Hello and welcome!
This past Saturday, I had the joy of ordaining eight men as permanent deacons for the archdiocese of Boston. Now, with our permanent diaconate program functioning the way it is, we have an ordination every year, which is a great blessing for us.
Because the cathedral is still under construction, the ordination Mass was held at Holy Name Church in West Roxbury, which is an extraordinarily beautiful church.
The church was filled for the celebration and the new archdiocesan choirmaster, Richard Clark, was there to provide the music.
One of the important moments in the Ordination Mass of the deacon is the presentation of the Book of Gospels. Each of them comes before me, one by one, and I hand them the book saying “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”
Each of the Books of Gospels was inscribed to the new deacons and to their wives.
That afternoon, I went to Sacred Heart in Lynn for the celebration of their 125th anniversary.
Father Brian Flynn is the pastor there, and the parish is part of the Lynn Catholic Collaborative with St. Mary’s. In fact, they used the occasion of the Mass to distribute their Local Pastoral Plan for the collaborative.
There were quite a number of members of the Knights of Columbus and the Order of Malta with us at the Mass.
Afterward, there was a reception in the school, where I was able to greet many of the parishioners and thank them for their fine work in the parish.
The following day, Sunday, although it was still September, I celebrated a Mass at St. Leonard’s Church in the North End to initiate Italian Heritage Month, which is, of course, October, the month in which we celebrate Columbus Day.
The Mass was organized by the parish and the Italian Heritage Committee, as well as the St. Joseph Society of the North End. Members of many Italian and Italian-American groups were present with us at the Mass as well as the new consul general of Italy, Federica Sereni; and Father Ricardo, a Capuchin from San Giovanni Rotondo who had come with the relic of Padre Pio that was being venerated at St. Leonard’s. Also with us was Father David Costello, the director of the St. James Society, which is headquartered at the neighboring parish of St. Stephen.
In my homily, I talked about the great contributions that Italian-Americans have made in the life of our country.
I also tried to hold up the fact that we are an immigrant Church and that we must be willing to welcome the stranger and newcomers, who come from different countries today, but for the same reasons that our ancestors came to America.
It was wonderful to once again be in St. Leonard’s, which now looks so stunning after the recent renovations. We are so grateful to Father Antonio Nardoianni for all that he does for the North End community.
I took this photo of a painting in the vestibule of the church, which many people do not see because they typically come through the side entrance. It depicts St. Francis who, in that marvelous picture, is joined by Dante Alighieri on one side, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the other, and St. Louis of France in the center. Sts. Elizabeth and Louis were, of course, monarchs but they were also Patrons of the Third Order of St. Francis, and Alighieri was a Tertiary as well.
On Tuesday, I went to Lawrence for an event to mark the resumption of full meal service at the Cor Unum Meal Center, which is sponsored by St. Patrick Parish.
We were delighted to be joined by Father Paul O’Brien, Mayor Dan Rivera, Joe Nolan from Eversource and other officials for the announcement.
Of course, as everyone with ties to the Boston area knows, last month there was a terrible series of gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover due to faulty gas lines. This has resulted in gas service being shut off to much of the area while extensive repair work is completed. Thousands of residences and businesses have been left without natural gas for heating, cooking, and hot water and the repairs are expected to take until November. St. Patrick Parish and the Cor Unum Meal Center are in the very heart of that affected area.
Now, thanks to the hard work of many people, the meal center has been converted to propane from natural gas and will be able to serve hot meals.
We are delighted that Cor Unum will be fully up and running because it is such an important institution for the community. Each year they serve over 250,000 meals and, since their inception, they have served almost 2.5 million meals to those in need.
They depend on the generosity of many different businesses and organizations and, of course, hundreds of volunteers to support this wonderful place where people can go to get a hot meal, which is served with great dignity and style. It provides nutritious food, served in a way it that makes people feel appreciated and that their dignity is respected.
With all the problems that they have had in Lawrence, the services they provide are now more necessary than ever.
Finally, yesterday, Oct. 4 was the Feast of St. Francis, a very special time for all Franciscans.
We always anticipate the feast with the celebration of the Transitus.
The Transitus is sort of a reenactment of the death of St. Francis in which we pray the Psalms he was praying when he died and read from the gospel that he had read.
The Transitus focuses on St. Francis’s death at the Portiuncula, where he was lying on the ground and died surrounded by the friars singing the Canticle of Brother Sun to him. The very place where he founded the order is where he gave up his soul.
It is a time of solemn celebration of his passing from this life. Then, the following day, we celebrate his triumphal entrance into heaven with the joy of the feast day itself.
Until next week,