Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Hello and welcome,

Last Thursday, I celebrated the Boston College High School Baccalaureate Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. It was a full cathedral, with over 300 graduates and, I would estimate, there were somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people at the Mass.


BC High has celebrated their Baccalaureate Mass at the Cathedral for the last few years and we were very happy to have them there again.


The choir from the school performed for us. It was very beautiful.



Jonathan Shea, who is Father Joe Raeke’s nephew, spoke at the end of Mass. He gave a beautiful testimony of faith.


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Last week I was also visited by three Capuchin friars who stopped by the Cathedral.


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Saturday I went to St. Mary’s in Plymouth for the celebration of their 100th anniversary.


They made this beautiful quilt to commemorate their hundred years.


It was a beautiful celebration and we were joined by two former pastors.


The parish has a small but growing Brazilian community, so they have this shrine to Our Lady of Aparecida, the Patroness of Brazil.


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The following day I joined another parish for their anniversary celebration. This time, it was St. John’s in Wellesley. They were a chapel before they became a parish, so this year they are celebrating 140 years as a faith community and 125 years as a parish.

O'Malley St. John Well Anniv

It is a wonderful parish that has been served faithfully by Father Tom Powers and Sister Evelyn Ronan for over 20 years. Father John Connelly is also in residence there, as is Father Bryan Hehir.



It was a very beautiful celebration, and afterwards they had a sort of outdoor fair to continue the festivities.

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Sunday afternoon, I was visited by Father Michael Nolan and members of the Ugandan Catholic Community. They had recently elected a new leadership team for their community and Father Michael brought them by to introduce them to me.


There is a very large Ugandan community in the Boston area, and the vast majority of them are Christian — either Catholic or Anglican. St. Mary’s in Waltham is home to a very active community where, for example, they celebrate the Feast of the Ugandan Martyrs every year. In fact, at the conclusion of our gathering, the members of the leadership team sang one of the hymns of the Ugandan Martyrs for me in their native language.

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Monday, I attended the commencement ceremony at Boston College, where I gave the benediction.


The commencement speaker this year was Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago.

Archbishop Blase Supic speaking to graduates at the Boston College Commencement exercises.Photo Lee Pellegrini

Archbishop Cupich was given an honorary doctorate along with a number of other people. Among the other recipients was a young man who runs a Nativity School in a very rural area of Texas and a religious sister from Jamaica who is a former superior of the Sisters of Mercy. Another recipient has been very much involved in serving veterans.


They all have very interesting stories and I thought that at the commencement they have often honored graduates of Boston College who have gone on to perform great acts of service to the wider society, and this was just another example of that.


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That day, I was also visited by the St. Agrippina Society from the North End. Each year they sponsor a festival in honor of the saint, as well as a number of charitable activities in the community. The members of the society all have connections to the same village in Sicily, where the saint is revered.


Last year, the society celebrated the 100th anniversary and they brought over a relic of St. Agrippina, and the pastor from their church in Sicily visited the feast here.



They presented me with a plaque.

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In the evening, I attended the ceremony for the awarding of the Cardinal Medeiros Scholarships at Boston University. The scholarship provides a four-year, full tuition scholarship for graduates of Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese.

Since the establishment of the scholarship, hundreds of graduates of our Catholic high schools have been given full scholarships to Boston University.


The twelve students honored received scholarships valued at nearly $2.3 million. By the time these students graduate, the University will have enrolled a total of 408 scholars, representing a contribution of over $46 million from Boston University to the greater Boston area and the students of the Archdiocese.

Here is a list of the 2015 Cardinal Medeiros Scholars:

Anthony Byrne – Xaverian Brothers High School

Mckenzie Cheung – Academy of Notre Dame High School

Steven Doucette Jr. – Malden Catholic High School

Olivia Ferris – Central Catholic High School

Emily Fratalia – Cardinal Spellman High School

Mark Haddad – Saint John’s Preparatory School

Jenna Lanciani – Fontbonne Academy

Catherine McAuley – Notre Dame Academy

Kathleen McLaughlin – Arlington Catholic High School

Christopher Phillips – Boston College High School

Robert Reidy – Boston College High School

Maria Splaine – Presentation of Mary Academy

They always invite me to help award the scholarships along with a member of the Boston University administration. Frequently, it is President Brown, but this year he was unable to attend and we were joined by Provost Jean Morrison.

We were also joined at the ceremony by Father David Barnes, our Catholic chaplain at Boston University.

This is a wonderful program, and a great gift to the students and their families, especially considering the high cost of a college education today.

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On Tuesday, I was happy to join the commencement exercises at St. John’s Seminary for the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization.

St. john’s Seminary Theological Institute for the New Evangelization commencement May 19, 2015. Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

We awarded 15 degrees in either the Master of Theological Studies for the New Evangelization program or the Master of Arts in Ministry program.

St. john’s Seminary Theological Institute for the New Evangelization commencement May 19, 2015. Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

This year, Sister Marian Batho was the commencement speaker and the student speaker was Julie Basque. Julie gave a beautiful talk, as did Sister Marian.

St. john’s Seminary Theological Institute for the New Evangelization commencement May 19, 2015. Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

We are also very pleased that, this year, two of our deacons also graduated from the program with master degrees. I’m very happy to see that the deacons are using this program as a form of ongoing formation.

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Wednesday, I was visited by the Mother General of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master. Mother is Italian and stationed in Rome, and she was accompanied by one of her counselors who is a Polish sister whose family migrated to Australia.


The visit gave me an opportunity to thank the sisters for their presence in our archdiocese, here at the Pastoral Center, at Regina Cleri and of course their center on West Street.

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Just as last week I met with the major superiors of women religious in the archdiocese, on Wednesday I met with the superiors of the men’s religious communities.

IMG_4210.jpgFather Mark O’Connell gave us a wonderful presentation on the lineamenta and the suggestions that came forward for the Synod on the Family, and then we had an opportunity for each of the superiors to speak about the different activities of their communities.

Gathering with superiors of men's religious communities May 20, 2015. Pilot photo by Gregory L. Tracy

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Then, that night, we had the annual senior priest dinner at the Boston College club.

It’s always a wonderful event that is very much enjoyed by our senior priests who live at Regina Cleri and other places.


We are very grateful to Jack Lynch from the BC Club, Jim O’Connor from the Order of Malta and all the other benefactors who make the evening possible.


The musical entertainment for the evening is always provided by the band the treasury notes, which is headed by former state treasurer Bob crane. Bob, unfortunately, was unable to be with us this year and he was sorely missed. However we did make an attempt to compensate by having Father Richard Fitzgerald and seminarian Tom Olson sing for us. It was all very good fun.



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Finally, I want to remind everyone that I will be ordaining five men to the priesthood Saturday morning at the Cathedral the holy cross. The men to be ordained are Deacons Anthony Cusack, Andrea Filipucci, Christopher Lowe, Peter Stamm and Sinisa Ubiparapovic.


I invite all of you to participate in this choice event, either through joining us in person or by watching the ordination mass on CatholicTV. Most importantly I invite you to pray for these men as they begin their ministry to God’s people.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán