Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Remembering Tom Flatley

Hello again and welcome back,

I begin this week noting the passing of an extraordinary man. Tom Flatley, who had been suffering for almost two years with Lou Gehrig’s disease, passed away last week. I was very pleased to be able to celebrate his funeral Mass at St. Agatha Parish in Milton where he attended Mass each day.

Tom was a very, very dedicated Catholic. He used to say that his only job was to get to heaven and to take as many people with him as he could.

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Over the course of his life Tom helped countless people. He had a great passion to help the poor and he did so much to help Catholic causes — locally and throughout the whole world. His death was mourned by many, but the witness of his Catholic life — the centrality of the Eucharist, his spirituality and the strong family life that he lived and witnessed to — is a legacy that the Archdiocese of Boston will always cherish.

Before the funeral Mass, I was in the sacristy with Bishop George Coleman, who came up from Fall River, and he mentioned to me that he had been speaking to the Missionaries of Charity. They told him that they had called the Flatleys to let them know that they were praying for them. His wife, Charlotte, was speaking to the sisters on the phone, but the sister said she could hear Tom Flatley in the background saying, “Tell the sisters I am going to see Mother Teresa.” I’m sure he has.

I’d like to share with you the homily I delivered at Tom’s funeral Mass:

First of all, I want to tender my condolences to Charlotte and the entire Flatley Family. We are here above all to pray for Tom. That is what he would want. Tom Flatley certainly embodied the injunction of St. Ignatius of Loyola who said – “Pray as if everything depended on God, work as if everything depended on you.”

It is hard to imagine anyone with a stronger work ethic or a stronger faith. One of Tom’s foremen, commenting on Tom’s involvement in whatever work was being done, said Tom did not consider any work below him. If there was a paper cup on the lawn in front of a building, and Mr. Flatley got to it before you did, you were going to have a bad day. Tom Flatley could be demanding, but he was most demanding on himself. He was a simple man in his taste and lifestyle eschewing any pomp and pretense. Tom was a man with a clear vision of life, a profound faith and passionate love for what really mattered to him: his family, his Church, his community, his work, his native Ireland, his adopted country, the countless causes he supported to make this world a better place.

Tom left his mark in many places, all over the globe, but mostly in the hearts of his loved ones and friends. We are all going to miss him.

Last year, when I ordained the new Jesuit priests at St. Ignatius, I read them this paragraph from Father Arrupe’s writings where he speaks about falling in love with God. I think these powerful words describe Tom and what made him tick.

Falling in Love with God

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
That is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you
out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you will spend your weekends
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you
with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love,
And it will decide everything.

Tom Flatley fell in love, stayed in love, and it did decide everything.

Tom Flatley was a very practical man who found God early on. And in discovering God’s love, Tom discovered who he was, and why he was here on earth and how he should lead his life.

In the Middle Ages in Ireland, there were many persons who made a vow to be a peregrinus, a pilgrim, to wander the earth. They made a vow to never sleep two nights in the same place. They went from one shrine or holy well, or mountain or chapel to another, spreading the faith near and far.

The Irish people supported them with alms, both because these pilgrims evangelized but also because their way of life reminded everyone that we are all pilgrims and strangers in this world.

Tom understood this concept very clearly. He never lost sight of the fact that we are in this world on a temporary visa and at the end of our sojourn we get to go home. In Tom’s case, it was a “work visa.”

In today’s society, nothing could be considered more tragic than to amass great wealth and achieve the highest success and then to die. Tom, on the other hand, was a believer. Tom knew life is not a dress rehearsal; he lived it to the fullest. He knew that death is a part of the journey homeward, that “life is not ended but changed.” Jesus teaches us that death is like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies and then comes forth in abundant new grain. Jesus describes death as His returning to fetch us and take us back to the Father with Him. St. Francis speaks of Sister Death who leads us to God.

Faith allows us to make sense even out of the Cross; and the Cross did come for Tom in these last two years in the terrible disease that robbed him of his strength, his independence, and finally his mobility, his speech, his very breath. He carried his cross with a dignity and courage, born of his faith. During that time the love and support of Charlotte and the whole family was a great blessing to Tom. It allowed him to experience how much his family loves him and thus to glimpse God’s love.

Some people might try to define Tom Flatley by his wealth, but those of us who know and love him realize that it is his faith in God and his love for his family that define him.

Tom was from County Mayo. In Ireland when Mayo is named it is always accompanied by the phrase: “God help us.” Two of the most important religious places of Ireland are found in this County. The first is Croagh Patrick, the mountain where Patrick spent the 40 days of Lent in the year 441. The legend is that the saint from that mountain drove the snakes out of Ireland. (My relatives from Mayo have a theory about what island those snakes went to, but I will not bore you with that). In Mayo is also the great Shrine of Our Lady of Knock. It marks the place of a Marian Apparition during a tragic period in Irish history. The unique feature of Mary’s apparition at Knock is that she does not speak. Some would say that is because the Irish don’t let you get a word in edgewise. I like to think that the suffering people of Mayo were much more open to a loving presence than to words and commentary.

The faith of the Irish is born of the austerity of Patrick and the Irish monks and pilgrims of Croagh Patrick and Loch Derg, St. Patrick’s Purgatory. It was an heroic faith, willing to endure dungeon, fire, and sword rejecting the soup offered by the British during the “An Gorta Mor,” the Great Hunger. It is also a faith with a keen social consciousness, a sense of responsibility especially for the poor, the sick, the needy.

Tom Flatley’s faith was very practical. If people needed help, you should help them. Today’s Gospel gives us Jesus’ parable about the Last Judgement where the Lord, the Good Shepherd is separating the sheep from the goats. “I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty, sick, homeless and you helped me.” The question on the lips of all the people, both those categorized as sheep as well as the goats is the same: “When did we see you hungry?” And Jesus answers, “when you did this for the least of your brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.” – I often tell the story of Cardinal Spellman…

One day he was in his office and received a call on the intercom. It was the new receptionist. “Your Eminence,” she said: “there is a man here in the lobby who says he is Jesus Christ. What should I do?” The Cardinal replied: “Look busy!”

The homeless schizophrenic off his meds is Christ in a distressing disguise, as Mother Theresa used to say. Tom Flatley always recognized Jesus in the distressing disguise of the hungry, of an unwed mother, a homeless family, an impoverished missionary, or of a teen struggling with addiction.

As Tom presents himself before his maker and his redeemer, his good works will accompany him. Tom will not be a stranger before his God.

Tom had incredible drive, and capacity for work, business acumen and sense of competition. But looking at Tom’s long full life, we must say that the most important decision he ever made was to marry Charlotte Flatley. What a blessing that marriage has been to Tom, to his children, and to countless others.

And there can be no doubt that the other anchor in Tom’s life was his love for the Mass. Receiving Holy Communion each day nourished his love for God, for his family, for his neighbor especially his love for the poor. Jesus Christ made a promise that Tom believed with every fiber of his being. Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Tom will live forever. He is no stranger to the Lord. Tom met the Lord in the Eucharist where our God makes a gift of Himself to us, and Tom met the Lord in the hungry, the sick, the homeless ones that he helped so generously. The Gospel enjoins us that “when we give alms, let not the right hand know what the left hand is doing.” In Tom’s case, he did not let the thumb know what the index finger was doing. We will never know how many people Tom Flatley fed, clothed, housed, and educated. We will never know, but his deeds are recorded in the Book of Life. No, Tom does not present himself before his God as a stranger, but as a faithful disciple.

It was my privilege to pray the Rosary with Tom just before he passed away. We commend his soul to Mary the Mother of the Good Shepherd, Our Lady of Knock.
“Tom, my friend, you have fought the good fight, you have run the race, you have kept the faith.”

May the angels lead you into paradise.
May the martyrs come to receive you and lead you
into the holy city, Jerusalem.
May the choirs of angels receive you,
and where Lazarus is poor no longer
there may you have eternal rest.

- – -

Over the weekend I was at Mission Church in Boston for two ceremonies with the Franciscan Friars of the Primitive Observance — one, a Mass of profession of perpetual vows, and the other an ordination. Both celebrations were very beautiful, and it is always a joy to have Mass in the basilica, which is one of our most beautiful churches. The Redemptorist community there is doing such important ministry in that part of the archdiocese.

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The Mass of profession

The friars’ family members were able to be there as well as many of the members of their third order fraternity who served and participated in the ceremony and provided the music.

The friars’ community here is very small, but they are very intent on living the life of contemplation and austerity. Their presence is a great blessing for our diocese.

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The ordination

This month is a great joy for me because I have four ordinations: this ordination of the friars, the presbyteral ordination for our archdiocese, the ordination of new Capuchin priests and the ordination of our new permanent deacons at the end of the month.

- – -

On Saturday, I went to Lowell for they were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Franco-American School, which began as an orphanage. The Oblates and the Sisters of Charity of Quebec have always been the ones sponsoring this institution that has done so much good in Lowell.

The school’s venue is a beautiful house with lovely grounds.

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Located on the property is a beautiful grotto, which is a replica of the shrine at Lourdes, France. The Mass was held outdoors there. It had been raining all night, but as soon as the Mass started, the sun came out and everyone was so pleased.

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They had two choirs who sang many beautiful French hymns.

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The principal, Sister Lorraine Richard, was so gracious and the Mass was very well-attended. There were over 500 people.

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- – -

On Sunday, I had a beautiful parish Mass at St. Ann Parish in Somerville. Their English, Haitian and Hispanic choirs sang wonderfully. The church was filled, and it was a very joyous celebration.

- – -

On Monday, I went to Boston College to give the invocation at their commencement ceremony. It was a wonderful celebration; the day could not have been nicer.

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David McCullough

David McCullough received an honorary doctorate and gave the keynote address.

He has won Pulitzer Prizes for his historical books — his biographies of Harry S. Truman and John Adams. He has also written extensively on the colonial period in the United States and George Washington. He lives at Martha’s Vineyard, but he is originally from Pittsburgh.

As I say, sometimes writers are great writers and not very good as speakers, but McCullough was a most engaging speaker. He gave a beautiful reflection on the real meaning of education. He was very witty, very erudite. Certainly, it was a wonderful choice to honor him.

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Father William Neenan was presented with an honorary degree and the rest of the recipients were graduates of Boston College. One those whom they honored was a member of my own community, Brother Celestino Arias. Brother Tino founded Catholic Charities Cape Verdean program here in Boston and did so much with Cape Verdean youth.The other honorees were Jennie Chin Hansen and Anne Jones.

I told Father Leahy that I think holding up graduates who have done such positive work in the service of humanity with their careers is a wonderful idea. They can serve as role models and inspiration for the young people graduating this year.

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Brother Tino

- – -

Also on Monday, I went to the wake of Sister Catherine Mulkerrin at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brighton.

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Sister, of course, had been the president of the congregation. She has also been involved in many different ministries in the archdiocese, including teaching. For a number of years she was involved in dealing with the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy. Her role in that was one of great compassion and advocacy.

- – -

This week I had two mini-days of recollection — one for pastoral associates on Tuesday and the other for business managers on Thursday. I celebrated the Eucharist for them, and afterward we had lunch.

It is very important that the people involved in these activities see their work as being a very special service to the mission of the Church. Attending to their own interior lives enhances the way that they fulfill their roles. I was very edified by the beautiful witness talks that were given on Tuesday.

- – -

Later that day, I celebrated Mass for the Mariological Society of America’s 59th annual meeting. The society is a Catholic theological association dedicated to the study and making known the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the mystery of Christ and the Church. The three-day event was held at Holy Cross Family Ministry’s Father Peyton Center in North Easton.

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Some photos of the altar servers and their families

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On Tuesday they also honored one of their members, Ronald Novotny, with the Cardinal Wright Mariological Award.

- – -

On Wednesday, we had a fine celebration for the graduates of the Master of Arts in Ministry Program, which does so much good.

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The MAM graduates, faculty, staff and honored guests at the commencement

It not only prepares lay ministers in the Church intellectually but gives them needed spiritual formation. It is not only a matter of imparting information but of helping people deepen their faith and understanding of revelation.

Each year, the graduation ceremony is held at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton because the program is a part of the seminary.

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Sister Mary Pierre Jean Wilson is the head of the program, which comes under seminary rector Father Arthur Kennedy. They, along with various professors and guests, filled the chapel.

This year there were two speakers. The keynote was Dr. E. Joanne Angelo, a Catholic psychiatrist who gave a beautiful witness about her life and her family.

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Dr. Angelo

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Seminary rector Father Arthur Kennedy

Then one of the graduates, Heather Hannaway, also gave a very wonderful address on lay ministry.

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Student speaker Heather Hannaway

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Aldona Lingertat, associate director of the MAM program

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Congratulating Roseann Furbush as she receives her degree

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I offered some brief remarks before delivering the final benediction

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Sheila St. Sauveur and her grandchildren Nathaniel, Gabriel and Madeline

- – -

Later that evening, I attended the Catholic Charities Spring Gala. They were very pleased to raise $1.5 million for their programs. Catholic Charities serves over 200,000 people in the Boston area through their programs for basic needs. At the dinner, there was a wonderful video presentation with many testimonials about the important work of the organization.

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The new president of Catholic Charities, Tiziana Dearing, gave a very inspiring talk as did a former client, Bernice Gordon, who is now an employee of Catholic Charities. Bernice gave a beautiful witness talk about her life and how it was turned around through her contact with Catholic Charities.

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They honored Edmund “Ted” Kelly, Catholic Charities chairman and president and CEO of Liberty Mutual Group.

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Ted Kelly

He is a local businessman and philanthropist who immigrated from northern Ireland. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been a very important figure in the local scene as well as a big supporter of so many different charities.

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His brother was a Passionist priest and a minister to Africa for many years. Ted was there with his wife, Debby, his daughter and his son-in-law.

- – -

Thursday, I met with Father David Michael and a number of people from the American Jewish Committee. It was a very cordial meeting, and we have very good relations with the Jewish community here in Boston.

I am very grateful to Father David Michael and Father Ed O’Flaherty for all that they do.

They spoke about their desire to have greater opportunity for dialogue, particularly the possibility of bringing Catholics and Jews together to look at our scripture texts in order to build a deeper understanding of each others’ faith. We agreed that we would work toward that goal.

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Until next week, I wish you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and remember in your prayers the seven men who will be ordained tomorrow at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. May the Lord bless them and make them holy priests.

Cardinal Seán

35 Responses to Remembering Tom Flatley


Comments

  1. DEE
    Comment by DEE | 2008/05/23 at 22:36:37

    HOW WELL I REMEMBER HEARING ABOUT THE FRANCO-AMERICAN SCHOOL, WHICH YEARS AGO WAS AN ORPHANGE.
    TWO OF MY FRIENDS, BROTHERS, NOW DECEASED, WENT TO THIS SCHOOL AND WERE VERY SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE AND IN THEIR CATHOLIC RELIGION. KUDOS TO THE SISTERS WHO TAUGHT AND CARED FOR THEM. THEY HAD TO DO SOMETHING RIGHT.

  2. DEE
    Comment by DEE | 2008/05/23 at 22:38:52

    MR. FLATLEY WAS A GREAT IRISHMAN FROM COUNTY MAYO, WHO IMMIGRATED TO THE U.S. WITH THIRTY TWO DOLLARS IN HIS POCKET. GOD WAS ON HIS SIDE. MAY HE REST IN PEACE.

  3. Comment by Chris G | 2008/05/24 at 09:26:32

    nice work and wonderful comments Cardinal Sean!

    Chris

  4. Comment by Anne | 2008/05/24 at 10:24:30

    How very blessed the Flatley family were to have a homily such as that spoken. And, from the praise and easy humor that peppered your remarks, how blessed you were to have know him. Peace to his family, and to you on your shared loss.
    Also, as we pray for conversions, may we pray for the conversion of Ted Kennedy. With personal and family mortality no longer a political flag to wave at re-election time, but a shattering reality for the man – how grand a statement for his soul if he recanted some of his positions as morally wrong.

  5. Comment by Virginia Wells | 2008/05/24 at 11:20:45

    We have certainly lost a wonderful human being this past week. Thomas Flatley did so much for so many and will be sorely missed.

    Also, this week, we have learned the devastating news about Senator Ted Kennedy, a man, who, according to Senator John Kerry and so many others, has helped millions of people all over the world, not only in his own state of Massachusetts. The picture of Senator Robert Byrd sobbing was so indicative of the esteem in which Senator Kennedy is held.

    I hope that you will offer prayers for Senator Kennedy and his family. Thank you.

  6. Comment by Maria Teresa Frias | 2008/05/24 at 22:00:00

    Querido Padre Sean: How happy we are every time we are gather at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offering ourselves to God united in prayer and today, thanks to BCTV and Father Robert Reed, we were with all of you praying and thanking God for all of our priests and especially your newly ordained priests in Boston!
    Today, as every priest received the Chalice and Paten, you said: “Receive the oblation of the holy people of God to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross.” On the Feast of Corpus Christi, we thank God for giving us holy priests so we could have that living Bread that is all source of Life, Holiness and love for us. We thank God also for giving us to His Church the holy life of your friend Tom Flatley. We love you always Padre Sean.

  7. Comment by Frances Florencourt | 2008/05/25 at 09:14:29

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Your website and weekly blog bring you closer to us all. I hope it continues to grow and that the audience grows with it.
    Your homily for Tom Flatley was spiritually enriching and I was especially moved by Fr. Arrupe.s poem “Falling in Love with God”.
    I will look forward to these each week.
    Thank you.

    Frances Florencourt

  8. Comment by ***Caroline*** | 2008/05/25 at 13:36:06

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    My name is Caroline and I attend Saint Paul School in Hingham. You’ve managed to pull off another great blog this week. But what really caught my eye was the Mass at the Franco- American School. It looked so pretty! That was an amazing replica of the shrine in Lourdes, France! What a beautiful sight! If you are ever in the South Shore please come and vist us we would love to meet you! Our last day of school is June 11. If not this year maybe next year! We will be the graduating class of 2009 at our school! Thank you for posting your blog weekly! :-)

    ***Caroline***

  9. DEE
    Comment by DEE | 2008/05/25 at 20:19:38

    Could there ever be a time when we could celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi big time?????Tonight saw on TV this celebration in Kansas City MO. It was just glorious and so spiritual. Music was super.
    Maybe celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi in places like Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium?

    Some parishes do celebrate this Feast in the Boston Archdiocese.
    Can remember moons ago in my little town that we had big parades from all Catholic Churches in this area. Lots of kids in the parade all dressed in their little white dresses for girlls and suits for boys….Just wonderful….

  10. Comment by Peter Vo Xuan Tien | 2008/05/26 at 04:02:39

    Your Eminence,

    I am very glad to know you thanks to your blog. I would like to introduce myself to you : My name is Peter Vo Xuan Tien, a Vietnamese priest and sulpician candidate. I study now at the Catholic Institut of Paris. I will come back to Viet Nam in a year.

    It is interesting for me to know that very modern is a Cardinal is who express himself through a blog. Internet becomes a good friend if well used !

    Thanks to your blog, I have just created a blog (http://xuanbichvietnam.wordpress.com/). xuanbichvietnam means Vietnamese Sulpicians. Please drop around in our blog to give us your blessing. It will be our joy ! Thank You.

  11. Comment by FR. Tony Conlan | 2008/05/26 at 05:12:42

    Thank you Cardinal Sean for an inspiring Homily at Mr Flatleys Funeral. For your information Mayo is basking in glorious sunshine at this time of the year and the view across Clew Bay from the top is breathtaking. You should come visit and climb the mountaiin Your Eminence?
    I will remember you in my daily prayers and ask God’s blessing you the great work you do and do many others in your wonderful diocese.
    ‘Baile Dhia ar on Obair’
    For those not familiar with the Irish Language that means The Blessing of God on your work.
    Respectfully.
    Fr. Tony Conlan.
    Ireland

  12. Comment by Gabriella (a student from St. Paul School) | 2008/05/26 at 09:22:53

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    It was so sad to read about the death of Tom Flatley and I’m sorry for this loss. He seemed like a great individual, but we must remember that he is in a better place now. The homily that you said at his funeral was beautiful from what you wrote. He would probaly be very honored that you shared his wonderful service and love of God with others by putting it in your blog. I will pray for his family and friends mourning his death. This was an excellent blog and I can’t wait until the next one!

  13. Comment by Marissa | 2008/05/26 at 16:37:47

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    My name is Marissa and I attend the school of Saint Paul in Hingham, Massachusetts. Once again, I have read a very well written blog this week. I just have one question, how do you do it. From reading the blog it seems like you have many things to do and many places to go. Well, I cannot wait to read your next blog. Hope to see you soon! :)

    ~Marissa~

    P.S. I will keep the seven men in my prayers who will be ordained tomorrow at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
    :) :) :) :) :)

  14. Comment by Michael Gaffney | 2008/05/26 at 21:12:12

    I found your blog on remembering Tom Flatley very interesting and inspiring. Tom seemed to be a very good man and did a lot of good things for the Archdiocese of Boston. I particularly liked your reference to about how to live according to St. Ignatius. This past year at BC High I have learned alot about St. Ignatius and other Jesuit Priests and it is good to learn more about a man who has lived by those ideals. Thanks. I enjoy reading your blog.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Gaffney
    BC High Class of 2011

  15. Comment by ~Colby | 2008/05/27 at 06:14:45

    When I read about the death of Tom Flatley I felt sad but also happy in a way because he was such a great example of how to live a great Catholic life. I am sure that he went straight up to heaven and is looking down right this second! I am sorry for his loss and will pray for his family and loved ones. I am also sure that he would feel very honored to have had such a beautiful homily. I can’t wait until your next post!

  16. Comment by Christine | 2008/05/27 at 10:40:25

    I enjoyed looking, and reading about the grotto in Lowell, because it was beautiful. There is one at the University of Notre Dame, and it looks like it. I enjoyed this blog, can’t wait for next week’s!

    -Christine
    (A student at St. Paul School)

  17. Comment by Clara | 2008/05/27 at 16:06:10

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    My name is Clara K. and I am a student from St. Paul’s School. I love reading your blog every Tuesday, because it is always full of great information about your week, people you met, masses you have celebrated, and like always you manage to slip a little humor in there. Anyways, I loved reading about Tom Flatley. I only heard of him once before, but you gave a little mini biography on him and it felt like I knew him for a long time!! Your homily was fantastic and I am sure Tom Flatley would of love it! Once again thank you for another great blog, and I hope you will continue with it!!
    ~Clara K.~
    St. Paul Student

  18. Comment by K.E.M. | 2008/05/27 at 17:43:47

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am very sorry for the passing of Tom Flatley. The Mass at the Franco-American school looked beautiful. I am a student at St. Paul School in Hingham, MA and we would love for you to visit us.
    God Bless!
    ~~KATE~~

  19. Comment by Kelly | 2008/05/27 at 20:24:07

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I enjoyed reading this blog very much. I enjoyed reading this blog because it is interesting to learn about new activities going on in the church. The best part was about Tom Flatley. He is a real example of how to pick up your cross. I believe he is in heaven with God, Jesus, Mary, and all his family who has gone before him. He is a real life role model who young people and adults can look up to. I am going to pray for his family, but someday they will see him again in heaven. Thank you for this amazing blog!
    ~Kelly

  20. Comment by Kevin | 2008/05/28 at 14:39:23

    Hi my name is Kevin and I attend St. Paul School in Hingham. I enjoy reading your blog every week. This time what really got my attention was the Tribute to Tom Flatley, I thought it was great you got to do the funeral mass for such a good person. Also my class at St. Paul School in Hingham and we were wondering if you were on the South Shore that you could come visit us. We get out of school June 11. Keep up the good work with the blogs.

  21. Comment by Hannah | 2008/05/28 at 15:58:42

    I enjoyed reading about the graduation ceremony at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. The pictures of the Seminary looked beautiful. I would love to be able see the Seminary in person. The pictures and information about the ceremony also seemed very enjoyable! The pictures were great to look at, but my favorite one was the last one with the the two children, and the baby. I can’t wait for next week’s blog!

    ~Hannah from St.Paul School

  22. Comment by Brother Richard, C.F.X. | 2008/05/28 at 15:59:01

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    How delighted we are that our students have been writing to you on your blog. Certainly, you have answered the question of so many young people, “What does the Cardinal do all day?”

    I have to commend St. Catherine Loughlan, C.S.J., Grade 7 teacher, who has provided the inspiration to her class to read your blog. They are also enrolled in the Notre Dame Virtual School sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. We have been using technology to further our understanding of the Chruch and obtain greater knowledge of God’s wonderful world!

    We look forward to having you visit with all our students from PreK to Grade 8 when your schedule may allow!

    God Bless You (GBY),

    Brother Richard, C.F.X.

  23. Comment by Elizabeth | 2008/05/28 at 16:00:14

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    You always seem to deliver an amazing blog each week! It was sad to see, that man name Tom, that that man went home to God. He seemed like he was a very, very good man and catholic. But we should not be sad, because for one, he has help many people and done many things for God and now he gets to see his father up in heaven! I will pray for his wife Charlotte and all his family in school and at home. Thank you for the blog Cardinal! The seventh graders at St. Paul School would also like to invite you to come to our school one day for a visit! We hope you have time in your very busy schedule to come a visit us! Thank you again Cardinal!

    ~ Elizabeth ~

    P.S. I will pray for those men being ordained tomorrow! I wish them good luck!

  24. Comment by Caroline J | 2008/05/28 at 16:13:12

    Cardinal Sean,
    Another wonderful blog. I ecspecially liked the section on the Boston College Graduates. I am sure that they loved having you their on their special day.
    Also, my condolences to the families of Tom Flatley and Sister Catherin Mulkerrin.
    God Bless,
    -Caroline J. Sullivan
    St. Paul School

  25. Comment by *Megan* | 2008/05/28 at 16:28:56

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am so sorry to hear that Tom went home to God. I can’t believe he sufferd from Lou Gehrig’s disease for two years! Your homily was truly touching and I bet Tom would thank you for it if he was still here. The “Falling in Love with God” was very beautiful and I can just imagine how dedicated to God Tom was. Maybe we, young Catholics, can use him as an example.
    Thank you for another great blog and next time you are in Hingham Massachusetts, stop by St. Paul School!
    ~Megan

  26. Comment by Caroline K. | 2008/05/28 at 18:31:48

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    My name is Caroline K. from St. Paul School in Hingham, Ma. I always enjoy reading your blog! I am sorry to hear about the death of Tom Flatley. As we finish out the year, my seventh grade class always looks forward to reading your blog. We would all appreciate a visit from you before our summer vacation.
    ~~~Caroline K.~~~

  27. Comment by Johnny | 2008/05/28 at 19:21:10

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    My name is Johnny and I attend St. Paul’s School in Hingham, Massachusetts. What another great blog! This was one of the best blogs I have read. I enjoyed ever part of this week’s blog but the part I enjoyed most was the part about you getting to do the honors for the Mass for Tom Flatley. It sounds like he was a great person and I am sure that God will take care of him well. I hope that the family realizes that he is now in a better place with God. I will try to keep him and his family in my prayers. Hopefully you will be able to make it to the South Shore this year or maybe even next year. Hope to see another great blog from you again next week.

  28. Comment by Hugh | 2008/05/28 at 19:25:29

    Hello, I am a 7th grade student from St. Paul’s school. It seams as though this week’s blog was once again packed with events. Tom Flatley seamed like an incredible person and a true follower of Christ. I am very glad that there was a nice funeral in honor of him and I will keep him in my prayers. Also, Cardinal Sean, I, along with many others from St.Paul’s school would really appreciate it if you could stop by at or school in Hingham.
    Thank you for another great blog!

    From,
    Hugh

  29. Comment by John | 2008/05/28 at 19:43:43

    Hello,

    My name is John and I attend St. Paul’s School in Hingham I just wanted to say that your blog has been very inspiring to me for the past several months and this weeks blog I like especially because I like how you mentioned Tom Flatley,and how you honored him by saying some of his goals and dreams (which were to get to heaven).My school year is ending on June 11 and I was wondering if before school ends if you would come and visit my class. This wouls be greatly appreciated.

  30. Comment by Dan Flatley | 2008/05/28 at 21:20:00

    To Your Eminence and to so many others:
    I would like to express the depth of my gratitude to you, Your Eminence, and to Father Kickham, for your support at the time of my father’s death and during the difficult days since he passed on. We have a great team leading the Archdiocese. The words of support my family has received from so many people, in letters, cards, e-mails, phone calls, etc., have been extraordinarily comforting. This has restored my faith in the good people of the Greater Boston area – most of those who responded to your blog and to the articles in the Boston Globe or the Quincy Patriot Ledger were from people I did not even know.
    My father carried his cross with heroic dignity; he never complained, though he lived as a virtual prisoner in his own body. ALS is a ruthless and relentless killer. I was proud to have served him through his illness. He will be missed. I will think each and every day on his Christian witness. Suffering is a part of one’s life as a Christian. I believe it brought him even closer to his Master, though it wounded each of us to our very souls as his children to witness his suffering. I can have no doubt whatsoever now in the mercy of God. My father and now his brother are together, young and healthy, in a better place, beyond pain and suffering.
    May they rest in peace.
    Dan Flatley

  31. Comment by buffy | 2008/05/29 at 14:41:39

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I didn’t know how else to reach you and I didn’t want to wait until September to share this with you. On December 2nd, at the Bicentennial opening Mass, I had asked if you would give my niece Jordan a blessing, which you did. My niece Jordan had her first biopsy done, since that blessing, on May15th. We have just received the results and for the first time, in 9 years, everything was fine. I cannot thank you enough for what you did for Jordan. I hope your summer is the best. I know my family will now enjoy theirs. Thank you again, Buffy

  32. Comment by Sara-Jane | 2008/05/30 at 09:44:49

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    A week from today, 48 8th graders will graduate from St. Charles School in Woburn. As their homeroom and English teacher I am looking forward to that day! Before then, I would like to have the opportunity to read them the peom you said at Mr. Flatley’s funeral. It is wonderful to read at the end of someone’s like, but more importantly, to read it at the beginning.

    Thanks, also, for the blog. It always amazes me how much you do in the course of one week! I love reading about all the places you go and the people you see.

    God Bless You,
    Sara-Jane Griffin

  33. Comment by Pamela Ruigh | 2008/06/30 at 00:00:22

    What a wonderful blog and website! Our paths have crossed in many ways. I taught English to immigrants in Washington, DC from the late 70s to 2004. I remember watching you on TV when you went to Boston to help with the problems there. You seem to be a man truly with his inner and outer matching. Maybe you can let me discuss something weighing on my heart. I am 67 and a new Catholic. I was an Anglican but there is no Episcopal Church in the town to which I retired and the Catholic Church here is very nice. I attended RCIA for about a year and finally jumped into the Tiber and swam across. Unfortunately RCIA did not really prepare me for the recent actions of some bishops who excommunicate women who in following their call and conscience disobey Canon Law and become ordained illegally. I attended the illegal ordination of the Anglican women in the seventies and it was so life affirming and joyous. The edict of May 30 really cut me to the core of my being. I have no desire to be a priest but the fact that there is not even a dialogue with women about sharing the church structures with men and having a say on important issues is scary. Everything is all about men. Even the abuse was all about men and I think that this is why it occurred in the first place.
    The feminine is not embraced and integrated here. Only in Mary is there any sense of the feminine and she is so pure and holy almost as to be unreachable.Then in the same period of time, a man was refused communion from a priest because he supported Obama. Did I make a mistake in becoming a Catholic? I have always admired the Catholic church because of its contemplative spirituality and service to the poor and marginal of society. I am really in pain because the blush of new conversion was kind of slapped away by all of this. I did not receive communion today because I wanted to feel what the Sister in St Louis who was “disciplined felt. I have almost left the church over this and I can hardly bring myself to pray. I have mentioned it to my priest but he can’t really say a whole lot. But I saw your website and it looked refreshing and not “right” or “left.”
    I think RCIA needs to be more specific when dealing with “hot” issues especially with Anglicans. I had no idea how tough it would be to separate my spirituality from the “Laws” of the Church. I keep telling myself that the Trinity is above and beyond the institutional church. If I had known some of these things would happen I might have stayed a “high church” Anglican who believes in the Real Presence.
    You know I love Latin and Gregorian Chant and the “bells and smells” of the Catholic Church and I care little about the other so called liberal issues. I am neither conservative nor liberal. If I were younger I might have been a nun or hermit. But having been an Anglican, RCIA did not prepare me well for issues of obedience and things that just could not be discussed or done. Please pray for me. I can’t even bring myself to go back to the Daily Office.
    In Christ,
    Pam

  34. Comment by Dan Flatley | 2008/07/03 at 16:32:44

    Your Eminence:
    I want to wish you and the rest of the good folks of the Archdiocese best wishes as you move into your new offices in Braintree. I dropped by this morning (Thursday, July 3) to see how well the move was going and I had a chance to speak with Kevin Kiley and Father Kickham. Everybody seems thrilled. I can’t help but feel so sad that my father did not live to see his beloved Archdiocese see a bright brand new day. The smiles on the faces of every employee Kevin introduced me to were wonderful to see. Someone sent my the text of the remarks delivered recently by Cardinal Avery Dulles at his final McGinley Lecture and I could not help but reflect on my father. Cardinal Dulles did not bemoan his suffering; he embraced it as a true follower of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are indeed fortunate to have such good men within the Church. Again, Your Eminence, let me thank for your support and leadership. May God continue to bless you.
    Dan Flatley

  35. Comment by Vincent Sherlock | 2008/07/09 at 04:04:47

    Cardinal Seán, Glad to read your blog again this week and see that so much good is being done by so many. As a priest of the Diocese of Achonry, Mr. Flatley’s diocese of origin, I would like to offer our sympathy to his wife and family in these days of loss and search. May they cherish the memories of Tom as husband and father and find God’s consoling words in their search for peace and hope. I am a Sligo man, but don’t begrudge Mayo its mention and especially the naming of the truth of its Religious landmarks in the towering stength of Croagh Patrick and the gentle silence of Knock. “Though your message was unspoken, still the truth in silence lies, so we gaze upon your vision and the truth we try to find ….” (Lady of Knock) May Tom rest in peace and may the rest of us seek always to live in and by peace. God bless you all.


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