Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Christ is Risen!

Hello and welcome,

On April 15, 2013, Boston experienced an unprecedented attack that took the lives of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and Boston Police Officer Dennis Simmonds.  We will never forget them.  Each of their lives was a unique expression of love, concern for others, and courage.  They will remain in our prayers as will their loved ones who continue to mourn their loss.  Hundreds were injured that day and, in their recovery, have inspired us with their courage and determination to not let hate deter them from living their lives.  Survivors of the marathon bombing continue to amaze us each year by running the race as a sign of hope and the resiliency of the human spirit.  We are grateful to our first responders who selflessly charged into danger to rescue the injured and bring aid and comfort to all who were impacted.  They exemplified the best of humanity.

Ten years removed from that horrific day, the pain and suffering we witnessed does not easily subside.  During this season of Easter, as we celebrate Christ’s victory over death, we are reminded that in the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ.  We put our faith and trust in the Lord despite the senseless violence of that day.

We live in a world where increasingly senseless violent acts take the lives of innocent people, including children.  We need our leaders to demonstrate the courage to find consensus and enact policies for gun safety and mental health programs, to save lives and address the underlying causes of this violence.  Each of us can contribute to these challenges through thoughtful consideration of how we talk to and about each other.  Pope Francis has shared with us that “the more we feel our hearts are agitated, the more we sense we are nervous, impatient, angry inside, the more we need to ask the Lord for the Spirit of peace.”  He added, “and let us also ask this for those who live next to us, for those we meet each day, and for the leaders of nations.

Let us honor the memory of Martin, Krystle, Lingzi, Sean and Dennis by asking the Lord for this gift of peace during these challenging days.


Last week, we had our beautiful celebrations of the Sacred Triduum at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

We began our celebrations on the evening of Holy Thursday with our bilingual Mass of the Last Supper.

The Mass, of course, commemorates Christ’s institution of the Eucharist.  But another very important part of the celebration is the Mandatum ceremony, the Washing of the Feet, which recalls Jesus washing the Apostles’ feet at the Last Supper and his command that we should love one another as he loves us.

After the Mass, the Eucharist was brought to the altar of repose in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  There, we had adoration, followed by the praying of Compline at 11:30.  As always, we were very happy to be joined by many of our local college students for the celebration.



On Good Friday, we had three Stations of the Cross processions visit the cathedral.  The first was the Way of the Cross for Life.

We were also visited by the group from Communion and Liberation.  They have a procession through the streets of Boston, which they conclude at the cathedral.  I was very happy to greet them and give them a brief reflection in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

And, of course, we had our own Living Stations of the Cross procession organized by the Hispanic community of the cathedral.

I was with them for the first Station at the cathedral.

Then, they continued through the streets of the neighborhood before concluding back at the cathedral, where they reenacted Christ’s crucifixion and burial.

Each year, many of our cathedral parishioners work so hard to bring this together and it always comes out impressively.

Then, at 3:00, we had our Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in English.

We are so grateful to Father David Barnes, who preached for us this year, and to the members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, many of whom accompanied us for the liturgy and acted as an honor guard as we venerated the relic of the True Cross.

That evening, we had our liturgy with the Spanish community as well.

As they do every year, the Memores Domini, consecrated lay members of Communion and Liberation, invited me to join them for lunch at their house in Cambridge on Holy Saturday.

It was very nice to see Dr. Lorenzo Berra and the other Memores.  It was also wonderful to meet Lorenzo’s parents, who were visiting from Italy.

That evening was, of course, the Easter vigil.

It’s a beautiful ceremony, which begins with the blessing of the Easter fire and the singing of the Exultet.

It’s always a great joy to welcome our new Catholics into the Church at the Easter vigil.

As always, we had a number of baptisms and confirmations.

I also celebrated the 11:30 Easter Sunday Mass.

It was very encouraging to see so many people join us for our celebration.  There were over 2,000 people at the Mass, and the cathedral was full.

Thursday morning, I went to St. Agatha in Milton to celebrate the funeral Mass of Father Patrick McLaughlin.

Father McLaughlin had been in residence at St. Agatha’s for the last several years but spent most of his priestly ministry at St. Joseph in Medford.  The great impact he had during his ministry was evidenced by the large number of priests, former parishioners and friends who turned out for his funeral.  Father McLaughlin comes from a very large Irish family.  So, many members of his family were there with us as well, including his brother, Deacon James McLaughlin, who joined us on the altar.

Father Frank Cloherty, a long-time friend of Father McLaughlin’s, preached the homily.  He said they had an agreement that they would speak at each other’s funerals.  He said it obviously couldn’t work out for both of them, but at least he got the last word!

That afternoon, I had a luncheon meeting at the Pastoral Center with the vicars forane of the archdiocese.

The role of vicar forane is one of the ways that we minister to our priests and help promote fraternity and an intentional presbyterate.  So, their role of convoking the priests for meetings and promoting fraternity in the regions is a very important one.

We spoke about their role and the need to restart the parish visitations that were suspended during the pandemic.  We also talked about how to promote religious education in a post-Covid world and get people reconnected.

It was a very productive meeting, and we are blessed to have such competent and pastoral men helping us in this role as vicars forane.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán