Hello and welcome!
I’d like to begin by sharing with you a statement I released earlier this week regarding the release of the Holy Father’s new encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” on Fraternity and Social Friendship:
Pope Francis has given the Church his third encyclical letter, “Fratelli tutti,” a comprehensive examination of a broad range of issues within countries, and globally across nations and peoples at this moment in history. Like his second encyclical, “Laudato si’,” this letter is inspired by the example and teaching of St. Francis of Assisi. The Holy Father went to Assisi to sign and promulgate this most recent teaching document of his Pontificate.
The letter is far too expansive to allow for a summary. Much analysis will be needed to grasp the full scope of the Pope’s call for a “Global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family.”
Along with the spirituality of St. Francis, the Holy Father pays tribute to the document he signed recently with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, entitled, “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.”
Pope Francis develops in his new encyclical a vision of fraternity and relationships at multiple levels of life: from personal encounters, to life within nations, to global relations in a world seeking to overcome and recover from the global pandemic of COVID-19. Although the encyclical is addressed primarily to the Church, the Holy Father offers it explicitly for consideration to all people of good will.
Pope Francis specifies issues that render national and global fraternity difficult to achieve in our time. Among those he cites are aggressive nationalism, the virus of racism and a failure to respond to the plight of immigrants and refugees.
To respond to these and other obstacles to fraternity and peace, Pope Francis calls for “A heart open to the world” and a “better kind of politics.” Reiterating his opposition to both war and the death penalty, he concludes the letter with a vision of “Religions at the Service of Fraternity in Our World.”
The new teaching document specifies several themes that are pertinent to our common life in the United States and our role in the world today. I hope it will receive the study, attention and dialogue it deserves within the Church and beyond.
Saturday morning, I ordained eight new permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Boston at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross: Deacons Jared Auclair, Ronald Dowding, Anthony Foti, Paul Key, Donald Larose, Stephen May, John Minch, and Peter Richardson.
As I told the deacons in my homily, this is my trifecta this fall — I have three diaconate ordinations. I had the ordination of Jesuit deacons a couple of weeks ago, this week I had the ordination of permanent deacons, and later this month, we will be ordaining the transitional deacons for the archdiocese.
It was also an opportunity to thank all those who are involved in our formation program as well as the deacons’ wives and families for all the support that they give to their ministries.
Saturday evening, I went to the Capuchin friary in Jamaica Plain to celebrate the Transitus of St. Francis, marking the death of St. Francis, which we celebrate on the eve of his feast day. That was also the day that the Holy Father was in Assisi to sign his new encyclical.
The following day was the feast day itself, and I was very happy to celebrate an outdoor Mass at St. Theresa’s Parish in West Roxbury.
The painter, Pedro Subercaseaux, was a Benedictine monk who was ordained in France and was sent to begin a foundation of the Benedictines in Chile. He was a very skilled artist and had been in Assisi and had a great devotion to St. Francis. Interestingly, he had been married, but he and his wife sought an annulment so that she could enter a convent, and he could become a monk.
Subercaseaux’s nephew was a Capuchin, Msgr. Francisco Valdés, who was the first Bishop of Osorno. He was the first Chilean to become a Capuchin, and now he is a Servant of God. He worked with the indigenous people of Southern Chile after he joined the order in Bavaria. In fact, his was the same province that started my province, which is why I was almost sent to Easter Island, which is a territory of Chile.
We heard various reports on the status of the seminary. I’m very pleased to say that St. John’s, like our two other seminaries, is open for instruction and doing very well. There have been no cases of COVID-19 amongst the seminarians there, which is always welcome news.
Wednesday, we had a meeting of the bishops of New England, which brought together the bishops of the Boston Province and the Hartford Province. There were a number of issues that the Bishops Conference asked us to discuss in preparation for our virtual November meeting. Normally, we would have this regional meeting when we were all together in Baltimore, but this time we’ve done it virtually in preparation.
Until next week,