Hello and happy Easter!
As we left off last week, we were in the midst of our Triduum celebrations. This year, for obvious reasons, I was unable to join the Memores Domini at their home in Cambridge for my traditional Holy Saturday lunch.
Dr. Lorenzo Berra, who usually cooks the meal for us, is working very hard at Mass. General Hospital and he told me very sad stories about whole families that are hospitalized, and about how many Hispanics and working-class people are among the afflicted.
It was a very beautiful celebration, but unlike other years, there were no baptisms or receptions into the Church. So, I had a message in my homily to all of those who are catechumens or candidates and are waiting patiently for the day when we can officially receive them into the Church.
On Easter Sunday, once again, we had Mass in English here at the Cathedral.
We also recorded an Easter Mass in Spanish at the studios of CatholicTV.
This week, Bishop Bob Reed shared with me several very encouraging statistics about viewership during this time. Over the past month there have been over 1.6 million views of the Mass on the CatholicTV YouTube channel and there were 2 million visits to CatholicTV.com during the Triduum alone. For course, these are just internet views. Through cable, CatholicTV reaches nearly 19 million homes and our Easter Mass was rebroadcast by 20 different stations throughout the country.
Ordinarily, my family likes to gather very frequently but, of course, with the coronavirus, we were unable to be together for Easter this year. So, on Easter Sunday, I had a family reunion with the O’Malleys over Zoom. It was a very nice way to touch base with everybody. There were probably 60 or 70 of us, and my cousin, Deacon Rob O’Malley’s son, was hosting it, sitting at a desk in front of a huge coat of arms of the O’Malley clan. I got a great kick out of that!
I led the family in prayer, then we exchanged Easter greetings. It was a great joy for me to be able to participate in that virtual gathering — the only thing missing was the Easter ham!
During the week, I have had a series of online meetings with the Schools Office, our auxiliary bishops, the Presbyteral Council and The Papal Foundation.
During the meeting of The Papal Foundation, we authorized funding for a number of projects that are supported by the Holy Father. Among them was support for the hospitals in Syria that are in such dire need at this time. So, I was very happy that the Papal Foundation is addressing these very great needs that the Holy Father has identified.
Wednesday was One Boston Day, marking the anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
Typically, the city has many activities observing the day, but because of the pandemic, like everything else, the activities were held virtually. So, I was very happy to participate with other local faith leaders in an online interfaith prayer service hosted by Mayor Marty Walsh.
Of course, we continue to pray for all those who are affected by the coronavirus. Currently, there are 18 priests who have tested positive, four of them have recovered, but two remain on ventilators. So, I ask you to keep them in your prayers.
I would like to share with you an image of this prayer card containing the “Prayer at the Time of a Pandemic,” which was written by Bishop Reed and produced by Pilot Printing.
We continue to adapt our pastoral response to the coronavirus. Many of our hospital chaplains are older and considered vulnerable, and so they are not even allowed to see patients. So, we need to come up with a more creative way to administer the sacraments to so many of our people who are dying alone because of COVID-19. Therefore, I have asked for a group of young priests to volunteer to take this on as a special responsibility.
This week, we held a training session for them on taking sacraments to those who are sick with the coronavirus. It will also mean that they will have to live together in certain places, to maintain isolation. I am very grateful for the help of Father Bob Blaney and MC Sullivan for organizing this initiative. I am also very grateful to the young priests who are volunteering to be a part of this important effort.
Until next week,