Last weekend, during the Magnificat Pilgrimage of Hope, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Gaetan Boucharlat de Chazotte, who runs the Propagation of the Faith in the Diocese of Lyons, France. The Propagation of the Faith was founded in Lyons in 1822, to help the missions in the East and the West.
Back then, the United States was still considered "mission territory," and so the Propagation actually supported the Church in Boston. Mr. Chazotte brought with him copies of letters that Bishop Fenwick had sent to the Propagation, looking for support for the Church here in Boston.
You can see a copy of one of the letters below. If you click on them, they will open in a new window, full-size.
I didn’t realize Bishop Fenwick was so proficient in the French language. He even signs his name "Benoit," for Benedict, his first name!
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The news from the Vatican – Synod of Bishops on the Bible now taking place in Rome is that an observer from Hong Kong suggested that the Holy Father begin a blog on Scripture. I would encourage him to do so! He is a wonderful teacher and it would be a great vehicle for him to be in touch with all of us.
Also, it is my understanding that Bishop Kicanas of Tucson is blogging from the synod to share his experiences there with the faithful of his diocese.
It is encouraging to see that more and more people are availing themselves of this modern technology as a way to spread the Good News.
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Last Thursday, we had a Mass and dinner for the Boston chapter of Legatus here at the Pastoral Center. There were 60 members there and I was asked to deliver the keynote address.
It was nice to see Andreas Widmer, the president of Legatus, again. He is a former member of the Swiss Guard and has been very active in helping organize our annual Men’s and Women’s Conferences.
I was pleased to host the event at the Pastoral Center because we are eager to have more groups come and see this grand new facility that is the headquarters for the archdiocese.
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On Friday, anticipating the Feast of St. Luke, the Guild of St. Luke, the organization for Catholic physicians, held their annual White Mass and dinner at St. John’s Seminary.
Greeting Dr. Joanne Angelo after the Mass
The Guild’s chaplain is Msgr. Timothy Moran and Dr. Helen Jackson is their president. I was very happy to celebrate the Mass and meet so many local Catholic doctors and other health care professionals, including a good contingent of medical students from both Boston University and Harvard medical schools.
The group from Harvard Medical School
The keynote speaker for the evening was Dr. Ralph de la Torre, the CEO of Caritas Christi Health Care. His talk was very impressive and gave us all a sense of his vision of the future of the archdiocese’s hospital system.
With Dr. de la Torre
At the dinner the Guild also presented their annual St. Martin De Porres Award for an outstanding Catholic doctor to Dr. Frank D’Ambrosio, who is an ophthalmologist as well as a senior deacon.
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Saturday, I traveled to Connecticut to join the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford in celebrating their 50th anniversary.
We have always had a close relationship with the former bishop, Bishop Basil Losten, so we were very happy to be invited by the current bishop, Bishop Paul Chomnycky, to be part of their celebration.
As some may know, the Ukrainian Church has had a very difficult history of persecution in Ukraine. We are very happy that they are flourishing here. It was also an opportunity to meet with Eastern Rite Catholic bishops.
The ceremony was held at their seminary because their seminary chapel is actually larger than their cathedral!
The iconostasis, or icon screen, of the chapel is magnificent
The liturgy the Ukrainian Church uses, written by St. John Chrysostom, it is such a beautiful liturgy.
The Communion prayers are especially beautiful. Our Communion prayer is based on the words of the Centurion to Jesus: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. Say, but the word…”
They have a long prayer based on the words of the Good Thief: “Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom.” It is just beautiful.
I want to share it with you:
O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the World to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of your mystical supper, O Son of God, for I will not reveal Your mysteries to our enemies, nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief will I confess to You.
Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
Remember me, O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
May the partaking of your holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment, or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body.
O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body and Your life-giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen
O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
God, cleanse my sins and have mercy on me.
O Lord forgive me for I have sinned without number.
Their liturgy really stresses the transcendence of God, the heavenly liturgy and the splendor of God’s glory.
My connection to the Ukrainian Catholic Church goes all the way back to my early days in Washington.
I lived in Washington for 20 years and their formation house there, St. Josaphat, was right across the street from Capuchin College, so we had a wonderful relationship with the Ukrainian seminarians. I would always go there in November for the Feast of St. Josaphat which was always a big occasion.
A picture of St. Josaphat Seminary at its rededication in 2004
In Washington, the Ukrainians have a their National Shrine of the Holy Family that is also on Harewood Road. It is a beautiful building with the traditional zwiebelturm, or gold onion-domed towers. It is one of the highest points in Washington and is very near the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
I was happy to be a part of it and we wish many blessings upon the eparchy as they continue to carry on their mission.
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Saturday, we were in Kingston for the 100th anniversary of St. Joseph’s Parish. They had a wonderful choir and great participation in the singing. The church looked lovely and afterwards, in front of the church, we blessed and dedicated a new statue to St. Joseph.
Following the ceremony, there was a reception in the parish hall and there a young man came up to me and identified himself as Chuck Mason. My brother Ted is his godfather.
The pastor, Father Charlie Higgins, joked he was going to have to remove Chuck from the parish finance committee to avoid a conflict of interest!
Talking with Father Higgins
Later that day I had to call my brother and tell him that I met his godson, his lovely wife and beautiful children. It is such small world. Chuck’s father was Ted’s roommate at Notre Dame.
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Sunday afternoon, we had a memorial Mass for Tom Flatley with his wife, Charlotte, his children and their spouses and their 18 grandchildren at the Pastoral Center.
After the Mass, we dedicated at plaque to Tom at the entrance lobby of the building.
Unveiling the plaque
Proclaiming the prayer of blessing
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Monday night we had dinner with the seminarians at the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation in Brookline.
We began the evening with Vespers and I was able to see the new icon they had placed in the chapel of Jesus appearing to the Apostles after the Resurrection passing through the locked doors. The seminarians presented me with a smaller replica of the icon.
The dinner was a wonderful opportunity to speak with the rector of the House, Father Tony Medeiros. After dinner, the seminarians sang some Spanish songs for us. One of the seminarians from Mexico, Emmanuel, even put on a sombrero and serape! It was great fun.
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Wednesday, I attended the annual Mass and dinner for Order of Malta at St. Mary’s Church at Boston College. The Mass was very well attended and at the dinner they gave their Bishop Fitzpatrick Award to John McMannon.
The master of ceremonies for the evening was Hap Redgate and Joe Feitleberg, the chair of the Boston Area, was there as well.
It was nice that, at the end of the meal, they gave grants to organizations from the proceeds from the dinner. One of the recipients was Cathedral Cares, and Lynn Finn, who runs the program was there to accept the grant along with the cathedral rector Father Kevin O’Leary.
This year the keynote speaker at the dinner was Sister Janet Eisner, the president of Emmanuel College. Earlier in the day, I had Sister Janet over for lunch and gave her a gift for to celebrate her 50th anniversary of consecrated life.
I am especially grateful to Sister Janet for all she has done to help the archdiocese, particularly in support of our Catholic Schools.
On Thursday afternoon, I was so pleased that Father Bill Kelly, the director of the Office of Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation, brought together a good number of priests for our first Day of Recollection for Priests at the new Pastoral Center. Priests need these opportunities to pray together, to share a meal with one another, to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and to meditate on the Word of God.
Many of the priests came to concelebrate at the noon Mass in Bethany Chapel, and then joined us for lunch in the cafeteria.
Following lunch we had a holy hour during which I gave a spiritual conference on the theme of humility in a priest’s life. I recalled that moment during our ordination when we placed our hands in the hands of the bishop and promised respect and obedience.
We priests and bishops must always listen for the voice of God and be willing to obey. We must also be willing to hear the voice of the Lord’s people in the Church and be willing to serve them in all charity and humility.
After the talk, we prayed the Liturgy of the Hours together and returned to our ministry. I’m so happy that many of our fine priests were able to make time for this. As always, I ask you to pray for the many fine people, especially our priests, who have given their lives for the Church.
Until next week, blessings to you all!
+ Cardinal Seán