Hello and welcome!
Saturday morning, we held our 13th annual Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, which was held in a virtual format once again this year.
We began our gathering with a video Mass, which I celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross along with Father Phong Pham and a group of his parishioners from Blessed Andrew Phu-Yen Parish.
The keynote speaker for the convocation was papal biographer Austen Ivereigh, who joined us via video. He gave a lovely conference, after which he answered questions.
Speaking with convocation host Deacon Tim Donohue and Austen Ivereigh
Following that, Father Bryan Hehir and our Chief Healthcare Ethicist, MC Sullivan, offered some commentary on his presentation.
We are so grateful to Pat Dinneen has given countless hours and efforts to strengthen the archdiocese’s Justice Ministry and related programs in our parishes. We also want to thank Deacon Tim Donohue, who hosted the program and Lillian Molina Perez, who provided the translations.
Following from their devotion to the Blessed Mother and their pilgrimages to Medjugorje, Kevin and Rita Gill and Artie and Judy Boyle led the organizing for a Marian Conference at the Quincy Marriott last weekend, working with John and Colleen Willard.
I was pleased to be able to celebrate Mass on Saturday afternoon for several hundred attendees. Quincy Mayor Tom Koch very kindly welcomed us to the Mass, where Mother Olga’s Daughters of Mary of Nazareth assisted, as did concelebrants from the archdiocese and neighboring dioceses.
I understand that about 700 people were able to join them over the course of the weekend.
It was very encouraging to see such a large number of people come out to spend time with the Lord and deepen their faith. At a time when many people are experiencing uncertainty in their lives, we are all blessed by the intercession of Mary, who leads us to Jesus’ gift of peace.
That evening, we had our annual presentation of the Black Catholic community’s James Augustine Healy and Robert Leo Ruffin awards at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Typically, these awards would be presented during a dinner celebration. However, because of the pandemic, they thought it would be best to gather at the cathedral. So, we presented the awards in the context of a Vespers service.
The Archdiocesan Black Catholic Choir did an extraordinary job providing the music for the service.
This year’s recipient of the James Augustine Healy award was Sister Mary Henrietta Domingo, EHJ. Sister Mary Henrietta is originally from Nigeria and is very involved in the Nigerian Catholic Community as well as many other ministries throughout the archdiocese, particularly to young people and the elderly.
The Ruffin Award was presented to Ann McGlinchy Grady, who is a parishioner of St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Roxbury. She has been very active in serving her parish and the wider community for many, many years.
We are so happy that, although we are unable to have the banquet this year, we were able to gather the archdiocese’s Black Catholic community and honor these two individuals who have made such outstanding contributions to the life of the Church.
Following the Healy awards ceremony, I met with the new leadership of the Ugandan Catholic community in the archdiocese. They came accompanied by Father Michael Nolan, the pastor of St. Mary’s in Waltham.
We prayed together, and I gave them a blessing.
Sunday evening, I departed for Baltimore to attend the annual fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Before the opening of the assembly, there are always meetings of the various boards and committees. One of those that I attended was a meeting of the board of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. One of the announcements that was made was that the shrine will be installing a statue of Blessed Michael McGivney.
Of course, during the pandemic, the shrine was operating with a very limited schedule. But we are very encouraged to see that they are opening up again and that the number of visitors to the shrine is increasing. While the limitations on Mass attendance were certainly very challenging, the liturgies that were televised and live-streamed reached many millions of people. Like our own experience in Boston with CatholicTV, it was an opportunity for a great expansion in our ability to reach people over the airwaves.
We are looking forward to visiting the shrine with our group from Boston when we attend the March for Life in January. I have been invited to celebrate the 9 a.m. Mass on the morning of the march. So, instead of gathering at Sacred Heart Shrine as we usually do, the Boston group will join us for Mass at the basilica. I’m happy to be able to take our youngsters there because they usually don’t get to the basilica since it’s so hard to get seats. But now that all the seating is reserved, it will be possible for them to come.
Our meetings of the bishops’ conference began on Monday and, while there were many items we covered, I thought I would share a few highlights with you.
Two of the bishops sought the endorsement of the causes of canonization of three Servants of God. Bishop Deshotel of Lafayette, Louisiana, presented the causes of Auguste Robert Pelafigue and Charlene Richard, and Bishop Silva of Honolulu presented the cause of Joseph Dutton.
Joseph Dutton was actually from New England but worked in Hawaii with St. Damien of Molokai.
During the discussions, it was pointed out that the U.S. Black Catholic community is currently advocating for the causes of six candidates for sainthood: Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Servant of God Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, Venerable Henriette Delille, Venerable Father Augustus Tolton, Julia Greeley and Sister Thea Bowman.
We are praying that the causes of these candidates will be advanced soon.
This is the first time that the Orthodox bishops joined us for our gathering, and we were very happy to be addressed by Archbishop Elpidophoros, the chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States. He gave a very inspiring talk.
We also approved a proposal for a three-year Eucharistic Revival that will begin in 2022 and conclude with a National Eucharistic Congress to be held in Indianapolis in 2024.
It has been about 50 years since our last National Eucharistic Congress. So, we are certainly overdue, and this will be very helpful in our efforts to draw people’s attention to the centrality of the Eucharist in people’s lives.
There was also a report by Bishop Pérez on a process of dialogue with young people on race and inclusion called Journeying Together, which is something of a follow-up to the V National Encuentro. There will also be a youth rally held in Chicago this summer.
We had a wonderful talk by Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre on the Synod on Synodality. It is the best talk I’ve heard on synodality. And, of course, a good example of the Church in a listening and praying mode was the V Encuentro.
There was also a presentation by Archbishop Naumann on the pro-life initiative, Walking with Moms in Need to make parishes a welcoming environment for them.
Thursday morning, before I returned to Boston, I joined a group of faith leaders, survivors and advocates in the sunrise Global Collaborative Survivors Walk organized by Jennifer Wortham. It was held on that day because November 18 is being put forward as the date for a day of prayer for victims and survivors.
With us was Vivian Soper, who is the director of our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, and Bishop Mark O’Connell. There were prayers offered by myself, Cardinal Tobin and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.
It was a very powerful experience.
Until next week,