Hello and welcome!
Tuesday was Read Across America Day, a day when many schools ask a special “guest reader” to join them to read a book to their students. This year, I was happy to serve as the guest reader for St. Mary’s School in Brookline.
They chose a beautiful book, though one that I was not acquainted with, “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde. It has a nice spiritual lesson to it, and the children seemed to enjoy it very much. After the reading of the book, I had a time of questions and answers with the youngsters.
It was a wonderful event, and I was very happy to have the opportunity to visit, at least virtually, one of our Catholic schools, which are doing such an extraordinary job during this time of the pandemic.
Sister Nieves, who has the been superior of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master and who has been working for so many years here in Boston, has been reassigned to Fresno, California, where the sisters have a liturgical center as well as a convent for retired sisters. So, to say goodbye, we invited her to the cathedral on Tuesday for Mass and lunch. She was accompanied by Sister Angela.
Sister Angela and Sister Nieves
Sister Nieves has been so supportive of the clergy of the archdiocese and has been a wonderful presence at the Pastoral Center and at the Sisters’ West Street Liturgical Center. Though we know her new assignment will bring her a little closer to her family in Mexicali, Mexico, we will all miss her very much and hope that she will be able to come back for a visit now and again.
This week we had a virtual meeting with the audit committee that has conducted a study of the archdiocese’s compliance with the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. It was very encouraging to hear that their audit confirmed that our parishes, schools and agencies are taking their responsibility for safeguarding very seriously. This is very important because we have to ensure that trainings, screenings and CORI checks are being done to fulfill our commitment to make all of our parishes and schools safe places.
Also, this week, Sister Jeanne Gribaudo shared with me that students from the Austin Scholars program at Merrimack College met with religious studies faculty and members of the Augustinian Fathers to prepare reflections and artwork focused on the Stations of the Cross.
These activities were part of the students’ formation in the Austin Scholars community and a means of preparing for Lent. It is an encouraging sign of hope for the Church that the students are taking the time for their religious and spiritual formation as they prepare for leadership roles in our communities and society.
Wednesday morning, I went to St. Mary’s in Randolph to celebrate the funeral Mass of Father Vincent Doolan, who died rather suddenly last week.
His two brothers, his sister and many of his nephews and nieces were with us, along with a number of priests. One of his classmates, Father Joe Raeke, gave a very beautiful reflection on how Father Vinnie had lived the Beatitudes in his life as a priest. It was very moving.
It was a beautiful funeral with so many of his family members and priest friends there to bid him farewell.
Later that day, I participated in a virtual evening of reflection with the different campus ministry groups in the Cleveland Archdiocese. One of the priests involved in campus ministry there is a Capuchin from my home parish in Lakewood, and he asked if I would give them a talk on evangelization and Catholic education followed by a time of dialogue.
It was their first time holding such a gathering, but something very similar to the virtual gatherings we’ve been holding here that are organized by Father Eric Cadin and Father Michael Zimmerman of our Vocations Office.
I was very pleased to learn this week that Msgr. Jerome Feudjio has been named the new Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. He will be ordained next month in the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, where I was ordained a bishop in 1984.
I have known Msgr. Jerome since my days in Washington, where he was very instrumental in helping to organize the Haitian Ministry at Sacred Heart Parish. When I became Bishop of St. Thomas, he entered the seminary and studied for the Virgin Islands. I ordained him a deacon and priest, and he has been there ever since, working for decades with a great commitment to the people of the Virgin Islands. So, it was a great joy to learn that he will now serve as the shepherd of the diocese.
We look forward to participating in his ordination in April.
Lastly, as the Holy Father begins his apostolic journey to Iraq as “a pilgrim seeking peace, fraternity and reconciliation,” I invite all of you to join me in praying that his visit may safe and bear great fruit.
Until next week,