Hello and welcome!
Last Thursday evening, I went to the Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine in East Boston for an outdoor Mass to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of St. Luigi Orione, the founder of the Orione Fathers who run the shrine.
It was very interesting when Father Gino, the elder Don Orione Father at the shrine, told us at the end of Mass that Cardinal Cushing had brought Cardinal Montini to celebrate Mass on that very altar. I was unaware that Pope Paul VI had ever been in Boston, but clearly, he was at the Madonna Shrine!
Friday, I had lunch at the cathedral with the leadership of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi of Milwaukee. The sisters sponsor many schools and institutions for children with special needs, and they founded the St. Coletta Center, which eventually became the Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover.
The sisters are restructuring some of their boards and wanted to speak with me about their plans going forward. It was also an opportunity for me to thank them for their extraordinary contribution to the archdiocese through the work of The Cardinal Cushing Centers.
This past month has been extraordinary because I have had four ordinations. It was a great joy to celebrate the ordinations of seven priests and five transitional deacons for Boston and presbyteral ordinations for the Capuchin provinces of St. Augustine and St. Mary. This has been a special grace and privilege. And, of course, it’s a great sign of encouragement that young men are generously responding to the invitation to a life of service and ministry in the Church.
Sunday, I went to Revere to celebrate the 75th anniversary of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish.
I was very glad to be with the parish for this happy occassion.
Tuesday, I was visited by Pierre-Marie Dumont, the founder of Magnificat, and Jesús Colina of the online Catholic news and commentary site Aleteia. (Pierre-Marie is also the president of Aleteia.) These two laymen have done so much to promote communications in the Church, and they are anxious to collaborate with our own efforts here in the archdiocese.
The work that Pierre Dumont has done with Magnificat has been so successful and has become a wonderful way of promoting liturgical piety and understanding of the Eucharist. So I was delighted to hear that it continues to expand in the United States and that he has some wonderful new ideas on how to use Magnificat to evangelize.
Then, that afternoon, we had the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Cote Village in Mattapan, which was developed by our Planning Office for Urban Affairs in conjunction with other partner organizations.
We are all painfully aware of the shortage of housing and the fact that many people are being priced out of their neighborhoods in Boston. So, the work of the Planning Office and their partner groups to provide this housing is a great blessing.
We are very grateful for the work of the POUA director Bill Grogan and all of those who work so hard to bring together the needed resources for these types of developments. The result is that low-income families can have beautiful, affordable housing in their community near public transportation and job opportunities.
The work of the Planning Office is just extraordinary, and the archdiocese is very proud of all of their accomplishments.
That evening, I gathered at the cathedral with a very large group of youth and young adults from the Neocatechumenal Way who will join other groups from throughout the U.S. on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in mid-July. We celebrated a Liturgy of the Word together, and afterward, I gave them a blessing.
St. Francis of Assisi was a great promoter of pilgrimages to the Holy Land. And, of course, he went to the Holy Land himself and began the Portiuncula Indulgence for those unable to go on pilgrimage there. So it was very encouraging to see hundreds of our young people from the archdiocese ready to embark on this wonderful experience. It will be a fabulous opportunity for them to deepen their faith and experience firsthand the “Fifth Gospel,” as St. Jerome calls it — the places where Jesus taught, worked his miracles and gathered his disciples.
It is also important that this pilgrimage will bring together so many young people who are living their faith. This event, like World Youth Day, will be an opportunity for them to experience firsthand the beauty of the Catholic Church, build a sense of community and be affirmed by the presence of so many of their peers.
Afterward, I met with some of those who are part of the Neocatechumenate’s Missio Ad Gentes communities in the archdiocese. It was fascinating to hear of their accomplishments during their time here. They also made a very generous donation that we will use for the poor.
We are very grateful for the sacrifices that they make to minister to so many communities throughout the archdiocese.
It has been a long tradition in Boston that, each year, we have an exchange of visits with the Greek Orthodox community on our patronal feast days. So, on the Feast of St. Andrew, who was the brother of St. Peter and is the patron saint of Constantinople, I go to the Greek Orthodox celebration and, this year, on the feast of St. Peter, Metropolitan Methodios and Father Ted Barbas joined us at the cathedral for vespers and dinner.
We treasure the friendship of the Greek Orthodox community and pray for the day when our churches will be united as they were during the first 1,000 years of Christianity.
Until next week,