Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Archive for 2008/05


Baptizing the next generation of the O’Malleys.

Good afternoon!

I’m sure the first thing you will notice this week is that the blog looks different.

We have changed the color scheme in order to make the text easier to read. The original, dark background was very good for the photographs but made the printed words more difficult to read. Some people have commented to me that the text is hard to make out, particularly if I post a homily or longer document.

We hope our readers will appreciate the new look and that it will make the blog more user-friendly and easier on the eyes.

With that said, on to my events of the week…

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This past weekend, I traveled to Front Royal, Virginia because Christendom College awarded me an honorary doctorate in humane letters on May 10.

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Christendom’s president, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell
presents me with my honorary doctorate

When you are a bishop you always get some of these honorary degrees. I always say, if had I known I was going to get all these honorary degrees, I would not have bothered writing that dissertation!

The college sent me a recording of the ceremony that I want to share with you:

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They also honored Ralph McInerny, a professor at the University of Notre Dame. He gave a wonderful keynote address on Catholic universities.

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Greeting Prof. McInerny

Christendom College is a small, very strongly Catholic institution founded by a man I knew when I was a young priest in Washington, D.C. — Dr. Warren Carroll. He is still giving lectures there. The school was started by lay people and has the backing of the Diocese of Arlington. The academic program there is very rigorous, providing strong philosophical and theological training.

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Chairman of the Christendom Board of Directors, Donna Bethell,
Ralph McInerny, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, and Father John Heisler

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This year’s graduating class at the university was the largest ever — about 97 students. One of the graduates was the daughter of the school’s president, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, who is an old friend of mine. He has a beautiful family with nine children.

The day before I celebrated the baccalaureate Mass at the college.

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With the altar servers and college chaplain
Father John Heisler at the baccalaureate Mass

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They also sent the recording of my homily

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Their idea has always been to have a small college where they would be able to give a very strong sense of community and spiritual formation to the young people who study there. They have had many vocations come out of that school.

I was very moved by seeing the campus because I remember when they started, there was practically nothing there. They did have a large amount of land because the school is located in the country. Now they have a magnificent library and a beautiful chapel. At the chapel is a fantastic choir that is very professional.

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It is a magnificent library

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I was very pleased to see how much the college has grown.

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I was pleased to meet Sarah Miranda, a sophomore
from Somerville, during my visit

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On Sunday, I returned to Boston for Pentecost and celebrated Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes in Jamaica Plain. Msgr. Charles Bourque is the pastor there. We had confirmations from not only from the parish but from the neighboring parishes — St. Mary of the Angels, St. Thomas Aquinas, Mission Church, Holy family and St. Patrick.

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With the pastor, Msgr. Charles Bourque

The church was filled for the bilingual celebration, and the Hispanic choir sang beautifully.

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I told the parishioners that the event was such a wonderful coming together — it was the 100th anniversary of their church, around the 2,000th anniversary of the Catholic Church — the Church was born on Pentecost and Mother’s Day.

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Pentecost is such a beautiful occasion to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, which was the outpouring of the Spirit on the young people who were there. It was a very joyful celebration.

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I left for Colorado on Sunday evening to celebrate the baptism of a grandnephew the following day. They named him after me, actually — Seán Thomas O’Malley.

The baptism was held at Ave Maria Parish in Parker, Colorado. I have had many baptisms, first Communions and weddings in that parish where my brother and his wife have lived for many, many years. Most of his children still live in the area, and now we are baptizing the next generation of the O’Malleys.

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The area is very beautiful. When my brother went to that town, it was extremely rural. There are still herds of buffalo around the church (which is something you would not see in Boston!) and from my brother’s dining room window you can see Pikes Peak, which was snow-covered while I was there.

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The proud parents Melissa and Tom and, of course, little Seán

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Seán and Seán

On Tuesday, I visited the friars in Denver, which was very edifying. The great spirit of prayer that they have in their monastery was beautiful, and they have many young, enthusiastic friars. That day I also celebrated Mass in Spanish for the Poor Clare Capuchin sisters, who are Mexican.

I was only there for a day and a half, but the first day was sunny and warm while the second day it snowed (which you would see in Boston!) . It was the day that I was returning, May 13, and also the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

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After I returned, on Wednesday, I spoke at the resource seminar for priests about our campaign for marriage, entitled “The Future Depends on Love.”

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The initiative was launched by the four ordinaries of Massachusetts, under the direction of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, on June 22, 2007. Its purpose is to educate about and pray for the vocation of marriage.

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I spoke to the priests and other participants and thanked them for being there to learn more about the campaign. Angela and David Franks made a presentation and Kari Collela spoke as well. I also thanked them for the fine work they have done on this initiative.

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The Franks with one of the resource books distributed at the meeting

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We thank the deacon candidates, their families and the staff and volunteers at the MCC who worked so hard to put the packets together

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Looking back a little, on Saturday April 26 I attended the 18th Annual Friends of Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Gala that took place at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.

This year it was specifically earmarked to recognize the work of the nurses and to raise money for their ongoing formation programs.

Dr. Ralph de la Torre, appointed president and chief executive officer April 2, spoke along with St. Elizabeth’s president Chris O’Connor. A nurse also addressed the crowd and spoke very well.

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Our new president of Caritas Christi Healthcare, Dr. Ralph de la Torre
and his wife, Dr. Wing de la Torre

I want to express gratitude for the outstanding contribution of Dr. John Chessare who served with distinction as the interim president of St. Elizabeth’s.

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Sister Maria Puleo, Caritas Christi’s senior vice president for mission;
Chris O’Connor and John Chessare

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Chatting with Chris O’Connor, chair of the board of trustees,
Kevin Phelan and his wife, Anne

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With Maryellen and Kevin Kelley, Kevin Phelan and Chris O’Connor

Until my next post.

In Christ.

Cardinal Seán