Hello and welcome!
I hope you all had a blessed Christmas!
During the monthly cabinet meeting last Friday, Bishop Reed brought relics from Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower.
The relics will be used for the new parish we created in Somerville which is being named for the Martins. Everyone venerated the relics at the beginning of the cabinet meeting.
The Martins are one of the few married couples canonized in the history of the Church and we are very happy to have them as the patron saints of one of our parishes.
Saturday morning, I celebrated the Funeral Mass at St. Mary of the Hills in Milton for Father Tom Foley, who had lived for many years at Regina Cleri.
Among other things he worked for the diaconate program. He is from a very large family and had many nephews and nieces. His brother, who gave the eulogy, talked about how he had been the one to do all the baptisms, first communions, weddings and funerals in their family. It made me think of my own family and what a joy that is for a priest. Of course, there were quite a number of priests there from Regina Cleri and people who had been his parishioners. It was a beautiful service and I was so happy I was able to be a part of it.
The next day, Sunday, I celebrated the Culture of Life Mass for the Knights of Columbus at the cathedral. The Knights organize this Mass, which is particularly centered around the theme of persecuted Christians. They brought a beautiful Madonna to the Mass, Our Lady of the Martyrs.
Much of the state leadership of the Knights were present with their wives. Before the Mass they also distributed three or four thousand coats to children in the parish. This is a yearly activity that they have in the pre-Christmas season.
On Christmas Eve we went to a safe house for women who have escaped trafficking or domestic violence. I visited the women and their children there. We’re very glad that the Archdiocese is able to participate in that kind of a program, which is so sorely needed in today’s world where so many women are in danger because of domestic violence and trafficking.
From there we went to St. Peter Center in Dorchester to be with the Menino family, who every year organize an event to distribute toys to the children of the neighborhood, many of them Cape Verdean immigrants.
This year they gave away, among other things, baby bicycles. It was an extraordinary event. Angela Menino, her son Tom and many other members of their family who have been doing this for many, many years were there to help distribute the gifts to the children.
Then we went to Pine Street Inn to visit and pray with those who gather for the noon meal and to help serve that meal with the many volunteers who come to help that day.
Of course, this is the 50th anniversary of Pine Street Inn, which is led by Lyndia Downie. Monsignor Frank Kelly was one of the founders, and many of our parishes have always been very supportive of this effort. As I always say, there wasn’t room at the inn in Bethlehem, but they’re making room in Pine Street Inn for all of those who are homeless in the streets of Boston.
That evening I had the midnight Mass at the cathedral. It was just spectacular. The choir was superb and they gave a little concert before the Mass.
There is a new crèche in front of the church as well as the crèche inside. The cathedral looked beautiful and we had huge crowds at all the Masses. It was very encouraging.
On Christmas morning I went to St. Francis House. We always like to visit with the residents there and then we have a Christmas prayer service. Two of our seminarians, Gabriel Hanley and Aaron Sanz, were there to lead the Christmas carols.
And then from St. Francis House we came back for the 11:30 Mass at the cathedral, which once again was very beautiful. The church was filled and the music was beautiful. People were very happy to be in the renovated cathedral. Last year we were downstairs, so it was quite a change. Many people who were seeing the cathedral for the first time were amazed.
My Christmas homily was about homelessness, the homelessness of Christ in Bethlehem, the homelessness of the refugees in the world. I talked about the new monument that the Holy Father has placed in St. Peter’s Square to remind people of the over 25 million refugees in our world. And then I talked about the spiritual homelessness of people who are disconnected from a faith community. So I told the people there about the Eucharistic year and asked them to be part of our Eucharistic community.
Until next week,