Hello and welcome!
Last Friday, I went to St. Barbara Church in Woburn to celebrate the funeral Mass of Father Tom Powers, who passed away last Friday — the 27th anniversary of his ordination — after battling cancer for several years. There were, of course, a large number of people there, as Father Powers was a sitting pastor and had been very active right up until the end of his life.
Bishop Mark O’Connell gave a beautiful homily, and we also heard a very moving reflection by Father Powers’ sister at the end of Mass. One of the themes that came up in both the homily and reflection was that whenever anyone would ask Father Powers how he was doing, he would respond, “I’m good,” or “I’m feeling better.” Looking at that from a spiritual perspective, we can see that, although physically he was not getting better, spiritually, and in his own personal conversion and faith life, he was growing deeper and closer to the Lord. That surely prepared him for his journey home.
On Saturday, our Delegate for Religious, Sister Germana Santos, joined me in Brockton for the professions of four new Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, a Vietnamese foundation. A number of the sisters have been in residence at the convent of the Sisters of Jesus Crucified, so they chose to have their profession there.
Of course, there were many Vietnamese priests and religious with us, along with representatives of several of the religious orders in the archdiocese.
It was a very beautiful celebration, and Sister Germana and I both commented that it has been a long time since we’ve had the profession of four religious women at one ceremony in the Archdiocese of Boston.
We were delighted that, during the same week as the profession of the Vietnamese sisters, Mother Olga Yaqob of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth was recognized by Providence College and awarded an honorary doctorate.
This is just another indication of the impact our religious women are making, and we are so pleased to see that they are being celebrated and appreciated.
I was just overwhelmed by the number of parishioners who were there. There were, of course, some of the Italian and American parishioners with us, but it was an overwhelmingly Hispanic, standing room-only congregation. That was very impressive when you think that, only a few years ago, the number of Hispanics in that parish was very modest, to say the least.
Then, I went to Miami to attend the funeral of an old friend, Marie Marino, the mother of Father Christopher Marino, the Rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Miami. They are friends of my family, and I have known them for 40 years.
Father David Barnes joined me at the funeral because Father Marino has been involved in Communion and Liberation.
Finally, as many of you may know, the Holy Father named 21 new members to the College of Cardinals earlier this week. The consistory has been called for the end of the summer. I think many people thought that, if there was a consistory, it would be held at the end of June, for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. But instead, it has been scheduled for the end of August.
Among the new cardinals-designate is my friend, Archbishop Adalberto Martínez Flores from Paraguay. Archbishop Adalberto is the first Paraguayan to be named a cardinal, which is amazing because Paraguay is probably one of the most Catholic countries in the world.
Archbishop Adalberto was a parishioner of mine in Washington, D.C., and I ordained him a deacon, a priest and was one of the co-consecrators at his episcopal ordination. He is now Archbishop of Asunción and the president of the Paraguayan bishops’ conference. He has been very involved in the Focolare movement and the spirituality of Chiara Lubich, and is a very close associate of Cardinal-designate Lazarus You Heung-sik of Korea, the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
We were also very happy that a new American has been named to the College of Cardinals — Archbishop McElroy of San Diego, where we will be having our bishops’ meeting later this month. I was with him at the Synod for the Amazon, where I had a chance to get to know him. He has a Boston connection as a graduate of Harvard.
He will be the only cardinal on the West Coast and we pray that the Lord will bless him in his new responsibilities.
As we see, the Holy Father is reaching out to the periphery and places where there have not historically been cardinals as a way to internationalize the College of Cardinals and make it more representative of the entire Church. In the past, the College of Cardinals was very heavily weighted toward Europe and the large metropolitan sees of North America. But the Holy Father has reached out to new places and, in doing so, is promoting the catholicity of the Church.
We want to congratulate all the new cardinals and assure them of our prayers, so they will be able to be good advisors to the Holy Father and help form the unity that the Holy Father wishes for the Universal Church.
Until next week,