Hello and welcome!
Last Thursday, Craig and Nancy Gibson held a lovely gathering at their beautiful home in Woods Hole in honor of the 20th anniversary of my appointment as Archbishop of Boston.
There were about 50 people there, and they had a large cake to mark the occasion.
On Friday, I left for Pittsburgh to attend the solemn profession of brothers Joseph Pham and Stephen Cantwell at St. Augustine Church the next day.
Regular readers will remember that we had our simple profession a month ago, where five men who had been in the novitiate took their first vows for three years. These men have been in vows for three years and are now making their perpetual vows.
I was very impressed by the large number of their friends, family, and fellow friars who were there for the profession.
The Father Provincial, Father Bob Marva, received their vows.
The two brothers were given crosses that are replicas of the cross in the chapel of our provincial house but had been, for many years, at our novitiate.
The corpus of that cross was brought from Germany by the friars 150 years ago and dates back 400 or 500 years. It’s one of the most beautiful crosses I have ever seen. So, they had the idea of making a replica of that cross and giving it to the friars making their solemn vows. Of course, I’m drafting my letter of complaint that when we made our solemn vows, we didn’t get any replicas of that cross!
But all kidding aside, it was a beautiful celebration, and I was very happy that I was able to be a part of it.
I returned to Boston on Monday, and that day I met with Auxiliary Bishop Ernest Obodo and Father Edmund Ugochukwu of the Diocese of Enugu, Nigeria. A couple of priests from that diocese are studying and working here in Boston. So, they were here to visit with them and came to greet me.
We had a very interesting conversation, during which the bishop told me they have 800 men in their seminary!
He also talked about the wonderful missionary work of the Irish Holy Ghost Fathers, Spiritans, who evangelized that part of Nigeria. For that reason, St. Patrick is the patron saint of Nigeria. So, I was pleased to show him our altar to St. Patrick in the cathedral.
Monday evening, I went to San Lorenzo Friary to meet with four young adults from Rostro de Cristo who are preparing to head to Ecuador for missionary work.
Rostro de Cristo (which means “Face of Christ” in Spanish) was founded by Father Jim Ronan over 30 years ago. In the late 1980s, Father Jim was serving with the St. James Society in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the country’s largest city. There, he experienced the great difficulties people were facing but also their great faith. Having worked with college students before becoming a priest, he realized that young people would greatly benefit from having a missionary experience working among the people there. Since then, hundreds of young people have gone to spend a year or more working in Ecuador, like these four are doing. They will be going to Quito because they have moved their operations from Guayaquil because of security concerns.
Unfortunately, Father Jim Ronan was unable to be with us, but Executive Director Evan Cuthbert and several members of the Rostro de Cristo staff were there, and we had a lovely Ecuadorian meal together.
Finally, last night, the Hispanic community of the cathedral hosted a concert by Martin Valverde, a very popular Catholic musician and speaker who performs all over the U.S. and Latin America. He is originally from Costa Rica but lives in Mexico.
I had a chance to meet Martin before the performance.
Also said a few words to greet the people and offer them my blessing.
The turnout was just incredible. They had presold about 600 tickets and sold a few hundred more at the door. In all, I’d say there were 1,000 people or so in attendance.
It was a wonderful evening, and the people were all very enthused.
Until next week,