On Thursday last week, Catholic school students and their families packed the cathedral for the annual Catholic School Foundation Scholar’s Mass.
Every year more and more young people attend. These young people will graduate from 8th grade this year and are headed to Catholic high schools in the fall. Due to their impressive academic achievements, they have all received scholarships from the Inner-City Scholarship Fund.
There was a reception for them afterwards.
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The following evening, I gathered with the nine men who would be ordained on Saturday for dinner and evening prayer. I gave them their assignments and then we all gathered at the cathedral for their ordination the next morning.
It was a beautiful celebration, and all of their families were able to be with them. Also present were busloads of parishioners from their home parishes and diaconate assignments.
During my reflections, I spoke about St. Christopher, one of the Mexican martyrs. It was his feast day, and he was a diocesan priest.
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They had a procession and all the scouts and their families walked through the Door of Mercy. Their presence in the cathedral was, for them (as it is for anyone), a pilgrimage. One of the requirements for some of the merit badges was that you make a pilgrimage, so for many, this event was their Jubilee of Mercy pilgrimage.
After the procession, I greeted them and thanked them for their participation in the scouting programs. I also congratulated those who were receiving their Catholic medals like the Ad Altare Dei and other merit badges for their participation in the various activities of the Church. Father Matt Williams celebrated the Mass.
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On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending a joint committee of Catholic and Orthodox bishops at the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire.
Both I and Metropolitan Methodios, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, were named co-chairmen last year.
He was appointed by the Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada and I by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The joint committee has been meeting for many decades, and it is always good to get together with Orthodox leaders to talk about ways that we can promote unity between our churches.
On Monday, the Orthodox bishops came to our Catholic Mass and the following Tuesday we attended their Divine Liturgy celebration. It was a wonderful experience.
I certainly learned a lot about the relationships between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. I gave a report on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si. In the opening chapter, Pope Francis quotes extensively from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the primus inter pares (first among equals) of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
There was also a report on the upcoming Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which will be held on the Greek island of Crete on June 17-27. It will be the first time that leaders of all 14 churches will meet together. It has been a very long time since they’ve had this kind of meeting, and of course, the more that the Orthodox can be united among themselves, the greater the possibility for unity with the Catholic Church as well.
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On Wednesday, I traveled back to Pastoral Center to spend time more time with the newly ordained and their families. We always have a luncheon for the ordinands and their parents the week after their ordination.
It was a very nice get together, and one of the highlights is always the opportunity to hear about their experiences celebrating their first Masses.
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I also received the annual report on St. Sabastian School in Needham. I am chairman of their Board of Trustees, and I met with headmaster William Burke, board president James Elcock and board member Kevin Driscoll.
From left to right Kevin Driscoll, William Burke and James Elcock
The report was very positive. It’s a unique school. Not only do the educators there prepare their students for top flight universities, but at the same time, they instill a very strong Catholic identity. They really prepare young men to live their faith in the modern world. The school will be celebrating their 75th anniversary next year.
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The same day, I attended the wake of Father Francis Garrity, cousin to Msgr. Paul Garrity, who celebrated the funeral Mass.
The wake was held at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Swampscott, and his sister spoke about how much Father Garrity loved being a priest. I also want to share with you a beautiful tribute, written by Joe Fitzgerald in the Boston Herald.
Until my next post.