Hello and welcome!
This week, we received with great joy the news that the Holy Father has named 17 new members of the College of Cardinals.
Once again, we see that the Holy Father is expanding into so many countries that have never had cardinals before, and is really trying to make the Church all the more universal.
For instance, John Ribat of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea was among those named, and will be the first cardinal there. Indianapolis is also receiving their first cardinal in Archbishop Joseph Tobin, who is Redemptorist and has served as the Superior General of his order and also secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Also from the United States, we saw the naming of Bishop Kevin Farrell, who succeeded me as the director of the Centro Catolico in Washington D.C., and is now the Prefect of the new Dicastery for the Laity and Family Life. Also in Chicago, where we have had traditionally cardinals, Archbishop Blase Cupich has been named.
We want to congratulate all the new cardinals and pledge our prayers for them in the new role that the Holy Father is asking them to take on.
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Last Friday we had the installation of new acolytes for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline: Erick Gonzalez, Benito Moreno, Eric Velasquez and Maciej Araszkiewicz.
In the past, we used to have the four minor orders and tonsure that were received before ordination, but now we have the ministries of acolyte, lector and candidacy that are received beforehand. These are steps that invite the seminarians to take seriously their formation, their vocation and the process of preparation for Holy Orders.
The acolyte is tantamount to what the sub-diaconate used to be. As acolytes, they have some liturgical functions, such as the distribution of Holy Communion, but I think the greater importance is the call for them to be deepening their own spirituality and faith in preparation for their ministry as priests.
After the Mass, we gathered for dinner with the seminarians. They gave me this painting of Carmen Hernandez, one of the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, who died earlier this year.
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Saturday, I went to St. Pius V Parish in Lynn to celebrate Mass and dedicate their new shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary. Of course, St. Pius V, who was a Dominican, was the pope who initiated the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary and the dedication was actually the day after the feast.
It was a beautiful celebration, with great participation and a wonderful choir. Afterwards, the whole parish went out to the shrine, which is next to the church, for the blessing.
Following the blessing, we gathered in the parish hall, where I had an opportunity to meet some of the parishioners and, of course, pose for some pictures.
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Sunday, we had our third annual Mass for Public Safety Personnel and Their Families at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. It’s always an opportunity to thank those who do so much to ensure the safety of our communities.
We’re always so grateful for the involvement of the many different departments at the Mass.
The procession began with the Boston Police Gaelic Column, followed by honor guards from several different departments. Officers proclaimed the readings and the prayers, and we had State Police troopers and officers from the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department serving the altar. We even had a couple of troopers sing with the choir!
One of the important aspects of the Mass is giving thanks for the first responders who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. And, of course, only days later we had an example of this with the shootings of Boston Police Officers Richard Cintolo and Matt Morris, who were grievously wounded in a shootout in East Boston, and their fellow officers who risked their lives to rescue them.
At the Mass, we were accompanied by many of the department chaplains and, indeed, Father John Connolly, who is a chaplain to the Boston Police Department, spent most of Wednesday night at the hospital with the two officers who had been shot.
I ask you all to please join me in praying earnestly for the recovery of Officers Cintolo and Morris.
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Following the Mass at the Cathedral, I went to Boston Common to participate in the Massachusetts March for Life.
I had gone thinking that perhaps the numbers would be disappointing, but I was so happy to see the large turnout for the March, despite the drenching rain.
The March began with a rally at the bandstand on Boston Common, followed by the march through the streets of the city with a stop in front of the Statehouse. From there, we returned to the bandstand where I made some remarks and gave them a blessing.
We are grateful to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, who organized the event, and also to all those who came to participate, despite the inclement weather. As I told the people, our willingness to come out in the rain like that is an indication of how seriously we feel about the Gospel of Life.
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Later that day, I was visited by the Byrne family from Sydney, Australia.
They work in the Archdiocese of Sydney, but they’ve also been very helpful to our Capuchin missionaries in Papua New Guinea. I had heard they were in town and was happy to greet them.
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On Tuesday, I traveled to Burlington, Vermont to be present at the funeral of Bishop Kenneth Angell, whose passing I mentioned last week.
It was a very beautiful celebration. His sister Claire and her family were there, along with a number of priests and bishops from Providence.
Bishop Coyne was the main celebrant and Msgr. Richard Lavalley, who is the pastor in Winooski where Bishop Angell lived, delivered a beautiful homily. I also offered reflection at the end of the Mass.
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That evening, I joined a reception at the Moakley Courthouse in South Boston for those from Catholic Charities USA who had been gathered in Boston last week for their annual convention. I had been scheduled to celebrate Mass for them earlier that day but, because of the funeral, I was unable to be there. I am so grateful to Bishop Peter Uglietto who celebrated the Mass in my place.
With Debbie Rambo, Bishop Bill Skylstad and Catholic Charities USA president Sister Donna Markham
Since I was unable to celebrate the Mass, I went to the reception to greet them and formally welcome them to Boston.
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Wednesday, I went to Dorchester to celebrate Mass at the house of the Missionaries of Charity in the archdiocese. We were so pleased to be joined by the sisters from New Bedford, as well.
We are so grateful for the work that the sisters do, such as taking care of homeless families and working with children in the neighborhood. Their presence in our archdiocese is such a blessing for us.
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Later that day we had a meeting of archdiocesan staff to discuss our response to Massachusetts ballot Question 4, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. As I mentioned last week, the bishops of Massachusetts recently released a statement urging voters to reject this initiative.
Out of that meeting came a suggestion for outreach to the ecumenical community. As a result, we plan to meet next week with members of the ecumenical and interfaith community to discuss the response of the religious community to this very dangerous proposed change to our laws.
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Thursday we had one of our regular meetings of the Presbyteral Council, during which we heard a presentation by the Pastoral Planning Advisory Board, which advises me on the implementation of our plan to revitalize and strengthen the parishes of the archdiocese, Disciples in Mission.
I asked the board to share with the council the current findings of their evaluation, which concentrated on the process of writing pastoral plans, the implementation of training and formation programs, and the writing of the local pastoral plans.
This ongoing evaluation is being undertaken very seriously, and has caused us to already make changes to the process that Disciples in Mission is following. However, it’s also obvious, according to the interviews the board has conducted, that the process is energizing people and helping parishes to focus more on evangelization, welcoming people and outreach. We are certainly seeing that those themes are resonating with our parishioners.
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Then, earlier today I had one of my regular meetings with our recently ordained priests — those who have been ordained in the last five years.
We gathered for a lunch together followed by a time of conversation about our vocation, ministry and way of life. Then, we concluded our gathering with a Holy Hour.
Traditionally, we’ve held these meetings in the evening, but we have found that is also a time that many activities are held in the parishes. So, we’ve now decided to hold our meetings in the afternoon, to make it more convenient for our recently ordained priests to attend.
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Finally, I want to conclude by mentioning that tomorrow I will have the joy of ordaining six men as permanent deacons in the Cathedral the Holy Cross. The ordination Mass begins at 10 a.m. and I invite all of you to join us for what will surely be a very beautiful celebration. Those who cannot be present physically can certainly view the Mass on The CatholicTV Network.
I urge you all to join me in praying for these men as they receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders and begin their ministry in the Church.
Until next week,