Hello and welcome!
This week, to mark the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared the patron of the Universal Church, the Holy Father called for a year dedicated to St. Joseph. Of course, we know that the Holy Father, like Pope John XXIII, has long had a great devotion to St. Joseph. In fact, when Pope Francis became a bishop, he included the lilies of St. Joseph in his coat of arms. Pope John XXIII added the name of St. Joseph to the Roman Canon, and Pope Francis has now extended the inclusion of the prayer to St. Joseph to all the canons of the Mass.
St. Joseph is a beautiful role model, and we are very pleased that the Holy Father has announced this special year. St. Joseph, along with the Blessed Mother, is so important in the history of salvation, and we recall him particularly now in the seasons of Advent and Christmas. We hope that this year will inspire a great deal of reflection on the role of St. Joseph, and we look forward to seeing how we can observe this special year going forward. Of course, there are two feast days for St. Joseph – March 19 and May 1 and perhaps novenas or other events can be planned around those.
Last Friday, I was very happy to participate in the Labor Guild’s annual Cushing-Gavin Award program. Typically, the awards are presented at a banquet with many hundreds of people from the field of labor relations, but this year it was a virtual event.
This year, the Labor Award was presented to Janet Wilder, lead organizer for SHARE/AFSCME; the Management Award went to Arthur Osborn, Jr., president of Osborn Labor Management Consulting; Amy Laura Davidson of the firm Sandulli Grace received the Attorney Award; and John Hanson, chairman of the Joint Labor Management Committee for Municipal Fire and Police, received Father Edward Boyle Award.
Saturday, I was very happy to join a virtual event with MIT campus ministry, which is led by Father Michael Medas. I gave the students a talk on Advent, and afterwards, we had a dialogue about the Church and evangelization. The event lasted over an hour, and we ended with a blessing.
Many of the students joined us from their homes in different parts of the country. It was wonderful to see that, despite the fact that many of the students are in the “diaspora,” that they still have contact with the Catholic Center there.
Saturday, I went to the house of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master to bid farewell to Sister Giovianna Fratelli and Sister Oliva Pacheco before they left for their new home with their order in California. Sister Giovianna, who is originally from Milan, Italy, came to Boston in 1988, has been stationed at the Sisters’ Liturgical Center here ever since. Sister Oliva is from Mexico and worked in Boston for many years making vestments.
With Sister Oliva and Sister Giovianna
The visit was also an opportunity to present Sister Oliva with her Cheverus Award Medal. Ordinarily, around the time of the Feast of Christ the King, we would be presenting our annual Cheverus Awards for selfless service to the archdiocese, but this year we are postponing our celebration until conditions allow a large gathering. However, because Sister Oliva was moving so far away, I thought it would be good to present her with her medal before she left. Sister Giovianna had received the Cheverus Medal many years ago, but I also gave her a token of our appreciation before her departure.
Sunday, I celebrated the Spanish Mass at the Cathedral, and I would like to share that video with you here:
Monday, I attended a virtual ceremony to celebrate the establishment of the Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education research center at The Catholic University of America.
This new institute will work to be of service to K-12 Catholic schools throughout the country by training Catholic educators and administrators, exploring the most effective models for Catholic education and advancing school choice. We know they will make a great contribution to advancing Catholic education in this country.
Tuesday, was, of course, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and I was very happy to celebrate Mass at the Cathedral for the students from Cathedral High School. The head of school, Dan Carmody, and the principal, Nampeera Lugira, accompanied the students at the Mass.
It was a wonderful celebration, and I always look forward to the opportunity to be with our students from Cathedral High.
Wednesday, I had a virtual meeting with the provincial leadership of the Paulist Fathers. This is an annual visit they have with the bishop to talk about their ministries. With us were their president, Father Eric Andrews, and general counsel Father Charles Kullman, along with Father Michael McGarry, the director of the Paulist Center and Father Chuck Cunniff.
It was very interesting to hear the number of things that they are doing virtually at the Paulist Center, as well as their activities helping to feed the hungry and promote racial justice. It was very encouraging to hear that, despite the restrictions because of the pandemic, they continue to do such good work at the Paulist Center.
That evening, I was happy to participate in the virtual fundraiser for St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street.
Although because of the pandemic, they are unable to carry on all the sacramental ministries that have been an important part of the shrine’s presence, their social outreach and direct help continue unabated. In fact, they have increased what they are doing to help meet the needs of people.
The shrine is a very important presence in the city, particularly with their outreach to the homeless and the poor. So, I was very happy to be part of this event and encourage people to help them continue their work.
We are so grateful to all the members of our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Their function is an important one because it gives us an opportunity to have direct contact with religious and laity from throughout the archdiocese and receive their valuable input.
Thursday, we had one of our regular meetings of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, which brings together the four diocesan bishops of Massachusetts and our staffs. Present with us were Bishop McManus of Worcester and Bishop da Cunha of Fall River. Of course, we are all waiting anxiously for the new Bishop of Springfield, William Byrne, who will be ordained and installed on Monday, to join us.
Among the items we discussed was the state budget amendment to expand abortion access in the Commonwealth. Of course, our hope is that Governor Baker will veto the amendment and that the veto will be upheld. We also heard reports on the situation of the Catholic schools in the Commonwealth and some of the questions people are raising about the various vaccines for COVID-19 that will be available soon.
I think it’s very hopeful that the vaccines are becoming available. We know that many doctors, nurses and workers in nursing homes and hospitals have been affected by the virus, and some have died. So, this is a very positive development. Also, there are certain groups that are particularly vulnerable, such as nursing home residents, and this will be a great help to them. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future we will have a large segment of the population that is immune, and this will allow us to have much more freedom of movement in our society.
Until next week,