Day: February 7, 2014

Our new Vicar General

Earlier this week we announced that Bishop Peter Uglietto will be the new vicar general of the Archdiocese of Boston. Since 2010, he has been serving as the Regional Bishop in the North Region of the archdiocese.Uglietto Jan 31 2014

We are grateful that Bishop Uglietto has accepted this call to leadership in the archdiocese. He has earned the respect of our priests, deacons, religious and laity through attentive pastoral care and concern for the people we serve. As the archdiocese moves forward with pastoral planning through Disciples in Mission, the bishop’s understanding of the needs of our local communities will be of great assistance. We ask the Lord to bless Bishop Uglietto as he assumes these new responsibilities.

I know that his knowledge of the archdiocese and his love for the priests and people here will put him in good stead to function as the vicar general of our local Church.

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I was surprised to read the accounts of the report issued this week by U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, because I would have thought that the competency of this commission is to examine the policies and practices of their member nations, of which includes the Holy See.UN

I think had they focused on that, they would have been able to make what I would consider a valuable contribution, because the Holy See needs to model policies for child protection for the rest of the dioceses in the world. Instead they extrapolated to the life of the Church, which is not their competency, and interjected many of their own ideological preferences. They also appear to have not taken into account the hard work that has been done in many parts of the world. It is very easy to get the headlines when you criticize the church, however, I do not think the commission’s report has been either fair or particularly helpful.

On the other hand, I hope that out of this will come greater resolve by those in the Holy See to be more proactive on this issue and to cooperate with the new commission on child protection that the Holy Father is establishing, which is of such paramount importance for the life of the Church.

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Also, yesterday was the National Prayer Breakfast attended by President Obama and I was pleased to see that the president mentioned the importance of religious freedom in his remarks. As our recent Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Martyrs made very clear, religious freedom is at an all-time low in the world and the persecution of believers is very high.

We are also concerned that issues of religious freedom in the United States do not receive more sympathy from the White House because, as the president himself says, he has identified “religious freedom as a key objective of U.S. foreign policy” and asserts that “no nation on earth has done more to stand up for religious freedom around the world than the United States of America.” I would hope that that the president and our government will see the need for greater commitment to religious freedom at this time when we face so many threats to religious freedom and the persecution of religions around the world. In a less dramatic way, we are also very concerned that our government is allowing less and less space for Catholics to live out their faith in the institutions that the Church runs in order to be of service to our society.

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During the course of the recent Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Martyrs, I mentioned in last week’s post, I had the opportunity to meet Father Yaroslav Nalysnyk, Pastor of Christ the King Ukranian Catholic Church in Boston. Father Yaroslav asked us to join him in prayer for the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Ukranian-Greek Catholic Church and in the Ukraine, particularly in the capital city of Kyiv, where there has been much turmoil. We pray that our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine may practice their faith on peace with the protection of their religious liberty.

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Now on to the events of my week…

Last week, vicar of the Prelature of Opus Dei in the United States Father Thomas Bohlin came to the cathedral for a visit, as he does each year. StAnd_001_4

He presented me with a copy of the video that has been prepared on the life of Father Joseph Muzquiz, whose cause of canonization has been introduced and who is buried here in the archdiocese.


During our visit we spoke of some the activities of Opus Dei, which has a presence in the archdiocese with their school, retreat houses and student residences. We are also very grateful for the involvement of many Catholics who follow the spirituality of Opus Dei in our parishes and different activities of the Church and the archdiocese.

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Friday, I travelled to Lowell Catholic High School to join in the celebration of their 25th anniversary as a new school that amalgamated the pre-existing Catholic high schools in Lowell. The school has made wonderful progress under the leadership of principal Maryellen DeMarco, who was recently named Educator of the Year at the Enterprise Celebration of Excellence Awards.


DSC_8300The Mass was attended with great devotion and enthusiasm the students, some of whom had been with us at the March for life in Washington and in Brazil for World Youth Day. It was good to be with them again along with many of the parents and grandparents of the students.DSC_8427DSC_8438

We were happy to be a part of their 25th anniversary celebration.

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Later that day I was visited at the cathedral by Father Michael Harrington who accompanied the leaders of the Brazilian community along with Father Ney Nelson from the Diocese of Brasilia. Father Nelson was in Boston giving retreat for the Charismatic Movement at St. Anthony in Everett.2

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Saturday, we had a Mass and reception organized by our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach for those who have been impacted by clergy sexual abuse.

It is always an important moment to gather with survivors and their families to offer this Mass. I am so grateful to Vivian Soper and her staff for bringing this event together, carrying on the work that was done for so many years by Barbara Thorp.

This annual gathering is a very important pastoral outreach to those who have been affected by clergy abuse and we are always gratified by the presence of so many people at the Mass. For many of them, it is an opportunity to reconnect with the Church after having stepped away.

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Sunday we had the Mass for Candlemas at the Cathedral and we were joined by the confirmation classes of St. Camillus and St. Agnes in Arlington.

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We had the procession and blessing of the candles and after the Mass we anticipated the Feast of St. Blaise with the blessing of the throats, which is a custom that has always been very popular in United States. As young priest, however, I was shocked to find out that not every country has that tradition. In my Hispanic parish when I walked to the Communion rail after Mass with the candles announced that we would bless the throats, everyone smiled and just sat there! Once I explained it, they were very enthused about it, but it was something they had never seen before.

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Monday, I went to the studios of the CatholicTV Network to record the homily that will be played in parishes throughout the archdiocese during Masses for Catholic Appeal Sunday.fnh_ca14_2

Recently we announced that last year’s appeal raised over $15 million through the generous support of over 40,000 donors. We are so grateful to all who helped make last year’s effort successful and we hope they will continue in that spirit of generosity this year.

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Finally, anyone who has been in Boston over the last week knows that we got quite a snowstorm Wednesday. Like many of you, I am sure, most of our activities around that time were canceled.5

So now you know, sometimes even cardinals get a snow day!

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

February 2014