Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Archive for 2007/04/27


Releasing financial reports, celebrating confirmations and breaking ground

This week the archdiocese released the Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2006. Last year we disclosed the financial situation of the archdiocese through an important and significant effort we called the Financial Transparency Report. We presented the financial situation of the Archdiocese of Boston and of all the other agencies of the Church in Boston. That report was meant to help our people understand what our resources were, how they were used and what our shortfall was. Part of our commitment was that, on a yearly basis, we would continue presenting our finances. First I want to thank the staff members who have all worked very hard on this. I am also grateful that The Pilot is publishing the report and printing extra copies that will be available at all the parishes this weekend so that people will be able to see first-hand what our current situation is. We are anxious for our parishioners to understand what our financial situation is. The report will help our Catholic people feel comfortable with how the archdiocese is using our funds on behalf of our mission. The report can also be reviewed online.

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The front page of the Financial Report
published in this week’s Pilot

The report outlines the improvement in our financial situation over the past year, for which we are happy. We have reduced the deficit that we had in our central administration�s budget. Although we feel as though there is still a long way to go, we are moving in the right direction.

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Last Thursday all the bishops of our Ecclesiastical Province met in Boston. The province comprises the Archdiocese of Boston, the three other dioceses in Massachusetts � Fall River, Springfield and Worcester � and the dioceses of Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vermont; and Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Praying midday prayer with the bishops

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Another view of the room

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Speaking with Springfield Bishop Timothy McDonnell

Those meetings take place twice a year in order to share with each other what is happening in our respective dioceses. We also invite the retired bishops to come. It is always a good opportunity for us to cooperate. We are blessed to have bishops in the region who are anxious to work together and to build up the Church. Among our tasks at the spring meeting is to make recommendations for candidates for bishop� But, of course, we do not give the names out!

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This time of year we � and all the bishops � traditionally have a lot of confirmations. I find it an important part of our ministry as bishops in the Church: to be present to these young people and their families in a moment when they are recommitting themselves to the faith. I always consider it a very important moment, and I enjoy doing the confirmations.

Last Friday, as we do each year, different college campus ministries brought their students for confirmation at the cathedral. It is always a wonderful Mass. For many of them, it was the first time they had visited a cathedral. This year there were 50-some students there with their families and sponsors. The turnout underscores the excellent work that is being done on college campuses in the archdiocese. We are grateful to Father Richard Clancy, the Brotherhood of Hope and the other priests, religious and lay people who work so hard at the various campuses. We have almost a quarter of a million college students in the Archdiocese of Boston, so it is a very important ministry and service that we do. Campus ministry affects the universal Church because these students come from all over the country and the world. Here we try to give them a good experience at Church, and the programs that are in place at universities are good ones.

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The following day, I went to Harvard and celebrated Mass for the campus ministry group. They meet at St. Paul�s in Cambridge. The Masses are always beautiful there, especially the music and the preparation of the liturgy. After the Mass, I met with the students at a spaghetti dinner, and they gave me a T-shirt. I met with some of the new students who are just applying and are going to start at Harvard in the fall. St. Paul Parish in Cambridge has already invited them to be part of the campus ministry and the liturgy.

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In my left hand I am carrying the T-shirt
the students at Harvard gave me

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I very much enjoy these encounters with college students

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On Tuesday I went to St. John The Evangelist in East Bridgewater to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. They had so many candidates that I could only confirm half. Bishop Boles, who is officially retired but in reality is still very active, is going to confirm the other half. At the Mass they had a large youth choir, and for young people music is an important part of their participation in the life of the Church, so I was happy to see that.

I also had confirmations yesterday at St. Anne Parish in Littleton. One of parents sent me this photo of his younger son who received the sacrament.

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Posing with me are Father Clifton Thuma, the pastor at St. Anne’s,
Timothy David Ryan and Tim’s sponsor, his older sister Eileen Ryan.
Tim took Thomas as his confirmation name.

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On Tuesday I also participated at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new adolescent center for St. Anne�s Home, a childcare center in Methuen that works with children who are emotionally or behaviorally disturbed. They have about 100 young people who are residents there. St. Anne�s Home was originally an orphanage for Franco-American children, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. Many of the sisters were at the groundbreaking. They are still very supportive of this institution. As many other orphanages, it has transitioned from a home for orphans to a residential care center for children and adolescents who have emotional and psychological problems and need special schooling. They also have children from the area who are unable to perform adequately it in the public schools.

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Greeting the Good Shepherd Sisters

Methuen Mayor William Manzi attended the groundbreaking and expressed his support of the work that�s being done. I also met many of the children who are residents there. It is just a wonderful institution, and like so many of our agencies, it came about because of the spirit of sacrifice and dedication of the nuns who, since the beginning, staffed it.

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The sisters did a great job with the shovels

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Some of the students took a turn

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Methuen Mayor William Manzi and I applaud the kids

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Then it was our turn

At the house there was a picture of the orphanage�s founding in 1925. Cardinal O�Connell presided at the inauguration ceremony. A throng of thousands of people were present for the occasion. Times have changed!

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The orphanage was founded by Father Bertrand, who was at the time pastor at the former St. Anne�s parish in Lawrence. He himself was an orphan.

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That evening I attended the monthly LIFT meeting. LIFT is a new ministry recently founded in the archdiocese for youth and Catholics of all ages. I had heard about this and was supportive of the efforts to bring young Catholics together for praise and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The people who organize LIFT asked me to give a talk on �the call.� The meeting was held at the Fontbonne Academy in Milton, and the auditorium was packed with young people. The first LIFT evening took place in August last year, and each month they continue to grow. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and the seriousness of the group. The meeting started at 7 p.m., and they had songs of praise, my talk and adoration with more praise songs.

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Father Matt Williams leads the LIFT presentation team in prayer

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The visual effects were all controlled from this small laptop

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Adoring the Blessed Sacrament

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The youth were very enthusiastic

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Next week, the Archdiocese of Boston will launch the 2007 Annual Appeal, our major funding source for so many central activities and ministries. I am grateful to Scot Landry, George Martell, Damien DeVasto and all those who have been involved in working on the materials for the Appeal. I think people are going to especially like the video this year. It captures the spirit of all that is happening in our parishes. For the photo of the week, I have chosen this year�s poster that will be displayed in all parishes with the theme “Giving in Faith, Giving with Love.”

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