Hello and welcome,
The people of the United States and the world are very focused on the coronavirus and how quickly the virus is spreading. We have been closely following the directives of the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department, and in light of that, have been formulating our own policies for our archdiocesan parishes and schools to try to retard the spread of this disease in our community.
Of course, the situation continues to evolve, and so we have established a page on our website to provide the latest updates on the coronavirus and our response. I invite all those who may have concerns about the situation to view it here.
This week, we announced that Kathleen Driscoll, after nearly 10 years serving as our Secretary for Institutional Advancement, will be leaving to become Senior Vice President, Chief of Philanthropy at UMass Memorial Health Care.
We are so grateful for the extraordinary job that Kathleen has done; it has truly been a mission for her. She is a woman of the Church and is motivated by her faith and the desire to support the works of our faith community. In particular, her work on the Capital Campaign, which is well underway, has been just extraordinary. We are very grateful to her and wish many blessings for her and her family as she embarks on this new endeavor.
We are also very grateful to Pat Bartram, who is going to be stepping in as Interim Secretary for Institutional Advancement. Pat has worked alongside Kathleen for many years, has a great depth of knowledge and has been very effective.
We are very blessed to have her to be able to continue the important work of ensuring financial support for the archdiocese. I know the staff all supports her and will work very hard with her to continue this vital task of ensuring that the Church has the resources that we need to be able to carry out our mission.
Sunday was, of course, the First Sunday of Lent, which is traditionally the day to hold the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. This is a very important moment for those who are preparing to become Catholic to publicly affirm their desire to continue their preparation to enter the Church at Easter.
As I mentioned in my homily, in the approximately 180 cathedrals throughout the United States, about 40,000 new Catholics were coming together for the Rite of Election on that day. Here in the archdiocese, we have nearly 450 people preparing for the Easter Sacraments.
Earlier, the catechumens had signed the Book of the Elect in their parishes, which were brought to the cathedral for the celebration. In that way, the parishioners in the sending communities had an opportunity to be part of this meaningful rite.
Then, there was the Call to Continuing Conversion for the candidates, those who are baptized but not yet Catholic, in which the sponsors affirm the candidates’ readiness to enter fully into the sacramental life of the Church.
It was a very moving celebration, as these hundreds of future Catholics came together and had the opportunity to see that they are joining not just a parish community, but are part of the larger archdiocesan community and Universal Church. It was also an opportunity to thank all the parishes for the hard work they put into their RCIA programs, which are very important for evangelization, not only to create welcoming communities but also to remind our parishioners that all of us have a duty to witness to the faith and be looking for ways to invite people to be a part of our Catholic family by leading a life of discipleship.
Sunday evening, I went to our Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline for a dinner with friends of the seminary.
It was a very enjoyable evening and a wonderful way to spend the evening of the First Sunday of Lent.
This week, I met with many of my principal advisory groups in the archdiocese.
All these groups play a very important role in being able to arrive at decisions that affect the life of the archdiocese. We are blessed to have so many competent and committed people who are always anxious to share their ideas and to ensure that discussions around topics concerning the life of the Church are enriched by their experience and creativity.
On Wednesday, we had our meeting of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. As we always do, we began with Vespers and dinner, followed by two hours of discussion. We were very pleased to be joined by a number of new members of the council who were attending for the first time.
At this meeting, Father Paul Soper and Sister Pat Boyle gave a presentation on the ideas that are being circulated regarding the future of parish staffing. We had a very fulsome discussion around that topic.
Then, on Thursday, we had our meeting of the Presbyteral Council, one of the most important advisory bodies that we have. Presbyteral Council meetings are an opportunity for the priests’ representatives to bring ideas from their vicariate meetings forward for consideration, and when they go back to their vicariate meetings, to explain the discussions and the decisions that are made.
This is a very important organ in the life of the Church, and we are very grateful for the interest and dedication of the priest members. They are always generous in attending the meetings and very thoughtful in their responsibilities in trying to articulate the ideas and suggestions coming from the priests of the diocese.
Until next week,