Hello and welcome!
Last Sunday, I attended the wake service for Karen Coughlin, the wife of Deacon Paul Coughlin, at Holy Family Church in East Taunton. She was a graduate of the Masters of Arts in Ministry program at St. John’s Seminary, and her whole life was dedicated to passing on the faith and preparing young Catholics to live a life of discipleship.
There were many deacons with us for the service, and we are happy that so many deacons were able to accompany Deacon Paul at this difficult time. Also with us was the present pastor, Father Richard Wilson, who had been my priest secretary, as well as the former pastor, Father Kevin Cook, who had worked for many years with Karen.
She will be very sorely missed and fondly remembered.
Monday, Joe D’Arrigo and I paid a visit to Don Rodman at his home. It was an opportunity to thank him for all his support of Catholic Charities and so many other wonderful causes in the Greater Boston community that he has been dedicated to for so many decades.
Tuesday, Father Bryan Hehir and I met with members of the archdiocese’s Black Catholic community, principally members of the Archdiocesan Black Catholic Choir. Of course, we are very grateful to Meyer Chambers for his many, many years of service both in the Office of Black Catholic Ministries and, more recently, as director of the choir.
The meeting was an opportunity to talk about their ministry, activities and plans going forward. It was a wonderful and profitable evening. We look forward to continuing the conversation and are very grateful to Father Hehir and Meyer for bringing us all together.
Obviously, at Regina Cleri, the chapel is the heart of the community. It is where the priests gather for common prayer, adoration and the common celebration of the Mass. So, having a chapel that can accommodate the special needs of some of the men who are in wheelchairs, use walkers or have other mobility problems is just a great blessing.
As I told the priests in my homily, those of us who are very tall hate it when you go to a church where they have a very low pulpit, and you have to bend over to read your homily. At the same time, I said, there are also those times when we have “vertically challenged” priests standing behind the pulpit and you can’t even see them because it is too high. So, having one that is user-friendly for everyone — whether tall, short, or seated — is an ingenious idea.
In fact, we got to see the adjusting ambo in action during the Mass. The first reading was proclaimed by Father Joe Fagan, who is in a wheelchair, and they lowered the ambo so that he could do the reading. Then they raised it again for me to preach.The altar, of course, is the centerpiece of the chapel. As I reflected with the priests, the first reading of the Mass was from Maccabees and spoke about the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. The rededication of the Temple is marked by the Jewish people with the Hanukkah celebration, and our rededication of the chapel at Regina Cleri was, in a sense, our Hanukkah celebration – a time of great joy.
I also spoke about how we begin and end every Mass by kissing the altar, but then I went on to talk about the Maronite Catholic tradition, which I find very beautiful. In the Maronite liturgy, when the priest kisses the altar at the end of Mass, he says this prayer, which is a farewell to the altar:
I leave you in peace, O Holy Altar, and I hope to return to you in peace. May the offering I have received from you be for the forgiveness of my faults and the remission of my sins, that I may stand without shame or fear before the throne of Christ. I do not know if I shall be able to return to you again to offer another sacrifice. I leave you in peace.
It was a great joy to celebrate the Mass at Regina Cleri, and we are very grateful to all those who have contributed to the different improvements that are being made there, particularly the improvements to the chapel.
Finally, although we have yet to have a special celebration to mark the naming of the archdiocese’s newest monsignor, Msgr. Kevin O’Leary, I was happy that I could coax him into wearing his monsignor’s garb long enough to capture this picture, which I want to share with you:
Until next week,