Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Honoring service to the Archdiocese

Hello and welcome!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  As every year, I spent Thanksgiving with my family in Florida.  It’s the one time of year we all gather.

We had Mass in the chapel at St. Sebastian’s Church in Fort Lauderdale.

The chapel is dedicated to Christ the Healer, and the windows in the chapel reflect that theme.

And, of course, we shared a wonderful meal together.

Saturday, I gathered with members of the Vietnamese community of the archdiocese at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for a Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Vietnamese Martyrs.

Before Mass, they put on a play depicting the life of one of the martyrs, and they set up an altar in the sanctuary with the relics of the Vietnamese martyrs.

There were a number of Vietnamese priests and seminarians with us for the Mass.  They also had a huge choir that was spectacular.

Saturday evening, we were pleased to have Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez join Msgr. O’Leary and I for dinner at the cathedral.  Archbishop Gonzalez was, at one point, an auxiliary bishop of Boston, and he was here for a visit.

He had not been here for several years and had not seen the renovations to the cathedral.  So, we were happy to give him a tour.

Sunday, I went to Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston to celebrate a mid-day Spanish Mass for the Feast of Christ the King.

We were, of course, joined by Father Tom Domurat and Father Dan Zinger, who do such an outstanding job shepherding the parish.

The church was just packed; it was standing room only.

It’s always very life-giving to celebrate with such a vibrant faith community, and it was a great joy to be with them.

That afternoon, we had our annual celebration of the Cheverus Awards, which we always celebrate around the Feast of Christ the King.  I instituted this program 15 years ago as part of our bicentennial celebrations to recognize the unsung heroes and heroines without whom the mission and ministry of the archdiocese would not be possible.

I like to call the Cheverus Awards the “Catholic Thanksgiving Day” when we thank all the people whose generosity, fidelity and witness we too often take for granted.  It’s a way, as a Catholic community, to express our thanks for all the people who work so hard to help the archdiocese, its parishes, and its agencies keep running.

Bishop Cheverus was the first Bishop of Boston, and in my reflections, I talked about his episcopal motto, “diligamus nos invicem” (“Let us love one another”).

This year, I asked them to place the portrait of Bishop Cheverus by Gilbert Stuart in front of the altar for the celebration.  The image of the bishop on the award medal is a replica of that extraordinary portrait of him that the Brahmin community of Boston had made by one of the most famous portraitists of that generation.

This year, we had an outstanding group of honorees, which was the largest we had ever had.  It was encouraging to see the cathedral full of family members, friends and fellow parishioners who came out to support them.

Very often at award ceremonies, people are singled out for having come from the furthest distance, but this year, I wanted to recognize our Cheverus Award recipient with the greatest longevity.  So, in my homily, I held up Mary Ryan, who is over 100 years old and was involved with the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, aiding Christians in the Holy Land for many decades.  I was delighted she could be present for the celebration.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán