Hello and welcome!
As I left off last week, we had just completed our events around the March for Life. We were so pleased to be able to resume our participation after the hiatus of last year and gather with hundreds of thousands of advocates for life who came to Washington. It was also a great joy that a good number were able to come from our schools and parishes of the Archdiocese of Boston once again.
I always like to say that the is March for Life is like a poor man’s World Youth Day because it can be hard for people to travel to far-flung places like Rio de Janeiro, Sydney or Fatima, but the opportunity for our young people to gather with thousands of their Catholic peers is very reaffirming for them. Young people who are trying to practice their faith can often feel alone or isolated. So, for them to be in a convocation like the March for Life is something that strengthens their faith and idealism. We are so grateful to Colleen Donohoe and all the chaperones for all they did to enable this trip.
We are also very pleased that our young people had an opportunity to hear from religious and young priests about the vocations to ministry and consecrated life, particularly the Sisters of Life who spoke with our young people at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington on Friday night.
Their ministry is precisely to support women in difficult pregnancies and promote the pro-life mission of the Church. It was a community founded by Cardinal O’Connor in New York but has made a great impact on the Church in North America. It was very nice that, in his comments at the Opening Mass of the Prayer Vigil for Life, Archbishop Lori pointed them out and asked for a round of applause of appreciation for their ministry.
Since I was in Washington on Saturday, I was invited to celebrate the funeral of one of our friars, Father Francis. The burial was Monday at our provincialate in Pittsburgh. I was very privileged to be able to celebrate the Mass, which was celebrated bilingually because many of the parishioners came to join us for the celebration.
Father Francis had worked in Puerto Rico for 34 years and had also served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Washington. In his later years, he was living at Capuchin College and helping out with confessions and Masses in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Washington.
Father Francis was a very zealous and hard-working priest whose ministry was much appreciated by his parishioners and the priests of the many parishes where he helped out for the last several years.
Tuesday, I was back in Boston and attended the funeral of Father Stephen Boyle, who died at a very young age. Many of his fellow priests and parishioners from the various parishes where he had served came together at Gate of Heaven Church in South Boston for a celebration of his life.
Bishop Mark O’Connell was the principal celebrant and our Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto, was among the concelebrants. The homilist, Father Frank Silva, preached a very beautiful reflection that was a great consolation to all of us.
Wednesday, we had a Zoom meeting of the board of Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary. Father Brian Kiely and a number of his seminarians had been with us in Washington for the March for Life. So, I was glad to see them again so soon at our board meeting.
We are blessed to have a very dedicated group of men and women working on our Board of Trustees and supporting the ministries of the seminary.
Among the issues we discussed is a strategic plan that is being developed to help make the seminary more well known throughout the country because we recruit from all the dioceses of the United States.
We also spoke about the challenge of reaching the demographic that the seminary serves – older parishioners who might possibly have a priestly vocation. Our vocation directors have many opportunities to gather with young people through activities such as campus ministry or young adult groups. However, there are far fewer such events for the older men who would be appropriate candidates for Pope John Seminary. So, I always remind the pastors that we need their help in recommending men from the parish whom they see living their faith and being involved in parish life to the vocation office.
We are, as always, very grateful for the hard work of the members of the Finance Council. Obviously, the finances of the archdiocese are very complicated and encompass many different organizations. These are people who volunteer their time to be able to advise the archdiocese on the best use of our resources. We are very grateful for all the help that they so generously provide.
Until next week,