Hello and welcome!
Friday, I traveled to South Carolina to celebrate the funeral Mass of Joseph Gallagher, the brother of my good friend, Father Simeon Gallagher. Father Simeon is a classmate of mine who has given retreats here in Boston and conducted missions in many of our parishes.
I had known Joe since he was in high school. He was quite a basketball ballplayer in college and coached at several colleges, including Boston College, and for the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. In addition to being a great athlete, Joe was also a man of great faith. Many people came up to me at the funeral to tell me that Joe came to help clean the church every Saturday.
I was happy to be able to make it to the funeral since, as those in the Boston area know, we had our first big snowstorm of the year on Friday. So, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get there, but God is good, and everything worked out fine. Unfortunately, however, many other people from the Boston area who wanted to attend had their flights canceled, but we know they kept Joe and his family in their prayers.
Saturday evening, I went to St. Lawrence Church in Brookline to celebrate the Rite of Candidacy for six seminarians from our Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
It was very nice because they invited people from the seminarians’ various parishes to attend the rite. Ordinarily, when we celebrate the institution of ministries, only the seminary community is present. So, it was wonderful to have a church full of laypeople present to witness this special occasion.
As I told the people, this was a unique opportunity for them to witness the rite, and I described it as something like an engagement or betrothal ceremony — it’s not the wedding, but it’s an important step towards that commitment. And that’s the way the Church envisions the steps of candidacy and the other ministries, as moments that indicate the seriousness of commitment and formation that will ultimately culminate in priestly ordination.
Sunday morning, I celebrated the Spanish Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. It was the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and so we had the renewal of baptismal promises.
It’s such a beautiful feast to celebrate as we begin the year. In the secular world, this is a time when people devote themselves to making New Year’s resolutions, and in our Church calendar, we are called to refocus our commitment to live our baptismal promises.
Father Bertelli had a long and distinguished ministry, serving in several parishes in the archdiocese. His longest assignment was at St. Anselm Parish in Sudbury, where he served as pastor for many years.
Wednesday, I had lunch at the cathedral with Rev. Diane Kessler, who, for many years, served so well as the head of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Rev. Kessler is moving to Philadelphia, and we wanted to see her again before she left.
During her time with the Mass. Council of Churches, the council was very involved with the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, as well. So, Vito Nicastro and Father David Michael of our Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs helped us organize this lunch, and we were very happy to be joined by Metropolitan Methodios, who was accompanied by Father Ted Barbas.We were very happy to be able to have this moment of fellowship with the Metropolitan and Rev. Kessler, who has worked so hard for so many years in the area of ecumenism.
The timing of our lunch with Rev. Kessler was particularly appropriate because next week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. And, unfortunately, with the pandemic, and other concerns at this time, we really have not focused on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity as we should. So, during our Presbyteral Council on Thursday, I reminded our priests that this is the time of the year when the Church calls on us to pray for unity among Christians.
During our meeting, we also heard reports from the various vicariate meetings and our Superintendent of Schools, Tom Carroll, updated us on the progress that Lumen Verum Academy is making. Father Paul Soper polled the priests on practices going forward for pandemic safety in our churches, as well.
As always, we are very grateful to the priests of the council for the time and attention they give to their critical role of advising the archbishop on important matters in our archdiocese.
Until next week,