Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Beginning Holy Week

Hello and welcome!

I am posting my blog a day earlier than I usually do to leave myself free for our liturgies and events of the Paschal Triduum.

Last Friday, we held one of our regular meetings of the archdiocesan cabinet. It’s an opportunity for us to share information among different departments and plan events.IMG_4468

We were very anxious to hear the report by Father Paul Soper about observances of our special Eucharistic Year in the archdiocese, particularly our upcoming Eucharistic Congress, “Jesus Is Here.” EucharisticCong-Square Social

It will be held June 18 at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, which will be a wonderful daylong event featuring a number of excellent speakers, including Bishop Robert Barron, Bishop Daniel Florez of Brownsville, Texas, Bobby and Jackie Angel of the Word On Fire Institute and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers. Registration is open now, and I encourage all of you to attend. I know it will be an enriching experience for all of us.

Saturday, about 200 members of the Hispanic community in the archdiocese gathered for a day of recollection at the cathedral organized by Father Jorge Reyes. I was happy to have an opportunity to greet them at their morning Mass.IMG_4469

It was a wonderful way to begin Holy Week, and we are happy that so many people were able to participate.

That day I was also visited at the cathedral by Father Hans Zollner and Father Miguel Yáñez, two Jesuit priests who were original members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.IMG_4471

Father Yáñez is here on sabbatical and giving some courses at Boston College. Father Zollner, who continues to serve on the commission, has been very much involved in education around safeguarding and was in the area after giving conferences at Notre Dame, Holy Cross and Boston College. So, it was nice to be able to see them.

That afternoon I celebrated the baptism of Graham Mahoney, the child of Alana and Jesse Mahoney and the grandson of Bob Mahoney, who serves on our Archdiocesan Finance Council. As part of the baptismal ceremony, Jesse sang a wonderful rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” He has an excellent voice, and we all enjoyed it very much.

Sunday, I celebrated the Palm Sunday Mass at the cathedral, and I was pleased to see so many people in attendance.


That afternoon I went to Brockton to attend the wake of Steven Makos, the father of Father Jason Makos. I was able to pray with the family and tender my condolences.

Each year, Father Michael Nolan of St. Mary’s Parish in Waltham brings a group of Hispanic youth to Boston for a Palm Sunday procession, which they conclude at the cathedral with veneration of the relic of the True Cross. Waltham3

I gave them a short talk, and we sang some hymns together. They also heard a catechesis by Ester Brooks, the wife of Harvard professor Arthur Brooks.Waltham2Waltham1

It was a lovely visit, and I was happy they could join us once again this year.IMG_4473

Tuesday, we held our annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. This is, of course, the celebration in which we bless the holy oils that will be used to administer the sacraments throughout the archdiocese in the coming year. And it’s also a time to celebrate fraternity among our presbyterate and a time when our priests renew their ordination promises.Chrism22-GTracy-001Chrism22-GTracy-002

This is the first year since the start of the pandemic that we were able to have a Chrism Mass without restrictions, and we were all amazed at the number of priests who were there. In fact, I don’t remember another Chrism Mass with more priests in attendance. We don’t have an exact count, but there were many hundreds with us.Chrism22-GTracy-006Chrism22-GTracy-008Chrism22-GTracy-012Chrism22-GTracy-014Chrism22-GTracy-016Chrism22-GTracy-017Chrism22-GTracy-018Chrism22-GTracy-019Chrism22-GTracy-021Chrism22-GTracy-022Chrism22-GTracy-024Chrism22-GTracy-025Chrism22-GTracy-026

We were very happy to be joined once again by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios, who offered words of greeting to our priests, as he does every year.Chrism22-GTracy-005Chrism22-GTracy-004

We were also joined by Archbishop Lionginas Virbalas, the vice-president of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference, who was in town visiting our local Lithuanian community at St. Peter’s Parish in South Boston.

Wednesday, I celebrated the funeral Mass for Father Frank Glynn, who died recently after a long battle with cancer. He spent his final days at Regina Cleri, where he received excellent care.IMG_4477

The funeral was held at St. Anthony’s Parish in Allston, which has a large Brazilian community and where he had been pastor. Father Glynn had learned Portuguese many years ago and was known for his long and devoted ministry to the Cape Verdean, Azorean and Brazilian communities in the archdiocese.

There was a large number of priests with us, including many of his classmates, and Father Paul Kilroy gave a very beautiful homily. It was a beautiful sendoff, and he will be greatly missed.

While I was at St. Anthony’s, I took this picture of their stained-glass window of St. Columbkille because Father Richard Fitzgerald pointed out that they have this window because the church was originally a mission of St. Columbkille’s in Brighton.IMG_4478

Later that day, I went to The Boston Opera House to join a large group of our Catholic school students who attended a performance of “To Kill a Mockingbird” sponsored by the Rodman Foundation for about 2,000 public and Catholic school students in the area. I was seated with the group from Cristo Rey, but there were many of our schools present.Rodman

It was a wonderful event, and for many of these youngsters, it was the first time that they had an opportunity to see a professional theater production.IMG_4479

Of course, it’s a very powerful story, underscoring the challenges of prejudice and racial justice. It was amazing to see how the young people were just enthralled by the story, and it was wonderful to be with our students from so many different schools. We are very grateful to Joe D’Arrigo and all those at the Rodman Foundation who made this experience possible for our students.

Wednesday evening, we held our annual Tenebrae service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The liturgical instructions call for the Liturgy of the Hours to be prayed at the cathedral during Holy Week, and this is one of the occasions on which we do that. We will also have night prayer on Holy Thursday to conclude our Eucharistic Vigil at 11:30 p.m.Tenebrae-IMG_0400Tenebrae-image001

I invited Father Kevin Staley-Joyce to offer the reflections.Tenebrae-IMG_0402

Tenebrae means “darkness” in Latin, and the service involves the chanting of the psalms and lamentations of the Old Testament while candles on a large candelabra, called a hearse, are extinguished one by one. Ultimately, only one candle representing Christ is left. The choir did a beautiful job, and the celebration was very moving.Tenebrae-image004

I wish everyone and blessed Triduum and a happy Easter!

– Cardinal Seán