Hello and welcome!
As I mentioned in my last post, I spent much of last week in Kennebunkport, Maine, on my annual retreat with the bishops of the Boston Province, including then Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell. We were also joined by the bishops of the Hartford Province, so we were a large group.
The Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunkport is staffed by Conventual Franciscans, who were wonderful hosts and provided great hospitality. For a long time, this summer retreat was held at the retreat center on Enders Island in Connecticut, but this is the second time we have come to this location.
Our retreat master for the week was Father Thomas Rosica, the director of Salt & Light Television and a Scripture scholar. During the week we had an opportunity to view a couple of videos on Canadian Brother André Bessette and Vietnamese Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan.
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Following the retreat, I went to Pittsburgh for the Rite of Perpetual Profession of five Capuchins Friars at St. Augustine Church.
After the novitiate, the friars take simple vows, usually for three years. Then, they take perpetual or solemn vows. That’s what these men were doing, making their final profession.
It is always a joy to participate in these moments in the life of the community that remind me of my own vows and my ordination to the priesthood, which took place in that same church, the German Church in Pittsburgh.
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And, of course, we were blessed this week to ordain our two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Boston: Bishops Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell, both of whom bring such different gifts to the ministry of bishop.
As I mentioned in my homily, for us as Catholics the ordination of a bishop is a defining moment because, without our bishops, we would have no magisterium, no possibility to forgive sins or to celebrate the Eucharist, or to ordain priests and deacons. So, clearly, it’s a very important event in the life of the Church.
This is why the apostolic succession is guarded with such care and why, at an episcopal ordination, there are two co-consecrators, just to ensure the valid transmission of this apostolic succession takes place in the Church.
The Cathedral was filled for the joyous occasion. We are so grateful to Judy Haglof, Father Jonathan Gaspar, Father Kevin O’Leary, and all the many volunteers who worked so hard to coordinate the myriad of details required to organize this celebration. Thanks to their efforts, it really was a grand day.
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Finally, I want to note that we are all greatly distressed by the news coming from Italy of the tragic earthquake and aftershocks that struck there this week. There has been terrible loss of life, many injuries, and extensive damage to homes and property.
Italy is such a beautiful country and yet they have this propensity for earthquakes, which are so terrible. I have experienced many tremors in my life — when I was in the West Indies and once in Mexico — but a full-blown earthquake must be just a horrific experience. There is no way to prepare for such a sudden event, which causes so much destruction.
Certainly, our thoughts and prayers accompany the people in these terrible circumstances.
Until next week,