Hello and welcome!
Last Saturday, I was very happy to celebrate the confirmation of another group of local college and university students here at the cathedral. Ordinarily, we would hold one Mass for all the university students together, but this year we divided them into smaller groups.We were accompanied at the Mass by Regis College chaplain Father Paul Kilroy, Northeastern University chaplain Father Paul Helfrich, and Father Eric Cadin, who coordinates Campus Ministry for the archdiocese.
Campus ministry is a very important ministry in Boston, which is a center of academia. We have about 70 colleges and universities within the archdiocese. So, we are very grateful to all of those who serve in this important mission — priests, deacons, religious and laypeople, particularly our FOCUS Missionaries.
Later that day, we held our annual Healing Mass for Survivors of abuse. Typically, we would hold it at the Pastoral Center, but this year it was held at the cathedral, which also allowed it to be live-streamed. Many people joined us online, including several who have moved away from the Boston area but have still maintained a relationship with our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, headed by Vivian Soper.
Of course, I very much missed being able to have the social time that we usually have after the Mass, but we look forward to the time when we can have this gathering with the survivors and their families once again.
Sunday, I celebrated Mass at St. Michael Parish in North Andover. St. Michael’s is such a vibrant parish, and the pastor, Father Kevin Deeley, is doing a wonderful job there.I was so pleased to see so many join us in person for the Mass. It was also live-streamed, so many more were able to join us from home.
Monday, I participated in a planning session for our annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner with some of our benefactors and Tom and Patricia O’Brien, who are this year’s dinner chairs. The celebration is planned for Sept. 21, and I look forward to being able to share more details about it with you in the coming weeks.
We are very grateful to all those who have worked so hard to put together this event, which celebrates our priests and is an important source of support for our Clergy Trust. It is all the more important this year because the Christmas and Easter collections that support the Clergy Trust were lower than normal because of limited Mass attendance due to the pandemic. So, I urge all of you to mark Sept. 21 on your calendar and plan to join us for this wonderful event to celebrate and support our priests.
Tuesday, the Order of Malta asked me to celebrate a virtual pilgrimage Mass for them.This is the time of year when our local members of the Order of Malta would take the sick on pilgrimage to Lourdes. The pilgrimage will once again be held virtually this year, and I was very happy to join them as they begin this very special experience.
Wednesday, I had a meeting with the leadership of the French bishops’ conference to discuss their safeguarding initiatives.This is just one more outreach of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors with the bishops’ conferences throughout the world, and it was very encouraging to hear what they are doing there.
Wednesday night, I participated in an event hosted by Catholic Charities to discuss their initiatives to address food insecurity. They expressed their hopes to be able to expand what Catholic Charities is doing in Dorchester and other sites throughout the archdiocese to meet the demand, which is at an all-time high because of the pandemic.We are so grateful for all that Catholic Charities does to help those who are most in need in our community.
Thursday, we had our annual meeting of The Papal Foundation.During our meeting, Jim Towey, who heads the Mission Fund of The Papal Foundation, gave us the sad report that seven superiors and a number of sisters from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity have died in the last few days in India, where the pandemic has reached a ferocious intensity.It’s always edifying to realize how much good work is being done by this fine organization. We are so grateful to all the members of The Papal Foundation for the support that they give to so many works of mercy and evangelization throughout the world, the projects of Pope Francis and also the special help that they always try to give to Mother Teresa’s sisters.
Finally, I want to leave you with this image of Our Lady, Mother of the Good Shepherd. This a devotion that began in Spain, where she is known as La Divina Pastora (The Divine Shepherdess), and she is the patroness of the Capuchin missions. We celebrated her feast last Saturday, on the eve of Good Shepherd Sunday.
Until next week,