Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Ordinations in Denver on my way to Rome

Hello and welcome,

I want to begin this week by saying how saddened we were by the passing of Father Dan Mahoney.

Father Mahoney was beloved by his parishioners and the wider community, where he served the people of the archdiocese for nearly 70 years as a priest.  For over 60 of those years, he was a trusted friend and chaplain to the brave men and women of the Boston Fire Department, including 31 years as Chief Chaplain.

He was a steady and reassuring presence in the lives of countless numbers of people who sought refuge with him during times of tragedy, uncertainty, and suffering.  Father Dan loved being a priest and Fire Department Chaplain.  He will be greatly missed.

I have spent much of this past week in Rome, but on the way, I stopped in Denver to visit my family and ordain two Capuchin friars, Fathers Luke Jordan and Vincent Carrasco, at Annunciation Parish on Saturday.

It’s always a great joy to have an ordination, especially for our own brothers in the community,   and it was a chance to see a lot of the friars I don’t get to see very often.

Brother Anthony Monahan, who is studying at Pope St. John XXIII Seminary, is also in that province and was with us.

I was also able to visit with my classmate Father Simeon Gallagher, whom many people in the archdiocese will know from his extensive preaching ministry and the parish missions he has been engaged in for many years.

And, of course, it was wonderful to be able to see my nephews and other family members.

Following the ordination, I left for Rome for our meetings of the C-9 Council of Cardinals, which were held on Monday and Tuesday.  Once again, the theme of this meeting very much focused on the role of women in the Church.

On Monday, after an introduction by Sister Linda Pocher, we heard talks by two very accomplished experts: Valentina Rotondi, a professor of the social sciences and Donata Horak, a canon law professor.  Professor Rotondi gave a presentation on the economy as a form of care, particularly with regard to intergenerational relationships, and Professor Horak gave a very interesting talk on various contrasts in Canon Law, such as between justice and mercy.

We continued our meeting on Tuesday, and I offered reports on several of the safeguarding programs we have initiated at the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.  Cardinal Gracias also spoke on the work of bishops’ conferences.  And, as we often do, we offered our reflections on the situations in our home regions, particularly around current conflicts.

Father Bob Casey from Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid’s in South Boston was in Rome with Father Liam Bergin, so I had dinner with Father Casey one night.

As I have mentioned before, St. Peter’s Basilica is getting exceptionally crowded during the day with tourists.  As I’ve often said, the danger is that people can come to see St. Peter’s Basilica as a tourist attraction, where you go to see the artwork rather than as a place to pray and visit the tomb of St. Peter and the other saints.

So, they are now having a lot of events in the evening for people to come to the basilica and pray — novenas, holy hours and rosaries — that are announced on big screens in the square.  For example, yesterday, they began the novena in preparation for the Feast of St. Peter.

These types of events are relatively new, and I think this is a very positive pastoral development.

I was very pleased to hear that Lorna DesRoses of our Evangelization Secretariat was honored with the Blind Employee of the Year Award from the Carroll Center for the Blind and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

It was a great joy to see that Lorna’s extraordinary talent and commitment to service of the community have been recognized by such a prestigious group.  We are so grateful for the many years that she has dedicated to the archdiocese, and we congratulate her on this recognition of her faith and dedication.

Finally, I wanted to share this photo that I received from Antonio and Reyes Enrique this week.

I was thrilled to see that the Enrique family was able to visit their son Esteban, who is now Brother Vincent Mary, a novice at the Carthusian monastery in Vermont.  He doesn’t have the opportunity to see his family very often, so it was a very joyful reunion.  It was wonderful to see this picture with the whole family there.

There are not many contemplative communities for men in our country, but they are a very important part of the life of our Church.  Their life is one of witness to the primacy of God and the essential nature of prayer, and we are all the beneficiaries of their life of prayer and penance.  Brother Vincent is certainly in our thoughts, and we pray for him and for blessings in his vocation.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán