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At the Tombs of the Apostles

Hello and welcome!

Last Friday, All Saints Day, I was very happy to visit St. Francis Chapel in the Prudential Center to celebrate a Mass to mark the 50th anniversary of the chapel’s founding by Cardinal Richard Cushing. (As I often quip, I could spend my whole life celebrating 50th anniversaries of initiatives that Cardinal Cushing started!) StFrancisChapel50-PEOconnor-15StFrancisChapel50-PEOconnor-01StFrancisChapel50-PEOconnor-03

StFrancisChapel5-JTetrault-01StFrancisChapel5-JTetrault-02StFrancisChapel50-PEOconnor-06For the first few years of its existence the chapel was staffed by the Franciscan Friars from Arch Street but, since 1983, it has been under the care of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. They have given yeoman’s service there, with Masses, confessions, spiritual direction and many other activities. The great impact that the chapel has had was evidenced by the standing room only crowd at the Mass. I was very happy to be there with Father Tom Carzon; the Provincial, Father Jim Walther; and the other oblates.StFrancisChapel50-PEOconnor-10This was one of the many workers chapels created by Cardinal Cushing, which also include the Seaport Chapel, the Airport Chapel, and the chapels in the North Shore and Westgate Malls. They are just one more indication of Cardinal Cushing’s desire to bring the Church close to where the people are, and all those initiatives have been very successful. Now, 50 years later, we look back with great gratitude and pride at what he began.Saint Francis Chapel007Saint Francis Chapel005Saint Francis Chapel006Saint Francis Chapel013


Saint Francis Chapel014

Then, that afternoon, I met with Bill Grogan, the new director of our Planning Office for Urban Affairs. We are so proud of the wonderful work that the POUA has done in creating affordable housing and housing for the homeless.IMG_1204

While we were very sorry to lose Lisa Alberghini and are grateful for all that she did, Bill has been working in the office for years and has already made an outstanding contribution. We are so grateful that he is able to continue the great work of the POUA.


Saturday, I went to St. Raphael’s Parish in Medford to celebrate the funeral Mass of Bishop Frank Irwin, who passed away Oct. 30. Of course, it was All Souls Day, a very fitting day to celebrate the bishop’s funeral.IMG_1206

We were joined at the Mass by many of his family and friends, as well as a great number of priests. There was even a contingent from St. Pius X Parish on the Cape, where Bishop Irwin celebrated Mass so often in his retirement. Unfortunately, a number of the other bishops had already departed for Rome for the ad limina visit and so were unable to attend.BpIrwinFuneral-JTetrault-01BpIrwinFuneral-JTetrault-03BpIrwinFuneral-JTetrault-07BpIrwinFuneral-JTetrault-08BpIrwinFuneral-JTetrault-09

Father Michael Guarino, a very dear friend of Bishop Irwin, delivered a very beautiful and moving homily, in which he highlighted Bishop Irwin’s great faith, love of the Church and his famous sense of humor.BpIrwinFuneral-JTetrault-05

He was very beloved and he will be sorely missed.BpIrwinFuneral-JTetrault-13


Saturday afternoon, we had the Mass of investiture for the new members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre Northeastern Lieutenancy at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. There was a very large group invested this year. We were very happy to be joined by Gerry Foley, our Lieutenant, along with the other officers and leadership of the lieutenancy.alt-copy1-e1454872091811

The Order dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was a military order of knights who protected the sacred sites in the Holy Land. Because of their military origins as knights, new members of the order are symbolically presented with a sword and spurs and, of course, the Cross of Jersualem. Today, members of the Order commit themselves to support the Church’s works of mercy in the Holy Land, such as schools, hospitals and clinics.


Sunday, I went to Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in East Boston for a Mass to mark the parish’s 150th anniversary. I was very happy to be joined by the administrator, Father Ignatius Mushauko, as well as many other priests associated with the parish.AssumptionEB-150th-PEOconnor-01AssumptionEB-150th-PEOconnor-02AssumptionEB-150th-PEOconnor-03

AssumptionEB150-GTracy-01AssumptionEB-150th-PEOconnor-10AssumptionEB-150th-PEOconnor-12AssumptionEB-150th-PEOconnor-16AssumptionEB150-GTracy-02During my visit, I was very happy to see the many new renovations to the parish. Every time I visit, they always seem to have made new improvements.AssumptionEB150-GTracy-04

After the Mass, there was a reception in the parish hall. AssumptionEB150-GTracy-03AssumptionEB150-GTracy-05

I gave a greeting to the people, but was unable to stay long because I had to leave for Rome to join the other bishops on the ad limina visit.


The ad limina is a visit to the Holy See that every bishop is required to make every five years to meet with different dicasteries and the Holy Father. The visits consist of making a report on the status of the diocese, and it is also an opportunity to be with the Holy Father. The bishops take turns making the ad limina by regions, and our group included 18 bishops of New England from the Boston and Hartford Provinces.IMG_0388

The meetings with the dicasteries went very well. During our time here we have met with the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Dicastery for the Promoting Integral Human Development, the Secretariat for Communications, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Second Section of the Secretariat of State. Clergy_01-IMG_0389

At the Congregation for ClergyClergy_03-Congregation for ClergyClergy_02-IMG_1234

Sec of State with Cardinal ParolinAt the Secretariat of State

Also on Thursday afternoon we met with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, of which I am the head. Commissio for the Commission for the Protection of Minors

During the visit, the custom is to visit the major basilicas, and particularly to celebrate Mass at the tombs of the apostles at the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul Outside the Walls.

Monday, Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford celebrated the Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major. StMary_01-Mass at Mary MajorStMary_02-IMG_0255

On Tuesday, Bishop Robert Deeley celebrated the Mass at St. Paul Outside the Walls.StPaul_01-IMG_1213StPaul_02-IMG_1214StPaul_03-IMG_1216StPaul_05-St Paul's TombStPaul_06-IMG_1223StPaul_07-St Paul's SacristyStPaul_08-IMG_1225StPaul_09-IMG_1227StPaul_11-IMG_1230

Bishop Edgar da Cunha celebrated the Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Wednesday. Lateran_12-IMG_1231Lateran_13-IMG_1232Lateran_14-IMG_1233Lateran_16-IMG_0378

Finally, on Thursday, I celebrated Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica.StPeters_01-Mass at the Tomb of PeterStPeters_02-St Peter's Sacristy with Deacon Dennis Nakkeeran

Then, following the Mass at St. Peter’s, we met for over two hours with the Holy Father. Meeting_02-Apostolic PalaceMeeting_04-IMG_1235ADLIMINA-ONE-STPETER

I think the bishops were very touched that he spent so much time with us. It was something of an informal, free flowing conversation about the pastoral life of the Church. The Holy Father shared with us many of his own experiences as a bishop and many personal anecdotes about his ministry.ADLIMINA-ONE-STPETERADLIMINA-ONE-STPETER

It was a very beautiful experience, and I know that the bishops were very happy to have that time alone with the Holy Father.Rome_01-IMG_0096

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

November 2019
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