Hello and welcome!
Saturday we had the joy of ordaining six men as permanent deacons at the Cathedral the Holy Cross.
Each year we are ordaining classes of deacons. Their ministry is a great blessing for the archdiocese.
We are so grateful to Monsignor William Fay who served as interim director and Deacon Chris Connelly who is now director of the diaconate program. We are anxious for this ministry to become better known and understood throughout the archdiocese. We hope that this beautiful ordination ceremony will inspire Catholic men to consider the possibility of a call in their life to serve the Church as permanent deacons.
I’d like to share my homily of the Mass with you here:
Then, that evening I went to St. John’s Seminary to celebrate the annual White Mass for physicians, which is sponsored by the Guild of St. Luke.
This year, as every year, Father George Salzmann brings a large group of students from Harvard. We are very grateful for him giving them the opportunity to meet other Catholic medical students and doctors and to participate in the Mass and the dinner following, at which there is always a presentation.
This year we heard from Doctor Jim O’Connell, the founder of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless.
– – –
Then, on Sunday I went to Winchester to celebrate the 50th anniversary Mass at St. Eulalia Parish.
It was a very beautiful celebration, and I was so impressed by the music there. They had a very beautiful choir, as well as a wonderful children’s choir, but the congregational singing was just extraordinary. Would that every parish in the archdiocese had that kind of participation in the Eucharist! It was really a very uplifting experience.
It was also very uplifting to see how many of the people who were there were original parishioners. In other words, they have been part of the parish for 50 years, including Bishop Peter Uglietto’s family. His uncle lived just across the street from the church. So, Bishop Uglietto joined us for the Mass, as well as former pastors including Father Tom Nestor and Monsignor Frank McGann.
Father Jim Savage is doing a great job there and I think people really appreciate his ministry. He had been stationed there before as associate pastor and is now the pastor.
– – –
Sunday evening, I went to Boston College High School for the annual celebration of the Cardinal Cushing Awards Dinner sponsored by the St. James Society.
During the evening we presented three recipients with the Cushing Award Medal: Pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation Father Gabriel Troy, executive director of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Clergy Health and Retirement Trust Joseph D’Arrigo, and BC High principal Stephen Hughes.
All of the recipients were very deserving people who have made huge contributions to the life of the Church and the community.
Father Troy was himself of course a member of the society of St. James. Indeed, many of the men who have worked with the society of St. James were with us for the dinner including Bishop Robert Hennessey.
It was a very successful event and we are so grateful to Father David Costello for the leadership he gives to the St. James Society. Whenever I meet bishops from Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador they always have wonderful stories about the work of the St. James Society in their dioceses, both in the past and in the present.
Since it was held at Boston College High School, I congratulated the Jesuits there on their new Superior General, Father Arturo Sosa from Venezuela, the first non-European to be elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Certainly, this is a very historic moment.
Just fortuitously, I had a meeting with him about a month ago, and at the end of the meeting I announced that he was going to be the next Superior General of the Jesuits and my prophecy came true. (Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been saying that to every Jesuit that I’ve met in the last three months!)
– – –
Tuesday, we had a meeting at the Pastoral Center to discuss the response of the religious community in Massachusetts to Ballot Question 4. We are very concerned about the inclusion of this initiative, which would legalize the commercialization of marijuana in our state.
I know many people are concerned about the number of incarcerations around marijuana use. However, in Massachusetts, several years ago we decriminalized possession of marijuana in smaller amounts. This legislation is simply about commercialization of marijuana.
We are alarmed at seeing what has happened in places like Colorado where there are now more marijuana shops than there are McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. In some of the poorer neighborhoods of Colorado, there is one marijuana shop for every 40 households; in other areas there is a shop for every 70 households. Our legislators who went there on a fact-finding mission were shocked to see the amount of homelessness, particularly among young people and to learn that the marijuana that is being sold has a very high potency. They also learned that it is not only being sold to be smoked but also as candy in drinks and other edible items, which makes it even more enticing to children and young people. This legislation was obviously written by those who are involved in the commercialization of marijuana and stand to make millions of dollars in profits at the cost of great human suffering and the potential of many lives being destroyed through drug use.
So, in the face of this, we called together the ecumenical and interfaith community for a meeting in which Senator Vinny deMacedo gave us a very cogent presentation on the facts on this issue.
We are anxious for people to vote against Question 4 because the consequences would be catastrophic for our state if this question is passed. To encourage this, we are preparing a joint letter from clergy who attended the meeting. The Massachusetts Catholic Conference has developed a web page where you can learn more about Question 4
Wednesday, I went to Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton to celebrate the annual Lynch Scholars Mass sponsored by the Catholic Schools Foundation. We are so thankful for the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which has provided the opportunity for so many needy children to attend Catholic schools.
The Mass is a beautiful event each year. Peter Lynch, the founder of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, was with us and we were also joined by the wonderful Betania Choir from Venezuela who sang for us during the Mass.
– – –
Also Wednesday I was visited by Bishop Bayemi Matjei from Cameroon. One the priests from his diocese is studying here, and he came to visit him.
During his visit he stopped by the office of the Propagation of the Faith and also wanted to greet me. He explained that he is from a rural diocese which is relatively new; he is only the second bishop there. It’s a diocese in which there are many challenges, but where there is a lot of growth and they are blessed with many vocations.
– – –
This week, I had the opportunity to attend a number of different gala dinners to support local Catholic institutions. On Wednesday, there was the Diamonds of Dorchester Gala to support the St. Mary’s Women’s and Children’s Center, and on Thursday there was the inaugural Franciscan Gala to benefit St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street and also the inaugural “Let it Shine” Gala to support Regis College.
At the Regis event, they honored Ginny Kaneb. I was very pleased that they chose to honor Ginny for all the good she does.
Ginny Kaneb is a faithful exemplar of discipleship in the Catholic Church. She is a wonderful wife and mother of six sons, and she is someone who has transmitted her faith and sense of generosity to her children and grandchildren. She is a proud alumna of Regis College and I was so happy to be a part of the event honoring her.
We are so grateful to the Sisters of St. Joseph, President Antoinette Hays and her team, who have done such wonderful things that Regis College. We are also grateful to the Sisters for being faithful to their mission to educate the children of immigrants and working-class families.
– – –
Yesterday morning I attended a memorial prayer service for Father Joe Martin with his family and the residents at Regina Cleri. Father Martin was the beloved priest who served with the St. James Society. I was very happy to be there to be present to his family.
Also this week we saw the passing of Monsignor Paul McManus who had not long ago turned 101.
Until next week,