called him to invite him to come and be a part of the ceremony and he graciously accepted. Father David Michael worked very hard with Father Ed O’Flaherty and Vito Nicastro, all from our Interreligious Affairs Office, on the event preparation.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

We had the celebration here on the Feast of the Annunciation. We began with a luncheon to which we invited the rabbis, different leaders of the Jewish community, Holocaust survivors and some members of the Catholic community. At the luncheon, we had an opportunity for an informal discussion — questions and answers directed to Cardinal Kasper.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Many of the questions were very direct and difficult and the Cardinal answered them with great serenity and honesty.

After the lunch, we gathered in the large conference room for the dedication service. Father David Michael was the emcee. The Menorah was placed in the center of the room there.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

It is a beautiful artistic piece that shows six men and women holding torches to represent the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. It was originally placed on the old chancery grounds in 2002 as a generous gift from the late Lenny Florence and his wife Charlotte. The 2002 dedication was in the presence of many of the same leaders of the Jewish community that gathered for the rededication.


This photo of the Menorah was taken at the 2002 dedication

At the ceremony, I gave a short presentation in which I quoted the Holy Father from his meeting last month with the American Jewish leaders in Rome. I introduced Israel Arbeiter, the president of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston, who addressed us and talked about his experience of the camps and the horrors of losing his loved ones.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Then Cardinal Kasper spoke and we had a dedication prayer that included Cardinal Kasper reciting the prayer that Pope John Paul II inserted into the Wailing Wall at the Temple of Jerusalem in the Jubille Year of 2000. Then, Cantor Aryeh Finklestein sang the “El Maleh Rachamim.” He was the same cantor that sung at the ceremony in 2002. It was very beautiful and very moving.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

We concluded with members of the Catholic and Jewish community, including Holocaust survivors, Cardinal Kasper and myself lighting the various candles of the menorah.

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

Cardinal Walter Kasper attends the rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah at the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral center March 25, 2009.<br /> Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy<br />

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That evening I went to the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation in Brookline where they had invited me for dinner to celebrate the third anniversary of my being named a cardinal.


After the meal we sang a lot of Spanish and Portuguese songs. It was a lovely evening and I was grateful for the hospitality of Father Tony Medeiros, the rector, and the seminarians.

– – –

Before I end, I want to remind you of the Eucharistic Congress that will take place in the North End April 2 and 3. If you haven’t yet, please visit their web site for more information. I hope to see you there.


God Bless,

Cardinal Seán

12 thoughts on “Rededication of the Yom HaShoah Menorah”

  1. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    This week’s blog was very intersting. I enjoyed reading about the Catholic Youth Rally at Xaverian. My brother attends Xaverian and was there. He said he had a great time!! I think the concept of it is great too. I can’t wait until next week!!


  2. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    As a part-time member of the permenant community of the Newman Center at Umass Amherst and a member of Corpus Christi Parish here in Sandwich, I want to thank you so much for your visit to Newman. My wife Nancy and I, along with our son Stephen and his girlfriend Karen attended. Stephen and Karen are students at Umass. Nancy and I met at Umass back in the 70’s. The University and the Newman Center are important parts in our lives. Fr. Doug works tirelessly at Newman. He is a great role model, and as you probably know, a vocation advocate. Just look at the Seminarians at St. John’s (with I also attended for a year after Umass). Again, Thanks and don’t be a stranger. As you yourself mentioned, half the students are from the Archdiocese.

  3. Thank you Cardinal Sean for all your excellent work for the Church and especially for this postcard campaign. FOCA had me kinda scared at one point but I’ve been extremely heartened to see so many of our bishops take a strong stance and a very vocal, public one on this issue. God bless you!

  4. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    When I read about Tony Melendez, I was very inspired when I found out how he could be a musician while playing the guitar with his feet.

    I was glad to read that you met with survivors of the Holocaust after what Lefebvrite Bishop Williamson said about it. It is important to acknowledge what had happened so we can learn from it.

    Celene, a Seventh Grade Student attending St. Paul School

  5. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    You certinaly go many places in one week! You are very lucky that way. Our 7th and 8th grade classes went to Washington D.C on the 24th-26th! I had so much fun! It went by so quickly that I don’t think I realized that it actually happpened until I was on the plane going home! Our principal gets lots of credit also for preparing the trip and making it so much fun!

    I think that the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was one of the most amazing places! I don’t know if you have been there, but there is this one chappel inside that looks as if it was made of gold! It was really only gold colored mosaic but it was still breathtaking! I also like the huge mosaic of Christ behing the alter! It made the most lasting impression on me. The National Shrine is something that I will always remember.

    We also visited the Holocaust museum. It was a very striking place. When you first walk in they give you a ID card. Inside the card is a picture of a Holocaust survivor. I was amazed to see how many cards their were. I saw how many people survived, compaired to how many didn’t. The Holocaust was a very moving part of D.C for me.

    All and all Washington was a very exciting place and I am so happy that I went! I also enjoy reading your bolg every week. I hope that you will stop by our school and see all the pictures!

    Lindsey, 7th Grade
    St. Paul School Hingham

  6. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I liked reading this weeks blog. Last week I went to the National Shrine. It was so beautiful! I was happy to find out that some of the people there know about our school, St. Paul’s, and how we comment on your blog. I can’t wait until your next entry!

    Mackenzie Voke

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    This Past week, my school took a trip down to Washington D.C. We gad a great time and learned a lot too. One of the many sites we went to see was the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was a gorgeous cathedral! The mosaics on the ceilings were so delicately done, the sculptures were so multicultural, and the history of the shrine was amazing.

    Mariah Ward
    Seventh Grade Student at St. Paul School in Hingham, MA

  8. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Last week, the seventh and eighth grade students at St. Paul School visited Washington D.C. I think that everyone had a great time and learned a lot; I know I did. We saw many of the monuments including the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The mosaics on the ceilings were breathtaking, the sculptures were so multicultural, and the history of the Shrine was just as amazing. We met a nun who knew who we were through reading our comments on your blog! It is a very small world!

    Mariah Ward
    Seventh Grade Student at St. Paul School in Hingham, MA

  9. dear cardinal sean,
    this weeks blog was very interesting. i loved learning about FOCA. this week, the 7th and 8th graders of st. paul went to washington d.c. we visited the national shrine and had mass there. there was a priest from boston who knew who we were from your blog. i think its so cool that people everywhere know about this.
    from shannon m
    st.paul school

  10. Hi, Cardinal Seán!

    My 7th grade class, as well as the 8th grade class, visited Washington, D.C. this past week. It was an exciting and amazing experience.

    At the National Shrine (it was truly beautiful), we met one of the people who works on your website. She said that she has seen our comments to you! It’s a small world we live in, huh?

    I read that you met with Holocaust survivors, too – we visited the Holocaust Museum. The Holocaust was such a tragic time in our world’s history, and we must prevent hatred and genocide.

    I heard about the FOCA at Saturday Mass yesterday, and I think that the postcard campaign is a wonderful idea! I strongly oppose abortion myself. It is murder – nothing else. Anyone who denies that is mistaken…

    I found it amazing to see the picture of the musician with no arms. He must be extremely talented! I’m so glad that he could overcome his impairments and be a musician! It’s very uplifting, and makes us feel like we can accomplish anything if we put our minds to it.

    This week’s blog was very interesting. I can’t wait to read more!

    Kate K
    7th Grade, St. Paul School
    Hingham, MA

    I hope you come visit soon!

  11. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    This past week the eight and seventh graders at St. Paul School went to Washington D.C. We went to the Holocaust Museum. The museum really helps people to understand what hard times the Jewish people went through. There were many pictures and films in the museum that showed the horrors of what happened during the Holocaust. At one point in the museum, there were names of people who died during the Holocaust. The whole museum gives you an idea of what happened during the Holocaust.

    We also went and saw The National Shrine. All of the beautiful paintings and mosaics were really a pleasure to see! I loved all of the religious sculptures that were donated by different countries.

    I hope you come and visit our school!

    7 Grade
    St. Paul School, Hingham MA

  12. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    This past week the seventh and eight graders at St. Paul School went to Washington D.C. It was an amazing experience. We saw many monuments and had a great time. Even though we saw so many beautiful monuments and memorials in Washington, I think I speak for everyone when I say The National Shrine is what really took our breath away. Between the mosaics, the beautiful paintings, and the many different religious sculptures donated by different countries, it was an amazing place to see. We even met a nun from Massachusetts who reads our comments on your blog!

    We also went to the Holocaust Museum while we were in D.C. I think going there helped every one really understand what the Jewish people went through and also what the people of Europe went through also. There were pictures and films along the walls of the museum depicting the horrors of the Holocaust.

    Jenna Gibbons
    Seventh Grade Student
    St. Paul School, Hingham MA

Comments are closed.

March 2009