Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Spending time with friends and family

Hello and welcome,

I want to begin this week joining those who have expressed their disappointment that President Trump has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

Yesterday, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a statement on this very important topic that I’d like to share with you here:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church, have consistently upheld the Paris agreement as an important international mechanism to promote environmental stewardship and encourage climate change mitigation. The President’s decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling.

The Scriptures affirm the value of caring for creation and caring for each other in solidarity. The Paris agreement is an international accord that promotes these values. President Trump’s decision will harm the people of the United States and the world, especially the poorest, most vulnerable communities. The impacts of climate change are already being experienced in sea level rise, glacial melts, intensified storms, and more frequent droughts. I can only hope that the President will propose concrete ways to address global climate change and promote environmental stewardship.

I want to echo those sentiments, noting that the Holy Father’s encyclical on the care for creation, Laudato si’, is a message that invites all people of goodwill to reflect on our responsibility to care for our common home. We share the Holy Father’s concerns of the connection between care for creation and care for the poor— it is often those who are poor who suffer the most because of the neglect of the environment. We hope that the administration will reconsider this action because the leadership of the United States is crucial in this very important area.

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Last week I was visited by Rev. Mother Xavier and Mother Marilla of the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre Tyburn Convent in London.unnamed1

The Sisters were here as part of their visit to dioceses in the U.S. to promote the cause of their Foundress, Mother Marie Adele Garnier.IMG_0763

Whenever I visit London, I always like to go to celebrate Mass with the Sisters at Tyburn Convent, which is a very famous place of pilgrimage.1159

Historically, Tyburn was the place where London public executions were carried out. (For hundreds of years the name “Tyburn” would bring to mind execution, the same way that in the U.S. “Fort Knox” brings to mind high security.) And so, it was at Tyburn that many of the English Martyrs were put to death during the Reformation.

Within the convent, they have a shrine with relics of the martyrs who were killed, essentially, just across the street from where the convent is today.image-008

Over the altar they have a large triangle that represents the “Tyburn Tree,” a three-sided gallows where as many as 20 Catholics could be hanged before they were drawn and quartered.image-006Tyburn_tree

It is always a joy to visit their convent in London, so I was very happy that while they were here in the States, the Sisters reciprocated the visit.

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As I often say, the month of May is a time of many important events in the lives of our Catholic families — weddings, Confirmations, First Communions, graduations — and my family is no exception. So, over Memorial Day Weekend I traveled to Denver to attend the high school graduation of my nephew, Theo O’Malley, and to give First Communion to another nephew, Seán O’Malley.IMG_7063IMG_7051

With my namesake nephew, Seán O’Malley

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Sunday, I was able to celebrate The Ascension for a second time because in the Archdiocese of Denver the feast has been transferred to the Sunday.

I was invited to celebrate the Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in Denver, which is run by the Capuchins. Originally, it was German parish, but today it serves the large Mexican community in Denver.Denver_001Denver_002Denver_007Denver_008Denver_020Denver_021The church is just stunning. I hope that the photos do justice to it.Denver_022Denver_030Denver_033Denver_037Denver_039Denver_041

It was wonderful to be at that church again. The last time I was there was for World Youth Day in 1993. At that point, I had just been transferred from the Virgin Islands to Fall River, and before I left, I had arranged for the young people from the Virgin Islands attending World Youth Day to stay at Annunciation Parish. But, when I arrived in Fall River, I discovered that they had not organized a pilgrimage yet, because they had been without a bishop. So, I very quickly organized a group from Fall River, and the parish agreed to host them, as well.

It was just a wonderful experience having a group of West Indian youngsters and a group from New England that included many Portuguese youngsters being hosted by this Mexican parish. I still fondly recall the great hospitality the parish showed to them and the wonderful meals they provided. So, when the parish asked me to celebrate the Mass for them, I was very happy to visit them again.

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Also while I was in Denver, I had an opportunity to visit with my good friend and classmate Father Simeon Gallagher. He had come across this photo of Father Simeon, his mother and myself that was taken while we were still novices in 1965.IMG_7062

I’ve gotten older, but Father Simeon looks as good as ever!

Our novitiate was in Annapolis, Maryland, and the picture was taken on the banks of the Severn River, which is why you see a boathouse in the background.

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Also this week, there was a meeting in Michigan of The Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops and North-American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, which is co-chaired by myself and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios.IMG_3368IMG_3360

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but I am very grateful to Archbishop Allen Vigneron for attending in my stead.OCRCJoint2017q

The meeting was part of our series of ongoing dialogues between Catholic and Orthodox bishops in which we discuss different theological and pastoral aspects of cooperation between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

We continue to pray that one day we may fully realize the unity that Christ desired for his Church!

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán