Hello and welcome!
Last Friday, we had our annual Lenten Morning of Prayer and Reflection for employees at the Pastoral Center, which have always been very well received. We want people to feel that, in working in the Church, there is pastoral care available for them. It can be very challenging working for the Church in these difficult times and the spiritual and interior strength that come from our faith can be a great help.
Throughout the morning, there were different talks interspersed with opportunities for adoration, prayer and confession. In the past, the talks were often given by a guest speaker, but this year a number of our employees offered personal testimonies of faith.
We concluded the morning with a special Mass, which I celebrated for the employees in Bethany Chapel.
We are very grateful that our workers have a sense of mission and dedication to the Church, which enhances our ability to carry on the many ministries and apostolates of the Archdiocese of Boston.
Friday afternoon, I met with Rev. Eugene Rivers and Ambassador Maryann Glendon, who came to talk to me about some projects for inner-city youth that they are involved in.
Rev. Rivers is always very interested in Catholic social teaching and its implications for society. We were very grateful to him for the column on religious freedom that he wrote following the scurrilous attack on the Knights of Columbus last December. So, I was very pleased to have this meeting with him and Ambassador Glendon.
Saturday, I met with Sister Germana Santos, FSP who will be our new Delegate for Religious. She will be taking over for Sister Marian Batho, who stepped down last year to take a leadership position with her order, the Sisters of St. Joseph. We are so grateful for the wonderful work that Sister Marian did for so many years in that role.
Sister Germana is from the island of Faial in the Azores and came here as a teenager, where joined the Daughters of St. Paul. For our new Delegate, I thought it was important that we had a sister from one of the larger communities represented in the archdiocese, as well as someone who has the experience of religious life, and Sister Germana has been a provincial and been part of their general council in Rome.
We are looking forward to having another Martha and Mary Dinner for young women considering a vocation in the spring, and one of the responsibilities that she will have is to help us promote vocations to religious life. Sister will be starting in May, so that will be one of her first appearances in her new role.
We welcome Sister Germana, and are very grateful to the Daughters of St. Paul for allowing her to take on this responsibility.
That afternoon, I visited The Sons of Mary at their house in Framingham.
They even had some turkeys on their lawn!
The Sons of Mary are missionary society with a strong medical component, who were, in a sense, “adopted” by Cardinal Cushing.
A picture of their coat of arms, in which they use Cardinal Cushing’s motto
They were very much associated with the St. James Society and their work, though they also have missions in Venezuela and the Philippines.
I was very much struck by this Peruvian crucifix
On Sunday, I visited the Our Lady of Good Voyage Seaport Shrine for a Lenten Mass. I was so happy to see that they finished the stenciling behind the altar and now they have a new statue of St. Peter, as well.
The Seaport Chapel has been a great success. We are so grateful for its presence in this growing neighborhood of Boston and all the outreach they do, particularly to young adults.
On Sunday, I went to UMass Boston to participate in the Anti-Defamation League’s annual A Nation of Immigrants Community Seder. The ADL organizes this event every year and it is a wonderful service to the community, bringing together people from the many different ethnic communities of Boston to celebrate the contribution of immigrants to our nation.
They had an exhibition with statistics citing the number of immigrants in Boston and the number of languages spoken.
Of course, our immigrant population is a very important part of the Catholic Church. Hispanics are perhaps the largest group, however, we also have a very large Portuguese-speaking population comprised of Brazilians, Cape Verdeans, Azoreans and, of course, those from mainland Portugal. In addition, many Haitians and Vietnamese, as well as Catholics from other Asian and African countries are coming to Boston large numbers. Boston has a very vibrant economy that draws immigrant communities here, which is both a blessing and a challenge for the Church.
In these days where immigrants are so often being demonized, we are very grateful to the ADL for holding up the very positive contributions that immigrants make to our community and for reminding all of us of our immigrant roots. It is important to remember that, beyond the original indigenous population, everyone in this country is an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant.
On Monday, I went to Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Rhode Island to celebrate Mass for the Feast of the Annunciation and to visit with our college seminarians there.
After the Mass, we had a dinner and light reception where I had to chance to meet all the different seminarians who are studying there.
With our men from Boston
This week, we had two of our regular St. Andrew Dinners for young men considering a vocation to the priesthood. In both locations, three of our seminarians gave witness talks and I also addressed the young men.
The first was on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Parish in Quincy. Father Lou Palmieri and his parish were very gracious in hosting us, and we had a very good turnout. I think there were between 50 and 60 young men there with us.
The second dinner was on Wednesday, this time at St. Mary’s in Lawrence, where Father Carlos Urbino was our host for the evening.
Here, too we had a very good turnout.
Also on Wednesday, we had one of our semi-annual meetings of the bishops of the Boston Province, which includes the bishops of the four dioceses of Massachusetts as well as the bishops of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Rather than meeting at the Pastoral Center, this time we met at the cathedral rectory in order to give the bishops an opportunity to see the renovations that have taken place at the cathedral. Since the rededication is going to be during Holy Week, it is not a time when it would be easy for them to come, so we were anxious for them to have a chance to see it.
They were all very enthused about the new look of their Metropolitan Cathedral!
Finally, yesterday, we held a Mass at the Pastoral Center to celebrate the legacy of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who are ending their ministry in the archdiocese.
Over their nearly 200 year history, the Daughters of Charity had over a thousand sisters work in the archdiocese. They have done such extraordinary work and always answered the needs of the community, whether it be in healthcare, teaching, caring for orphans or ministering to immigrants. Among the many works the Daughters began were the Labouré Center, Labouré College, Carney Hospital and St. Margaret’s Hospital, which is now the St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children.
The provincial, Sister Catherine Mary Norris, spoke at the end and said that now it is up to the people of Boston to carry on the work that the sisters have begun.
It was a beautiful celebration, and I was very pleased that so many of the sisters were able to come to be with us.
Until next week,