A busy week around the archdiocese

This week’s blog is posted the day before we will ordain six new priests for the Archdiocese of Boston. Presbyteral ordinations are always wonderful occasions. If you are reading this blog in the Boston area, I encourage you to attend. The Mass of Ordination will take place at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. I look forward to sharing the details of the ceremony with you on next week’s post.

Last Thursday, we celebrated Mass with the consecrated virgins in the archdiocese. The Mass was offered for Jane Claire Forte, a consecrated virgin who passed away recently.


Boston has one of the larger groups of consecrated virgins in the United States. This ancient order in the Church was restored after the Second Vatican Council and sought women who consecrate themselves in celibacy to a deeper life of prayer and service in the Church.


Certainly, in today’s world, the witness of the consecrated virgins is more needed than ever. We are very grateful for the women who have come forward and discerned this specific vocation in their lives. Sister Marian Batho, our delegate for consecrated life in the archdiocese, has been very good at helping us to prepare women for this vocation.

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On Thursday evening we celebrated a Mass marking the 50th anniversary of the presbyteral ordination of the class of 1959. The Mass took place at Regina Cleri, the archdiocesan residence for senior priests in Boston. In attendance were 33 priests and, as always, it was a very joyful occasion.


Msgr. Frank Strahan, pastor of St. Bridget’s Parish in Framingham, who was also celebrating his 50th anniversary as a priest, was on hand to lead us in the music program. For him this was not a onetime appearance, since he actually comes every year to sing at this Mass.


I thanked the priests for their many years of service and for their response to the call. I asked them to pray for our upcoming ordination class and for our priests as we embark on the upcoming “Year for the Priest” that will begin next month.



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Friday, we had a meeting at the Pastoral Center with the pastoral associates. A number of them shared their experiences and various aspects of their ministries in the parish. It was a very moving testimony.

Pastoral Associates meeting where Sister Dorothea Masuret is honored for her years of service. Photo by george martell

At the gathering, we gave a farewell gift to Sister Dorothea Masuret, CSJ, who is winding down after many years of service in this program.

Pastoral Associates meeting where Sister Dorothea Masuret is honored for her years of service. Photo by george martell

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Saturday, I went to the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary House of Formation for the installation of two seminarians receiving the ministry of Acolyte—Steven Clemence and Felipe Gonzalez.


It is always a joy to see young men willing to prepare themselves to serve the people of God as priests.

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Also on Saturday was the celebration of Chorbishop Joseph Lahoud’s 50th anniversary. He is the pastor of Our Lady of Cedars, the oldest Maronite Community in the United States which is located in Jamaica Plain.

Boston’s Archbishop John Williams established that community around the year 1890. The Maronite Community is mostly Lebanese of origin, although there are some parishioners from Syria and Palestine as well.

There are two Maronite dioceses in the United States—the Eparchy of St. Maron in Brooklyn and the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in Los Angeles.

Bishop Gregory Mansour, the Bishop of St. Maron, attended the celebration and was accompanied by his Vicar General, Msgr. Michael Thomas, who is from New Bedford. I know his family very well and his brother, is a doctor who works for the Caritas Christi hospital system.

I always enjoy their liturgies. They use the language that Christ spoke at the Last Supper and among the very beautiful scriptural prayers that they say is the final prayer of the “Farewell to the Altar.” It is a very beautiful prayer in which the priest says farewell to the altar, not knowing whether he will live to come back to celebrate another Mass. It is a very nice prayer, and I would like to share it with you:

Remain in peace, O Altar of God. May the offering that I have taken from you be for the remission of my debts and the pardon of my sins and may it obtain for me that I may stand before the tribunal of Christ without condemnation and without confusion. I do not know if I will have the opportunity to return and offer another sacrifice upon you. Protect me, O Lord, and preserve your holy Church as the way to truth and salvation. Amen.

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That night was Confirmation at St. George’s in Framingham. Both Father John Rowan, the pastor, and Father Ben LeTran, the associate pastor, are doing very well.

Cardinal Seán prepares to confirm the confirmation class at St. George Church in Framingham this past Sunday.
Photo by George Martell

Cardinal Seán confirms the confirmation class at St. George Church in Framingham this past Sunday.
Photo by George Martell

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Last year, St. George’s brought a number of young people to World Youth Day in Sydney and it was nice to see some of them there for their confirmations.

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Monday was Boston College’s commencement ceremony. Every year they invite me to do the Benediction at the end of the service.

Daniel J. Harrington, SJ stands on stage about to receive his degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at the Boston College 2009 commencement exercises on M 5/18. Photo Lee Pellegrini

Cardinal Sean O'Malley gives the benediction following the Boston College 2009 commencement exercises on M 5/18. Photo Lee Pellegrini

A number of very outstanding philanthropic Catholics were awarded honorary degrees, including Margot Connell (a philanthropist and supporter of Catholic education), Joseph Corcoran (a real estate developer and pioneer of mixed-income housing), Father Daniel Harrington (of the Weston Jesuit Community, an acclaimed Biblical scholar and author), Carolyn Lynch (volunteer leader and noted philanthropist), and Benaree Pratt Wiley (advocate of leadership roles for people of color in the business community).

Ken Burns, a renowned historian and filmmaker, gave the keynote address.


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This past Tuesday I attended a special event on the Tadpole Playground on the Boston Common.  This playground was created in 2002 by the Highland Street Foundation in loving memory of David McGrath.  It was an appropriate place to celebrate twenty years of  the McGrath family providing grants for community groups, through their Highland Street Foundation.  On Tuesday  the  McGrath’s awarded twenty nonprofit groups  a $100,000 grant , to assist them in the important work of meeting the needs of children, families, seniors and the homeless.

Grant Recipients - 20th Anniversary Photo

Also,  the Foundation announced that it  is sponsoring Ten Free Fridays, a program that allows  Boston residents to visit a  local museum and other  attractions for free on each of  ten Fridays this summer.

JoAnn McGrath and her family have been, and continue to be, very generous  to the many  Archdiocese’s many agencies, programs and services.  I am grateful for the support and friendship of JoAnn and her family.

We were very happy to be a part of that celebration. The mayor, lieutenant governor and I were all there to accompany the McGrath family. It was a beautiful day and there were many children in attendance from the various recipient organizations. Organizers were giving out cotton candy, popcorn and balloons—the kids had a wonderful time.

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On Tuesday evening at the Convention Center, there was a banquet with 1,500 people celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, which has had so many civic achievements on behalf of the community.

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The keynote speaker was Colin Powell, who gave a wonderful talk.

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They honored a number of Bostonians, including Peter Lynch and Jack Connors.

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Wednesday, I attended the Master of Arts in Ministry graduation at St. John’s Seminary.

Graduates including Ellen Oesterle, front, and student speaker Andreas Widmer, back right, participate in the commencement of Master of Arts in Ministry at St. John's Chapel at St. John's Seminary, Wednesday, May 20, 2009 in Brighton, Mass. (Photo by Lisa Poole)

As I told the graduates, there are now over 30,000 lay ministers staffing our parishes throughout the United States, plus many thousands more involved in other ministries of education and health care. In the future, we know that this number is going to grow and therefore programs like MAM are very important.

Commencement of Master of Arts in Ministry at St. John's Chapel at St. John's Seminary, Wednesday, May 20, 2009 in Brighton, Mass. (Photo by Lisa Poole) Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley speaks to graduate Andreas Widmer following commencement of Master of Arts in Ministry at St. John's Chapel at St. John's Seminary, Wednesday, May 20, 2009 in Brighton, Mass. (Photo by Lisa Poole)

I read to them from the bishops’ letter — "Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord’ — the description of the characteristics that we want to discern in people who are lay ministers. Among them are: their love for the Church, their own interior spiritual life, their frequent reception of the sacraments and their fidelity to the magisterium.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, graduates and others pose following commencement of Master of Arts in Ministry at St. John's Chapel at St. John's Seminary, Wednesday, May 20, 2009 in Brighton, Mass. (Photo by Lisa Poole)

The program helps people to deepen their spiritual life and their relationship with the Lord, better preparing them to serve God’s people.

Graduate Craig Gibson, of Winchester, Mass., gets a hug from his daughter Caroline Gibson, 11, after commencement of Master of Arts in Ministry at St. John's Chapel at St. John's Seminary, Wednesday, May 20, 2009 in Brighton, Mass. (Photo by Lisa Poole)

It is more than just a corpus of knowledge that is communicated; it is more than just some initials after their name. The Master of Arts in Ministry is truly a program of deep formation—spiritual, psychological, theological and human— to prepare them for their mission of service.

At this time of year, when we bishops are confirming up a storm, our ardent desire is that these young people who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation will respond to the graces and live out that commitment. That is certainly what the graduates of MAM are doing, thanks to the direction and guidance of the people who work in the program—Father Arthur Kennedy,  Aldona Lingertat, Angela and David Franks and all of the other professors and staff.

God Bless!

Cardinal Seán

12 thoughts on “A busy week around the archdiocese”

  1. Ein sehr schönes Blog mit wunderbaren Bildern. Ein Kardinal, der im Herzen ein Minderbruder geblieben ist. Das kommt rüber, nicht nur durch den Kapuzinerhabit. Herzliche Grüße aus Deutschland!



  2. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Your blog was great this week. It’s nice that the McGrath family donated $100,000 grant , to assist them in the important work of meeting the needs of children, families, seniors and the homeless. I thought the prayer was beautiful, because it shows me that God will protect us from evil and lead us to heaven. I am looking forward to your next weeks blog!

    A student at St. Pauls School

  3. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Great blog this week! It must have been wonderful for those St. George students to attend that event. I also think it’s great how all of the pastors came together at the Pastoral Center.

    Please visit our school soon!

    St. Paul’s School

  4. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    This blog was very fun to read. It was nice of you to attend all of these events in one week. I hope you can also come to our church sometime school. I look foward to hearing more from you.

    Mackenzie Voke,
    St. Paul School

  5. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I loved your blog this week. Seeing all the graduates from Boston College and the Master of Arts in Ministry. I also loved that the money went to all the people who are homeless.

    Please visit soon!

    ~Caroline Hughes
    St Pauls School
    Hingham MA

  6. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I love looking at your new blogs each week. I read the prayer. It reminds me so much of Reconciliation and how we can tell God our sins and how he forgives us. I am happy that the money was given to the children and people who are homeless. That is an example of following God’s plan.

    Please come visit before school ends, or next September!


  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I am happy that you posted a section about consecrated virgins because I had not known who they were before. I read in the Boston Globe about consecrated virgins too and hope that this blog and other sources of news can reach people who are not informed about the Catholic faith.

    I also agree with you that this week was a busy week around the archdiocese, with the long memorial day weekend. I read the prayer “Farewell to the Altar” and think that it is very inspiring.

    Thank you for the wonderful blog this week!


    Celene, a 7th Grade Student at St. Paul School, Hingham

    PS We are eagerly awaiting your visit!

  8. Hi, Cardinal Sean!

    Wow! I can’t imagine how it must have felt for those men to celebrate their 50th year of being priests! It must have been an exciting Mass!

    I bet it was special for Chorbishop Joseph Lahoud to celebrate his 50th year as well. That prayer was very nice; I really liked it!

    Well, there were certainly a lot of anniversary celebrations this week! The 100th anniversary of the Boston Chamber of Commerce seemed like a joyful celebration.

    Father Chris, a former priest at St. Paul’s has gone to study Canon Law in Washington D.C. We ask that you will ask God to bless him in all that he does.

    Thank you, as always, for a wonderful blog!

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

    P.S. – As our school year comes to a close, we hope that you will stop by soon! If not, we hope for next year. God bless!

  9. Querido Padre Seán: Congratulations for your six new Priests for the Church in Boston! We were with all of you, thanks to BCTV, praying for this humble and courageous witness of God that were called by Him to serve His People. The prayer you pray in the anointing of their hands said it well: “The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, may Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.”
    We were very happy to witness the joy of all of your new Priests; the joy of Father Shawn Carey was very moving and also the active participation in the Mass of our deaf brothers and sisters in the faith. They are truly hearing and living the word of God in their unique and gifted lives! Padre Seán we love you and pray for you always so our Lord continue to make you the Good Shepherd that you are with Him, helping God’s people to be holy in these 800 years of celebrating the life of Saint Francis of Assisi who continue to lead us to Christ.
    In Boston at Mass, we are truly one Catholic and Apostolic Church gathering together with our own diversities in the Eucharist so He could transform us and make us His instruments of His love and of His peace. Our Lord is compassionate and merciful in giving us holy people that are living their lives witnessing to us and to the world their love and fidelity to Christ by living and loving His commandments and remaining in His love and you said it so beautifully in your homily.

    May God continue to bless us with communities of faith such as the Vietnamese Community. We enjoyed the song during the laying on of hands that the Youth Eucharistic Choir of the Vietnamese Community sang for our Lord. It is in Lord that our diversities praise Him because there is only one God and one Baptism as we grow in love and holiness serving Him and offering our lives to Him.

  10. God bless you, Eminent Father,

    Congratulations to the Boston Chamber of Commerce and its centennial gala.

    My prayers are with you, and with gala speaker Colin Powell. I’m sure the former secretary of state’s talk was wonderful, as the man is gifted with a charismatic tongue. One hopes that he will reconsider and reverse his position on abortion, and that he will use his talents to help spread the Gospel of Life, particularly given his close association with our current president (and Notre Dame honoree) Barack Obama.

    Christus resurrexit!

  11. I write this comment as perhaps you are receiving the blessing of the newly ordained. May God bless them with perseverance and every good gift as they fulfill their consecration! Ad multos annos!

Comments are closed.

May 2009