Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Day: February 17, 2023

Joining our archdiocesan vocations retreat

Hello and welcome!

Each year around this time, we hold a vocation discernment retreat organized by our Vocations Office.  It’s also a time when we remind our priests to identify potential candidates for the seminary from their parishes.

This year, the retreat was structured so that it would be both at St. John’s Seminary and at the parish of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted in Waltham.  So, I went to join the men during their time at Our Lady’s for Mass and lunch.

This retreat is always a very significant moment to gather with the young men, most of whom are college students or recent graduates, so that they can reflect on their own spiritual life and their personal vocations.  An important part of this is for them to be able to meet the seminarians and listen to their vocation stories.  I also had an opportunity to meet individually with a number of them.

We are very grateful for all the hospitality of Father Jim DiPerri, Father David Campo and all the parishioners who assisted in hosting my Mass there and preparing the wonderful lunch for the young men.  We are also grateful for the ministry of our Vocations Office, which works tirelessly to promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in our archdiocese.


On Sunday, I was very happy to celebrate the 11:30 Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

It was, of course, Super Bowl Sunday, and we noticed a couple who were wearing their Patrick Mahomes jerseys at the Mass.  As you might have guessed, they were visiting from St. Louis and were attending the Mass with their son, who is studying at Harvard Medical School.  As guests, we asked them to bring up the gifts — not in a show of any favoritism in the game!

After the Mass, I joined some of the parishioners for a coffee hour in the lower church.  Msgr. Kevin O’Leary has instituted these monthly social gatherings, and they are going splendidly.

It was very well attended.  (As they say, it’s a good sign that your parish event is a success when you run out of coffee and pastries!) There were many parishioners coming together, including a lot of younger families.  These occasions also allow parishioners to get to know each other, which is a very important part of community building. I think it’s a wonderful program that is really cultivating the connections and the sense of community in the parish.


On Tuesday morning, we had our monthly cabinet meeting at the Pastoral Center.  At the meeting, Father Joy wished everyone a very happy Sts. Cyril and Methodius day — even though everyone was focused on a very different saint!

That afternoon I went for Mass and dinner with the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master at their house on West Street.  They had members of their leadership team visiting, and we had a lovely meal together.  The sisters are preparing for their centenary, and during the evening, they sang the song and showed us the logos they have prepared for their centennial year.

We are very blessed by the presence of the Sister Disciples in our archdiocese and their very important ministries at Regina Cleri, the Pastoral Center and West Street.

Wednesday, I took part in a virtual meeting sponsored by The Leadership Roundtable examining the possibility of having a gathering for the bishops’ conference concerning Catholic schools.  As part of that, they wanted to meet with a group of bishops to discuss the idea.  A number of Catholic foundations were also represented, as well, because, of course, the thought is to engage Catholic philanthropy in support of our Catholic schools.

It was a good meeting, and there was a lot of consensus around the importance of bringing this discussion before the U.S. bishops at this time.  We were all very clear on the great importance we place on our Catholic schools.  We also felt that, with the increased focus and appreciation for the mission of our schools during the pandemic, this is a good time to bring the bishops together and address some of the challenges that Catholic schools have.

We also noted that school choice will be a significant public policy issue throughout the nation during the upcoming election year.  It is important for us to advocate for Catholic schools in that discussion and to let people know about the great work that is being done in Catholic schools and how they are evangelizing our young people and preparing them for life.

We are very grateful to The Leadership Roundtable for hosting this gathering.  Patrick Markey and Kerry Robinson have been so helpful in organizing events for clergy, religious and lay leaders so they can come together to discuss opportunities to strengthen the work of the Church.


Yesterday, we had a meeting of our Presbyteral Council where it was announced that Jean Hayward is retiring after many years of faithful service in our Office of Ministerial Personnel and that Sister Ann from the Sister Disciples will be taking her place.

Jean has been a constant presence and a devoted worker in that office for many years.  I know she will be sorely missed by many.  And I also know we will surely never find a supplier of better chocolate chip cookies for our Presbyteral Council gatherings!

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

February 2023