Hello and welcome,
Last Friday I attended the wake of Charles Fox, a man who was very involved in the life of the archdiocese for decades, along with his wife Janice.
I was very happy to be able to be there and to offer a prayer at his wake.
Of course, this is the time of year when many confirmations are celebrated and, over the weekend, I had the joy of celebrating three confirmation Masses at parishes in the archdiocese.
Though receiving confirmation is always a special event in the life of a young person, I thought it was particularly nice that these celebrations were held during the Pentecost Novena. It is the time when the Early Church was gathered in intense prayer, waiting for the coming of the Gifts of the Spirit that transformed the community on Pentecost.
I am always happy for these opportunities to be able to speak to our young people about their faith, the need to be part of a worshiping community and to prepare for one’s vocation in life.
The first celebration was on Saturday, for about 100 young people from the Brazilian community in the archdiocese at St. Tarcisius Parish in Framingham. Concelebrating with me was the pastor, Father Volmar Scaravelli, as well as a number of priests who minister to the Brazilian community.
This was the first of two celebrations of confirmation for the Brazilian community that I will hold this year. In the past, we would often hold them all together at the cathedral, but the numbers have become so large that we have decided to split them into two celebrations. So, next weekend, I will have another celebration for the community at the Madonna Queen Shrine in East Boston.
Then on Sunday, I had two confirmation celebrations of at Our Lady of the Assumption in Marshfield, one at 1:00 in the afternoon, and another 4:00. Concelebrating with us was the new administrator, Father Mark Derrane, and Father Joe Hennessey. In fact, Father Mark had just arrived in the parish day before, so the celebration was an opportunity for him to introduce himself to the parish even as he was welcoming me. (I teased him that I had come to make sure he arrived for his new assignment!)
That evening, I attended the wake for John Riley, the father of Father Ed Riley, which was held at St. John’s Church in Wellesley. The Rileys are from a very large family and are very prominent in the Catholic community, so there were hundreds of people there to express their condolences. I was pleased to be able to be among them.
Monday, I attended the annual dinner of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, at which I gave the invocation. The Governor of the Commonwealth is the titular head of the organization, so Governor Baker also joined us to address the group, as well as retired General David Perkins, who offered the keynote.
Past Captain Commander Charles McCarthy, Governor Baker, and General and Mrs. Perkins
Being there, I was reminded how many members of our own Knights of Malta are also members of the Ancient and Honorables. Of course, one of their principal chaplains is Father Ed McCabe, who is himself a former military chaplain.
Mass. Secretary Veteran Affairs Francisco Urena; AHAC Captain Commander Nicholas Schiarizzi; Joseph Milano, AHAC and Order of Malta; and Robert Santiago, Commissioner Veteran Services for the City of Boston
It was a colorful event because the Ancient and Honorables are sort of the remnant of the local colonial militia in Massachusetts, and they have maintained some of those traditions. So, there were many people there in their military attire. There were some representatives of the British there, including one dressed as a redcoat which, of course, made me think of the cry, “The redcoats are coming!”
On Tuesday, we celebrated a special Mass for jubilarian priests at Regina Cleri. Each year, we invite all the priests who are celebrating their 50th anniversary, whether they be diocesan or religious, to join the residents of Regina Cleri for this Mass and a lunch afterward.
It was a wonderful celebration, and we are all looking forward to the upcoming rededication of the chapel at Regina Cleri, which we hope will be ready by August.
That afternoon, I attended a reception in support of our Capital Campaign “Inspiring Hope” at the home of Duncan and Marlene O’Brien in Wellesley.
Duncan is the brother of Father Paul O’Brien, and at the gathering Father Paul spoke about the Capital Campaign in his parish and how it is geared toward supporting not only the archdiocese but also his own parish school. He also spoke about the work of the Cor Unum Meal Center.
During the gathering, we also heard from Father Bryan Hehir, who spoke about the work of Catholic Charities and I addressed the group about our motivations, goals and aspirations for the campaign as a whole.
Wednesday, we had a special Mass and luncheon at the Pastoral Center honoring priests and brothers in the archdiocese celebrating significant jubilees.
We were joined by Fathers Scott Euvrard, Mark Coiro and William Brown, OMV, who were celebrating their 25th anniversary of ordination and Brother Leonard Haley, SM, who was celebrating 60 years of religious life and Brother Gabriel Aceto, OFM, who was celebrating 50 years.
Brother Leonard said that he was with me 10 years ago when he was celebrating his Golden Jubilee and so I told him that I expect him to come back in 10 years for his 70th!
Following the Mass, we had a luncheon for jubilarians and their families.
That afternoon, I met with Father Matt Malone, SJ, the editor of America Magazine, who stopped by to say hello.
During our conversation, he told me that in the lobby of America Magazine there is a portrait of Cardinal Cushing because he paid for their original house in New York. I had no idea that was the case, and shared with him that a few years ago I was invited down to Washington for the 50th anniversary of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, or CARA. At first, I wondered why they were in inviting me, and it turned out it was because Cardinal Cushing helped found them, too!
Finally, on Thursday, we had our lunch and reception for the winners of our Excellence in Education Award. These are five elementary school and five secondary school teachers selected from a large group of nominees put forth by their school communities.
This year’s winners were:
Eric Bernazzani of Cardinal Spellman High School, Brockton;
Julie Billingsley of St. John the Evangelist School, Canton;
Vincent Bradley of Catholic Memorial School, West Roxbury;
Kathleen Carabine of East Boston Central Catholic School;
Melissa Ewing of Boston College High School, Dorchester;
Rachel Ferullo of Blessed Sacrament School, Walpole;
Christopher Lynch of St. John’s Prep, Danvers;
Michael Murphy of Nativity Preparatory, Boston;
James O’Neill of Central Catholic High School, Lawrence; and
Mary Powers of South Boston Catholic Academy.
I was so happy to have had the opportunity to reward at least some of our Catholic school teachers for their wonderful work.
We know that our Catholic school teachers often don’t earn as much as they could elsewhere, but do what they do because they are so devoted to the mission. So, it was a wonderful way to celebrate their valuable contributions and to recognize at least a small portion of our extraordinarily dedicated Catholic school teachers.
Until next week,