Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

The passing of Cardinal Dulles

As I was putting the finishing touches on this week’s posting, I was saddened by the news of the death of my good friend Cardinal Avery Dulles. Cardinal Dulles, a Jesuit, was the first American-born theologian and non-bishop to be elevated to the rank of cardinal. He died at the infirmary at Fordham University, where he taught for many years.

Dulles14 Cardinal Dulles speaking at Boston College in 2005

Cardinal Dulles was the son of President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, and the nephew of Eisenhower’s CIA director, Allen Welsh Dulles, and his conversion to Catholicism from such a prominent Presbyterian family was just one remarkable chapter in the story of his remarkable walk with the Lord.

My friendship with Cardinal Dulles goes back to the early 1970s, when he was teaching at Woodstock College, a Jesuit seminary. Later, we taught together at Catholic University.

Cardinal Dulles was one of the most brilliant and intelligent theologians in the history of the Church in the United States.

We were privileged to have him visit us last year when he gave a talk at St. John’s Seminary, which was one of his last public appearances. He suffered for many years from the aftermath of his battle with polio when he was a young adult. For the rest of life he walked with a cane.

In his final lecture at Fordham titled: “A Life in Theology,” which was read for him, he said:

“Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence,” he said. “As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

He will be greatly missed.

- – -

Last Friday, I was invited to Merrimack College. The president, the provincial of the Augustinians and their board had me over for lunch.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley at Merrimack College December 5, 2008.The Prior Provincial, Father Donald Reilly; Larry Demers, Chairman of Merrimack College’s Board of Trustees; and Dr. Ronald Champagne, president of Merrimack College

Cardinal Sean O'Malley at Merrimack College December 5, 2008.

Father James Wenzel, Father Ray Dlugos, Father Joseph Calderone, Father William Garland , Father Joseph Farrell, Father Donald Reilly, Brother Robert Thornton, and Father William Waters

It was a great honor when they announced at the luncheon the establishment of two full scholarships to Merrimack College in my name.

The scholarships will be awarded to graduates of the Blessed Stephen Bellesini Academy in Lawrence.

The Bellesini Academy is a Catholic middle school run by the Augustinians dedicated to providing education to boys of limited financial means living in Lawrence.

MerrimackProclamation2 The proclamation establishing the scholarship

They also showed a nice film presentation about the Augustinian presence in the archdiocese that goes back to the time of Bishop Cheverus.

The Augustinians have a long history of association with the archdiocese, and they have made great contributions.  The order founded St. Augustine’s and St. Monica’s parishes. Merrimack College was founded by Cardinal Cushing 60 years ago, after World War II. He wanted to provide college education for the young men coming back from World War II and so he asked the Holy Cross Fathers to start Stonehill College in the southern part of the diocese, and the Augustinians to start Merrimack College in the north. Since its foundation, the college has graduated nearly 22,000 students.

- – -

At various times during the years, I meet with our seminarians. It was thought that instead of always meeting with the whole group of them, we would have smaller groups come here to the cathedral for a more personal gathering. Last Friday was the first in that series of meetings.

The seminarians came, we had Evening Prayer together and then a meal during which we had the opportunity to dialogue on many different issues — the Church, the seminary, etc.

- – -

On Saturday, I went to Immaculate Conception in Lowell. It happened to be the Feast of St. Nicholas who is the patron saint of the pastor there — Father Nick Sannella. Of course we celebrated the Sunday Mass but I did comment on the fact that the Feast of St. Nicholas is one of the Advent celebrations.

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The church was filled — it’s a very large church, holding close to 2,000 people. It’s one of the largest and most beautiful churches in the area, I would say perhaps in all of New England. Anywhere else it would be a cathedral.

IC_Lowell_Cardinal Sean 12-04-08

Under the leadership of Father Sannella, they have done a lot of restoration work on the buildings. They also have a school that they are working very hard to support.

Father Sannella gave me a reproduction of one of the stained glass windows in the church. It is a unique image: it depicts the Madonna holding the child Jesus who is, in turn, holding a chalice and a host — a very Eucharistic theme.

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- – -

On Sunday I went to St. Andrew’s in Billerica to celebrate their 140th anniversary.

Much like Sacred Hearts in Bradford, which I saw the next day, it was just filled with young families and young children. It’s very encouraging to see that.

The pastor, Father Michael Parise, is doing such wonderful work to build up the local community and provide many opportunities for the youth and adults of the parish to be actively involved in the life of the Church.

They had a wonderful choir, and they were particularly anxious for me to see the restorations they have done to the church, which came out beautifully.

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StAndrew_Billerica_DSC04580 StAndrew_Billerica_Dsc04583 StAndrew_Billerica_Dsc04582 StAndrew_Billerica_Dsc04611They presented me with this t-shirt which says “Vocations – Everybody’s Business”

- – -

That evening, I went to Immaculate Conception in Everett for confirmations for the Haitian community there.

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The pastor, Father Gerry Osterman, is very engaged in helping the Haitian community. In fact, they are holding the ARISE program in Creole for their parishioners. In 1983, he co-founded the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation. At the time, Father Gerry was the pastor at St. Boniface in Quincy. Along with some parishioners, he visited Haiti in 1983 to give a donation to a Mother Teresa’s home in the capital city, and that evolved in the creation of the Foundation that later built a hospital at Fond des Blancs, a very rural and poor area in Haiti. They do a tremendous work and Father told me that he was down there just recently. (http://www.haitihealth.org/)

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- – -

Monday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I celebrated a Mass followed by a reception for the Yawkey Foundation to formally thank them for the $15 million contribution they are making to the Campaign for Catholic Schools for the Catholic Charities Youth Center at St. Peter’s and Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester-Mattapan.

Mass and dinner Dec. 9, 2008 at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston to thank members of the Yawkey Foundation for their donation of $15 million to support Catholic schools in Dorchester-Mattapan.  Performing at the Mass were two groups of students from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester.<br /> Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot<br />  

Mass and dinner Dec. 9, 2008 at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston to thank members of the Yawkey Foundation for their donation of $15 million to support Catholic schools in Dorchester-Mattapan.  Performing at the Mass were two groups of students from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester.<br /> Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot<br />

The Mass featured performances by two groups of students from Pope John Paul II Academy.

Before the start of the Mass, one group of students performed an interpretative dance of the Nativity.  It was very nicely done.

Mass and dinner Dec. 9, 2008 at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston to thank members of the Yawkey Foundation for their donation of $15 million to support Catholic schools in Dorchester-Mattapan.  Performing at the Mass were two groups of students from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester.<br /> Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot<br />

Mass and dinner Dec. 9, 2008 at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston to thank members of the Yawkey Foundation for their donation of $15 million to support Catholic schools in Dorchester-Mattapan.  Performing at the Mass were two groups of students from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester.<br /> Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot<br />

During the Mass, another group of students served as the choir.  They also played some songs on the tin whistle and the violin.

Mass and dinner Dec. 9, 2008 at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston to thank members of the Yawkey Foundation for their donation of $15 million to support Catholic schools in Dorchester-Mattapan.  Performing at the Mass were two groups of students from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester.<br /> Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot<br />  

I know everyone was so happy have the students present and hear them perform.

Mass and dinner Dec. 9, 2008 at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston to thank members of the Yawkey Foundation for their donation of $15 million to support Catholic schools in Dorchester-Mattapan.  Performing at the Mass were two groups of students from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester.<br /> Photo by Gregory L. Tracy/ The Pilot<br />  

- – -

That evening, I went to Sacred Hearts in Bradford. They recently celebrated their 100th anniversary, and unfortunately, I was unable to go for that particular day. The church has been beautifully restored. It was filled with young people and young families.

Once again, it was encouraging to see “standing room only” on a Monday night in a church.  Father Robert Conole and Father Hal Obayashi are doing great work with the large number of families at the parish.

SH_Bradford_Clergy with Cardinal

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- – -

On Tuesday, Jason Evert addressed the high school students at Cathedral High School. I introduced him and gave them a blessing.

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He communicates a Christian vision of sexuality and helps people to have an understanding of the importance of the virtue of chastity.

We are very lucky to have him coming to so many groups in the diocese. I know Maryann Luthin from our Pro-Life office has been helping to facilitate his visit.

- – -

After a number of scheduling conflicts, I was very happy to visit with the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary and celebrate an Advent Mass with them.

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I first met Marist sisters when I was the bishop of the Virgin Islands and they were a great help to the people there.

Here in Boston, they have many ministries and programs, but their chief ministry is prayer. I was so grateful to hear when they assured me of their continued prayers for the archdiocese and its archbishop.

SMSM Group

After the Mass, we shared a meal and stories of life in the missions. When I mentioned my trip this summer to Papua, New Guinea, where classmates of mine and other friars had a mission, a number of the sisters told me that they had also served God’s people there.

SMSM_Bouganville Sister & Cardinal

Here I am with the all the sisters who had worked in the Papua, New Guinea missions. I am holding the picture of the Red Madonna, a mother with her child from the highlands there that I have chosen for my Christmas card this year.

When I spoke with Sister Catherine, who worked in those missions for 50 years, it turns out that we knew many of the same friars!

 

Before leaving, Sister Judith presented me with a remarkable lead crystal cross that casts a rainbow when light shines on it. It will be perfect for a window in my office.

Sr. Judy & Cardinal Sister Judith

SMSM_Cardinal & Gift

- – -

That evening I went to the wake of Tina DiDomenico, the 97-year-old mother of Sal DiDomenico. She was buried yesterday from St. Francis Church in Cambridge.

Sal and his wife Marie are great supporters of the archdiocese. They have a wonderful family. They are also very involved in the Sts. Cosmas and Damian festival that is held every year in the East Cambridge.

The whole extended family was at the wake. Tina lived a long and beautiful life, may she rest in peace.

- – -

On Wednesday evening, I attended the Sears Road Dinner Club, which is organized David Fubini, director of the McKinsey & Company which last year provided the Archdiocese a pro-bono review to improve the efficiency and productivity of our organization.  We are so grateful to Mr. Fubini and all those involved in that effort which is bearing such wonderful fruit for our Archdiocese.

The dinners are an opportunity to bring leaders of the community together to talk about local, national and world issues together. It was an enjoyable evening and I was grateful for their invitation.

Until next week, blessings!

- Cardinal Seán

18 Responses to The passing of Cardinal Dulles


Comments

  1. Comment by Mikayla | 2008/12/13 at 12:04:35

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend Cardinal Dulles. I will keep him and all his friends and family in my prayers. As you had the nativity at church we had a nativity done at our school preformed by the eighth graders. I was singing though at te bottom of the stage.
    God Bless You,
    Mikayla McGrath
    St Paul School
    Hingham, MA

  2. Comment by Joe Houley | 2008/12/13 at 21:31:32

    My dear brother Sean,

    It too has saddened me to hear of Dulles’ passing to the Lord. I am old enough to remember his father as Secretary of State. More importantly, it was my first year in the seminary at St. Thomas in Hartford where we used Apologetics and the Biblical Christ which was authored by the Late Cardinal.

    Thanks for your visit to St. Andrew’s Parish last Sunday. I love serving as organist at that parish. I laughed so hard at your story about St. Nicholas. “They took the bishop and dressed him in red…” hummmm … It was also interesting to learn that he was the first saint canonized without martyrdom.

    God’s peace.

    Joe Houley

  3. Comment by Mariah | 2008/12/13 at 22:37:19

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am sorry for the loss of your good friend Cardinal Dulles. I will make sure that I keep all of his family members and friends in my prayers. May he rest in peace.

    Last Friday, we celebrated the Birth of Jesus at our school. First, all of the students performed Christmas songs with the other children in their grade. Afterword, the eighth grade students performed a reenactment of Christmas.The sixth and seventh grade sung in the choir on the side of the stage. It really put everyone into the Christmas Spirit!

    It is great that people both young and old are coming together to celebrate God and his word. It is important that we thank God for what we have and his many gifts to us.

    Sincerely,
    Mariah
    Grade 7 Student at St. Paul School

  4. Comment by Celene | 2008/12/14 at 11:13:47

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am sorry to hear about the death of your friend, Cardinal Dulles. We will keep him in our prayers at our school, St. Paul. When I read “A Life in Theology,” it was very inspiring, especially when I read how he was no afraid of death because of his faith in the Lord.
    When I looked at the pictures of the nativity you watched, they were very inspiring. Our school also had a nativity on the 12th, and every class participated in it, from singing by the lower grades and the eighth-graders, seventh-graders, and sixth graders participating in the nativity scene.
    God bless you,
    Celene, 7th grade student attending St.Paul School

  5. Comment by Alexis | 2008/12/14 at 12:02:43

    Hi Cardinal Sean!

    I am very sorry for the loss of Cardinal Dulles. May he rest in peace with God forever. I will keep him and you in my prayers. I bet the crystal Cross is beautiful. That’s amazing how it reflects a rainbow. I am looking forward to commenting on your next blog!

  6. Comment by Mackenzie | 2008/12/14 at 13:25:36

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    As I saw that you had a navity done at your church, we also had a nativity done at our school’s Christmas concert. I also am very sorry about the death of your friend, Cardinal Dulles. I will remember to pray for him.

    Mackenzie Voke
    St. Paul School

  7. Comment by Lindsey | 2008/12/14 at 15:42:00

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Cardinal Avery Dulles. It was very unfortunate. I will pray for him. The people who won the scholorships are very lucky! My dad went to Stonehill College and I was very interested to learn how it came about. The window that depicts the Madonna holding the child Jesus who is, in turn, holding a chalice and a host is beautiful! I also like the t-shirt that says “Vocations – Everybody’s Business”! The ARISE foundation seems very interesting also! The interpretative dance of the Nativity looked cool!
    Best Wishes,
    Lindsey, 7th grade at St.Paul school

  8. Comment by Bill | 2008/12/14 at 15:55:12

    It was nice of you to visit Lowell this past week. The Immaculate Conception Church is a beautiful place of worship. At one time there was another magnificent Keeley church in Lowell, Saint Peter’s. Unfortunately, one of your predecessors saw fit to demolish it. We in Lowell were wondering if you even knew we existed here. The reconfiguration process over the last few years has decimated church attendance in this city. It feels that Boston is turning its back on the blue collar cities like Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill, the very cities that built up the Archdiocese when it was in its glory days. Our prayer is that you appoint a new progressive and active bishop who will breathe some life into this long-neglected region.

  9. Comment by Gabrielle | 2008/12/14 at 18:46:32

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am so sorry about the lost of Cardinal Dulles. Last week, our school preformed the Nativity seen. Although I was not in it, I was at the bottom of the stage singing. I also wanted to say how much I enjoy your blogs!
    Thank you,
    Gabrielle
    St Paul School
    Hingham, MA

  10. Comment by Jenna | 2008/12/14 at 19:22:12

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend Cardinal Dulles. I will pray that his family and friends get through this difficult time.

    Congratulations on the establishment of two scholarships to Merrimack College in your name. It must have been such an honor and you must have been so proud.

    At Saint Paul’s School in Hingham, we also have a re-creation of the nativity scene. It is performed by the eighth grade students at out school, and the sixth and seventh grade students serve as the choir. The choir was singing loudly at the bottom of the stage.

    Sincerely,
    Jenna Gibbons
    St. Paul School
    Hingham, MA

  11. Comment by Deanna | 2008/12/14 at 19:37:46

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am very sorry for the loss of your friend, Cardinal Dulles.
    My godmother passed a way a few weeks ago so I understand what you are going through. Cardinal Dulles’s family and friends are in my prayers. It must have been fun to see the nativity done at your church. It was done at both my school and church. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
    Can’t wait untill your next blog.
    From,
    Deanna Bono

  12. Comment by Paul Lavallée | 2008/12/15 at 19:12:10

    Your Eminence Cardinal Sean:
    I am so sorry for the leaving of The Dear Cardinal Dulles. I am an 87 year old French Canadian from Quebec City, and got a Ph D in Theology at 77 with a thesis on “the Rule of St-Benedict A Source of Spirituality for Lay People” and an Essay on Blessed Abbot Marmion for the Master’s.

    All my life, I had a great admiration for Father Dulles and was so very happy when he was created a Cardinal. Everything he wrote was for me like gold.

    Let us pray for him. May he rest in peace, in the Lord’s peace.

    The Lord Bless you and your work in Boston. Please kindly bless me.

    Most respectfully yours in Xto.

    Paul.

  13. Comment by Nikki | 2008/12/16 at 10:00:47

    I am very sorry to hear about Cardinal Dulles. I will say a Our Father for him.

  14. Comment by shannon | 2008/12/16 at 10:02:04

    I am very sad about the news of your friend. I can tell he was special to you. He will be in our prayers.

  15. Comment by Caroline H | 2008/12/16 at 10:02:24

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am really sorry for the loss of your fellow cardinal, cardinal Dulles, I will saysome prayers for you are his family. You had the nativity scene at your church I read and we also had the naivity scene at our school and I was the stage crew. It was beautiful.

    Caroline Hughes
    St Paul’s school
    Hingham MA

  16. Comment by Kate | 2008/12/16 at 10:02:58

    Cardinal Sean,

    I am so sorry for your friend. That’s very nice that you went to a Nativity Mass. I love watching the Nativity Scene. It’s very special and fun around Christmas. I hope you have a very blessed Christmas!

    Kate, Grade 7, St. Paul School

  17. Comment by ShannonW. | 2008/12/16 at 17:18:12

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend Cardinal Dulles. I will keep him in my prayers.
    I liked the nativity scene at the church, that was so neat. I liked how some of the people played their violins and sang in the choir that was awesome. I hope you have a peaceful Christmas.

    From,
    ShannonW.

  18. Comment by edward leahy | 2008/12/17 at 18:22:09

    Dear Cardinal.

    As I read this latest blog from you; I could not help remembering the blog of a few months ago where you said that “In remembering your friend, Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, truly a great soul that you added a caveat that….just trying to recollect your words…..I remember seeing so many tablets (?) indicating that this place, etc. etc. was founded by Richard Cardinal Cushing and that YOU wished that You could add…”and yes, Paid for by Humberto Cardinal Medeiros (sp?). I found your special wording, striking. Card. Mediros was truly a holy and unobtrusive Cardinal. Cushing, on the other hand was a swashbuckler, who truly loved the poor, who truly loved those who NEEDED love; he knew that the Kennedys of the world SHOULD give some of their money to help the disadvantaged. Cushing KNEW that he could help separate some of that money from the advantaged by letting them give HIM the Money so that He would Make sure that it went to the Deserving. Your comments on Merrimac College after WWII, of which I was a participant, allowed 22 thousand people to metriculate was prescient. Richard Cardinal Cushing of South Boston really KNEW his PARISH. I am sure that you do too. God Bless us all as we continue to show that God is Love and He is Everlasting. God Bless you Cardinal. You are a good guy. Eddie Leahy, from way down in Florida.


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