Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Day: February 2, 2024

Receiving Bishop-elect Barbosa’s Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity

Hello and welcome!

On Monday, I was visited by the Portuguese Ambassador to The United States, Francisco Duarte Lopes, and the Consul General in Boston, Tiago Araújo.

The ambassador had been in the Boston area for several days, visiting different groups and programs related to the Portuguese language and culture, and Monday was his last day here.  Earlier in the day, the ambassador visited with Governor Healey, then he came to visit me at the cathedral.  We spoke about the situation of the Portuguese-speaking community in the area, and afterward, they joined me for dinner before the ambassador had to fly back to Washington.

On Tuesday, I met with Sister Joanne Schatzlein and the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi of Wisconsin, who came to visit me accompanied by Michelle Markowitz, the director of the Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover.

The Sisters of St. Francis sponsor the Cardinal Cushing Centers and four similar centers throughout the country.  They came to speak to me about how they’re going to continue the charism of these institutions.  The Sisters are a community that, like my own, came about in the United States because of the Kulturkampf in Germany, which saw great persecution of the Catholics there and caused many orders to come to this country.

Of course, the Cardinal Cushing Centers is very well known for its work with special needs individuals.  It was founded by Cardinal Cushing in 1947 as St. Coletta School to serve those he called his “exceptional” children, and he often spoke with great affection of his visits with the children there.

In fact, the place was so dear to him that he chose to be buried on the grounds in a chapel that is an exact replica of the Portiuncula in Assisi.

Of course, over the many years, the Cardinal Cushing Centers has expanded its programs in so many ways and serves people of all ages.  It is just a wonderful institution that cares for special-needs people and we are so blessed to have them in the archdiocese.

Tuesday evening, I had dinner with another class of our seminarians, along with our vocation director, Father Eric Cadin.  This time, I met with the men in their third year of theology studies.

As we always do, we had Vespers, dinner and a time of conversation.  These are the men who will be ordained transitional deacons in the spring.  So, it was wonderful to have a chance to hear about their experiences.

Wednesday, at the noon Mass at the Pastoral Center, Bishop-elect Cristiano Barbosa made his Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity.

A new bishop is required to take the oath and make his profession of faith before his ordination.  Very often, that is done privately in the presence of the ordinary with several witnesses.  That’s the way we’ve always done it in the past, and, in fact, I always made them do it in Latin!  But this is the first time we did it publicly and as part of a Mass.  We were so happy that his parents had arrived from Brazil and were able to be with us, along with many members of our Pastoral Center staff.

It worked out very well.  It gave me an opportunity to explain the significance of the oath and profession and the role of the bishop in passing on the faith.  I also spoke a bit about the Nicene Creed, which is the basis of the Profession of Faith that a new bishop is called upon to make.  I used the reading from 1 Timothy, where St. Paul says, “You made this noble profession in the presence of many witnesses.” So, we see that this was done right from the beginning of the Church.

I think doing it publicly in this way was very meaningful, and everyone was pleased.

That afternoon, I went to the wake of James Orcutt, the founder of My Brother’s Keeper.

Of course, I came to know Jim 30 years ago when I was in Fall River because he was from Easton, which is right on the border of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Diocese of Fall River.  The inspiration for his work came out of his participation in the Cursillo.  He and his wife were very involved in the Cursillo movement, and then he started My Brother’s Keeper, providing people in need with furniture and helping care for the homeless.

Jim was just an extraordinary faith-filled man whose life was about serving the poor and spreading the faith.  So, I was happy to participate in the wake service, and Bishop da Cunha asked me to say a few words about him.  He was a great man whose life was a beautiful witness of what it means to live a life of discipleship and fidelity in the Catholic Church.

Thursday, I attended the wake of Father Albert Sallese at St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown.  Father Al was 90 years old and had many different assignments and carried out varied and interesting ministries in his nearly 60 years as a priest.

His two sisters were with us, along with other members of his family.  Father John Capuci celebrated his Mass the following day, and Bishop Reed presided.  Father Al had a long and very effective ministry and was very beloved.

Finally, I invite all of you to join us tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 3, for the episcopal ordination of Bishop-elect Cristiano Barbosa at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  For those of you who can’t join us in person, I invite you to watch via CatholicTV, which is available on cable, via livestream, and on many other apps and services.

An ordination is always a very joyous occasion in the life of the Church, and especially so with the ordination of a bishop.  As I often say, without our bishops, we would not have the magisterium, the possibility to forgive sins, the celebration of the Eucharist, or the ability to ordain priests and deacons.  So, this is a significant moment in the life of the Church, and I invite all of you to participate in whatever way you can.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán


February 2024