Welcoming a new priest to the Archdiocese

This week was filled with many events and meetings, but before I get to them I want to make a mention of the Holy Father’s visit to the Holy Land which seems to me to have been very positive.

Things are never without their challenges, particularly when there are so many emotional issues involved. The Holy Father, I think, is trying to call people to collaboration and peace and to resolve the differences that have divided that part of the world and spawned so much violence for so many years. POPE-MIDEAST

I was very moved by his trip to Jordan where he met with 40,000 Christian refugees from Iraq alone. He participated in their First Communions.

It is very worrisome that the Christian population is being driven out of the Middle East. The Holy Father wanted to demonstrate his solidarity with the Catholics and other Christians who are in that part of the world and are being overwhelmed by the ongoing geopolitical events.


– – –

Last Thursday I attended a Catholic School Foundation meeting on immigrant student issues hosted by Catholic Charities. They had two sessions: one with the primary school principals and one with secondary school principals.

Catholic Charities and Catholic Schools Foundation joint presentation to educators on meeting the needs of immigrant students May 7, 2009 at the Archdiocese of Boston Pastoral Center. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

Several speakers addressed different ways Catholic schools can be more available to the immigrant population.

Catholic Charities and Catholic Schools Foundation joint presentation to educators on meeting the needs of immigrant students May 7, 2009 at the Archdiocese of Boston Pastoral Center. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

Catholic Charities and Catholic Schools Foundation joint presentation to educators on meeting the needs of immigrant students May 7, 2009 at the Archdiocese of Boston Pastoral Center. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

We have, in particular, in our inner-city schools, many immigrants. Immigrant communities tend to have more children but, for that very reason, we realize that there are many families who cannot afford tuition. So we must come up with a plan and a strategy to service that demographic. It has always been a very important part of the mission of Catholic schools in this country.

Catholic Charities and Catholic Schools Foundation joint presentation to educators on meeting the needs of immigrant students May 7, 2009 at the Archdiocese of Boston Pastoral Center. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

– – –

Also on Thursday I celebrated the incardination Mass of Father Ken Cannon, who had been a Xaverian missionary and worked for many years in the Philippines. However, at this time in his life, he has decided to return to the diocese and become a member of our clergy.

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

The word incardination is the process by which a man becomes a member of the clergy of a diocese or a religious community. This happens when the man is ordained a deacon. He belongs to that diocese for life, even if the bishop allows him to go elsewhere.

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

During the ceremony, the priest to be incardinated signs a document of incardination.  I then sign it and impress a seal

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

For example, the Boston priests who serve in the St. James Society are still Boston priests. If the priest wants to move permanently to or from a diocese or religious order, the bishops and superiors involved must agree to the change and usually arrange a period of transition. The change becomes official when the priest is incardinated or enrolled among the clergy of the new diocese, and he is “excardinated” or removed from the rolls of his former diocese or order.

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Father Cannon served as parochial vicar in two parishes here in the archdiocese during his "transition" — St. John the Evangelist, Hopkinton and Holy Family, Duxbury. Effective June 1, I have appointed him pastor of St. Mary of the Nativity Parish in Scituate.

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Joining us at the celebration were his parents and his brother, Father Richard Cannon, pastor of St. John the Baptist in Quincy.

Incardination of father Kenneth Cannon, May 7, 2009.   Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Father Ken, his parents and his brother

We are very grateful for the wonderful spiritual formation that he received in the Xaverians and also grateful that he will be available to continue working in the archdiocese.

– – –

I met with the Superior of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, Sister Regina, later in the afternoon.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

The sisters have been an important presence in the archdiocese. Their mission of promoting the beauty in the liturgy and Eucharistic Adoration and their particular service to priests has been a great blessing for all of us.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Having them here at the pastoral center has made it possible for us to have Eucharistic Adoration in the afternoon. Their presence at Regina Cleri for so many years has also been a great service to our elderly priests.

– – –

Thursday night, I met with recently ordained priests at St. Francis of Assisi in Braintree. We had the Holy Hour and a very nice dinner that the parishioners arranged for us.


Of course we ate Italian food as many of the parishioners there are Italian. Then we had a discussion with about 30 young priests. I always find these very life-giving experiences. I think the priests enjoy having the opportunity to be together and discuss with the bishop and share some of their pastoral experiences.


– – –

On Friday, Boston College President Father William Leahy and his assistant, Kevin Shea, came to the Pastoral Center for lunch and to take a tour of the new building.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

They were very impressed by the lovely facilities we have here.

– – –

Later, I met with Father William Petrie, provincial of the Sacred Hearts Fathers, and Father William Gaffney, a Redemptorist, both of whom work in the Enthronement Movement of the Sacred Heart.

There has been, for some time, a movement very much promoted by the Sacred Hearts Fathers. I knew them very well. Their provincial house is in Fairhaven.

Members of the movement enthrone an image of the Sacred Heart in their homes. It is intended as a family event to get families together to pray. As part of the promises of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary, He speaks to us about His desire to be venerated, promising his blessings to “every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.”

This devotion of Sacred Heart underscores Christ’s humanity — that God has become one of us and loves us with a human heart and human friendship. The devotion has typically been a Catholic devotion.

The enthronement ceremony gives families an opportunity to recommit themselves to the faith and to participate in a spiritual event in their homes. I think it’s a very important thing. The Holy Father talks so much about the families being the domestic Church, and yet many of our families never have the experience of praying together or having a sacred space in their home that calls them to prayer and reminds them of God’s constant loving presence in our lives.

– – –

In the evening, I celebrated two Confirmation Masses at St. Thomas More in Braintree. The Church was packed both times. It is wonderful that so many people come to these confirmations. I think it’s an opportunity for us to help people reconnect with their faith and an opportunity to challenge young people to live a life of fidelity.

– – –

Saturday, we had Confirmations at St. Columbkille in Brighton with Msgr. William Fay and then in the afternoon we went to St. Helen’s in Norwell for the dedication of a statue of St. Francis. It was dedicated in honor of Father Dick Smith, who had been the pastor there for a number of years.


Members of his family where there, as well as many of the parishioners. Afterwards there was a reception.

Apparently Father Richard was a great lover of animals, which is why they chose a statue of St. Francis to honor him, depicted in the statue with his birds and so forth.

– – –

Sunday we were at St. Anthony’s in Cambridge for the Feast of the “Santo Cristo dos Milagres.” We had perfect weather for the thousands of people who participated. SantoCristo_2009_ (4)

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To mark the path of the procession, they use colored saw dust poured into forms.  It looks almost like a beautiful carpet rolled down the road.

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I have always loved these Portuguese “festas.” I find them great intergenerational events. The little children dressed as angels and shepherds, the teenagers played with their bands, the men carried the statue and the women cooked and organized. These events really bring the whole family — the whole community — together.

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The Santo Cristo feast is traced to the devotion the people have to a statue that is in Ponta Delgada in San Miguel in the Azores Islands.

It is a beautiful statue of what we called ‘the Ecce Homo,’ a depiction of Christ from the Gospel when Pilate brings him before the people and says, ‘behold the man.’

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Christ is crowned with thorns, scourged, wearing the purple military cloak that they put on him to mock him, and holding the reed in his hand as if it were a scepter. So the Ecce Homo it is very much an image of Christ at that moment when Pilate presents him to the crowd and the crowd responds, ‘crucify him, we want Barabbas.’

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With Father Walter Carreiro, the pastor at St. Anthony’s

I preached on the feast and talked about how St. Theresa of Avila, in her memories talks about how as a young religious she was very mediocre and not particularly devout and one day she was walking down the corridor in the convent and saw the image of a scourged Christ, crowned with thorns, and for the first time in her life she realized how much Christ loves us. That was the beginning of a very special grace of conversion in her life—from the very frivolous and mediocre sister she became the tireless reformer, Santa Theresa of Avila. So I invited the people to look at this image of Christ and try to see it with new eyes and realize the message and how much our Lord loves us and that he is looking at us with love even as we behold him.

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In the procession you notice that the Portuguese men wear a red vest on top of their suits that comes down to the knees. They call them “opas.”

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In the procession there was a young man named C.J. with blue hair cut in a Mohawk, so I could not pass up the opportunity.


It reminded me that when I was a little boy, my brother and I went to the barber and had him cut our hair as Mohicans. My mother was so upset she made us wear baseball caps till our hair grew back in! I didn’t dye my hair though because in those days we didn’t know you could make your hair blue!

– – –

On Monday, I attended the Sears Road Dinner Club, which is organized by David Fubini, a director of the McKinsey & Company which last year provided the Archdiocese a pro-bono review to improve the efficiency and productivity of our organization. This is a dinner that happens twice a year at which a number of community leaders get together and discuss, in an off-the-record way, contemporary problems in the community and in the world. There are always people there from universities, the government, the private sector, the world of communications, and others.

– – –

On Tuesday I attended an interreligious gathering organized by Metropolitan Methodios. We discussed the response of the religious communities to the economic crisis. Father Bryan Hehir came with me and spoke at the event.

– – –

Also Tuesday, I met at St. Julia’s in Weston for a pastoral planning meeting called “One Pastor, Two Parishes.” The new director of our Pastoral Planning Office, Father David Couturier, was there along with the pastors who are shepherding more than one parish community or communities that have been joined together. They came together to talk about their experiences and also what some of the challenges and some of the successes have been in melding their respective communities together.

– – –

On Tuesday evening I was pleased to celebrate Mass and take part in a dinner in support of Por Cristo, a member of the Caritas Christi Healthcare System that provides charitable medical services in Latin America, particularly the country of Ecuador. The Mass took place in the beautiful campus chapel of Emmanuel College.





We then moved to the Yawkey Center for a delicious dinner. It was great to be at Emmanuel with Sister Janet Eisner, president of the college.


With Sister Janet

Por Cristo has been at work in Ecuador for nearly 30 years. The organization traces its founding back to the visit of Pope John Paul II to Boston in 1979. (Many of you remember that rainy day, I’m sure!)

Among the things the Holy Father did was challenge us all to share our abundance with those in need, particularly in Latin America. Por Cristo was born in response to that challenge and they continue that work today.

Last year they conducted 18,000 consultations at the Por Cristo Nutrition and Health Center in the Isla Trinitaria barrio of Guayaquil, Ecuador. They have many wonderful programs at the center including some dealing with HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and adolescent girls’ self-esteem.

Por Cristo also conducts other projects in Ecuador and sends teams of volunteer doctors and nurses from the United States to work there on short missions. They also ship medical equipment and supplies that are hard or impossible to obtain in Ecuador.

Joe Reardon is the Executive Director of Por Cristo and works with a great team including Deborah Clark and Orlando Vargas. They have a staff of 18 in Ecuador. Gary Kaneb is Chair of the Board of Por Cristo and it was great to be with him and his wife, Diane, who are major supporters of this important work. The Massachusetts Knights of Columbus are also very generous to Por Cristo and it was good to see so many of their leadership at the dinner.

– – –

On Wednesday, at our mid-day Mass at the Pastoral Center, we celebrated with six priests who are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their ordination.

The Mass itself was very crowded — standing room only – because, in addition to the family and friends of the jubilarians, there were several other groups join us for Mass at the Pastoral Center.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

One of the groups was from St. Claire’s in Braintree. Following the Mass, I joined them for a group photo in the lobby.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

– – –

Later, I met with the pro-life directors of the New England dioceses.

The directors meet twice a year at the Pastoral Center to share resources and develop programming ideas.

One of the topics of discussion was a new resource on end of life issues developed by Peter Cataldo of the diocese of Manchester entitled "Three Beliefs". Peter is a bioethicist affiliated with the National Catholic Bioethics Center and who also serves as the Respect Life Coordinator for the Diocese of Manchester.

Peter has developed a Catholic guide on the durable power of attorney for health care in New Hampshire that includes an overview of three fundamental beliefs of Catholics on informed conscience on life-sustaining treatment and care.


We talked about trying to do to promote the booklet in all of our dioceses, because we can see that this issue is beginning to resurface and it is one that requires a lot of education for people to understand what is really at stake.

He has also prepared an educational PowerPoint presentation on Church teaching that he will offer at the next meeting of the group in the fall.

Among the other resources shared at the meeting was this beautiful, three minute clip of prenatal developed by Catholic Media House which the Respect Life Education Office has recommended to parishes and schools for use with our "See, I Make All Things New /Created for Love” middle school program in life, love and relationships.

I think it’s a wonderful to conclude this week’s post.

Until next week, blessings to you all!

– Cardinal Seán

24 thoughts on “Welcoming a new priest to the Archdiocese”

  1. dear cardinal sean,
    i went through your blog & i really enjoyed it .
    it was nice to read about your “hair cut when you were a littltle boy ! prayerful wishes !!
    fr xavier padiyaramparambil
    archdiocese of verapoly
    nettur.kerala .india

  2. Hello Cardinal Sean,
    I enjoyed reading your blog . I was in more shock to find out my son is pictured with you at the St. Anthonys feast. I found out about the picture through his school. The pronciple called to tell me CJ was pictured with you. When I saw the picture I was so happy. We were so touched. Thank you for taking the time to have a picture with our son.

    Tracy Stanciu
    Everett, Ma

  3. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I found this weeks blog very facinating. I really enjoyed learning about the incardination of Father Ken Cannon. The pictures of it were awesome. I also enjoyed learning about the Mass at the Pastoral Center. The Miracle of Video was really good too. I can’t wait until next week’s blog!
    Shannon M
    St. Paul School

  4. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I was very fascinated by this weeks blog. The Emmanuel College chapel is beautiful. I wish I could attend Mass there.
    I think it is amazing how many consultations they conducted at the Por Cristo Nutrition and Health Center in Ecuador. Those projects help many people in need and its great how people will reach out a hand and do a good thing for a stranger.

    Please visit us soon!
    -Deirdre Gill
    St. Pauls School
    Hingham, MA

  5. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I was also very happy when I heard about the nwes of the Pope’s visit to Jordan to meet with the Christians who were displaced because of the fighting and conflict. I am glad that the visit is bringing attention to the great number of people who are driven out of their homes because of conflicts.

    I also watched the video on abortion and pro-life and believe that people should not kill babies. I hope that whoever is thinking about abortion will read this blog and change their minds.


    7th Grade student at St. Paul School

    PS We are waiting for your visit!

  6. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I thought this weeks blog was very interesting. The mass at the Pastoral Center was fun to learn about. I really liked the pictures and look forward to reading next weeks blog. I hope youn come and visit soon.

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Your blog this week was very interesting. The procession must have been beautiful. I have never seen a colorful pattern like that made out of saw dust. I wish I could have seen it up close!

    Hope you can come and visit us soon!
    ~Caroline H
    St Pauls School
    Hingham MA

  8. Thanks you for your enjoyable and insightful blog, Cardinal Sean. It’s inspiring to read about the undoubtedly busy life you lead.

    The Ecce Homo statue reminds me of a similar statue I’ve seen in a hermitage in my diocese in the Netherlands. It’s Christ at His most human and thus so very near to us at that moment. I always find it very confrontational to see Him like that, but in a good way.

    May God keep and bless you,


  9. Hello!
    My name is John Lamb and I attend St. Paul School in Hingham. I was reading your blog and came across the video on The Miracle of Life. It was very moving and made me realize how wrong it is to deprive a child of its life. Its intresting to find out that a baby can dream even before they are born. I really enjoy your blog and wish you all the best.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your time and work with me.
    I am a first time reader of your blog.
    God bless you always

  11. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    This week I loved reading about the Feast of the “Santo Cristo dos Milagres.” It was so interesting! Especially the part about the colored saw dust! Before I read and I just looked at the pictures, I really did think it was a carpet! We should have a Feast of the “Santo Cristo dos Milagres.”! It be so much fun!

    Until next post,
    Caroline- A student from Saint Paul School

  12. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I was also very happy about Pope Benedict’s trip to Jordan. His trip their has brought attention to the many Christians who have been moved because of conflicts.

    I watched the video of abortion and I was very inspired. I am pro-life and believe that abortion is very wrong. I hope this blog will reach out to people who are thinking about abortion and change their minds.


    Celene Chen

    7th Grade Student at St. Paul School

    PS We are awaiting your visit!

  13. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I really enjoy all of your blogs! It is very interesting and unique how they mark the path of the procession for the Feast of the “Santo Cristo dos Milagre” by using colored saw dust, that is poured into forms.

    I hope that you visit us soon!

    7 Grade
    St. Paul
    Hingham MA

  14. Hi, Cardinal Sean!

    Wow, you had an eventful week!

    As you welcome a new priest, we say goodbye to an old one at our school. Father Chris has been with us for three years, since he was first ordained I believe. He was a wonderful addition to our school, and we were sad to see him leave at his “Goodbye Mass” today, to go to Washington, D.C. where he will now be staying. He will come back to visit, but I think that everyone was sad to see him go.

    I appreciate how everyone is trying to figure how to help immigrants to get a Catholic education. It is important, as Catholics, to help others and educate them about God.

    That’s wonderful about meeting with the pro-life directors. Abortion is so wrong, and we need to put a stop to this murder of innocent people. I think that the three beliefs expressed in the booklet are an excellent way to do so.

    Thank you for another amazing blog! God bless!

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

    We hope that you can visit us soon!

  15. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    The video on The Miracle of Life was very moving. I also liked the pictures of the feast of the Santo Cristo dos Milagres. I thought the way the carpet was made was really cool.

    Mackenzie Voke
    St. Paul School, Hingham

  16. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    The video on The Miracle of Life was very moving. I also liked the pictures of the feast of the Santo Cristo dos Milagres. I thought the way the carpet was made was really cool. I always love looking at your blog.

    Mackenzie Voke
    St. Paul School, Hingham

  17. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I enjoyed your blog this week! I think pro-life is very important. I believe that it is unfair to harm a persons life when they cannot even stand up for themselves. It would be great it people could try to spread awareness about the pro-life cause to try to prevent more people from killing those who cannot defend themselves.


    P.S. Please come to St. Paul School in Hingham soon!

  18. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I thought the video about the life of a baby from the moment of conception was very moving. God does have a plan for all life. He doesn’t make junk! God loves and cherishes everyone, including unborn babies. This brings us to the topic of love your neighbor. It means more than just being nice to the person next door. It means showing compassion to all of God’s creations because Jesus is in everyone of them.

    Mariah Ward
    Seventh Grade Student at St. Paul School

  19. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I was very interested to learn about the feast of the Santo Cristo Dos Milagres! I loved the pictures of the path of the procession! It looked so colorful and pretty!! I enjoyed reading your blog this week!
    God Bless,
    7th Grade at St. Paul School

  20. I am just here to say that I really love reading your blog – that you have one is a gift, that it is so well done, that is the best part.

    Thank you for doing this. As someone who just did a presentation about faith and social media for a catechetical event, I had your blog very much in mind.

    As I have said many times in my own writings about being present on the internet… there is no substitute for “real presence” but the gifts of faith sharing and evangelizing that can happen out here are tremendous.

    Thanks be to God!

  21. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you for all the good stories and photos in this week’s blog. I look forward to reading it every week.

    God bless you and your work and God bless the Church in Boston!

  22. Greetings Cardinal Sean!

    I enjoy your blog. Your insightful way of presenting your weekly journal is a wonderful opportunity for me to use your thoughts as the basis for my own theological reflection. Thank you.

    I noticed in the pictures that the suspended pyx is not above the Altar. What happened? Is the pyx not a fixture in the chapel?

    Peace and all good!


Comments are closed.

May 2009