Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Celebrating with our Asian Catholic communities

Hello and welcome!

Last Friday evening, we concluded a week of prayer vigils for Haiti in different communities across the archdiocese with a special Mass celebrated at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Several hundred people were in attendance, and about ten priests from the Haitian community joined us.  It was very moving to see many people bring Haitian flags to the Mass.


For my homily, I chose the theme “Being with Mary at the foot of the cross,” and the Gospel reading was from John 19, where Christ tells the Apostle, “Behold thy mother.”

I think everyone is aware of how dire the situation is in Haiti, so people were very happy to have this opportunity to pray for their country.

The Archdiocese of Boston has the third largest Haitian community in the United States, after Brooklyn and Miami.  So, our people are very much affected by the violence and anarchy that reigns in Haiti.  We are hopeful that the peacekeeping forces that are supposed to be sent by the United Nations will help alleviate the situation in Haiti and help restore order and a functioning government.

Saturday, I went to St. Mark’s Parish in Dorchester for a day of celebrations with the Asian Catholic communities of the archdiocese to mark Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

As I was entering the church, I took note of this mosaic outside that has many Christian symbols.

There were several events during the day, including a procession led by Bishop Cristiano Barbosa.

After the procession, I celebrated Mass.

There was a Filipino choir and many people from the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities.

There was also a Marian theme to the day, so the Mass we celebrated was for The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.  This is the new feast day that Pope Francis has given us for the Monday after Pentecost, but we thought it would be very appropriate for this occasion.

Monday, I went to St. Anthony of Padua in Cohasset to celebrate the funeral Mass of Father John Mulvehill, who had been pastor there for 24 years, serving until he was 86 years old.  He was a beloved figure in the community, and there was a large turnout of parishioners, along with many of his nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews who were there representing the family.

Father Tom Nestor was our homilist.  As a young boy, he would serve Mass for Father Mulvehill when he was stationed at St. Theresa’s in West Roxbury and was inspired by Father Jack’s priestly example.  It was a very beautiful homily.

Tuesday, we had our meeting of the bishops of the Boston Province, which includes the four dioceses of Massachusetts and the dioceses of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.  We were pleased to have the two newly named bishops of our province present with us: Bishop James Ruggieri, the newly ordained Bishop of Portland, Maine, and Bishop-elect John McDermott, who will be ordained and installed as Bishop of Burlington, Vermont, in July.

We meet as a province about twice a year to share information about our dioceses and make pastoral plans and decisions together.  It’s good to see the bishops of the region and hear about their pastoral challenges and accomplishments.  These meetings are always a very fraternal experience, and we all look forward to them.

Among the reports we received was a fascinating one about the situation in the Middle East, given by Father Bryan Hehir.  We also heard from Fathers Paul Soper and Bob Connors, two priests of the archdiocese who had attended the gathering of pastors in Rome in preparation for the Synod.  They gave us a very interesting report on their experience there.

Finally, as I prepare this post, I have just arrived in Rome.  Among my activities during this time will be a special Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore in Assisi, the Capuchin church where Blessed Carlo Acutis is buried.  I look forward to sharing more about that with you next week.

Until then,

Cardinal Seán