Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Month: February 2024

Celebrating the Rite of Election

Hello and welcome!

Last weekend, I was pleased to be able to attend the New York Encounter hosted by Communion and Liberation.  Each year, CL holds this gathering for young people, which is modeled on “Il Meeting” held every year in Rimini, Italy and is the largest annual cultural event in Italy.

We always have a very good contingent of people from Boston attend, and this year, they probably had the largest group that they’ve ever had.  In fact, they had to secure a larger space to accommodate the crowds.

With Dr. Lorenzo Berra and Dr. Kerry Pound

On Saturday, I was happy to participate in a panel speaking about the legacy of my dear friend, the late Father Lorenzo Albacete.

As part of the gathering, they have a number of exhibits that people can peruse.  One I found particularly interesting this year was an exhibit on the Church in Armenia.

There are always many young families with children.  I always like to see the different activities they have for the children, like singing and crafts.

They had an activity for the children making mosaics, which I liked very much.

Sunday was the First Sunday of Lent.  So, we joined cathedrals throughout the world in holding the Rite of Election for catechumens preparing to be baptized at Easter.

It was the largest group that we’ve had for the last several years.  The cathedral was packed.  It was very encouraging to see that.

The celebration is always a wonderful opportunity for the catechumens to realize that they are joining not just a parish, but the Universal Church as they gather in the cathedral with hundreds of people from other parishes who were also making the same step to enter the Church at Holy Week.

On Tuesday, I was visited by Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, Sweden.  He is a Carmelite and was in the area visiting with the local Carmelite community, so he came to greet me.

We had a very interesting conversation.  He has been the Bishop of Stockholm for over 25 years and explained that his diocese has a very small Catholic population, most of whom are immigrants from Poland, the Middle East, and South America.  He himself is a convert from Lutheranism and told me that, of the seven ordinations they had his year, and four of them were Lutheran ministers who were becoming priests.

That evening, I had one of my periodic dinners with a class of our seminarians.  This time, I met with our men in second theology.

During these dinners, we have the opportunity to pray together, share a meal and talk about seminary life and the ministries that the seminarians are engaged in.  It’s always a wonderful experience, and we are very grateful for the wonderful men that we have studying for the Archdiocese of Boston.

Wednesday, I met with Jim Elcock, Chair of the Board of St. Sebastian’s School, and Brendan Sullivan, who will be taking over as Head of School when Bill Burke retires at the end of June.

Brendan has been at St. Sebastian’s for over 20 years in many different capacities and, most recently, was Dean of Students.  So, he is an excellent choice for the position to ensure continuity in carrying on the wonderful work that Bill Burke has done there for so long.

Thursday, I joined our recently ordained priests who are on retreat at the Betania II Retreat Center in Medway for one of our regular ongoing formation gatherings.

I celebrated Mass with them, followed by lunch and a time of dialogue.  It’s always very life-giving to be with them and hear about their ministries.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán




February 2024