Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Screening the new film ‘Cabrini’

Hello and welcome!

As I mentioned last week, I joined our recently ordained priests on their retreat last weekend for a time of conversation.  On Friday, I was also very happy to celebrate a Mass for them for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

Saturday, there was a youth encuentro at St. Stephen’s in Framingham.  Unfortunately, I had a cold and was unable to attend, but they were kind enough to send some photos.

We are very grateful to Bishop Cristiano for his participation and for the hard work of Sister Elsa and the other organizers in bringing this gathering together.

Monday, I participated in a Zoom meeting organized by the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparch of Philadelphia, Archbishop Borys Gudziak, to give us a report on the situation in Ukraine and what has been accomplished with some of the funds that have been raised to support Ukranians.

They have recently established the Healing of Wounds of the War in Ukraine Fund, which comes out of the Metropolia Humanitarian Aid Fund.  That fund was established in January 2022 by the Ukrainian Catholic bishops of the U.S. to assist humanitarian projects operated by the Church in Ukraine and collaborating organizations.  The Archdiocese of Boston was, of course, very generous in the collection we took up at the beginning of the war and is one of the major donors to the fund.

The Healing of Wounds of the War in Ukraine Fund has a similar mission as the Metropolia Fund and is aimed at healing physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds inflicted by the Russian invasion.  The new fund will continue to provide vital assistance to thousands of people in need, with such things as medical supplies, food kits, and pastoral care.

The situation in Ukraine is, of course, very dire, and we continue to pray for peace and for the alleviation of suffering of all who have been affected by the war.

Aldona Lingertat, who has been very much a linchpin in our programs of formation for lay leadership in the archdiocese for decades, sadly lost her husband, Norbert, recently.  So, on Tuesday, we went to South Boston to tender our condolences and join Aldona and her family in prayer and his wake.

A couple of years ago, when I was at the U.S. Bishops’ meeting in Texas, Eustace Wolfington made a presentation and showed us some clips from the film Cabrini, which was still in production at the time.  I was very impressed with what I saw.

Of course, I’ve known Eustace in the past as a great friend of the Church.   So, when the film was completed, he was anxious for me to see it and offered to bring it to Boston for a screening.  We arranged a date with the AMC Braintree just up the street from the Pastoral Center and invited people to come to see it, especially religious women in the archdiocese.  We had a great response, and it was impressive how many sisters joined us!  We had an overflow crowd.  We filled one theater, and they had to open up a second to accommodate everyone.

It was just an extraordinarily powerful film about an exceptional woman who came to the United States as an immigrant when she was 39 years old and died when she was 67.  She became a naturalized citizen and is the first American canonized saint.

The film depicts her strong faith and her commitment to serving those who were suffering.  She had very poor health but, despite all obstacles, was able to start hundreds of institutions, such as schools, hospitals and orphanages, to serve the poorest of the poor.  In fact, her life was an inspiration to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Everyone who saw it was very, very impressed.  As I often say, sometimes religious films can idealize their subjects, but the strength of this woman and her humanity comes across so strongly in it.  It showed her “grit,” as it were.  She had to deal with very difficult circumstances and face all kinds of suffering, but she had such a sense of vocation and mission.

It really is a very beautiful and powerful film.  Not only was the story compelling, but so was the cinematography as well as the music, which featured some pieces by Andrea Bocelli and his daughter.

Films such as this are a wonderful way for people to learn and understand the importance of the saints in our lives as Catholics and how they help us to glimpse God’s goodness and power in the lives of these people who live lives of faith and love.

Wednesday, I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 2024 Catholic Partnership Summit held by the Leadership Roundtable.

Thursday, I was very happy to serve as homilist for a Mass celebrated by Apostolic Nuncio Cardinal Christophe Pierre.  We had many priests and bishops who concelebrated with us.

Thursday night, they held a dinner at which they presented their J. Donald Monan SJ Distinguished Catholic Philanthropy Medal, named for the former president of Boston College.

Among those who are being honored were Craig and Nancy Gibson and the Kaneb family. We contratulate them and join the Leadership Roundtable in thanking them for their generous support of the Church.

My trip to Washington also happened to coincide with a board meeting of the Catholic University of America.

The university is thriving under the leadership of our new president, and we are very grateful for Dr. Peter Kilpatrick’s commitment and the excellent participation of the board members who work so hard for our Catholic university.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán