Hello and welcome!
Last Friday, I invited the Friars of the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance to join me for Vespers, a holy hour and dinner.
The Friars have been helping out, particularly at St. Patrick’s Parish in Roxbury with the Cape Verdean and Hispanic communities. We had a very nice conversation, and it was a chance for me to hear more about some of the work that they are doing.
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Friday, I went to St. Agatha’s in Milton for a Mass with our Catholic school teachers from the South Region who were holding their professional development day.
With our new Catholic Schools Superintendent Kathy Mears and Maureen Simmons, the principal of St. Agatha’s
I also want to share with you this picture of the stained-glass window in the sacristy of St. Agatha’s.
It is a lovely picture of the Holy Family, but it caught my eye because it has the letters JMJ. When I was in Catholic school we had to put JMJ on every piece of paper – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It brought back wonderful memories of my own Catholic school education and served as a reminder of the important work that these Catholic school teachers are doing.
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On Saturday, I joined Lisa Alberghini of the Archdiocesan Planning Office for Urban Affairs at the dedication and ribbon cutting of their newest affordable housing development, called 135 Lafayette and located on the former St. Joseph campus in Salem.
The development provides 51 permanently affordable homes for residents of Salem and the surrounding area, and commercial space that will help revitalize the neighborhood. Incredibly, over 1,000 people applied to live in these 51 apartments, demonstrating the great need for much more affordable housing in the area! This shows just how important it is for the Church to develop high quality homes that people of modest means can afford.
The new housing honors the legacy of the St. Joseph Parish by continuing the mission of the church – in a new form – and it serves as a beacon of hope for generations to come.
The apartments are home to many wonderful families with children, who love to ride their bikes at the property and play in the lovely courtyard.
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Following the 135 Lafayette celebration, I had the opportunity to meet and talk briefly with John Ribeiro, the statewide chairman of Repeal the Casino Deal, the effort to repeal the Massachusetts casino law.
Earlier this month, I issued a statement, along with the other three Massachusetts bishops, urging people to vote “Yes” on question 3 on November 4 to repeal the law. We believe that casinos encourage predatory gambling, which hurts families, individuals, businesses and entire communities.
It was very encouraging to hear John talk about the work that he and many others are doing to get the law repealed, and it will be important for people to vote “Yes” on question 3 on November 4th.
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Saturday afternoon, I celebrated Mass for the Brazilian Community’s Fourth Congress of the Family that was held at St. John’s School in Peabody.
I was so pleased to see such a large crowd, there were almost 400 people from all over the archdiocese, including many priests and lay ministers.
The congress went all weekend, and featured conferences by a couple from Brazil, Roberto and Neusa Tannus.
We are so grateful to the Brazilian Apostolate family ministry coordinator Jose Antonio Da Silva; Father Eduardo Marques, who is their spiritual director; and Father Michael Harrington of our Office of Cultural Diversity for all they did to make this weekend successful.
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In the evening, I stopped by the headquarters of the CatholicTV Network in Watertown to take part in their annual telethon.
I was very pleased to hear that was the most successful telethon to date. I was happy to be able to thank all the volunteers who gave of their time to answer the phones, and thank Father Bob Reed, Jay Fadden and the wonderful staff of the CatholicTV Network for the excellent work they do.
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On Sunday, I visited St. Lucy Parish, part of the Methuen Catholic collaborative, to dedicate their new parish offices. I celebrated the parish Mass, after which we blessed the offices and then joined the people for a very nice reception in the church hall.
I was happy to be joined by the three priests who are working in the collaborative, Monsignor William Fay, Father John Cassani and Father Bill Lohan. We are also joined by a number of the Presentation Sisters, who have their headquarters in Methuen, including Sister Holly whose profession Mass I celebrated not too long ago.
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Since Monday, I have been in Rome for meetings.
On Wednesday, we began meetings of the Congregation for the Clergy.
There are cardinals from many different countries on the congregation (the only two Americans are Cardinal Wuerl and myself) as well as a number of bishops, including Bishop Fernando Antonio Figueiredo of Santo Amaro, Brazil, who is the bishop of Father Marcelo Rossi, the famous singing priest.
This is a plenary meeting, which is called only about once every year or two. There is a new prefect, Cardinal Stella, and he has called this plenary.
It so happens that the responsibility for seminaries has just been given to the Congregation for the Clergy, previously it was entirely the responsibility of the Congregation for Catholic Education. So, during our meetings, we are discussing the new “ratio” for the seminaries, as well as the permanent diaconate and several other issues.
This weekend, will begin our meetings with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
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Also on Wednesday, the Feast of the Little Flower, I celebrated Mass at my titular church, Santa Maria della Vittoria. When the Little Flower was 14 years old, she visited that church so there is always a very large celebration on her feast day.
I was very happy to be there with our seminarians studying in Rome, along with Father Jonathan Gaspar and Father Kevin O’Leary. Also, Maria Bianca, who works in our tribunal, was in town with her husband Willie, and so they attended the Mass, as well.
The Carmelite Friars of the church hosted a very lovely dinner for all of us.
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Tomorrow, I am looking forward to being with my brother Capuchins for the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis.
I wish you all a happy St. Francis Day!
– Cardinal Seán