Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Day: May 21, 2021

Meetings and celebrations

Hello and welcome!

Last Saturday morning, we were very happy to celebrate the First Communions for our children from the Cathedral Parish. Msgr. O’Leary, of course, joined me for the celebration.FC_IMG_4617

It is always a delight to see the youngsters proclaim the readings and petitions, and we are so grateful to the catechists who prepared these children during the pandemic.FC_IMG_4620FC_IMG_4625

It was a wonderful day, and I know the families were delighted to be able to celebrate their children’s First Communions in the cathedral. FC_IMG_4627FC_IMG_4628FC_IMG_4632FC_IMG_4636

Later that morning, I participated in an Environmental Justice workshop organized by our Social Justice Ministry, marking the 6th anniversary of the Holy Father’s Encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”


I was very happy to be a part of this conference highlighting a very important topic for our times.

Saturday afternoon, I celebrated a special Mass sponsored by the Guild of St. Luke, the organization of Catholic physicians in the archdiocese, honoring those who served during the pandemic.StLuke_IMG_4641StLuke_IMG_4643

During the Mass, they gave special recognition to doctors, nurses and others who have worked on the “front lines” caring for the sick during this very challenging time.StLuke_IMG_4649StLuke_IMG_4650

The honorees were:

Physicians, PAs, NPs

Megan Antonellis PA, St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena, Charlestown

Helen Boucher, St. John the Evangelist, Wellesley

John Brusch, New Roads, St. Joseph-St. Luke, Belmont

Julie Carragher NP, Sacred Heart-St. Thomas More, Weymouth

Paul Fallon, St. Florence, Wakefield

Yara Antonia Fernandez, St. Patrick, Brockton

Joseph Gesmundo, St. Agnes, Reading

Lilia Guerra St. Patrick, Lawrence

Amy Hamel, Dir Emergency Mgmnt, All Saints, Haverhill

Nancy Hernandez (Heyne), St. Paul, Cambridge

Thomas Heyne St. Paul, Cambridge

Kurt Hoffman, St. Catherine of Siena, Norwood

William Kormos, Lexington Catholic Community, Sacred Heart and St. Brigid

Greg Leya, St. Paul, Cambridge

Amy McGaraghan, Lexington Catholic Community, Sacred Heart and St. Brigid

Mariette Murphy, St. Paul, Cambridge

JoAnne Nowak, St. Robert Bellarmine, Andover

Karen O’Brien, St. Theresa, North Reading

William Porcaro, St. Agnes, Arlington

Edward Ryan, St. Paul, Wellesley

Paul Schwerdt, St. Joseph, Needham

Gregory Young, Good Shepherd, Wayland

Zach Ward, Watertown Catholic Collaborative

RNs and others

Kathy Burke, St. Gregory, Dorchester

Sarah Burleigh-Cochran, St. Bonaventure, Manomet

Maureen Collier, St. Francis DeSales, Charlestown

Patrice DeAngelo, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Plymouth

Maura Dowling, Holy Mothers Collaborative, Hanover-Norwell

Joe-Ann Fergus, St. Katherine Drexel, Dorchester

Donna Field PT, St. Mary of the Sacred Heart, Lynn

Margaret Hegarty, Sacred Heart, East Cambridge

Bridget Jalitsch, St. Albert – St. Francis Xavier, South Weymouth

Mary Jo Kriz, Archdiocese Pregnancy Help

Lisa Morin-Plante, St. Mary of the Sacred Heart, Lynn

Rachele Monbouquette, Archdiocese Pregnancy Help

Kevin Nguyen, Pharmacist, Holy Trinity, Quincy

Debra Parisi, St. Mary, Georgetown-Rowley

Theresa Presley, St. Ann by the Sea, Marshfield

Jen Riley, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bridgewater

Mary Roach, St. Richard, Danvers

Sharon Studer, Archdiocese Pregnancy Help

MC Sullivan, Chief Health Care Ethicist, Archdiocese of Boston

Socorro Talamera, Divine Mercy, Quincy

Anne Travierso, St. Michael, Lowell

Andy Truong, Pharmacist, Holy Trinity, Quincy

Kimberly Wenger, Holy Family, Duxbury

Sunday, I went to St. Mary’s in Holliston for a Mass to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the parish.Anniversary BannerChurch Sign

As is the case with many parishes from that time, the founding members of the parish were mainly Irish immigrants who came to this country because of the famine and persecution of Catholics in Ireland. They were led to Holliston because there was work available to help build the railway line between Boston and Worcester that went through the town. Once the railway was complete, many of them settled there and later found work in the local shoe factories and other industries.

When the parish was founded, they actually began by celebrating Mass in the town hall. So, when the time came to construct the church building, they chose a spot just across the street.Group Photo with ClergyConsecrationWelcome by Diane CollinsMore People of GodPeople of GodGreeting the PeopleGroup Photo with Knights and Lady of the Holy Sepulchre

It was a beautiful celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of their parish, and I was pleased to be able to be a part of it.

From there, I went to the Don Orione Fathers’ Madonna Queen Shrine in East Boston to celebrate Confirmations for the Brazilian community there. Traditionally, we hold one large Confirmation Mass for all the members of the Brazilian community in the archdiocese together. But this year, because of the pandemic, we are holding several smaller celebrations. At this Mass, we had about 40 young people who received their Confirmation.DOEB_IMG_7996

The Don Orione Fathers have a wonderful ministry to the Brazilian and Spanish-speaking communities at the shrine, and we are so grateful for all they do.DOEB_IMG_7997

It turned out that the Mass was celebrated on the feast day of their founder, Don Luigi Orione. So, we took this picture with the statue of Don Orione that they have in the shrine.Don orione 2

Monday, we held one of our regular meetings of the priests who have been ordained in the last five years. For more than a year, we have been holding these gatherings online, but we were very happy to finally be able to gather in person once again at the Pastoral Center.NewO_IMG_8015

We had a lovely lunch followed by a time of conversation, and we ended with Midday Prayer and a Holy Hour in the Pastoral Center chapel.

Also, that day, I took part in a virtual training session being hosted by the iTHIRST Initiative. This is a program started by the Trinitarian Fathers that trains parish volunteers to accompany those dealing with addiction and their families. iThirst

It is a wonderful program that has borne great fruits since we invited them to the archdiocese a few years ago, and I was very pleased to learn that they are now working with the Cursillo program, as well.

Tuesday, I met with John Dolan, the Head of School of St. Mary’s in Lynn, to discuss some of the improvements they are making at the school. Among them is a new grotto and Stations of the Cross in the garden there.Lynn_IMG_7998Lynn_IMG_8004

The new Stations of the Cross are based on the stations in St. Mary’s Church, which are probably the most impressive Stations of the Cross that we have in any of our churches. They were brought from Germany in the 1800s and are life-sized statues place in niches throughout the church. I have always been impressed with them when I have celebrated Mass at St. Mary’s.Lynn_IMG_8001

Tuesday evening, I was pleased to participate in a virtual fundraiser for our St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester and Mattapan. JPII_IMG_8005JPII_IMG_8006JPII_IMG_8007JPII_IMG_8009

We are so proud of the work they do at JPII Academy. With over a thousand students, it is the largest Catholic elementary school in New England, and they are doing an extraordinary job providing a wonderful Catholic education to our inner-city students. We are so grateful to the many benefactors of the school, including Bob and Mickey Atchinson and Jack and Eileen Connors, who have worked so hard to make the school a success.

Wednesday, we had a virtual gathering with the heads of the working groups of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. It was an opportunity to reflect on some of the themes raised in our plenary session, as well as continue to plan for our conference this fall with the bishops of Poland and Eastern Europe.TutelaMinorum

We are so grateful to the members of the commission. They are primarily laypeople who volunteer so much of their time to host trainings and organize events around safeguarding in different parts of the world.

Wednesday evening, I joined Cristo Rey Boston High School for their Academic Signing Day Reception at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boston. CR_IMG_8011

The school holds this event each spring, at which the graduating seniors announce what college they will be attending in the fall. Though the students weren’t able to be present with us this year because of COVID, they made their announcements through video. CR_College Day Photo

It was also an opportunity to thank the generous benefactors who have allowed the school to continue its mission this year.

CR_Quincy Miller

Quincy Miller, President and Vice Chairman of Eastern Bank and Cristo Rey President Rosemary Powers


Trustees Shannon Zollo and Michael Mooney of Nutter, McClennen and Fish


Former Board Chair Harry Ebbighausen

You see, under the Cristo Rey model, students attend classes four days a week and spend one day a week working at an internship at a local company. This not only helps to provide them with valuable experience in the business world, but it also helps them to defray the cost of their tuition. As one can imagine, during the pandemic, it has been incredibly challenging because the internship opportunities all disappeared. So, we are deeply grateful that a number of benefactors stepped forward to underwrite the entire tuition so that these young people were able to continue their studies.

Thursday, we had a meeting of the Presbyteral Council of the archdiocese. PC_IMG_8012

During our meeting, we discussed the governor’s recent announcement that pandemic restrictions will be lifted as of May 29. We wanted to receive the input of the priests as we formulated our new policies for parishes, which we released yesterday.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

May 2021