Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

A week of joyful celebrations

Hello and welcome!

Last Friday, I attended the wake of Marylou Parrish, the mother of Father Bryan Parrish, who had been living with her husband at St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham.  She was very active in the Church, and had a great devotion to the Little Flower.

She had a long and beautiful life and was beloved by her family and many friends.  I was pleased to be able to tender my condolences personally to the family and assure them of our ongoing prayers.

Saturday, we had the joy of ordaining 11 men as transitional deacons at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  These are the men who, God willing, will be ordained to the priesthood next year.

It was on the Feast of our Lady of Fatima, which is a beautiful feast day to celebrate an ordination.

It was very encouraging to have such a large ordination class.  (It’s always nice to be in the double digits!) The cathedral was filled with the many friends, relatives, and priests who gathered to be part of the ordination Mass.

It was also encouraging to have such diversity among our ordinands, who came from each of our three seminaries.

The following day was, of course, Mother’s Day, and I went to St. Tarcisius Parish in Framingham to celebrate a Mother’s Day Mass with the Brazilian community there.

It was a beautiful celebration with a procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and wonderful music provided by the youth choir.  And, of course, we had a blessing for all the mothers at the end of Mass.


That evening, I went to San Lorenzo Friary in Jamaica Plain for a farewell dinner for Father Will Tarraza, who will be going to work in the novitiate in California.  Father Will has worked in the archdiocese, helping at various parishes since the time of his ordination, and we wanted to wish him well as he begins this new mission.

On Monday morning, I joined many other local civic, government, and religious leaders at a press conference outside of the TD Garden to announce Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Face Jewish Hate campaign.  This campaign aims to raise awareness of the problem of antisemitism in our community, and its symbol is the blue square emoji.

Among those in attendance were Patriots owner Bob Kraft, Governor Healy, Mayor Wu, Attorney General Campbell, and State Treasurer Goldberg, along with many leaders of the Jewish community.

Sadly, antisemitism has been on the rise in our country and throughout the world.  Recently, when I met with local Jewish leaders to plan a Catholic-Jewish event for the fall, a number of the members of the Jewish community spoke about their own experiences.  They spoke about having armed guards at their synagogues and having to lock the doors during their services.  And, of course, we’ve seen a number of horrendous acts of violence against Jewish people take place recently.

This is a problem we all must face.  In our Catholic schools, we have an emphasis on trying to overcome these cultural biases of antisemitism, which, like racism, have plagued our country for so long.

So, I was very happy to be there to promote this valuable initiative that has been created by the CJP and Bob Kraft, and I want to support it in whatever way I can.

Monday evening, I had one of my regular dinners with a class of our seminarians.  This time, I met with the men who are in First Pre-Theology.  As always, I enjoy these opportunities to get to know the seminarians better and hear their experiences of life in the seminary and their apostolic work in the parishes.

Of course, they were all very anxious to talk about the new documentary “Souls in the Game,” which tells the story of the seminary basketball team and their experience at this year’s tournament.


Tuesday, we had our annual Spring Presbyteral Convocation in Framingham.

The conviction featured a keynote talk by Father Paul Turner, a liturgist from the Diocese of Kansas City.  He did a wonderful job showing how celebrating the Mass according to the rubrics is so meaningful and underscores the liturgical principle of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi — our theology reflected in the liturgy of the Church.

He has a very appealing style of teaching that was appreciated by all our priests who had a chance to hear him.

As we do every year at the Spring Convocation, we also honored three priests selected by their peers for their outstanding service and ministry.  In the past, we presented this recognition at the luncheon following the Chrism Mass, but in recent years, we have been doing it at this convocation.

We honored Father Bob Deehan, Father Paul Helferich and Father Edmund Ugwoegbu this year.  I was so glad that they chose to honor Father Edmund, one of our extern priests.  It was a way of acknowledging the great service that our extern priests from all over the world give to the archdiocese.

Wednesday, I celebrated a Mass at Regina Cleri for the jubilarian priests who are celebrating 50 years of ordination this year.

We had a very large number of jubilarians this year, and we also invite the religious and extern priests working in the archdiocese to join us for this Mass.  Of course, some of them are residents at Regina Cleri, and others came to be with us there. Among those who joined us was Msgr. Felix Ojimba, who worked in the archdiocese for many years and returned to Nigeria but has now come back to the archdiocese.  An Augustinian friar who is from Boston joined us as well.

Of course, the convocation was the day before.  So, I prefaced my remarks by saying that I was intimidated by celebrating Mass for a group of my priests the day after the seminar on liturgical practices.  I said that I felt as if everyone was going to be giving me a score!

After the Mass, the staff provided a very nice lunch that we all enjoyed.

It was a wonderful gathering, and I was happy to have this opportunity to publicly recognize and thank our jubilarians.

That evening, I attended Catholic Charities’ annual Spring Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester.

Of course, there were many testimonies given about the work of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese and the ways that Catholic Charities aids the many underserved populations in our area.

During the evening, we honored College of the Holy Cross president Vincent Rougeau with the John and Virginia Kaneb Justice and Compassion Award.  Many of the former recipients of the Kaneb Award were with us, along with many members of the Kaneb family.

President Rougeau was the Dean of Boston College Law School and, prior to that, had been at Notre Dame.  He is an outstanding Catholic layman who has always been a great exponent of Catholic social teaching.  So, I was very happy to be part of the celebration honoring him.

It was a wonderful evening, and we are very grateful to Mark Kerwin, Kevin MacKenzie, Kelley Tuthill, and all those at Catholic Charities who worked so hard to make it a great success.

Thursday morning, I participated in a virtual global conversation on Fratelli Tutti, sponsored by St. John’s University in New York.  The conference included speakers from the United States, Africa, and India reflecting on the Holy Father’s encyclical.

There were four talks followed by a discussion.  It was very interesting to hear the perspectives from the different countries on how the message of Fratelli Tutti impacts their particular cultural or historical circumstance.

Finally, yesterday afternoon we had our meeting of the board of Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary.  We are very grateful for the generous participation of our trustees and for all their work to help support and raise awareness for this unique seminary with the special mission of forming older men for the priesthood.  I always say that so many of the men who are graduates of Pope St. John Seminary would never have become priests if this seminary did not exist.

It’s a very important institution in the life of our Church, and we are very happy that Msgr. John McLaughlin, in addition to his pastoral duties, is going to take on the responsibility of working for vocations to Pope St. John.  We have asked him to take on this role because we have realized that recruiting among the younger demographic for St. John’s Seminary is entirely different.  It involves such activities as reaching out to youth ministry, campus ministry, and young adult groups.  But those in the demographic served by Pope St. John’s are a little bit harder to identify.  So, a priest who has just that responsibility can work with our pastors to identify possible candidates for this unique seminary.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán