Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Presenting our annual Cheverus Awards

Hello and welcome!

As I do every year during the week of Thanksgiving, I am posting my blog a few days earlier than usual.

Thursday evening, I went to the Harvard Club in Boston for a dinner in honor of Dr. Lorenzo Berra, who has been appointed to the Reginald Jenney Associate Professorship at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital in recognition of his achievements in the research and practice of anesthesia. The award ceremony was directed by Dr. Jeanine Wiener-Kronish, Chief of Anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital.Berra-IMG_1252

Dr. Berra is from Milan and a member of the Memores Domini, the lay association of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. The members of Memores live in community with the vocation to practice the Evangelical Counsels together and in their daily life, with a particular commitment to provide an example of Christian charity and love in and through their work. The appointment was an honor for Dr. Berra and a source of great joy for his friends and colleagues and who hold his professional expertise, friendship and Christian integrity as among their most valued gifts.

It was very encouraging to see a young Catholic doctor who is so talented and has done so much in the area of research recognized with this very important post. Of course, Harvard Medical School is one of the most important medical schools in the world and so having someone there with the ethical standards, passion for healthcare, and care for people that Dr. Berra possesses, I think is wonderful.

Friday, I went to dedicate and bless the new offices of the Irish Pastoral Centre in Dorchester. They had been at St. Brendan’s Parish, and now they are located in nearby Adams Village.Irish Pastoral Center blessing

It was a wonderful celebration with Irish music, and I was so impressed by the large number of people who were there for the dedication. With us, of course, was Executive Director Peggy Davis-Mullen and their chaplain, Father Daniel Finn. We were also very happy to be joined by Mayor Walsh’s mother, Mrs. Mary Walsh.Irish Pastoral Centre blessing 2

We are so grateful for the work that the Pastoral Centre performs. The Irish are still one of the largest groups of immigrants coming to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the center’s work has been a very important contribution to serving that population as well as other immigrant groups.

It was a great event, and I was happy to be a part of it.

That evening, I hosted one of our regular gatherings with seminarians at the cathedral.SemMeeting-IMG_1590

As always, it was a chance to pray together, share a meal and discuss issues related to the life of the Church. During the evening, the seminarians shared with me much of what is happening in their ministries and their lives, and we discussed the situation of the Church in the world today.

Each year, Catholic Charities, in conjunction with The United Way, distributes thousands of Thanksgiving meals to needy families throughout the area. I was very happy to join them for the distribution this year at the Yawkey Center on Saturday morning.

Those from New England know that, at this time of year, there is always the risk of freezing temperatures, rain or snow (or all three!), but we were blessed this year with a crisp, sunny day.

I was so happy to be able to join the many volunteers, including students from our Catholic schools, in this annual tradition.


That afternoon, I went to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton to celebrate the wedding of Luca and Erica Hickman. They are members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and are both very active in the pro-life movement. Hickman-IMG_1253

Erica is originally from St. Brendan Parish in Bellingham, so we were very happy to have Father David Mullen, the pastor of St. Brendan’s, concelebrate with us.Hickman-IMG_1254

It is always a joy to be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony. We wish Luca and Erica every happiness and many blessings on their families and their life together.

Saturday evening, I went to Lombardo’s in Randolph to attend the annual Bishop James Augustine Healy Award Dinner held by the Archdiocese’s Black Catholic Ministries. Healy-IMG_1257HealyAwards19-JTetrault-07Healy-IMG_1255

Of course, Meyer Chambers and the Archdiocesan Black Catholic Choir provided wonderful music throughout the event.HealyAwards19-JTetrault-06

There was also a group of children from St. Andrew Parish in Worcester who performed for us.HealyAwards19-JTetrault-03

Each year at the dinner, they present two awards: The Healy Award for leadership and service in the Black Catholic Community, and the Ruffin Award for those who serve the Black Catholic Community and foster educational and mentorship opportunities.

This year’s Healy Award winner was Marie Louise Greenidge from St. Mary Parish in Randolph, who has worked for many years in Catholic education and is currently director of advancement at St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. HealyAwards19-JTetrault-11HealyAwards19-JTetrault-13

The Ruffin Award was given to Debbie Rambo, who will soon be stepping down as president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston, but has served in different capacities at Catholic Charities for over 40 years.HealyAwards19-JTetrault-10

Both of them have given many, many years of service to the community and are very deserving of the awards.HealyAwards19-JTetrault-16

The evening’s keynote speaker was Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, a well-known speaker and evangelist from Oregon, who gave a very stirring address. HealyAwards19-JTetrault-08

Sunday morning, I went to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain to celebrate a Mass to mark the parish’s 150th anniversary.

Because I knew I couldn’t stay long following the Mass, I came a bit early so I could meet with some of the parish leadership beforehand.StThomasJP-IMG_1258

It was a wonderful bilingual Mass.StThomasJP150th-PEOConnor-04StThomasJP150th-PEOConnor-05StThomasJP150th-PEOConnor-06StThomasJP150th-PEOConnor-09StThomasJP150th-PEOConnor-12StThomasJP150th-PEOConnor-20

Were joined by many Sisters of St. Joseph who have a long history in the parish and, at one point, ran the parish school. We were also joined by some priests who were formerly from the parish.StThomasJP150th-PEOConnor-02

The pastor, Father Carlos Flor and the vicar, Father Andrea Povero, have organized many special activities to mark the parish’s sesquicentennial year. For example, they had a basketball tournament for the young people, but they wanted to do something with the older people of the parish, as well. So, they made this video, which they showed me. It is just fabulous! Watch it through to the end; you will not be disappointed!

As I say, unfortunately, I was unable to stay very long at St. Thomas because I had to leave immediately for our annual Cheverus Awards celebration at the cathedral.CheverusAw19-GTracy-01

It was a terribly rainy day, and we were very concerned that the weather would dampen the spirit of the celebration, but happily, we were proven wrong. There was a great outpouring of support for the awardees. The cathedral was filled to capacity with the award recipients, representatives from their parishes and their families.CheverusAw19-GTracy-13

We present these awards each year as a way of recognizing all of the unsung heroes and heroines in the archdiocese, whose generosity and sacrifices allow our parishes, schools and organizations to function. This year we also highlighted two religious communities: The Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who minister to the Cape Verdean community, and the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa’s sisters.CheverusAw19-GTracy-03CheverusAw19-GTracy-04CheverusAw19-GTracy-05CheverusAw19-GTracy-15CheverusAw19-GTracy-17CheverusAw19-GTracy-18CheverusAw19-GTracy-19CheverusAw19-GTracy-20CheverusAw19-GTracy-24CheverusAw19-GTracy-22CheverusAw19-GTracy-28CheverusAw19-GTracy-27CheverusAw19-GTracy-29

In my homily, I spoke a little about the cathedral, because many of the attendees were seeing it for the first time since the renovations.CheverusAw19-GTracy-11

I also spoke about the man for whom the award is named, Bishop Cheverus, the founding Bishop of Boston.

I explained to them that the medal that they receive bears his motto, “Let us love one another.”CheverusAw19-GTracy-02

That is certainly the spirit of our awardees, who express their love for members of the community through the generous service that they give in areas such as religious education, social justice, parish boards, and so many other aspects of the life of the Church.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very blessed Thanksgiving!

It is a great tradition of our nation that each year we set aside a day to join together with our families and loved ones to recall that all that we have, and all that we are, is a gift from our loving God. We gather around the table with our loved ones to give thanks for the great blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us — blessings that we many times take for granted. As we celebrate this time together with those closest to us and prepare to enter the season of Advent, let us all consider how we can share the great blessings we have received with others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

– Cardinal Seán