Hello and welcome!
Thursday was our meeting of the Presbyteral Council, and I arranged to have the meeting end at noon so that the afternoon session could be dedicated to a report on a study of Hispanic ministry in the United States that Professor Hosffman Ospino has published along with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate of Georgetown University.
In addition to the Presbyteral Council members, we also invited pastors and staffs from parishes with a Hispanic ministry, as well as others who may be interested to join us, and we had a very good turnout.
Professor Ospino gave an excellent talk, which certainly underscored the need for the Church to respond to the challenge and the opportunity of the Hispanic presence in the Church in United States. I had often heard the statistic that 55% of the Catholics under 30 years of age are Hispanic, but what had not heard was that Hispanics make up almost 70% of Catholics under age 19. So, if anyone has any doubts that this is a growing phenomenon, that statistic should put those doubts to rest. At the same time, the resources that we have dedicated to Hispanic ministry in the archdiocese and throughout the country are not adequate for the numbers of people that we are going to be called upon to serve.
Professor Ospino’s presentation was sobering but, at the same time, stimulating and there was a great deal of discussion during the question-and-answer period. We are very grateful to have Professor Ospino in the archdiocese. He is a professor Boston College and has been working at St. Patrick’s parish in Lawrence for over 20 years.
One of the things I spoke about was that we are beginning the process of studying Hispanic ministry in our own archdiocese. I would like it done as part of our preparation for the Encuentro Nacional Hispano de Pastoral, which will be held in 2017. Periodically since the early 1970’s the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has sponsored these Encuentros that have been very important in establishing Hispanic ministry throughout the states in promoting Hispanic leadership in the Church.
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In the afternoon, I met with the local leadership of the Catholic Daughters of America. The Catholic Daughters have been so supportive of the pro-life activities of the archdiocese and they came to bring a contribution for our Pro-Life Office supporting women in difficult pregnancies.
I have long been a supporter of the Catholic Daughters and have tried to promote membership in their organization at our local schools and colleges whenever I can. I urge you to find out more about them at www.catholicdaughters.org.
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With an eye towards development efforts on behalf of the expansion of our Redemptoris Mater Seminary, we had vespers and dinner for supporters at the seminary in Brookline.
One of the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Arguello very graciously sent me one of his latest artistic endeavors, a beautiful icon of the Pieta. It was a wonderful symbol to receive during this Lenten season.
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Friday, I was visited by Professor Roberto Goizueta who is Cuban and a theology professor at Boston College. He brought me two of his books and we had a chance to speak a little bit about the situation of the Church in Cuba.
It was very nice to see him.
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That evening, as I have been doing, I met with our pre-theology seminarians for Vespers, dinner and conversation. We spoke about the Church, their vocation and seminary life. It was a very animated evening. Once again, I always find it very life-giving to be with our seminarians.
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Saturday I went to St. John’s Seminary for the 15th anniversary celebration of their Masters of Arts in Ministry program. For the celebration, they invited back all the alumni.
The evening began with a Mass. The Chapel was full they had probably about 200 people there.
Following the Mass, there was a banquet in the refectory.
Awards were given to three graduates for their outstanding achievements – Craig Gibson , Sister Janet Ryan and Jay Fadden.
We congratulate them and all those who have been involved in the MAM program over the years for reaching this important milestone. In particular, we are very grateful to Aldona Lingertat and Father Chris O’Connor for all their great effort to make this program so successful.
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The Marist Missionary Sisters have been holding an international meeting for their order at their house in Waltham, and on Monday and I was happy to celebrate Mass for them and join them for lunch. The Mass was celebrated mainly in French because they had sisters from all over the world and French was the language they most had in common.
It was very good to see Sister Georgeanne Marie Donovan, who is their Superior General who was here from Rome.
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Tuesday evening, we had a reception at the Boston College Club for those who worked on the committee to plan our annual Celebration of the Priesthood Dinner.
We wanted to thank all those who have worked so hard to plan this very important fundraiser for the needs of our priests.
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On Wednesday, the Feast of the Annunciation, we held our Lenten day of recollection for the staff here at the Pastoral Center.
We invited Sister Adela Galindo, who is originally from Nicaragua and has started a religious community in Miami, to give the keynote.
We began the day with Sister’s talk in the main auditorium.
We then moved to the chapel for Eucharistic adoration.
We concluded our retreat with Mass.
I was very happy to see that so many of the staff were able to participate and also that many priests came from various religious communities came to help with hearing confessions.
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In the afternoon I was visited by Father Wayne Paysse from the Black and Indian Mission Office, which has been very generous in supporting Black Catholic ministry here in the archdiocese. He visited me along with Father Michael Harrington and Lorna DeRoses.
With Father Harrington, Lorna and Father Paysse
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Wednesday evening, we had one of our periodic meetings of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
The APC is a very important sounding board for the archdiocese. It is way of hearing the perspective of the various religious communities, the deacons and particularly our lay leaders from throughout the archdiocese. We are very grateful to Sister Marian Batho for the wonderful job she does organizing the APC.
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Finally, this week I was given the opportunity to screen the film Little Boy, which I found very moving.
The film is about a family during World War II. It speaks of the havoc that the war wreaked on this family, but also the importance of faith and works of mercy. I particularly liked the two priests in the film (played by Eduardo Verástegui and Tom Wilkinson) who are portrayed in a very positive and pastoral way. For example, in the film they help the people overcome their fear and prejudice against Japanese Americans.
It has a wonderful message and I feel it’s the kind of film that anyone in the family would enjoy. Unfortunately, when independent films like this are made they often don’t have the same kind of advertising budgets that big studio films have, so it’s up to us to spread the word— and this is a film with a message that deserves to be spread.
Until next week,