Hello and welcome!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
A good group of the O’Malley clan was able to join us. After two years, it was wonderful to be able to be with them again at this special time of year when families come together to give thanks to God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us.
The Suarez family has been very close to me since my days at the Centro Católico in Washington. In fact, I celebrated the marriage of his parents and his own marriage in 2007. It was very good to see him once again.
We were very happy to be joined by a number of concelebrants, including Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto, and Bishop Robert Reed and Father Paul Soper, who are our archdiocesan point persons for local synod activities.
In my homily, I talked about how this synodal process is a gift of the Holy Father to the Church. It’s not just a meeting about meetings, or a parliament, or a gripe session. It is calling us to be a listening Church — to pray, talk to each other and discern the signs of the times and God’s will for the Church and our mission in the 21st century.
In the days and weeks to come, we will certainly hear more about the synodal process as it unfolds in the archdiocese.
Sunday, I was very happy to join the Hispanic community at the cathedral to celebrate Mass for the first Sunday of Advent. I was accompanied by Father Marcelino, who works in Hispanic ministry at the Cathedral Parish.
The Hispanic community is our largest community at the cathedral. When I am present, I’m happy to have Mass for them.
Monday, I met with Msgr. Kieran Harrington, the national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. He was appointed last year to take over for Father Andrew Small, who now works with us on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. In his new role, Msgr. Harrington is visiting with bishops throughout the country to introduce himself and speak about the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Here in Boston, we have a long tradition of supporting the missions, going back to the time when Cardinal Cushing was the archdiocesan director of the Propagation of the Faith. To this day, the Archdiocese of Boston is still one of the largest supporters of the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
I was very happy to hear that many dioceses across the country use the materials that we create here in the archdiocese to educate their people on the importance of the missions. We are very grateful to Maureen Heil and Father Gerry Osterman for their wonderful work at our local office of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Here in Boston, we have a long tradition of the Greek Orthodox and Catholic communities exchanging delegations on each other’s patronal feasts. On the feast of St. Peter, the Orthodox visit us; and on the feast of St. Andrew, Peter’s brother, we visit them. Sadly, we were unable to do so last year because of the pandemic, but we are very happy to be able to continue the tradition this year.
It’s a beautiful liturgy that includes the procession of the icon of St. Andrew and the blessing and the distribution of special St. Andrew’s Day bread. (As some of you may know, five loaves of bread are the symbol of St. Andrew because he is the one who pointed out the boy with the five loaves and two fishes to Jesus.)
At the end of the liturgy, the Metropolitan offered very kind words of fraternity and solidarity and I, in turn, extended some words of appreciation for him and relayed the greetings and kind regards of the people of the Archdiocese of Boston.
That evening, we had a meeting of our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. The APC is one of our primary groups that gathers to discuss the life of the Church and make recommendations to the archbishop. It was very timely, as it came just as we were opening our local synodal process, and Father Paul Soper made a very compelling presentation about the synod and what our local participation will be.
He still has family here and so is back in the area and stopped in for a visit. It was wonderful to see him again.
Wednesday, I was very happy to gather at the cathedral with a group of our benefactors who have been very helpful to the archdiocese. We had Mass together in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and a dinner in Cheverus Hall.
Thursday morning, I had a Zoom call with the moderators of the various committees of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
It was an opportunity to get a report on the preparations for the upcoming conference that we are planning in Rome.
Thursday morning, I went to St. Elizabeth’s Church in Milton to celebrate the funeral Mass for Msgr. John McDonough. Many of Msgr. McDonough’s relatives were there, including his nephew and namesake, Father John McDonough from West Virginia. There were also quite a number of priests and chaplains there.
Monsignor served the Church so well for nearly 70 years, including many years as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. He eventually was named Chief of Chaplains and promoted to Major General. So, with us for the funeral Mass was Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and Bishop Higgins from Las Vegas, who was formerly from the Military Archdiocese. We were also joined by Air Force Deputy Chief of Chaplains General Randall Kitchens, who brought the condolences of the Air Force. General Kitchens was accompanied by Father Bob Monagle.
Father Robert Blaney gave a very eloquent homily, which I would like to share with you here:
That afternoon, we had one of our regular gatherings with the priests of the archdiocese who have been ordained within the last five years. As we usually do, we gathered for a meal and a time of discussion and then concluded our gathering with a Holy Hour.
This time, our conversation centered around the new study released by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University entitled “Enter Through the Narrow Gate,” which is a study looking at the challenges and blessings of the recently ordained in the United States.
Until next week,