Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Ordaining a new permanent deacon for the archdiocese

Hello and welcome!

Each year, on the day before the City of Quincy inaugurates their elected officials, they hold a special Mass for the city.  This year, I was invited to celebrate the Mass, which took place last Thursday at Sacred Heart Church.  It was a beautiful celebration.

It was a very full church, and we were, of course, joined by the pastor, Father Lou Palmieri, as well as many priests who have connections to the area.

Among those being inaugurated for another term was Mayor Thomas Koch, who is the longest-serving mayor in the 400-year history of the City of Presidents!

Mayor Koch was awarded our Cheverus Medal this year but was unable to be at the ceremony in November.  So, we used the occasion of the Mass to present him with his medal.

Saturday, I went to St. Francis Church in Braintree to ordain a new permanent deacon for the archdiocese, Deacon Tim Sullivan.  He was originally scheduled to be ordained with the rest of his deacon class at the cathedral in September, but he fell ill on his ordination day.  So, we had this celebration at his parish.

We were joined by the pastor, Father Bob Blaney, and, of course, many permanent deacons accompanied us at the celebration.

With Deacon Sullivan and the other members of his class who were ordained at the cathedral in September.
With Deacon Sullivan, wife Joyce, and Deacon Chris Connelly, Director of our Permanent Diaconate Program
With Deacon Sullivan and his mother.
With St. Francis’s pastor, Father Bob Blaney, and parochial vicar Father Kevin Leaver
With our servers from St. John’s Seminary

Saturday evening, I was happy to greet our Ge’ez Rite Catholic community at the cathedral as they were gathered to celebrate their Christmas.

The Ge’ez Rite is like the Catholic counterpart of the Coptic Church, and being an Eastern Rite, they follow the Julian Calendar.   So, as we in the Latin Rite were celebrating Epiphany, they were celebrating Christmas.

Sunday evening, we hosted a gathering of about 200 people at the Pastoral Center to present the English language translation of the diaries of Servant of God Carmen Hernandez.

Being one of the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, which has over a million members, 20,000 communities, and 100 seminaries, this is a woman whose life and ministry have had a huge impact on the life of the Church.  Her writings demonstrate a very deep and mystical relationship with the Lord.

Greeting the postulator of Carmen’s cause, Carlos Metola.

Those of us who knew her enjoyed her personality — she was a very colorful lady!  So, some of the speakers offered anecdotes and remembrances of her life.  I thought the testimonies of Claudia Gennarini and Father Angelo Pochetti, who knew her so intimately, were very moving.

The event went far beyond commentary on her book; it was very much a recognition of her life.      So, it was a very interesting presentation, and I thought it was a very wonderful evening.

On Tuesday, I visited with Emmanuel College’s Acting President, Beth Ross, and former President Sister Janet Eisner.

I appreciated their taking the time to share with me that Emmanuel College is continuing to thrive as the school helps young women and men achieve their highest potential.  The archdiocese is blessed that the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur continue to guide Emmanuel College in the mission of making the goodness of God known to the world today.

Mike Scannell and Mark Vachon also came to give me an update on the work of the Clergy Trust, including a report on the Celebration of the Priesthood Dinner and plans for next year.

Mark is finishing his term as president of the board, and we are so grateful for the extraordinary contribution that he has made to the Clergy Trust.

On Wednesday, I went to visit with the inmates at MCI Framingham.  I visited several units and had an opportunity to celebrate Mass with a group of women, after which we had a time of dialogue with them.


We are so grateful for the ministry of Sister Maureen Clark, who has served as chaplain there and is doing just an extraordinary job.  She is beloved for all that she has accomplished.

My longtime friend Jim Towey came to visit me yesterday morning to give me an update on Aging With Dignity, which he founded to assist individuals and families with later-in-life and end-of-life planning that is firmly grounded in the Catholic moral and ethical tradition.

Among Jim’s many achievements are his having led the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for President George W. Bush, serving as president of Ave Maria University, serving as an ongoing member of the board of The Papal Foundation, and a decades-long close working relationship with the Missionaries of Charity, after many years as a personal advisor to Mother Teresa.

Aging With Dignity publishes and distributes the Five Wishes booklet, a valuable resource to help people consider and share their personal wishes for later in life or a time of unexpected need.  I highly recommend that you learn more about Aging With Dignity and the Five Wishes program by visiting their website.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán