Hello and welcome!
This past Saturday we celebrated our presbyteral ordinations in Boston. On the eve of the ordination, I have the custom of gathering for vespers and dinner with the deacons to be ordained priests the next day. That’s an opportunity for me to meet with them individually and give them their first assignments. That way when they go to the ordination, they’re not worried about what their assignments are going to be, that’s all been established for them.
With 13 young men, and another deacon to be ordained in a couple of months, this is the largest ordination in more than 20 years in the archdiocese and it’s probably the largest ordination class this year in the United States.
Being able to do it in the renovated Cathedral of the Holy Cross was a great joy. It was the second time in a month that we had standing room only in the cathedral, which means there were well over 2,000 people. It is a great source of hope for our Catholic community in Boston.
I want to share my homily with you:
That afternoon we went to St. Anthony’s in Cambridge where the Portuguese and Brazilian communities were having a celebration to mark the graduation of Father Cristiano Barbosa, a priest who’s been working in the archdiocese for almost 10 years and who has made a huge contribution, particularly in the Brazilian community. So, I was happy to go and join the people for the celebration.
Father Cristiano received a doctorate degree in theology. It took him ten years, but I was hoping he would never finish so he could continue with us! The good news is that I spoke with his bishop, and his bishop is going to allow him to continue to work here with the Brazilians so we’re very grateful for that.
Father Walter Carreiro, who is always so gracious, had his parishioners serve “bacalhau com natas” (cod fish with cream) because they know it’s my favorite Portuguese dish. It was good to see so many of the parishioners from St. Anthony’s and the Shalom Catholic Community all gathered there for the occasion.
Sunday, I went to Charlestown to mark the 160th anniversary of St. Francis de Sales Parish. On the way there I stopped by St. Mary Parish, also in Charlestown, to greet the First Communion children.
This is a mural on the wall at St. Mary’s, which is one of my favorites. It’s St. John the Apostle giving Communion to the Blessed Mother, which is a theme you don’t see often in Christian art, but it’s beautiful. By the way, one of the newly ordained priests had a painting of that scene as his prayer card for his ordination.
Father Ronan, the pastor at St. Mary’s, told me this was the largest First Communion class they’ve had in many years. I think there were almost 40 children. Also, the Good Shepherd School there that they started a few years back has a waiting list. Father Ronan has done an extraordinary job in that community.
The Bunker Hill monument is near St. Mary’s.
From there I went to the 160th anniversary of St. Francis de Sales. Father Daniel Mahoney has been there for a long time. He is also the chaplain for the Fire Department and has done such good work, particularly with the firefighters and their families.
It was a very moving celebration for the people, as we reflected on the 160 years of that community.
This is a photo of the high altar
The statue of St. Francis de Sales
In the afternoon we had the 50th anniversary Mass for three Sister Disciples at the cathedral: Sister Josephine, Sister Magdalene and Sister Nieves. The Sister Disciples had invited many of their friends and there were many priests that participated, truly a sign of how people and the clergy hold them in great esteem.
The sisters are working on West Street, at the Pastoral Center and at Regina Cleri, but as I told the people, they’re in the hearts of all our priests, particularly for the wonderful support that they give to our clergy.
Afterwards there was a luncheon for the sisters and their friends at the cathedral. It gives us an opportunity to celebrate consecrated life in the archdiocese and to express our thanks for the ministry and service of this wonderful community of Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, part of the Pauline family of Blessed Alberione.
That evening we received a visit from MaryAnn McLaughlin, who used to work at the Pastoral Center in the Divine Worship Office, and her family.
A group of Capuchin friars came to visit and while in Boston they went to a Red Sox game. They were very enthused to go as they all wanted to see Fenway Park.
As I try to do every year, on Monday I attended the Boston College commencement. This time, Catholic University of Portugal rector Isabel Capeloa Gil had the keynote address. She gave a beautiful talk and was given an honorary doctorate. Actually, the Catholic University of Portugal gave me an honorary doctorate just a couple years ago.
I was very happy that they invited President Gil to be the keynote speaker because she’s an outstanding Catholic laywoman. She is now the president of the International Federation of Catholic Universities. She was raised in Macao and is very accomplished.
We’ve had a longstanding association with the Catholic University of Portugal, particularly the people of Fall River and Boston who, over the years, were very supportive of the efforts to help create that university. Now that university is financially sound and is reaching out and helping to set up other universities in Portuguese-speaking African countries. So it’s a beautiful indication of the universality of the Church and how, when we support each other, that is like the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes.
Monday, we had the Medeiros scholarship ceremony. We’re so grateful to Boston University for the wonderful program of the Medeiros scholarships that honor the memory of Cardinal Medeiros and make it possible for graduates from our Catholic high schools to get a full four-year scholarship to study at Boston University.
I had to travel that evening to be in Washington the next day for the installation of the new Archbishop there, so, we’re very happy that Bishop Reed was able to represent me at the scholarship ceremony.
Tuesday, I attended the installation of Bishop Wilton Gregory, who was with us in Boston just a couple of months ago for our Healy Dinner. He is the first black archbishop of the nation’s capital, which is blessed with a huge community of black Catholics.His nomination to the see of Washington is a great source of joy and of pride to the people. There was a great outpouring of enthusiasm and love at the inauguration, which took place at the National Shrine because the Cathedral of St. Matthew’s only holds about 1,000 people or less.
The Shrine, which holds 4,000 people, had standing room only. In attendance were eight cardinals, including the cardinal from Mexico, 50 bishops, 300 priests, many religious and deacons. The music at the cathedral is always just spectacular. The archbishop gave a beautiful homily. He chose as the gospel text Jesus in the boat during the storm. He urged us not to let the storm define who we are but rather our faith in Jesus who is present to us especially in moments of greatest crisis and need.
Immediately after the Washington celebration, I returned to Boston. The next day we had the luncheon for the newly ordained at the Pastoral Center.
We always have a gathering of the priests and their families after the ordination, to be able to hear their stories about their first Masses and to encourage them and to thank their families.
Wednesday afternoon we had the annual meeting of the St. James Society, which is the missionary society sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston which has missionaries working in South America. Father David Costello is the director. We had the annual meeting at the cathedral to review the activities of the Society.
That evening there were Confirmations at St. Agatha’s in Milton, and I think there were over 50 candidates.
I always enjoy the opportunity to celebrate Confirmations with young people. Father Palardy and Father Jay Makos are doing a great job, together with Father Pat McLaughlin who is the senior priest in residence there.
Until next week,