Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Day: January 5, 2024

Welcoming the New Year

Happy New Year to all!

Last Friday, I joined Bishop Hennessey and about a dozen local priests at St. Brigid’s in South Boston for a celebration of Father Bob Casey’s birthday.

It was a nice opportunity for the priests to get together and socialize during this very busy season.

Each year on New Year’s Eve, Antonio and Reyes Enrique invite me for a festive meal at their house.  This year, I was accompanied by Brother Jim Peterson and Father Antonio Nardoianni, who is on his way to a new assignment in Canada.

Reyes prepared a wonderful paella, and afterwards, we sang Spanish Christmas carols.  As always, it was a delightful evening.

In Boston, we have a long tradition of holding an archdiocesan celebration on New Year’s Eve so that we end the old year and begin the new year at Mass.  It’s been held at several different places over the years, but in recent times, we have been gathering for our Holy Hour and Mass at St. Clement Shrine in the Back Bay.

They had a magnificent choir that performed a lot of polyphonic music.  And, at the end of Mass, they sang the Te Deum, which is a prayer from the breviary that is sung on occasions of celebration and thanksgiving in the Catholic tradition.  So, in Europe, the Te Deum is often sung on New Year’s.

When I came to Boston 20 years ago, I began the custom of celebrating a Mass for the Haitian community on Haitian Independence Day, which is New Year’s Day.  This year, I was accompanied at the Mass by Bishop Mark O’Connell and Bishop-elect Cristiano Barbosa.  We were also very happy to be joined by many priests serving in the Haitian apostolate.

It’s always a very well-attended event, with parishioners coming from the various Haitian communities of the archdiocese.

They always have a wonderful choir, and, as at St. Clement’s, they concluded the celebration singing the Te Deum.

The situation in Haiti is very dire, so we were happy to have this opportunity to gather and pray for the Haitian people, not only in the diaspora but also those at home in Haiti.

Also that day, Bishop Mark and I met with Father Krzysztof Olejnik, the Superior General of the Society of Christ, which is the order that staffs the St. John Paul II Shrine of Divine Mercy in Salem.  So, of course, we were also joined by Father Robert Będziński, the rector of the shrine.

Father Krzysztof was in town and came by to greet me. We had a very nice visit.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

January 2024