Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Celebrating our priests

Hello and welcome!

Last Thursday evening, we had our 15th annual Celebration of the Priesthood Dinner at the Omni Seaport Hotel in Boston.  This dinner is so important to us because it raises funds for our Clergy Trust, which supports the healthcare, wellness, and retirement needs of our priests in good standing.

It was impressive to see over 1,100 people gathered to support and honor our priests.

The dinner started with a performance by the boys of St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge. They did a fantastic job!

Then, during the evening, we heard remarks by our Dinner Chairs, Jay and Linda Hooley, and Mark Vachon, the Chair of the Board of the Clergy Trust. I offered remarks, as well.

Jay and Linda Hooley

They also showed an outstanding film featuring the ministries of Fathers Jim Ronan, Marcos Enrique and Bob Deehan.  I found it inspiring, and I hope you will, too.

This year’s St. Joseph the Worker Award was presented posthumously to Jim McDonough, who did so much to bring the archdiocese back to sound financial footing during his time as chancellor.

We were so happy that his wife Lynne and his children were there to receive the award on his behalf.

Then, on Sunday, I went to St. Rose of Lima Parish in Chelsea for the installation of their pastor, Hilario Sañez, who has been there for a long time and has done an extraordinary job.

There was a huge crowd at the Mass, which was celebrated bilingually.  While the majority of parishioners are from Latin America, the parish also has vibrant English and Vietnamese communities.  Among those with us were several city officials, seminarians and a number of priests.

Afterwards, there was a lovely luncheon at which they presented me with the gift of a beautiful Chelsea Clock.  Father John Mulloy, who concelebrated with us, said his grandparents were married in that church 100 years ago and that his father worked his whole life at the Chelsea Clock Company.

I spent much of the rest of this week in Rome, where we are holding the plenary session of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.  At the conclusion of our session, we will publish a statement on the work of the commission.

On Tuesday, I had a Mass with the members of the commission at St. John the Baptist Church.  We were joined by Antonia Sobocki and Maggie Mathews from the group LOUDFence, who were recommended to us by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. They have done a lot to try to bring people back to the Church who have felt alienated because of the sexual abuse crisis.

They have the custom of presenting ribbons representing individuals who have been abused, and after the Mass, they placed some ribbons on the altar rail of the church.

I was very pleased I was able to introduce Antonia and Maggie to the Holy Father on Thursday evening.

He thanked them for their important work advocating for victims.

Then, on Thursday night, the Chilean Ambassador to the Holy See, Patricia Araya Gutiérrez, invited me to celebrate a Mass to commemorate Chilean Independence Day.  The Mass was celebrated at St. Anselm’s, the Benedictine university where they have about 800 students studying liturgy.

There are about 100 monks there, and I was greeted by the prior and Abbot Primate Gregory Polan, an American who is the titular head of the Benedictine Order throughout the world and who resides there at St. Anselm’s.  In fact, Abbot Gregory will be preaching for us at the New England bishops’ retreat next year.

Concelebrating with me was Archbishop Andrés Ferrada, the Secretary of the Dicastery for the Clergy, along with a number of priests. There were many members of the diplomatic corps with us for the Mass, particularly those from Latin American countries.

It was a very beautiful celebration, and I was very honored to be a part of it.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán