Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Leading up to Christmas

Good afternoon everyone. I hope you are enjoying these last few days before Christmas and that you have finished all your shopping!

This past week, I had the pleasure of visiting Massachusetts only state prison for women, MCI Framingham. I try to visit all the major prisons once a year and do the confirmations and baptisms. The auxiliary bishops also visit the prisons in their regions on a regular basis and will celebrate Christmas Masses in some of them.

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A view from outside MCI Framingham

I was a prison chaplain for two years myself, and Ive always had a great regard for this ministry. Its such an important one and a way for the Church to be present to people and their families during a very difficult time in their lives.

Here in the Archdiocese of Boston, were very lucky to have wonderful ministers in our prisons priests, deacons and lay people.

Deacon Bill Kane, the director of the Office for Prison Ministry, does a wonderful job visiting the 25 prisons and jails in the archdiocese. In fact, most of the states prisons are located in our diocese.

There are 22,000 men and women incarcerated within the archdiocese and over half of them are Catholic. There is also a large Hispanic population in several of the prisons. Each of the prisons and jails has a full-time chaplain that recruits volunteers. In some prisons there are as many as 300 volunteers! Those people sponsor religious programs like the RCIA, Bible study and retreats, which are so important. In the Framingham prison, they have retreats two or three times every year.

The chaplain there, Sister Maureen Clark, CSJ organized a retreat where the prisoners mothers could come in and be with their daughters. Actually they were having a retreat the very night we were there. The retreats are very popular and have had a very good effect on those who are incarcerated there. Its sad to see how many of the people in our prisons are very young. Sister Maureen has truly done a wonderful job in her many years in prison ministry.

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Sister Maureen and Deputy Superintendent Ed Foley

Typically when I visit the prisons, I meet with the administration and then visit everyone in solitary confinement and the people who are in the hospital. Then I celebrate Mass and often confirmations. At the prison in Framingham they have a very large chapel where I celebrated Mass. I would love to show you a picture of it but, as you can understand, there are many restrictions on taking photographs in prisons.

While I was there, I was very pleased to hear that once again Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington is supplying Christmas gifts for the mothers in prison to give their children. Sacred Hearts pastor, Father Colletti has done a great job in organizing the effort.

Another program that they have for mothers in the Framingham prison is sending videotapes to their children. The women read to their children on a video, so that the children can see their mother and hear her voice. Its very, very hard, particularly at Christmas time, for these young women to be far from their children.

As I mentioned before, I was a prison chaplain for two years in the 1960s in Butler County, Pennsylvania. I always tell the story about giving my first sermon in prison. I was very nervous and searching for a topic when I had this inspiration of great escapes in the Bible. So I talked about Daniel in the lions den, the three lads in the furnace, St. Paul going over the wall in the basket and St. Peter in chains. I had their rapt attention, but the problem was, that night six prisoners escaped from the prison. I thought my first prison assignment was going to be my last!

One of the interesting things I did when I was in prison ministry was to start a painting company. In those days no one could get parole unless they had a job, so I would hire the prisoners. As you might expect, it was very hard for a prisoner to get a job while they were still in prison. Nobody would want to hire somebody sight unseen and behind bars.

So I started this painting company, but I knew nothing about painting or starting a company! I got a thousand dollars from my father to start the business. I bought paint, I bought brushes, I bought ladders and with the money that was left over I bought a car. The problem was that the car could only go in reverse, so the first job we had, we had to get there driving backwards to get money to repair the car!

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Another view from outside

- – -

On Saturday morning I attended a breakfast with Women Affirming Life. Im very grateful to Frances Hogan, Laura Garcia and Marianne Luthin for all that they do to promote this wonderful organization. They had a great turnout at the breakfast and I thought the speakers were dynamite! The panelists were Kerry Cronin, Karin Venable Morin and Jacqueline Nolan Haley. I was very impressed with everything they had to say. Both Kerry Cronin and Laura Garcia work in the philosophy department at Boston College.

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Laura Garcia, Kerry Cronin, Karin Venable Morin and
Jacqueline Nolan Haley

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I said a few words at the gathering

I was also happy to see so many students university women at the breakfast. Its important for Catholic women to have an opportunity to look at these different cultural issues from a womans point of view and from the point of view of a believer. Our society today in many ways is rudderless and its critical to look to people who are committed to the mission of Christ. It was so encouraging that many young people availed themselves of the opportunity to be there and be a part of what Women Affirming Life is doing.

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It was wonderful to see such a diverse
group of women at the breakfast

- – -

I attended the Mass for persons with disabilities at St. Patrick Parish in Stoneham on Sunday. Karen Murray, the director of the Office for Persons with Disabilities, did a very good job organizing the event.

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Karen Murray

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The procession into the Mass

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There was also sign language translation
for the hearing impaired

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Bringing up the gifts

One of the readers was a young man, Tim Vernon, whom I knew from St. Marys Parish in Mansfield, and he did the first reading in Braille. He was an excellent reader. It was very moving to see a young person there who was able to participate at that level. The person who played the organ was also blind. It was wonderful to see how people with different disabilities were participating and using their talent to be a part of the liturgy. Thats the whole purpose of this Mass to celebrate their gifts. Our desire is to make sure theyre included in the community: that they are able to participate actively in the life of the Church and feel like a part of the Church.

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Tim Vernon read the first reading in Braille

There was a reception afterwards in the parish hall, which had just been refurbished last year. Its a wonderful venue for this kind of event. The pastor, Father Schmidt, his two associates and the parishioners were all very welcoming.

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It was great to greet the participants after the Mass

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At St. Patricks we also ran into one of the Palestinians who contacted the archdiocese through the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. We have been asked to allow representatives from the Holy Land to come and sell their handicrafts here in the United States.

The Christian Palestinians are a population that has suffered so much because of the violence in the Middle East. The man I met, his name is Gabriel, presented me with an olive wood statue of St. Francis and spoke about being a Christian Catholic from Bethlehem.

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Gabriel presenting me with the statue of St. Francis

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Gabriel and I

He said that, formerly, almost all of the residents of Bethlehem were Catholic but many have been forced out by the war. Those who remain are struggling economically. They havent been able to pay the school teachers in the town for months, and now the school teachers are going on strike, so the schools will be closed. The people have no work, and there are no pilgrims or tourists coming, which was once an important source of their livelihood. So selling these statues, rosaries, crosses and carvings that they make out of olivewood from Bethlehem is a great help to the Catholic Palestinians. I thought it was a good reminder for all of us to pray for peace in that part of the world. It is important to realize that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as terrorism have a connection with the tensions in the Holy Land. We must also respond to the needs of our Catholic brothers and sisters there and remember the universality of the Church.

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He had a great variety of carved goods for sale

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The detail of the carving was remarkable

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- – -

This week I also celebrated Mass at St. Johns Seminary in Brighton for the chancerys annual Advent Gathering. It was nice to see so many people join us for the liturgy, and then to have a nice lunch with the staff from the different offices. Even the people from the Tribunal (which has been relocated to West Roxbury) came to join us. I was also happy to see that several retired employees were able to be with us. Father Erikson thanked everyone for their participation with the giving tree, which is one more sign of the generosity and goodness of the people on the staff. At Christmas time theyre reaching out to the needy. Were very grateful for those who work in our central administration. And we know that these have not been easy times to work for the Church, so were grateful for their loyalty, their devotion, their generosity and for what they do that makes the life of the diocese possible.

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Delivering my homily

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We celebrated the Mass in the St. John’s Chapel

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It was great to greet the employees after the Mass

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After the Mass I joined everyone
for a light lunch in the refectory

- – -

Id like to share my Christmas message with you which is printed in this weeks edition of The Pilot, our archdiocesan newspaper.

Only a couple of days until Christmas, we all ask ourselves: Is there anyone I forgot? We want to give gifts to family, friends and loved ones as well as to those whose kindness and service we appreciate.

Some people are hard to buy gifts for. They seem to have everything they need or want. Still, we struggle to get the perfect gift. The question we all need to ask is, What am I giving to the One whose birthday we are celebrating? We undoubtedly think that Jesus is in the has-everything-category. But at Christmas, Our God makes Himself small and vulnerable so that we need not be afraid to draw near, so that we realize that He has come in poverty and simplicity to teach us about love and about what really matters. Does Jesus want something from me? Yes, He does. Thats why He came into the world. He seeks our friendship. He calls us to be disciples and friends.

Our gift to the Lord must be our friendship. Friendship is not inexpensive. It demands sacrifices of time, energy and resources. Friends become friends by communicating, by talking, by getting to know each other.

In the legend often told to children, there is a noble and good monarch who is anxious to get to know his people so he assumes a disguise as a peasant so he can live among his subjects and experience their pains and wants and feel their aspirations. At first glance, the story might seem to parallel Christs coming at Christmas. But actually, Christmas is quite different. Our God came not disguised as one of us. He has become one of us. And He does not come into the world to get to know us. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He is our Creator, our Father. He comes into our world so that we can get to know Him and to be His friend. And in discovering who God is, we come to understand who we are and why we are here and what we need to do with our lives.

Christmas is the Birthday of the One who wants to be our best friend. His name is Emmanuel, God with us. Christmas is a moment to renew and deepen our friendship with the Lord. The gift the Lord is waiting for, longing for, is our heart. At Christmas, God makes a gift of Himself to us. All other gifts are as nothing compared to Christ. Every gift, nevertheless, that is given with love reflects the goodness and love of Our God who made Himself homeless so that we could find the way home. Merry Christmas!

- – -

Finally, as you may have already heard through the news, I would like let you know that I have recorded a Christmas massage in several languages that will be available Christmas Eve as a podcast through Boston Catholic Televisions newly redesigned Web site. I see this as yet another tool I can use to reach the young people in our Church who more and more are turning to the Internet for their information.

As time goes on I plan to record periodically other segments that will be available as a podcast.

I hope all of you take the opportunity to hear it and explore the new Web site.

The photo of the week:

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This nativity scene sits in the window of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Downtown Boston. It is a wonderful sign of the true meaning of the Advent and Christmas Seasons amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Until my next post, a Merry and Blessed Christmas to you all!

Cardinal Sen

48 Responses to Leading up to Christmas


Comments

  1. Comment by Michelle | 2006/12/22 at 22:55:52

    For once in my life I can say, “Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to read the newspaper.” Usually, the newspaper is so negative and life seems so crazy, but I was blessed in the fact that I found your blog.

    God Bless you!
    Michelle

  2. Comment by Elizabeth Ceman | 2006/12/23 at 00:28:21

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    We sat next to you in that little bumpy plane from Valencia, Spain last July, after meeting with our pope and then Kiko w/ the neocatechumens – on our way to Fatima.
    We have the little three year old twin girls who nervously laughed during the bumpy flight. It was wonderful to meet you and to talk with you. My husband sat right next to you and was thrilled to get that opportunity. We felt it was something special God did to us by meeting you.
    Anyway, Jim’s sister came upon your blogsite somehow and I felt compelled to write to you. We hope you remember us. It was an amazing trip for us. Hard for Jim because he was doing the fixing of the train we missed while not knowing spanish and other travel worries, but he has the memories of this amazing adventure. Maybe God is callling us to something big later or sooner. I hope so.
    Peace
    Sincerely, Elizabeth Ceman

  3. Comment by Nathan | 2006/12/23 at 00:50:34

    Your Eminence, I got good laughs from your stories regarding your prison ministry. In seriousness, though, it was sobering to read about the women away from their families at this time of year, but it was inspiring reading about the disabled persons taking part in the Mass and seeing Palestinian Catholics making impressive statues to help alleviate the burdens imposed upon them by the state of affairs in the Holy Land. Also, beautiful Christmas message. I wish you a merry Christmas from here in Kansas.

  4. Comment by Peter Crumley | 2006/12/23 at 02:49:53

    Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

    Thank you for having shared many truly beautiful and edifying
    moments. Your concern for the imprisoned is magnificent.

    Wishing you heartfelt peace, joy, and love through Jesus, Mary, and Saint Joseph.

    Kindest regards,
    Peter Crumley
    Illinois

  5. Comment by Evelyn Brine | 2006/12/23 at 04:45:17

    Wendy sent me this blog, it is so very beautiful & comforting!!!!!! It has made me realize how little I do for the Lord, I may be facing cancer and not sure if my heart can do the surgery however, I realize how I wasted my life when there was so much good to be done!
    Thank The Lord that you have this site!!!!!!!!!!!
    Do you happen to know the Rev. George Szal?

  6. Comment by bill walsh | 2006/12/23 at 07:14:25

    Cardinal Sean, thank you for your continuing communications on your blog. God bless you at this very busy time for you. Merry Christmas.

  7. Ben
    Comment by Ben | 2006/12/23 at 08:44:11

    Merry Christmas Cardinal Sean! Great post as usual.

    Ben

  8. Comment by Graham Lake | 2006/12/23 at 09:14:35

    Your Eminence,

    I enjoy reading each week your weekly posts.
    Perhaps you can suggest our own Cardinal to do the same here in the Archdiocese of Westminster, England.

    Wishing you a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

    Pax et Bonum, Graham Lake

    London, England

  9. Comment by Lisa | 2006/12/23 at 09:44:32

    Blessed Christmas to you, Cardinal O’Malley, and abundant graces throughout the new year!

  10. Comment by Rose Marie Benoit | 2006/12/23 at 10:20:38

    To My Friend the Cardinale,
    Thank You for touching our hearts with Jesus’ love and compassion. How can one discribe “grateful”? God has used you to touch many lives and I am one of those lives grateful for all you have done and are doing. You are included in my daily prayers; I love you with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
    Blessed Merry Christmas,
    Rose Marie Benoit
    N. Dartmouth, MA

  11. Comment by Phil Pochatko | 2006/12/23 at 10:49:59

    Emminence,

    I often look forward to reading about your ministry that you perform and all that you do. I especially liked you Christmas message this year. I Want to wish you a blessed Christmas and continue to look forward to reading your blog.

    Phil Pochatko (seminarian)
    Erie, PA

  12. Comment by Br. Charles | 2006/12/23 at 11:10:51

    Thanks for the post, your Eminence. It’s so good to hear about the ‘Women Affirming Life;” so often the abortionists try to turn it into a male power/anti-woman issue.

    And your story about your prison sermon is priceless!

    Merry Christmas!

  13. Comment by Dr. Jeffrey & Dr. Shirley Canniff | 2006/12/23 at 11:14:22

    Dear Cardinal Sean:

    This is Dr. Shirley Canniff and Dr. Jeffrey Canniff, we had the luxury of meeting you at the 14th Annual Black Catholic Bishop Healy Awards Dinner. Both my husband , Dr. Jeff Canniff and myself had introduced ourselves to you in the hallway.
    We spoke to you briefly about the ecumenical work that we are doing with our protestant brother’s and sister’s as well as our Jewish brother’s and sisters, regarding ” Christians United For Israel” concerning the media. I had stumbled over a few of my words because of the awesome humility that you present when you are among the people, it is astounding. As Catholic Christians, we need to more than ever, unite with our protestant brother’s and sisters and take a stand to stand by Israel with prayer and support. We need to become more aware of establishing a better a relationship with our Jewish Brothers and sister’s both messianic, reform, conservative, and orthodoxed as we come to understand why we as christian/catholics we need to pray continuously for the “Peace of Jerusalem” as written by King David in Psalm 122…This will bring the true peace into our families. We gave you a packet at Lombardo’s that evening. We hope you found it interesting. We appreciate how you as an individual and a leader of the church are already reaching out to the christian families of Bethelem. Thankyou for your sensitivity and thankyou for your support. We enjoyed the presentation given to us at our Church by Gabriel. Our church is : Immaculate Conception Church in Stoughton. You can find out more about us below.
    We also sent you an invitation to join our monthly Judeo Christian Multi-Media Group on the internet. We would love to put up your blog as a link for people to go to. We filmed a presentation at LaSallete Shrine in Attelboro, regarding “The Festival of Lights”, here is the link that we had aired on “You Tube”: http://tinymce.moxiecode.cp/mce_temp_url

    An Invitation:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year to everyone…At the start of the New Year we encourage all of you to become a member of the new and upcoming Judeo-Christian Multi-Media Networking Group of Greater Boston, we have launched a Christian Internet Broadcasting Network on You Tube – WSTK-ICTV – Seek The Kingdom Internet Broadcasting Network. We are currently looking for managers to manage individual channels relating to WSTK-ICTV Networks mission and vision. We also have available a freelance media registry for those of you needing legitimate press passes as freelancers in journalism, producers for public access and the internet (television & Radio) through Janet Aldrich’s Comflm freelance Media Registry. For more information please call Janet at: 1-978-388-2457. For more information regarding our broadcasting network, you can also reach us through our station directly @: http://www.seekchristianradiowsciro.org/id13.html. E-mail us@:
    canniffseek@verizon.net and/or JCMulti-MediaNetworkofBoston-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

  14. Comment by elaine kwiecien | 2006/12/23 at 12:59:36

    Your Eminence
    Cardinal Sean

    Just popped into the library to catch your blog – once again it is a “beautiful read” and a great reminder of the many people whose Christmas and daily lives involve more than average struggle. Thank you for sharing your own funny experience with prison ministry and for not letting us forget those in our state prisons or the handicapped or Palestinian Catholics.

    I like reading the comments as well – that’s where I picked up the http://www.jesuit.ie/prayer site and it is great resource when unable to attend daily church or find a quiet place to feel God’s presence.

    As we celebrate Christmas and the new liturgical and calendar year, I sincerely wish you God’s blessings. He has certainly blessed us here by your presence and commitment and involvement to our Archdiocese. You are our healing rod.

    Elaine – Brookline

  15. Comment by John | 2006/12/23 at 13:11:34

    Enjoy and appreciiate your blog, Cardinal Sean. Sharing it with my Pastor at St Luke here in Dahlonega, Ga.

  16. Comment by Ellen | 2006/12/23 at 14:25:23

    Cardinal Sean —
    My “20 something” son just forwarded me the Globe’s on-line coverage about your blog. I enjoyed every word of your column, I have stored your site as one of my “favorites,” and I am convinced, once again, that you have been sent to Boston for so many very important reasons, not the least of which is your ability to reach out to the young generation. Your use of technology is a brilliant idea. Your message that you convey via the techncology, especially promoting social justice and concern for the forgotten, is one, I’m sure, that will resonate with the idealism that is a blessing of our young people.
    Thank you for all you do for us, and thank God for sending you to our archdiocese, so in need of a renewal of spirit.
    Wishing you a Christmas filled with peace.

  17. Comment by Novice Sarah, OSB | 2006/12/23 at 16:59:39

    Cardinal Sean,
    Thank you for taking the time to shepherd us on the web! It is a pleasure to read your reflections on the season. Even for us who do this all the time, it can be so easy to get lost in the details. Many blessings to you!

  18. Comment by Mary Asmar Smith | 2006/12/23 at 22:39:42

    Your Eminence Cardinal Sean,
    The information you have provided on the web is very much appreciated. May God bless and reward you for working tirelessly and with extraordinary professionalism in finding new and innovative ways to spread the word of Christ to so many. Using the web as a “new tool” for the church will no doubt reach out and embrace our youth. I applaud your strategies as clear and robust. You are in the midst of seizing opportunities for the church to grow in different, ultra modern ways using the latest technology. I was especially touched by the information you have provided on the plight and suffering of the Christians in the Middle East. The Catholic community in Lebanon also continues to suffer. As a member of the American Lebanese Catholic community I thank you for your encouragement, prayers and support in raising awareness. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and God’s blessings in the New Year for good health, happiness and success.
    Mary Asmar Smith
    Valley Stream, New York

  19. Eve
    Comment by Eve | 2006/12/24 at 10:02:54

    Wishing you, Cardinal Sein and all Catholics a blessed and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

  20. Comment by Shirley St.John | 2006/12/24 at 10:37:51

    Dear Cardinal O’Malley, I so look forward to reading your blog each week. It is informative and amusing and so interesting. You are such a busy man attending to so many people’s needs, I don’t know where you find the time to write. May you be blessed with a very wonderful Christmas time and a very fruitful New Year, in whatever your endeavors. Keep it coming! Faithfully, Shirley St.John, Easton, Ma.

  21. Comment by Tom and Anne Hynes | 2006/12/24 at 11:12:25

    Merry Christmas Cardinal Sean,

    We really like this web site and all it has to offer.
    Thanks for everything that you have done for all the people of the Archdiocese of Boston.
    You are always in our prayers.
    We wish you a happy, healthy,holy and successful new year!

  22. Comment by Mike Ortiz | 2006/12/24 at 11:28:11

    Jesus did not use an ipod. Your using the ipod
    will just keep the people from the church. So I am asuming that you don’t care as long you look GOOD. Get real man!!!!

  23. Comment by Anthony Ingersoll | 2006/12/24 at 12:31:43

    Cardinal:

    I agree with the fact that the church needs to use the tools at our disposal to reach out to the communities and the world around us. Keep up this good work, it is the next generation of ministry. God bless and a merry Christmas.

  24. Comment by Crispin Tabone | 2006/12/24 at 14:59:42

    Happy and Holy Christmas for all the Capuchins in Malta.

  25. Comment by Susan Kristof | 2006/12/24 at 15:55:52

    God bless you for a wonderful message. If possible, could you share how we could purchase those beautiful olivewood sculptures to help those in Bethlehem? I can think of many people, clergy and lay, who would be touched by a gift like this, no matter what time of year.

  26. Comment by Dianne Durler | 2006/12/24 at 16:06:10

    Thanks again for the inspiring blog. What a wonderful Christmas message. I am sharing it with my email friends. May God Bless you. Merry Christmas from Kansas

  27. Comment by carol k. | 2006/12/24 at 18:24:05

    May I thank and
    encourage you,
    our beloved Cardinal Sean.

    The meaning of
    Eucharist in a podcast
    was in time for
    Christmas Morn.

  28. Comment by Erica Cuerbo | 2006/12/24 at 21:45:55

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I’m going to make this a quick one, thankyou so much for your wonderfully inspiring blogs each week. I only got word of your work a few months ago and unfortunately will not be able to check up on whats going on, for on new years eve i will be entering the sisters of st. francis of the martyr st. george. please know that i will be praying for you and your ministry as you continue to be a shepherd to those in need everyday. Hope you have a wonderfully blessed and grace filled Christmas.

    In His Merciful Heart,
    Erica

    PS: Do Not Be Afraid

  29. Comment by Julia Russell | 2006/12/25 at 11:24:19

    Dear Cardinal Sean, Merry Christmas! How wonderful to come upon the BCTV Mass this Morning on channel 7.
    I had gone to Midnight Mass and was just looking for a Christmas morning program….well I was just thrilled to celebrate Mass again and to hear the precious message of teching the little ones about the most important child to come to us….the Child Jesus. Indeed our hearts need to be reminded often that our hearts should be a stable….a new manger for the Holy Child to be born each day.
    Also the teaching about St. Nicholas was just right for the little ones to hear this morning. Thank you for all you give to the Christ Child in serving the Archdiocese of Boston.
    Happy New Year! Julia Russell, So. Easton,MA.

  30. Comment by Michael Flessas | 2006/12/25 at 16:35:21

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    What a fine blog you have here! All members of the clergy–now matter what their denomination should have a blog and podcast to their parishoners. Without trying to be funny about it, I can easily imagine St. Paul, where he around and about today, using this technology to preach the Gospel.It’s good to see that somebody in the upper levels of the Roman Catholic church in Boston finally understand how useful this technology can be to solve many problems.

    A few suggestions. How about starting an OpenSourceWare seminary online just as M.I.T. has it own courses online for free. No, you can’t get an M.I.T. diploma that way but otherwise, you have access to the same course material as anyone matriculating there. Also, as I did in Milwaukee, WI and Columbia, SC years ago, start a Resources for the Homeless site for Boston’s homeless so that all resources for the poor in Boston–including where to find meals, shelter, free medical help, showers, and bus schedules–are online so that anyone in a library or who knows someone with an internet connection can have access to instant information to receive help. Get local businesses to help sponsor this or ask one of the convents or monasteries to take this on as a special obedience. It’s just a thought. Others should do the same in their cities. The poor surely do use the world wide web. Also, with Wi-Fi networks springing up and PDA’s coming down in price–used ones–this information can be nearly Omnipresent. The poor will always be with us but that doesn’t mean that they do not have instant access to information regarding where to find help immediately in a wired society.

  31. Comment by Greg Rowles OFM Cap | 2006/12/25 at 18:43:00

    Thanks for all the blogging :)

    Happy And Holy Christmas to you

  32. Comment by John Hosty | 2006/12/25 at 19:01:17

    People still need to hear your position on how we should react to Mr. Cirignano’s incident in Worcester where he assaulted a woman at an anti-gay rally. May we have your guidance? Surely it is better to address the issue than to run from it. You once quoted, “All evil needs to be triumphant is for good men to do nothing.” That isn’t what you plan to do, is it?

    I would have thought that the church would denouce violence at the very least. A man has no business putting his hands on a woman out of anger, don’t you agree? Mr. Cirignano is the leader of the Catholic Ctizenship Group; should he not be held accountable for his actions by the church? The church is supposed to give us guidance on the tough issues we face. Where do we turn when it fails to answer?

  33. Comment by CHRIS DICKSON | 2006/12/25 at 20:08:41

    “Mary” Christmas Cardinal Sean!

    Six prisoners escaped, huh? It’s probably a good thing your homily wasn’t about redemptive suffering !!!

    May the Lord give you peace !!!

  34. Comment by Louise K. Brogna | 2006/12/25 at 21:48:36

    Thank you, Cardinal Sean, for your wonderful blog. It surely is a way to teach us. God keep you in His Wonderful Arms! Louise Brogna

  35. Comment by Boston seminarian | 2006/12/26 at 11:57:46

    Merry Christmas, Cardinal Sean! Thank you and your staff for the beautiful and inspirational messages each week!

  36. Comment by Ana Francisca Bauza | 2006/12/26 at 13:41:56

    What a wonder-full surprise to find your blog. I visited with you last year when you came to Puerto Rico for an ordination. I know you from CU in DC. I will try to work with my parish to start a persons with disabilities group. I believe it would be something very positive for our church. I live in Dorado. Hope to see you soon in Puerto Rico. Thank you for the Christmas message> Jesus wants to be our friend,simply and purposefully. Happy and blessed New Year. ana

  37. Ann
    Comment by Ann | 2006/12/26 at 15:02:49

    Talk about LOL regarding your story as prison chaplin in PA – I just love your sense of humor. Seriously Cardinal Sean, it makes us all think of just how much you and all our priests and religious do. You never hear about the good you all do from the media, it is mostly all negative. We do appreciate the good works and hope it inspires us all. May God bless you and all our religious leaders who work so hard.

  38. Comment by Jose Herrera | 2006/12/26 at 17:43:55

    Your Eminence, I enjoyed reading your blog. I will have to go back and read your archived blogs as I am sure they are full of great insight and your trademark humor. I pray for you regularly and try to live what you have taught me and so many others through the years. A blessed new year.

  39. Comment by julio p. ruiz | 2006/12/26 at 19:02:34

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am a member of the Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria and I had the pleasure of participating with you in Miami during our recent celebration of the ACU’s anniversary and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. Thank you for being there with us. I currentely live in Memphis,Tennessee and both my wife, Maria, and I now keep your blog on our favorites. Additionally we have been invited to become invested in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre this coming year. We are looking forward to this with a great amount of anticipation. It is a noble and important cause. May God always bless your efforts and Mary Our Mother keep you in the shadow of Her protection.

  40. Comment by Mary O’Reilly | 2006/12/26 at 21:53:55

    Your Eminence you are such an inspiration! Even a busy Cardinal can find time to do Corporal Works of Mercy. You further impressed me when you led those hurt by the Clerical Abuse Crisis in a processional Novena to the Holy Spirit, despite the barrage of criticism. May the Holy Spirit continue to be your guide!

  41. Comment by Peter Murphy | 2006/12/27 at 05:32:27

    Eminence,

    Did you also experience a deep sadness at the news which came from Rome the day before Christmas – that the Vicariate of Rome had refused a Catholic funeral service to Signor Welby – an Italian man who had suffered daily for over 20 years and was kept alive only by three machines. Sr. Welby could move only his eyes to communicate his wishes. It has always been my understanding that the Church does not require that one go to extraordinary means to sustain life – but that nature should take its normal course. (Even Pius XII confirmed this point!) Twenty years of artificial life-support can in no way be considered natural.

    How sad it is that the Church in Rome could not extend the hand of Christian charity and comfort this poor man’s family at his loss. They have suffered for years and, in the end, the Church added to their suffering. From the general negative reaction of thousands of Italians in the piazza for Welby’s “civil” funeral, I fear that the Roman Vicariate has once again turned many good people against their Church. The damage done to future generations of Italians – and others – cannot be imagined.

    Remember these unbending clerics in your prayers, Eminence, that the Lord will grant them the ability to dispense charity in the name of Christ.

  42. Comment by Jennifer Zandstra | 2006/12/27 at 11:51:10

    Cardinal Sean,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful Christmas message. May you and the people of your diocese have a Merry and Blessed Christmas season!

  43. Comment by Alice Slattery | 2006/12/27 at 17:11:55

    Dear Cardinal O’Malley,
    Thank you for your letter in the Pilot(Dec. 22,2006) reminding the Mass. legislators that they have an obligation to vote on the Marriage Amendment this coming Tues.(Jan 2nd). The Pilot’s “Bishops’ letter urges vote on marriage amendment” also asked people to come to the State House on Jan 2 to show their support for the Marriage Amendment. Many parishioners are hesitant to go to the State House because they have witnessed how the Boston police, under the command of Mayor Menino, a strong advocate for same-sex marriage, have turned a blind eye to the hostile speech and acts of the supporters of same-sex marriage against the supporters of the Marriage Amendment and have failed to protect the civil right to protection for the Marriage Amendment supporters. If you would please come to the State House yourself, perhaps those of us who are honoring your request to show up at the State House on Jan. 2 will be treated with equal protection by the Boston police since, hopefully, they will see that you are there to protect the parishioners as well as the Marriage Amendment. Please come to the State House on Jan.2.

  44. Comment by dexter omnes | 2006/12/28 at 05:58:17

    Merry CHRISmas and a Happy New Year Cardinal Sean

  45. Comment by Fr. Roberto Mena, S.T. | 2006/12/29 at 09:52:50

    Thank you for your blog. You show what a bishop do in his dialy routine. I always pray for you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    I also have a Spanish blog in http://www.parishworld.net

    I am a guatemalan priest serving in California in two parishes and in Catholic Radio and TV El Sembrador in http://www.elsembrador.org

    In the Most Holy Trinity:
    FR. Roberto Mena, S.T.

  46. Comment by Richard Wright | 2006/12/29 at 14:49:52

    I appreciate your efforts Cardinal O’Malley, and look forward to following the blog. I feel sad for folks like Mike Ortiz, however, as his comment “Jesus did not use an IPOD” shows a closed mindedness that Jesus would not, I believe, have appreciated. On the other hand, if Mr. Ortiz is serious, then we should note that Jesus did not use English either, so we should all be worshiping in Aramaic!

    Keep up the good work

  47. Comment by Barbara | 2006/12/29 at 18:13:58

    Thank you for this wonderful blog! I am a civilian employee with the US Navy overseas and miss my home in Massachusetts terribly. It did my heart good to read what is happening in the Archdiocese.

  48. Comment by Michele | 2006/12/29 at 22:36:23

    Merry Christmas Cardinal Sean!


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