Hello and welcome,
This week, following the recommended protocols for social distancing, I am celebrating Mass in the rectory of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross each day for all of our people, especially those who greatly desire to attend Mass but are unable to at this time.
I would like to share with you the message I released this week, offering prayers for our heroic health care workers and all who are experiencing sickness during this time.
During these challenging days, I join many others in acknowledging the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices of our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers in our hospitals, nursing homes and medical offices. Our country and our local community are blessed by their heroic service.
As we follow the critically important directives and guidance concerning social distancing, we are all playing a crucial role in keeping everyone safe, especially our courageous healthcare workers on the front lines, the first responders for this crisis.
We pray that all those who are experiencing sickness and suffering be granted strength and peace and healing. May God bless you and all of your loved ones.
Tuesday was, of course, the feast of St. Patrick, the patronal feast of our archdiocese. Traditionally, the centerpiece of our celebration is a Mass at the Cathedral the Holy Cross. In recent years, Msgr. Kevin O’Leary has arranged beautiful celebrations with bagpipes, step dancers, readings in Irish by students from Catholic Memorial and, of course, the blessing of the shamrocks that are distributed after Mass. And, of course, the Mass was always followed by a reception with tea, soda bread and Irish music in the lower church.
However, because of safeguards that the government has imposed in the face of the coronavirus threat, this year’s Mass was much simpler and, thanks to CatholicTV, we were pleased that people at home could participate in this St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Bishop Reed provided commentary for the Mass, which was broadcast live and then was rebroadcast later that night.
At the beginning of the Mass, I delivered a message to the people of the archdiocese, in which I called on people to pray the rosary, which has always been a powerful prayer of our Catholic people in times of war, famine, persecution and sickness. I also encouraged people to have a sense of solidarity and to keep tabs on their friends, neighbors and elderly people who are living alone.
The Mass was concelebrated by myself, Msgr. O’Leary and Msgr. Liam Bergen, who, in his homily, gave a very beautiful reflection on the life of St. Patrick and made many applications to our present situation.
Finally, I want to let you all know that, in this time of limited public activities, I have been preparing a virtual Lenten retreat that will be presented through CatholicTV and the different online platforms of the archdiocese. It will begin this Monday, March 23, and air each weeknight next week at 7 p.m. In addition, there will be a special concluding day of retreat on Holy Thursday.
Following is the complete schedule of topics we will consider as well as information on the different ways to participate. It is my great hope that we can all partake of this retreat together as an archdiocese and that it bring some measure of spiritual nourishment and consolation in the midst of this strange Lent we are living through.
Monday, March 23, 7:00 p.m. – Prayer
Tuesday, March 24, 7:00 p.m. – Mercy and Forgiveness
Wednesday, March 25, 7:00 p.m. – Faith: The Key to Meaning and Call to Friendship
Thursday, March 26, 7:00 p.m. – Who is My Neighbor? The Good Samaritan
Friday, March 27, 7:00 p.m. – The Seven Last Words
Additional Holy Thursday Retreat
Thursday, April 9, 7:00 p.m. – The Eucharist, Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to follow on Catholic TV at 7:30 p.m.
Retreat will air/stream nightly at 7:00 p.m. on:
Catholic TV (click here)
Catholic TV Facebook page (click here)
Archdiocese of Boston’s Facebook page (click here)
Bostoncatholic.org (click here)
Until next week,