Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

The New England bishops’ retreat

Hello and welcome!

I want to begin this week by noting how painfully aware we are of the suffering of the people of Maui in the wake of the recent wildfires.  The devastation there and the loss of so many lives is truly tragic.

In response, we have authorized a collection to be held over the next several weekends, at the discretion of the pastor, that will go towards relief efforts in Maui.  The people of the archdiocese have always been very generous in supporting victims of these kinds of natural disasters, and we know they will be in this case, as well.

Friday, I was visited by Bishop Antonysamy Francis of the Diocese of Kumbakonam, India, who came accompanied by Father Selva Raj.  Kumbakonam is a rural diocese in Southern India, and Bishop Antonysamy visits the archdiocese periodically for mission appeals.  He also has seminarians who are studying here and priests who are helping out in the archdiocese.

It was lovely to see him again, and I very much appreciated his gift of an Indian prayer shawl.

On Saturday, I was visited by Julie Bonnetti and her son Michael Bonnetti at the cathedral rectory.  They are very active parishioners at St. Leonard’s in the North End and are also very much involved with the St. Lucy Society and the St. Anthony Society.  They had been to Rome recently and had an opportunity to attend the audience with the Holy Father.  They are very good friends of the archdiocese, so it was wonderful to have a chance to meet with them.

Later that day, I was also visited by Father Peter Armenio and Father John Grieco at the cathedral.  I’ve known Father Peter for many years, and Father John is now on the staff of St. John’s Seminary, serving as an adjunct spiritual director and teaching some courses. It was very nice to see them, and it was also an opportunity for us to thank them for their help with the seminary.

Then, that evening, we had our annual Healing Mass for survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their families at the Pastoral Center.  It was well attended, and afterward, there was a light reception where I was able to greet the people.

We are so grateful to Vivian Soper and the staff at our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, who do so much to organize this event every year.

Sunday through Wednesday, we had our annual retreat for the bishops of New England.  As in past years, it was held at the Franciscan Guesthouse in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The retreat brings together the bishops of Region I, which includes the Province of Boston (the dioceses of Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire) and the Province of Hartford (the dioceses of Connecticut and the Diocese of Providence).  We were also very happy to be joined this year by the new Melkite Eparch of Newton François Beyrouti.

Bishop Christopher Coyne was gracious enough to organize the retreat for us.  And, of course, we congratulate him once again on his upcoming assignment as Coadjutor Archbishop of Hartford.

Our retreat master this year was Abbott Jeremy Driscoll of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon.  He preached a very moving and spiritual retreat with the theme “the theology of Resurrection.”

It was a beautiful retreat, and I know all the bishops enjoyed it a great deal.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán