Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Celebrating Christmas

Hello and welcome!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Mine was very joy-filled.

Regular readers will remember that last week, I shared pictures of the young people from the Cathedral Parish religious education program rehearsing their Christmas pageant.  Well, they presented it last Saturday evening.

Every year, the community organizes Las Posadas.  This year, in addition to the Posadas, Father Nicanor and the children’s catechists organized this pageant.  They presented many different scenes of the Christmas story.  I thought they did a great job!

On Christmas Eve, I went to the Catholic Charities Teen Center at St. Peter’s in the Bowdoin-Geneva section of Dorchester for the toy and food distribution sponsored by the family of the late Mayor Thomas Menino.

It’s been 30 years since Mayor Menino started this effort to give toys and food to youngsters in Dorchester, particularly those from the Cape Verdean community.  His wife Angela and his children have continued this tradition, and for this 30th anniversary, it was the largest group yet.  They must have given away 100 or more bicycles and many other substantial things that, for a lot of these children, will be spectacular gifts for Christmas.

Of course, the local pastor, Father John Currie, was there, along with several Catholic Charities staff and board members and the youngsters who work and volunteer at the Teen Center.  Mayor Wu also came with her two young sons.

We even had a visit from Santa!

I am always happy to be there and participate in this very encouraging event.

From there, I went to Pine Street Inn.

When I arrived, the caroling group Ripples of Hope was singing in the lobby, and they encouraged me to join them.  So, I ended up singing a few melodies with them.

When the group finished, we spoke to the members of the media who were there.  Unfortunately, Lyndia Downie was unable to be with us this year because she was feeling ill.  But Josh O’Brien, Pine Street’s Director of Shelter Operations, talked about the accomplishments of Pine Street Inn.  He noted that while they serve over 1,000 meals at Christmas, Pine Street’s ultimate goal is to get people permanently off the street, which is very important.

In my remarks, I thanked the members of the media for being there and reminded them that homelessness occurs not only at Christmastime but all year round.  In Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn, but at Pine Street Inn, there’s always room.  I said this was an opportunity for all of us to focus on the terrible social problem of homelessness that plagues our country and is a result of the lack of affordable housing and care for people with mental illness and addiction.

Afterward, we went to the women’s and the men’s sections, where I offered prayers and helped serve their holiday meals.  Msgr. Frank Kelley was there, of course, along with Father John Unni and many of the volunteers we see every year who faithfully come to serve at Christmastime.

I hope that the publicity given to the wonderful works of Pine Street Inn at Christmastime will inspire everyone to work to overcome the causes of homelessness in our society.

That evening, we had our midnight Mass at the cathedral, preceded by a musical prelude.  The choir was spectacular.  They always end with the genealogy of Christ, and from that, we go into the Midnight Mass.

The cathedral was full.  I think there were about 1,500 people there, at least.  A lot of parishes have opted for earlier Masses on Christmas Eve, so many people who are looking for midnight Mass make their way to the cathedral, which is very nice.

Then, of course, we had our Christmas Day Masses at the cathedral.

Once again, there was a very good turnout, and we were happy to welcome everyone at the cathedral for Christmas.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán




April 2024

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