Hello and welcome,
I want to begin this week by sharing with you this letter I issued earlier today to the priests of the archdiocese regarding the Hyde Amendment:
Allow me to ask for your assistance with a matter of the highest priority concerning the protection of unborn children. As Pope Francis has shared with us, every child is “a gift that changes the history of a family…and this child needs to be welcomed, loved and cared for”.
For 45 years, annual passage of the “Hyde Amendment” in federal appropriations bills, by a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress has ensured that federal tax dollars are not spent on abortions. It is estimated that the “Hyde Amendment” has saved more than 2.4 million unborn children since 1976. However, this year, the passage of the “Hyde Amendment” is seriously at risk.
In order that we do all that is possible to protect unborn children, it is critically important for Catholics to send a strong and united message on behalf of the children and to do so before Congress moves forward to authorize taxpayer-funded abortion.
Please appeal to the people of your parish to join our Archdiocesan response to the USCCB’s nationwide effort during the month of June, when Congress will begin the legislative process. Our goal is for millions of Catholics to sign the petition on NoTaxpayerAbortion.com. A brief suggested bulletin announcement explaining the campaign can be found below.
The USCCB has provided additional information and digital messaging tools about the Hyde Amendment, for use in your parishes. These can be found at: respectlife.org/no-taxpayer-abortion. Your outreach to parishioners concerning the Hyde Amendment signature campaign would also be an opportune time to share information about the services offered by our Archdiocesan Pro Life Office through the Pregnancy Help and Project Rachel ministries.
With appreciation for your continued support for our efforts to build a culture of life, I remain,
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap
Archbishop of Boston
Last Thursday, I was happy to participate in Catholic Charities’ annual Spring Celebration.
Unlike other years, when we were able to gather at the John F. Kennedy Library, the Spring Celebration was held online this year and was very much focused on Catholic Charities’ very robust response to the crisis of food insecurity in our community.
The video presentation featured remarks by Catholic Charities President and CEO Kevin MacKenzie as well as the inspiring testimony of a Catholic Charities volunteer and client, Donnette McManus, who shared her story of how Catholic Charities helped her at a very difficult time in her life.
This year, instead of honoring a single individual, they highlighted a number of volunteers they honored as “Catholic Charities Champions” throughout the program — Eddie Mercado, Rod Powell and the team from St. Cecilia’s Parish, the Catholic Charities North’s English as a Second Language volunteer teachers, and the 2020 Boston College football team.
The program also included a panel discussion addressing the tremendous problem of food insecurity and what Catholic Charities is doing to overcome it.
Friday, I was visited at the cathedral by Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis, who serves in the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George of Canton, Ohio. He was born in Egypt but grew up in Melbourne, Australia, which, at the time, had the third largest Greeks population in the world after Athens and Thessaloniki. His monastery is Holy Resurrection in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin and he is also responsible for overseeing the nuns of Holy Theophany Monastery.
I have known the abbot for some time and have been happy to speak to him about his efforts to foster collaboration between the Orthodox communities and the Catholic Church.
He was accompanied by Deacon Luke from his monastery, who is going to be ordained this weekend. So, we want to offer him our prayers and congratulations.
Friday was Msgr. Kevin O’Leary’s 70th birthday, so we had a little gathering for him at the cathedral rectory with cake — and we even got him some balloons!
That evening I also had dinner with the eight deacons who were to be ordained the following day. After the dinner, we had Vespers together, and then I met with each of them individually to give them their new parish assignments. Now that they are public, I can also share them with you:
Father Fernando Ayala Rosales — Parochial vicar at St. Mary and St. John the Evangelist Parishes in Chelmsford.
Father David Campo — Parochial vicar at St. Agnes and St. Athanasius Parishes in Reading.
Father Alwin Chinnappan — Parochial vicar at St. Agnes and St. Camillus Parishes in Arlington.
Father Francis Godkin, FPO — Service with the Franciscans of Primitive Observance.
Father Robert LeBlanc — Parochial vicar at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Brookline.
Father Leonardo Moreira — Parochial vicar at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Lawrence.
Father Valanarasu Newton-Williamraj — Parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi and at St. Clare Parishes in Braintree.
Father Kevin Pleitez — Parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish, Marlborough.
The following day was, of course, the priesthood ordination.
Welcoming new men to the priesthood is always such a joyous occasion, and we were so pleased to have such a large number of the faithful, priests and religious there to share in it with us.
Sunday, I went to St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Dorchester for a Mass to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Father Oscar Pratt. It turned out that the vicar at St. Katharine’s, Father Andrew Nkwocha, is also celebrating his Silver Jubilee.
With Father Oscar, Father and Father Gerry Osterman
Father Oscar’s father was with us directing the music and his sister was also able to be there. So, we were able to congratulate him and his family.
Afterward, I returned to the cathedral for our Pentecost Sunday Mass, which I would like to share with you here:
May is certainly the time for commencements, and on Monday, I attended two of them.
In the morning, we had the commencement at Boston College, where the speaker was New York Times columnist David Brooks, who gave a very beautiful reflection.
Among this year’s honorary degree recipients was Lyndia Downie, the executive director of Pine Street Inn, where she has been working for three decades with the homeless. She has done amazing work there and is certainly very deserving of this honor from Boston College.
Then, in the afternoon, we had the Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement for our Masters of Arts in Ministry and Master of Theological Studies programs at St. John’s Seminary.
In addition to the members of the class of 2021, the graduates from last year’s class were also invited to be with us since they were unable to have a commencement because of the pandemic.
We are so grateful to Aldona Lingertat, Father Stephen Salocks and faculty and staff at St. John’s Seminary for the fine work they do forming lay people for service to the Church. I was also pleased to see that we had two of our permanent deacons graduating this year, Deacon Peter Bujwid and Deacon Robert Horne.
Wednesday, I was very happy to join our Superintendent of Catholic Schools Tom Carroll for the virtual celebration to honor the recipients of this year’s Excellence in Education Awards presented by the Catholic Schools Office with the support of the Catholic Schools Foundation. This award is given to 10 teachers each year – five from elementary schools and five from secondary schools – who have been nominated by their school communities.
This year’s honorees were:
— Joyce Baio, Grade 6 Religion and grade 6-8 Language Arts teacher, Saint Patrick School, Stoneham
— Jarrod Brown, Mathematics teacher, Central Catholic High School, Lawrence
— Jane Ellis, Grade 3 Saint Joseph School, Wakefield
— Janet Ferlisi, Pre-K teacher, Saint Charles School, Woburn
— Michael Fitzpatrick, Grade 1, Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus School, Somerville
— Deirdre Foley, Campus Minister/Theology teacher, Malden Catholic, Malden
— EllenMarie Loycano, Mathematics teacher, Central Catholic High School, Lawrence
— Stephen Mondello, Academic Center Specialist, Arlington Catholic High School, Arlington
— Paul Moran, English and Psychology teacher, Malden Catholic, Malden
— Maryellen Ryan, Grade 3, Mount Alvernia Academy, Chestnut Hill
We are so grateful to the Catholic Schools Foundation, which provides the funds for the prize, and we want to congratulate all the winners and thank them for their service, especially over this past year, which has been so challenging.
Thursday, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to attend the funeral of Tommy Piolata, the father of one of our Capuchin brothers, Brother Tommy Piolata.
Brother Tommy is from my province, and he is studying in Rome. So, I often see him often when I am there for meetings. He is from a large Italian-American family and he has relatives who are Capuchins in Italy, as well. It’s been over a year since I’ve been able to attend any sort of Capuchin event, so it was good to be able to be there.
His father lived a very beautiful life and was very active in the Church and his community. I am always impressed when I go to the funeral of someone like Tommy Piolata. Many people like to point to the shortcomings of the Catholic Church, but when you hear the beautiful story of someone who has lived their Catholic faith and how it has transformed their life and how, in turn, their life has made a tremendous contribution to their families and to society, it really is very inspiring.
The funeral was held at St. Anthony Church, which is very beautiful and the home of a very large and vibrant Italian-American community.
I had to laugh when our friars began to sing at the funeral —I’m sure it’s the first time a German hymn was ever sung in that church!
Later that day, we had the board meeting of the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, which I joined via Zoom.
I was very pleased to hear that the society is receiving some new members from Great Britain and that Father Simon, who worked for many years in Peru and El Salvador, is returning.
We also heard reports on the situation in Peru, which is very difficult because of the pandemic. In fact, I have recently been in touch with the bishops of Peru because of the gravity of the situation there.
The number of people who have fallen ill and died in Peru from the coronavirus is shocking. But, so far, all our missionaries have remained safe and are making a great contribution at a time of incredible suffering among the people, not only due to the virus but also because of the disruption to the economy. We are so grateful for the work and testimony the members of the St. James Society are giving among the people there, and we are so grateful to Father David Costello for the fine leadership that he provides for the society.
Finally, I want to share this photo with you that was sent to me by Father Will Tarazza, who is stationed in Jamaica Plain.
He has been visiting our Capuchin formation programs in Central America and had an opportunity to celebrate Mass at the altar where St. Oscar Romero was martyred. I was very happy to receive this photo because it brings back memories for me of the time I was able to celebrate Mass at that altar.
Until next week,