Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Celebrating College Confirmations

Hello and welcome!

Last Friday, I was pleased to attend a luncheon at the Harvard Club celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ray Flynn’s election as Mayor of Boston.

Among those there to honor Ray Flynn was John Kerry

I was invited to give a blessing and make some remarks.   When I became Bishop of Fall River 31 years ago, Ray Flynn was already in office.  I had met him a number of times, and at one point, he wrote a fanciful novel in which the Irish Bishop of Fall River was elected pope.  I accused him of writing science fiction!  I told him that, in revenge, I was going to write a book about a basketball-playing Mayor of Boston who became the President of the United States — but I’m still working on it!

Mayor Flynn’s service to the City of Boston is much appreciated, and I also mentioned his service as Ambassador to the Holy See.  We are very proud that his Catholic faith has informed his public service and desire for social justice.

Each year after Easter, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and the Board of the Knights of Columbus make a visit to an area of the country where the Knights have a significant presence, and this year, they chose Boston.

As part of their visit, I celebrated a Mass for them at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  Also with us were Mass. State Deputy Tom Butler and prior State Deputy Paul O’Sullivan.

It was the first time that a number of them had been in the cathedral since it was renovated, and they were enthusiastic about the improvements.

Following the Mass, we had dinner at the Hampshire House in Boston, where they presented me with a decree in my honor.

Saturday, we celebrated our annual confirmation Mass at the cathedral for college students It’s always a wonderful celebration with our college students coming from the various campus ministries in the area.  The largest group this year was from Northeastern University with the Brotherhood of Hope.

Father Eric Cadin introduced the confirmands.

It’s always a very joyful celebration, and I was happy to see many of their relatives and friends come to accompany the young people.  It was also an opportunity to thank all the chaplains, campus ministers, catechists and sponsors for their support in preparing these young adults for confirmation.

Sunday was, of course, Divine Mercy Sunday, and I went to our Pope St. John Paul II Divine Mercy Shrine in Salem to celebrate Mass with them.

They have a wonderful community at the shrine, which includes many young Polish families as well as other people from the area.  Of course, many had gone there just for Mercy Sunday to go to confession and participate in the events they had around the feast day.

At the Mass, they gave me a lovely basket of Polish food.

Afterward, there was a luncheon in the parish hall.

They had a full day of activities around Divine Mercy Sunday, including many, many hours of confessions, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, adoration and a Stations of the Cross procession.

Monday, I departed for Rome for the annual pilgrimage and meeting of The Papal Foundation.

Of course, that was the day of the solar eclipse, and I didn’t expect to have an opportunity to see it.  But, as I was getting in the car to go to the airport, Sister Marie Paul came running up with eclipse glasses and said, “Put these on!”  And I did, and it was amazing!

Of course, I harkened back to the day that I was named a bishop.  I have a bit of a history with eclipses.

We have 150 or so Stewards of The Papal Foundation here in Rome for our meetings, and I celebrated Mass for them at my titular church, Santa Maria Della Vittoria, on Wednesday evening.

With several of the Carmelite Sisters who have replaced the friars in running Santa Maria

Afterwards, there was a reception at which they singled out some of the Saeman Scholars, who are sponsored by the St. John Paul II Scholarship Fund of The Papal Foundation that allows priests and religious to study at the pontifical universities of Rome.  They have awarded more than 2,000 of the scholarships since their inception.

Our meetings of the Foundation continued on Thursday, and that evening was the 30th annual Rector’s Dinner at the Pontifical North American College.  Fathers Michael Drea, Joe Ferme and Wayne Belschner were all there with us.

This year, the dinner honorees were Cardinal Wilton Gregory and Lory Mondaini.

Finally, earlier today, the Papal Foundation had an audience with the Holy Father, but we’ll share more details about that with you next week.

Until then,

Cardinal Seán