Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Day: October 10, 2014

‘Evangelizing cities today’

Hello and welcome!

I begin this week with the sad news of the passing of our retired Auxiliary Bishop John Boles. He had been ill for quite a while and died Wednesday in the early morning hours at St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham, where Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm had given him such fine care.Boles

I want to share with you the statement that I issued that day after being informed of his passing:

“It is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of the Most Reverend John P. Boles, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Boston. Bishop Boles, who was a resident of Regina Cleri during retirement, passed away last night at St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham, where he has been receiving care during recent months.

Over the course of nearly sixty years of priesthood and twenty two years of service as a bishop, Bishop Boles was a beacon of warmth to all who met him as he showed pastoral care and concern for the Catholic faithful and the wider community. He brought a sense of joy, kindness and fidelity to the Church that inspired us and provided an example for others to follow.

Please join me in praying for Bishop Boles as we give thanks to God for the blessing of his life and ministry. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Bishop Boles’ family and friends, his fellow bishops and priests, and all who mourn his passing. May his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace.”

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As I mentioned in my post of last week, Saturday and Sunday I attended meetings of the Child Protection Commission.

We have been given our new office space and made progress on a number of projects of the commission, including the final preparation of the list of potential new members of the commission from other parts of the world.

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Because Saturday was also St. Francis’s Day, I went to celebrate Mass with the Capuchin Friars in Rome, and bless their new Chapel and dedicate the altar.

These are some pictures of the Chapel. It is very simple with light colors.10042014_114515_rome210042014_114525_newchapelcapuchins

10042014_114445_general2v2With the Minister General, Father Mauro

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Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. we had Mass in the Clementine Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica with the members of the commission for the protection of children. We were also joined by our seminarians from Boston studying in Rome. Our seminarian, Kevin Staley-Joyce gave us an a very good explanation of the chapel and its relationship to the tomb of St. Peter.10072014_142428_10659315_750932074944192_6383519000838446148_n10052014_075930_peter310052014_075936_peter

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Cardinal Scola of Milan had asked me to give conferences to the clergy and people of his archdiocese on the topic of “Evangelizing cities today”. So, on Tuesday morning, I addressed about 1,200 priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of Milan in their cathedral, known as the Duomo.10062014_150925_photo (46)10072014_113822_photo (49)

The conference went for about an hour and was followed by a question and answer session. If you speak Italian, you can watch it here:

Talk to clergy of Milan

Afterwards, I said Mass at the tomb of St. Charles Borromeo, who was Archbishop of Milan and his tomb is in the Duomo.


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The address to the laypeople wasn’t scheduled until the nighttime, so in afternoon we went to visit the Capuchin church in Milan. 10062014_164032_photo (44)10062014_164252_photo (30)10062014_164433_photo (42)10062014_164612_photo (40)10062014_164425_photo (41)10062014_171416_photo (37)

At the church they have a very large center that serves the poor and the homeless where they provide about 3,000 meals a day.10062014_172517_photo (32)10062014_172615_photo (36)10062014_173102_photo (34)10062014_181747_photo (33)10062014_172421_photo (38)

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We also went to see the Cenacolo, Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the Last Supper, which is in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, an old Dominican Friary in Milan.10072014_163950_rome410072014_160937_lastsupper

Many do not know how close that famous painting has come to being destroyed over the years: In the 1600’s a door was put in the wall, cutting off Christ’s feet; Napoleon used the refectory as a stable and during World War II a bomb leveled almost the entire refectory, except the wall with the fresco!

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Returning that night to the Duomo, I gave a talk based on the same theme of “Evangelization in the City” to about 3,000 lay people. 10062014_185005_photo (27)10062014_185739_photo (25)

10072014_212555_Duomo3We began around 9:00 and ended at around 11:00 p.m., but despite the late hour we were amazed at the crowds.10072014_210905_photo (48)10072014_221634_photo (50)

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From Milano, we returned to Rome and at the North American college the seminarians prepared a very nice dinner for us on the roof.10052014_210604_seminarians

With the seminarians, Father O’Brien and Father Steve Madden.10052014_214700_NAC

Also, while at the North American college I attended the Rome launch of Crux, at which Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal Pell spoke.

– – –

Finally, like many of you, I have been following the developments from Extraordinary Synod on the Family  taking place in Rome. It is important that we continue to pray for all those taking part in the synod and in particular with the prayer to the Holy Family that the Holy Father has composed for the synod:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

in you we contemplate

the splendor of true love,

to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

grant that our families too

may be places of communion and prayer,

authentic schools of the Gospel

and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may families never again

experience violence, rejection and division:

may all who have been hurt or scandalized

find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may the approaching Synod of Bishops

make us once more mindful

of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,

and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

graciously hear our prayer!


Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

October 2014