Day: June 19, 2009

Memorial service for Boston firefighters


On Thursday, the Feast Day of St. Barnabas the Apostle, we had a Mass at the Pastoral Center with something of a missionary theme.

St. Barnabas, like St. Paul, was a great missionary to the Gentiles and, at the Mass on his feast day, we honored two men for their missionary service. It was a wonderful celebration of the commitment to the Mission Ad Gentes of the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

First, we presented the mission cross to Father Mark De Angelis who will soon be serving in South America with the St. James Society. He will be studying Spanish first and then assigned to a ministry with the society, which works in  Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. In the last 50 years, we have sent over 300 priests to work with the St. James Society in those areas.

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot


Father Mark’s family and friends were there to honor him, including a group from the parish school of St. Patrick’s in Stoneham, where he currently ministers.

  Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

The students  and teachers from St. Patrick’s with Father Mark and their pastor, Father Bill Schmidt

Also, in attendance was the new head of the St. James Society, Father Kevin Hays. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Father Hayes and Father Mark

We also recognized Msgr. Andrew F. Connell for his decades of service as the director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the archdiocese, which most people know as the Propagation of the Faith office. We presented him with the official document naming him Apostolic Protonotary, which is the  highest rank of monsignor in the Church.

Msgr Andrew Connell receives the decree naming him Apostolic  Protonotary. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

Msgr Andrew Connell receives the decree naming him Apostolic  Protonotary. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot

Also in attendance was Msgr. William Glynn who has been in the Propagation Office for many years and began serving there even before Msgr. Connell. The service of these two men, Msgrs. Connell  and Glynn — along with many others — has led the archdiocese’s Propagation office to be one of the most successful in the world.

Father Thomas Kopp is carrying on that tradition as the current director.

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The following day, I attended the grand opening of Bruyere Gardens, a new affordable housing development for the elderly in Lowell. The facility is run by the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa and it was developed with the help of our Planning Office for Urban Affairs.




Many involved in bringing the development to fruition attended the dedication ceremony including: Planning Office director Lisa Alberghini, Lowell mayor Bud Caulfield, State Senator Steven Panagiotakos and State Representative Thomas Golden.


Lisa Alberghini

The sisters are already doing an extraordinary job in their ministry there. The provincial of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, Sister Prescille Malo, was also there of course, and we were able to visit one of the sisters, Sister Gertrude, who had a fall and had to have brain surgery. I was pleased to see she is doing well.BG06122009_gm_076

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On Saturday morning, I had the privilege of ordaining a new Jesuit priest, Father Todd Kenny, at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church in Chestnut Hill.



Father Todd is originally from Belmont and had served with Jesuit volunteers in Micronesia and had also spent time in Brazil. The last two years of regency were in San Salvador de Bahía Brazil, and he will be returning there this summer.

Of course, many of his family and friends were there to share this special occasion with him. We also had a very large contingent of Jesuits who attended including Archbishop Larry Burke, the retired Archbishop of Kingston, Jamaica.

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Later on Saturday, I traveled to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Bridgewater to mark the anniversary of the second apparition of Fatima. The parish has a rosary procession and benediction on the 13th of each month from May to October to commemorate the six apparitions.

While I was there, one of the parishioners, Joe Black, showed me some paintings that he has made of the risen Christ, Blessed Mother Teresa and me. In the painting of me, I am raising the host, so you don’t see so much of my face – which is just fine with me!


With the artist, Joe Black


The picture of Mother Teresa is extraordinary!

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On Sunday, I attended the memorial Mass at the Firefighters Lot at Forest Hills Cemetery followed by a service to mark the 100th anniversary of the monument located at the site where firefighters have been buried for over a century.




DSC_0324  The ceremony was very stirring and included the bagpipe corps



with Father Dan Mahoney, Chief Chaplain of the Fire Dept. and Pastor of St. Francis de Sales in Charlestown and Boston Fire Dept. Commissioner Roderick Fraser

I spoke at the event about the selflessness of the profession of firefighters. People will often make great sacrifices for their loved ones and their friends, but firefighters are a class of people who are prepared to risk their lives for strangers each day.

It is a beautiful sense of dedication to the common good. And as we gathered at the monument, our hearts were filled with gratitude, as were the hearts those who erected the beautiful monument 100 years ago.

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For much of the rest of the week I have been in San Antonio, Texas for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Spring meeting. I will tell you about my experience in my next post. In the meantime, you can read a bit about the issues we discussed on the USCCB website.

Until then, blessings to you all!

Cardinal Seán

June 2009