Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Day: September 8, 2023

Labor Day Weekend feasts

Hello and welcome!

As I do each year around Labor Day, I visited our three archdiocesan seminaries for a Mass of the Holy Spirit to open the academic year.

The first was at St. John’s Seminary last Wednesday.  We were joined by Bishop Barres, who was visiting, and afterward, we had lunch with the seminarians.

Then, on Friday afternoon, I went to Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston.  The Mass was celebrated in Spanish, as is their custom on Fridays.

Then, in the evening, I had the Mass at our Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline.

We took occasion of the Mass to institute new lectors and acolytes.


Saturday, I went to St. Patrick’s in Stoneham for the funeral Mass of Father Mario Orrigo.

Hundreds of people were in attendance, including his family and a large number of priests.  It was very edifying to see how beloved Father Orrigo was and how appreciated was his ministry.

Father Al Capone, who had been stationed with Father Orrigo for many years, preached the homily, and Father Orrigo’s brother, Joseph, gave a remembrance at the end of Mass.

Sunday morning, I went to Holy Rosary Shrine in Lawrence for the 100th anniversary of the Feast of the Three Saints, which is organized by the St. Alfio Society.

The feast has its origins with the immigrants who came to Lawrence from the area around the town of Trecastagni in Sicily.  They brought with them the devotion to the Three Saints – St.  Alfio, St. Filadelfo and St. Cirino, brothers who were martyrs in the first centuries of the Church.

The people have maintained a great devotion to the saints, and the St. Alfio Society continues to grow and attract new members.

This year, in honor of the centenary, Archbishop Luigi Renna of Catania and Father Orazio Greco, rector of the Santuario Sant’Alfio in Trecastagni, traveled to the States to be at the Feast.

They brought with them a reliquary from the sanctuary in Sicily with relics of the saints.

A marching band also came from Sicily.  They played beautifully during the Mass and procession.

We are very grateful to the members of the St. Alfio Society and to the Franciscans of Primitive Observance who are in charge of the shrine.

That evening, I went to Our Lady of Fatima in Ludlow for a Mass to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their annual Festa.  The Festa is a Labor Day Weekend tradition that celebrates Portuguese culture and draws many thousands of people each year.  Because Bishop Byrne is in Rome, he asked me to celebrate the Mass.

The parish church is very beautiful.  The inside is covered with azulejos and has representations of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII, and many Portuguese saints.

The Conventual Franciscan Friars have taken over staffing the parish, and Father Pedro Miguel de Oliveira, O.F.M. Conv. is now the pastor.

To accommodate the immense crowds, the Mass was celebrated outside by their chapel, which is a replica of the Fatima chapel in Portugal.   There was also a huge candlelight procession that went through the streets carrying the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, praying the rosary and singing the Fatima hymns.

It was a wonderful experience, and I was happy to be there once again.

On Tuesday, Archbishop Josif Printezis from Greece was with us at the cathedral.  He is the archbishop of the islands of Naxos, Tinos, Andros, and Mykonos in the Aegean Sea.

He studied at St. John’s Seminary as a seminarian and has come to Boston for a two-month sabbatical, which he will be spending at Pope St. John XXIII Seminary.  He arrived Tuesday night and stayed with us at the rectory before making his way to Pope St. John the next day.

On Wednesday I had several meetings at the cathedral.

First, I was visited by Cardinal Antoine Kambanda of Kigali Rwanda, who came accompanied by Eustace Mita of The Papal Foundation.

With Eustace Mita, Cardinal Kambanda and Archbishop Printezis

The cardinal is in the States with The Papal Foundation and came to greet me.

Then, I participated in a Zoom meeting hosted by Lucía Caram of Barcelona, who has been very active in humanitarian efforts related to the war in Ukraine.  She is currently working to establish field hospitals for the wounded.  She told us that 40 percent of those wounded in Ukraine die for lack of medical attention.

And finally, I was also visited by Jim Wright of the Station of the Cross Catholic radio, who came accompanied by his son-in-law Jim Havens.  They came to share with me encouraging news about the expansion of their Catholic radio ministry in the area.

With Jim Wright and Jim HavensThey have new towers and are doing wonderful work to increase the reach of their broadcasts and are planning to expand their Spanish-language programming.  I was very grateful for the opportunity to hear from him directly about what they’re doing.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

September 2023