This week marks the end of Ramadan for the Muslim community and I extend my greetings to them. I think it’s particularly important in light of the recent events in Florida, where a Christian clergyman has threatened to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Also this week, the Jewish community is celebrating Rosh Hashanah. As I mentioned in a recent interview with The Boston Globe, the Jewish community has been very, very supportive of the educational and charitable works of the Archdiocese. We’re very grateful to our Jewish friends and wish their community health, happiness and peace as they celebrate their new year.
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Last Thursday, I had some friends visiting from Portugal, João and Maria Cortez de Lobão and their seven children.
Maria was a parishioner of mine many years ago in my Portuguese parish in Washington. She was studying theology at the time. I celebrated their marriage and baptized their seven children. They have since returned to Portugal where they are in the olive oil business.
I was delighted to see them and have them visit us here in Boston. We thought the emblematic Boston experience would be the Boston Duck Tour.
Manny Rogers, one of the co-owners of Boston Duck Tours and an outstanding member of the Portuguese community in Cambridge, helped us arrange the tour.
I had never done it myself, although a few years ago my father and family went on it and enjoyed it very much.
The Duck Boat “captains” dress up in colorful costumes and play different roles. Ours was from ancient Greece
Of course, we all learned how to quack!
One of the things that makes Boston Duck Tours so unique is that you get to see the city both from the land and the water. The children were gleeful when the amphibious vehicle went into the waters of the Charles. It was a big surprise for the little kids. They thought it was just wonderful.
Passing another Duck Boat
The Boston Museum of Science, on the Cambridge side of the Charles River
A view down the Charles, Boston on the left, Cambridge on the right
The Back Bay
One of the children even got chance to drive the boat
Boston is such an historical city and the duck tour is a wonderful way to showcase some historic sights.
The Zakim Bridge
Copley Square and the Hancock Building
The Boston Public Garden
The Prudential Center
Boston City Hall Plaza
The trip was a delightful experience. We are so grateful to Manny and all the staff and guides at the Duck tours for an enjoyable afternoon in the city.
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Just as a few days before we celebrated a Mass of the Holy Spirit to inaugurate the academic year at St. John’s Seminary, we did the same at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston on Friday.
We also installed their new rector, Father William Palardy, who during the course of the Mass made his profession of faith.
The enrollment at the seminary is very high as well. They have 22 new seminarians this year. That, of course, is a great blessing.
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Also that day, I met Father James McCurry OFM, Conv. He is the provincial of the St. Anthony Province of Conventuals.
Father McCurry is very well-known as a Maryologist and has often appeared on EWTN over the years.
He has the unlikely name of McCurry to be the provincial of the Polish-American province of Conventuals.
Father was paying a courtesy call and visiting the Polish friars at Our Lady of Czestochowa while he was here. It was an opportunity for us to congratulate him on his new responsibilities as provincial.
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On Saturday I went to Blessed Mother Teresa Parish in Dorchester to celebrate a Mass to mark the Feast Day of Blessed Mother Teresa. It was also, of course, the patronal feast of the parish.
Last month, Mother Teresa celebrated her 100th birthday in heaven. Sept. 5 is the day of her death and her feast day.
The Mass was in anticipation of her feast day, which was the following day. Father Jack Ahern, the pastor, was our host.
The sisters, Missionaries of Charity, the order of nuns that Mother Teresa founded, were all there with many of their volunteers.
I spoke a little bit of how I first met Mother Teresa over 40 years ago when she came to Catholic University. At the time no one knew who she was but all of us, even at that stage of the game, realized we were in the presence of a saint.
Afterwards, there was a lovely reception and a chance to greet the people who were there.
Father Kickham’s sister, Mary Carney, and her husband, Barney, and their children were there as well.
With Father Kickham, Barney and Mary Carney and two of their four children
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As you might imagine, Labor Day weekend is not a big weekend for invitations to parishes, with so many people travelling and the like.
So, we thought it would be a good opportunity to visit Marian Manor, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Dorchester Heights, and say Mass for the sisters and the residents there on Sunday.
Afterwards, we were able to greet many of the residents.
Father Vincent von Euw and some of his relatives were there
Also at the Mass was Bridget Conroy, who is 108 years old.
I have met her before and every time I meet her she says, “My mother was an O’Malley!” She is a lovely lady and is in remarkable shape for 108 years.
The Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirmed do such an extraordinary job caring for our elderly. I was blessed to have them both in Fall River and Palm Beach before coming here. Here of course they have not only Marian Manor but St. Patrick’s. Both of these institutions provide extraordinary service to the people of the archdiocese.
We are very grateful for them and we pray the Lord will bless their community with many vocations and they will be able to continue and flourish in the beautiful ministry the Lord has given to them.
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Sunday I was visited by relatives of Father Emilio Biosca. His brother-in-law, Danny Albisu, and Danny’s brother, Louis, visited us here in Boston.
You may recall Father Emilio from the post on my last visit to Cuba. He is a young Capuchin who I ordained a few years ago and whose family participates in the Agrupación Católica.
Father Emilio was a missionary for ten years in Papua New Guinea and for three years has been in Santa Clara in Cuba as pastor of the parish Nuestra Señora Divina Pastora. He has six sisters, one of whom is a Poor Clare nun, Sister Maria Jose. Danny is married to his sister Patricia.
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The following day was Labor Day, and I went to St. Brigid’s in South Boston for a cookout that Father Casey, the pastor there, always sponsors.
I do not know what he does to arrange the beautiful weather, but every year it’s always magnificent!
Priests from very young to the retired priests come together and have a wonderful time. Father Paul Rouse played the piano to entertain us.
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On Tuesday, I had another Mass of the Holy Spirit to open the academic year at one of our seminaries — this one at Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Chestnut Hill.
At Redemptoris Mater we were able to formally welcome the new Vice-rector, Father Emanuele deNigris.
Afterwards we had dinner with the seminarians and upon finishing dinner we sang many folk songs in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Polish.
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Wednesday morning I celebrated the opening Mass for Quincy Catholic Academy at Sacred Heart Church.
Principal Catherine Cameron
The Mass was an historic occasion as the children were a part of the first-ever Mass celebrated as a Quincy Catholic Academy community, and Dr. Mary Grassa O’Neill, our school superintendent, reminded the children of that when she addressed them after Mass.
They have an enrollment of about 400. Many of the parents and grandparents came for the Mass.
During my visit there, I was very pleased to have a tour of the school from Principal Cameron.
We were very pleased to see how beautiful the facility is. The school has a great cafeteria, auditorium-like room and gymnasium. The classrooms are in tip-top shape and the whole school has wireless Internet. It’s just state of the art and is a beautiful building for the children.
I am grateful for her leadership, as well as the dedication of Fathers John O’Brien, John Ronaghan and David Callahan — the pastors of the three parishes whose schools have merged together to form Quincy Catholic Academy. Their work is certainly a blessing to the children who receive a Catholic education in Quincy.
I think one of the more fascinating stops on my tour my tour of the school was when I visited the science lab, the students had conducted an experiment earlier where they were challenged to put a stick through a balloon without breaking it. Of the class only seven students were able to accomplish this feat. I was challenged to try, and believe it or not, I got the stick to go through the balloon without breaking it … and we have photos to prove it!
They said the experiment was about “finding the molecular hole,” whatever that is. Apparently, I found it!
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Last week I was visited by the General of the Sisters of Mercy, the order of St. Faustina. In our Archdiocese they are present at St. Ann’s in Neponset. We were very pleased that the Mother General stopped by to visit.
We were very happy to have Sister Saula and the other sisters in the diocese. We appreciate their ministry at the prisons and to promote the Divine Mercy devotion among our people.
We look forward next week to the Episcopal ordination of our new bishops, Arthur Kennedy and Peter Uglietto. Please join me in praying for them as they prepare for this very important day.
Until next week,