Hello and welcome!
Thursday, the consecrated virgins in the archdiocese joined us for our daily Mass at the Pastoral Center and afterwards there was a luncheon and meeting with them.
During the lunch, we had a discussion of some of our activities for the Year for Consecrated Life and also the upcoming Jubilee Year for Mercy. They were also able to share some of the activities they are involved in.
Also with us at the lunch was Elizabeth Lee from Fall River and Sister Marian Batho, our Delegate for Religious Life in the archdiocese. The vocation of the consecrated virgin is an important one for the Church that has been restored by the Second Vatican Council and we are very blessed to have so many consecrated virgins here in the archdiocese.
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That afternoon, we had the annual meeting of the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, commonly known simply as The St. James Society, held at their headquarters in St. Stephen’s Church in the North End.
It was a very positive and hopeful meeting. The director of the society, Father David Costello, was happy to report that there have been a number of new applications for membership by priests who would like to be missionaries in Latin America.
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From there, I went to New York to celebrate the ordination for the Capuchin Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis, which is the New Jersey province of the Capuchins. They had one priestly ordination, a young man by the name of Father Robert Perez.
Though it is the New Jersey province, they have a parish in the Bronx and that is where the ordination was held. It has been a very historically important Italian-American parish and today many other immigrant groups are there as well.
The parish also has a community of cloistered Capuchin Sisters, who were allowed to attend the ordination as well.
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By Trinity Sunday I was back in Boston, and I went to Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston for a special Mass of Thanksgiving to celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador, which took place on May 23.
Archbishop Romero was a personal friend of mine, and so it was a very moving experience. I would have attended his beatification myself if it were not that we had so many very important events taking place here in the archdiocese on Pentecost weekend, including our ordinations to the priesthood.
The Salvadoran community turned out in great numbers for the Mass. The church was standing room only and they had screens set up downstairs for the overflow crowd.
In my homily, I spoke about the role Archbishop Romero played in his lifetime. Jesus talks about his mission of being a messenger of good news to the poor, and that is certainly what Archbishop Romero was, and he paid for it with his life. Yet, his memory has had a great impact in the Church.
I reflected on how most Americans learned about Archbishop Romero through the movie “Romero.”
As I have mentioned here before, the actor who played Archbishop Romero in the film was Raúl Juliá who, to prepare for the role, read the sermons that made such an impact on the people of El Salvador. The actor was so moved by the sermons that he returned the practice of the faith and, shortly thereafter, died himself. So, in a sense, even he was saved by Archbishop Romero, whose life, ministry and witness touched so many people.
Of course, hundreds of thousands of people attended the ceremony in El Salvador. We were so happy to be able to mark the occasion with the local Salvadoran and Hispanic communities in Boston.
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The following day, we had the annual board meeting of The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
Catholic University is the bishops’ university and one where so many priests, bishops and religious have been trained over the years and it has important ecclesiastical faculties that serve our Church all over the country.
I am honored to be on the board and, in fact, at this meeting I was elected president of the board for a three-year term. Archbishop Allen Vigneron was concluding his term, and we are very grateful for the fine job that he did.
Though I wasn’t seeking the position, having studied there and taught there, I was very honored. But, as Cardinal Wuerl joked with me, “You come to all the meetings anyway!”
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On Wednesday, we had the groundbreaking at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary of a new facility that will be their library and communications center. Many alumni of the seminary, members of the board of trustees, and benefactors were present for the occasion.
The hope is that the center will be completed by Christmas, and I know it will be a wonderful addition to the seminary.
Pope St. John Seminary is flourishing and this is just a further enhancement of the facilities that are required for the wonderful formation of priests that takes place at the seminary, which over the last 50 years has formed almost 800 priests for Boston and the world.
CatholicTV produced this fine video of the occasion and I want to share it with you here:
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Finally this week, I received a surprise visit from Father Jose Ignacio Somoza, a Franciscan Friar who worked with me in Washington for many years. Father is Cuban, and is now working at St. Timothy’s Parish in Miami.
Father Somoza was very involved with the Hispanic community in Washington and, in fact, even worked in the bilingual program in the public schools.
It was wonderful to see him.
Until next week,