Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Earlier this week I spent some time visiting my family, as I usually try to do in the days following Easter. After having spent some wonderful time with them I am now in Paraguay to attend the installation of my brother bishop and dear friend Bishop Adalberto Martnez Flores as bishop of the diocese of San Pedro.

Because this is a very busy time and I am doing a great deal of traveling I have decided to wait until I return to share all of the details of my trip with you.

In the meantime, Id like to share with you these photos of the Easter Triduum celebrations I presided over here in the Archdiocese of Boston.

A happy and blessed Easter week to you all!

– – –

On Holy Thursday we celebrated the Mass of the Lords Supper in which Christ in instituted the priesthood and the Eucharist.

Before the Last Supper, Christ washed the feet of His disciples. Now, the Holy Land is a very dry dusty place and the people wore only sandals so you can imagine that their feet were quite a sight! For this reason, the task of washing feet was relegated to the servant of the household.

By washing the feet of His disciples, Christ took the role of the servant and told the disciples that to follow him they must do likewise.

So on Holy Thursday the priest celebrating the Mass symbolically washes the feet of some members of the congregation as a sign that he like all of us are called to be humble servants of the Lord.


I perform the washing of the feet




Several of the Franciscans of the Primitive observance attend the Mass


Exchanging a sign of Christ’s peace


Several sisters of the Sister-Disciples of the Divine Master attended
and provided important assistance throughout the Triduum


After Communion, the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to a place of repose in the chapel of the Cathedral. The Eucharist will not be celebrated again until we celebrate Christ’s resurrection at the Easter Vigil.

– – –

On Good Friday we have the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. Traditionally, the celebration takes place at 3 p.m. — the hour of Christ’s death. In our Cathedral we have a celebration in English at 3 p.m. and a Spanish-language celebration later in the evening.
The celebration consists of three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion. As I mentioned above, although there is a Communion service, the Eucharist is not celebrated. In fact it is the tradition of the Church that none of the sacraments (except the Anointing of the Sick) are celebrated from Good Friday until the Easter Vigil.


The Good Friday celebration begins with the priest

and deacons prostrating themselves before the altar.


After the homily and the prayers of the faithful that are always longer than usual on Good Friday, the cross is brought in procession for veneration. Embedded in the base of this cross, which usually hangs in our Cathedral, is a small, round reliquary which contains a small sliver of the True Cross.



The faithful kiss the cross in veneration. This is not to venerate the physical item itself but is done as a sign of acknowledgment that Christ, through His sufferings on the Cross, redeemed our sins and brought us to new life in his resurrection.


All other crosses and statues were covered in recognition of Christ’s passion.
The crosses were uncovered after the Good Friday liturgies
and the statues before the Easter Vigil started.


The Hispanic Choir at the cathedral


Approaching the Cross


I venerate the Cross at our evening celebration

– – –

On Saturday night we celebrated the Great Vigil of Easter in which we rejoice in the Paschal Mystery of Christs victory over death for us.

The Vigil begins outside the cathedral with the Service of Light during which there is the blessing of the fire and the lighting of the Easter candle.

The fire is a sign of Christ, the Light of the World

After the fire is blessed, I inscribe a cross, the Greek letters alpha and omega and the numerals 2007 in the wax of the cross


The inscription is made close to the blessed bonfire
from which the paschal candle will be lit

After the inscription, five grains of incense on pins incased in a piece of wax resembling a nail are inserted in the paschal candle, symbolic of the five wounds of Christ in the Cross



The Easter candle is lit


From the Easter candle, smaller candles are lit
for the members of the congregation
and we process into the church lit only by candlelight


Delivering my homily. The altar was beautifully decorated


The Easter Vigil is traditionally the time at which

non-infants receive the Sacrament of Baptism

As Christ gave us new life through His death and resurrection,
so the catechumens receive new life through the waters of Baptism



After the baptisms, the assembly is sprinkled with Holy Water
as a recollection of our own Baptism

– – –

On Easter Sunday morning I celebrated a televised Mass in the studios of WHDH-TV, channel 7.


A WHDH-TV technician places the microphone right before the Mass


The studio chapel is decorated with several beautiful stained glass windows

Sprinkling the audience with Holy Water


I gladly spoke with the WHDH-TV reporter

– – –

For the photo of the week I have chosen this close-up of the crucifix we adored on Good Friday at the Cathedral


Happy Easter to everyone.

Cardinal Sen

21 Responses to Christ is Risen, Alleluia!


  1. Comment by Micky | 2007/04/13 at 18:34:23


    About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my psychological prison. I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. Hes a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 17].

    Peace Be With You

  2. Comment by dorothy a sheehan | 2007/04/13 at 23:22:48

    welcome home, micky….just remember, God loves u and will always be with you…. You are never alone..

  3. Comment by Thomy | 2007/04/14 at 05:21:34

    Hello…. Good bless you……
    From Italia!

    Thomy sdb

  4. Comment by MATT | 2007/04/14 at 08:12:09


  5. Comment by Maria Teresa Frias | 2007/04/14 at 08:24:02

    Querido Padre Sean: Our prayers and love for Monseor Adalberto and his people on this day and always of his Episcopal consecration as Bishop of San Pedro. The Lord knows that Bishop Adalberto Martnez Flores is His healing and loving presence in San Pedro at this time of turmoil in Paraguay and for the Church in Paraguay. We are grateful to God for His many mercies! Our dear Padre Sean is there for our dear Monseor Adalberto!

  6. Comment by dexter | 2007/04/14 at 09:57:06

    Pax Te Cum!
    Happy Easter Cardinal Sean!

  7. Comment by Mark Tan | 2007/04/14 at 11:50:21

    beautiful photos… nice… =)

  8. Comment by milanta | 2007/04/14 at 18:18:23


  9. Comment by Julie | 2007/04/14 at 21:30:15

    Greetings and Happy Easter, Cardinal Sean!

    Thank you for posting all the wonderful photos in such succession!

    I used to be a fallen-away/rebellious prodigal Catholic, and this year, I began teaching RCIA and stood both as a teacher and a Sponsor at the Easter Vigil. It was nearly overwhelming, but what a grace…to go from rebellion to leading others to Jesus. The photos of the catechumans you posted nearly brought tears to my eyes. For a few years, now, since I’ve come back Home, I have almost wished I could be Baptized/Confirmed alll over again, and this year, God gave me the next best thing..a front row seat.

    You get to see it and perform it every year…please keep all those who enter the Church perpetually in your prayers. They are such an inspiration!

  10. Eve
    Comment by Eve | 2007/04/15 at 08:06:09

    Those were just red paint or real blood ?

  11. Comment by Caitlin L | 2007/04/15 at 08:07:36

    Cardinal Sean!
    I was home in Plymouth for Easter and I watched your interview on TV… I was so excited!!! I was so happy to be home for the Easter Mass and celebration!!!!
    God bless you

  12. Comment by Noel Cook Lanier | 2007/04/15 at 12:23:07

    Thank you for this beautiful site. It was at Easter Vigil 2005, that I converted to Catholicism in Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Palm Beach Diocese, FL. I will be forever be indebted to Holy Name of Jesus Parish and our dear Priests for showing me the way home.

    In His peace Sincerely,
    Noel Cook Lanier

  13. Comment by Myriam Dox-Frias | 2007/04/16 at 07:51:22

    Que alegria Padre que este con Adalberto y su familia. FELICIDADES para la diocesis de San Pedro con tan buen obispo. Rogamos a Dios de que siempre ILUMINE EL CAMINO DE ADALBERTO Y DE USTED.
    Siempre en Jesus,

  14. Comment by Paul | 2007/04/16 at 09:06:11

    Pax vobiscum.

  15. Comment by Marvin S. Arburola | 2007/04/16 at 13:42:46

    I am a catholic and I recently found this blog. It has been part of my Easter gift this year. I have been reading the posts from its very beginning in Sept. 2006 and I feel joyous as my eyes read. Thanks to God for providing this pastor, Cardinal O’Malley. May He always inspire your everyday work for our Church.
    Feliz Pascua de Resureccin!!

  16. Comment by Fr. Roberto Mena, S.T. | 2007/04/17 at 10:38:25

    Happy Easter. Thank you for being a risen priest for a lot of people.
    Continye being a model for me.

  17. Comment by jed doherty | 2007/04/17 at 20:18:45


    This is off topic but I thought Cardinal Sean, and Bishop Alleui (excuse the mis spelling) might be interested in this story

    I am a professional magician who performs character education assemblies at public and Catholic schools around the coutry. I met the Bishop when he first arrived in Boston and as I drove him home from the airport he told me of Don Bosco’s love of magic and tricks. I have also met Cardinal Sean, my son served Mass with him and Fr Bill Francis at Holy Family parish a few years back. I was very interested to see that the very first text on the performance of magic as a theatrical discipline was written by a Franciscan.

    Best wishes to both the Bishop and Cardinal, and to whoever reads this first.

    Jed Doherty

  18. Comment by George | 2007/04/17 at 20:26:12

    The PILOT refers to your intention to reestablish the practice of Tenebrae during Holy Week.
    I have truly missed the service since leaving the seminary in 1953 and would love the opportunity to participate again.
    (I’ll even bring my own “Liber Usualis”.)
    I’m certain that we can find others to staff our own parish services without me.
    Please count this as my vote for your idea!

  19. Comment by | 2007/04/18 at 15:08:19

    Respectfully, the Vatican has said on multiple occasions that only men’s feet should be washed on Holy Thursday.

  20. Comment by adalberto “al” martinez | 2007/04/18 at 19:37:55

    My best to Bishop Adalberto Martinez from his “twin” in Bedford, Texas on his installation as Bishop of San Pedro.

    I rejoiced when I read you were able to go to Paraguay for such a joyous occasion.

    Un abrazo

    The Other Adalberto

  21. Comment by Br. Michael Anthony | 2007/04/20 at 13:17:18

    Wishing you a Happy Easter Season filled with the New Life of the Risen Lord. May the joy, the light and the peace of Christ help you to continue working for bringing about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the World.

Comments are closed