Justice Convocation

Hello, once again!

First, I want to share with you some news from the archdiocese. This week, the Holy Father accepted Bishop Francis X. Irwin’s letter of resignation that he tendered last year. We are very grateful that he has generously served so long, even beyond his 75th birthday. We look forward to his retirement and his continued presence to the people of Boston in many different ways.

Bishop Irwin

His generosity, good humor, and pastoral wisdom have been gifts that he has brought to the archdiocese. We’re very grateful for all of his goodness and friendship, and hope that his retirement will be filled with many blessings and graces.

Now, onto my week.

In last week’s post, I mentioned very briefly that last Thursday I had attended the Adopt-a-Student Dinner at the Seaport Hotel for Cathedral High School. I wanted to share my thoughts of the evening in bit more detail with you this week.


Every year there is a dinner to raise funds for Cathedral High School. It is sponsored by the Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Mr. John Raimonde. Father Kevin O’Leary, pastor of the Cathedral parish, was there with us. There are a number of sisters from different communities who help staff the school, including the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Franciscan Sisters, and School Sisters of Notre Dame. They also have one religious brother. He is a member of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.


It was a very successful evening. Catholic philanthropist Jack Connors spoke to the group about Catholic education. Earnest McNeil, one of the senior students spoke very eloquently. There was a film presentation about the school as well.


Cathedral has undergone some impressive facilities improvements in recent years. This past summer, they put in new science labs, purchased new desks for the students and teachers, and repainted and installed a new floor and tables in the cafeteria. Last year, they replaced all the bathrooms, and two years ago they put a new roof on the building. Three years ago, they built a new gymnasium. They have been working very assiduously.


The new headmaster, Tom Arria, has provided terrific leadership for the school. He came from Malden Catholic High School. They are doing a fine job there providing a quality education to low income students.

– – –

On Friday, I was the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Mother Anne of the Mother of God, prioress of the discalced Carmelite monastery in Danvers.

As you may know, Mother Anne passed to the Lord on October 10. Her death was sudden and unexpected. It was moving to see how many people turned out for the wake and funeral. It really made quite an impact on the whole community. She has given extraordinary leadership to the sisters there and was truly a spiritual mother to them.


Bishop Irwin, the regional bishop there, preached at the Mass. A number of priests concelebrated.

We have two cloistered communities of Carmelite sisters in the diocese. The Danvers convent, which I have mentioned in previous posts, was headed by Mother Anne, who has been a beloved religious figure in that part of the diocese. The presence of the sisters in the area has always made a very positive impact on the life of the Church. People frequently visit the convent and go there to pray.

The nuns’ life is one of work and prayer, and, as you can see, Mother was not averse to using a power saw.


– – –

On Saturday, I gave the opening remarks and led the opening prayer service at the first social justice convocation, titled “In the Footsteps of Christ.” It was held at Boston College High School.

Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, Boston College High School, Oct. 17, 2009 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, Boston College High School, Oct. 17, 2009 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

One of the activities that has come out of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council was a conference on the social teachings of the Catholic Church. The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council worked very closely with the ARISE Office. It was very successful. Over 300 people came.

Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, Boston College High School, Oct. 17, 2009 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

There were a number of speakers from different areas, including pro-life, immigration, economic justice, and housing.

Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, Boston College High School, Oct. 17, 2009 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

In my remarks, I talked about how the social Gospel of the Church is part and parcel of who we are as Catholics. I used the example of the opening talk Pope John Paul II gave at the Puebla Conference in 1979, where he challenged us to teach the truth about Christ, the truth about the Church, and the truth about the human person. I said all of these are interconnected in the Church, so it’s very important that we have that sense of our belief in God and the Trinity and our belief in the Church as the Sacrament of Christ, and the belief in the dignity of the human person made in the image and likeness of God, with an eternal destiny.

Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, Boston College High School, Oct. 17, 2009 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, Boston College High School, Oct. 17, 2009 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Father J. Bryan Hehir

All of those things are the background for the Church’s social Gospel. Having said that, I also commented that in the early centuries, the Church was often persecuted for what we taught about God, the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist, and the sacraments, but in modern times, the opposition to the Church is strongest in the area of what we teach about the dignity of the human person, the Gospel of life, and the sacredness of marriage.

Archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation, Boston College High School, Oct. 17, 2009 Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Participants enjoyed the conference

– – –

Later that day, I attended the New England Middle School Rally at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood.

Middle School Rally, Xaverian Brothers High School Westwood, Mass.Oct. 17, 2009. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

The Office of New Evangelization is trying to expand the ministry to middle school students. This was an attempt to do that. We’ve realized in the past that oftentimes this age group falls through the cracks. They’re there for sacramental preparation, and then when that passes their contact with the Church is minimal. I applaud the efforts that are being done by the office for this ministry.

Middle School Rally, Xaverian Brothers High School Westwood, Mass.Oct. 17, 2009. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

I think that this can be replicated in the parishes. It’s a model of what can be done with the youngsters of this age group. There was great enthusiasm amongst the youngsters. I was happy to address them and greet them.

Middle School Rally, Xaverian Brothers High School Westwood, Mass.Oct. 17, 2009. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

– – –

On Monday, I met with Cardinal Cushing School’s President and CEO Jo Ann Simon and Board Chairman John Boucher at the Pastoral Center. The purpose of the meeting was so they could update me on the good work they are doing there. They gave me a cross which the students made. It’s a Franciscan cross.



The Franciscan sisters are the founders of the school. Historically, it was Cardinal Cushing who brought them there. Cardinal Cushing was very close to that institution. He used to spend a lot of time there and asked to be buried there. So they built a replica of the Chapel of Saint Francis Portiuncula in Assisi. The exterior is an exact replica. It’s very, very beautiful. It’s part of the Franciscan roots of that institution. I was very pleased to see the students are still being taught in the Franciscan tradition.

– – –

Later in the day, I received a pleasant visit from Father Bill Devine, one of the many wonderful Boston priests who has served courageously and generously the men and women of our armed forces. He is presently in Okinawa, but has done many tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was home and wanted to pay a visit to update me on where his life is and what is happening with him.


In this 2003 photo, Father Bill is celebrating the Eucharist in the Iraq desert

– – –

On Wednesday, I visited the newest Catholic school in the archdiocese, Good Shepherd School. It is a preschool that has been opened in Charlestown.

Good Shepherd School Oct 2009 017

They renovated the first floor of St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish, which is a beautiful old Keely church. Like many of those churches, the church itself is on the second floor. The school is not in the basement. It is actually on the ground level. They had had a lower chapel there, so the windows are stained glass. They did a wonderful job of renovating this for the children but preserving a lot of the natural beauty of the old building. They are going to have a daily Mass chapel down there. It is just wonderful work that has been done on it. It is going to be a bi-lingual program because there are many Hispanic children in the neighborhood. The parents are very, very enthused. When Father Ronan became the pastor there, he was interested in reopening the Catholic school, but did a study – a needs assessment. What he discovered was there were many young Catholic families with small children, and there was great interest in a preschool program. As I said, it is our newest Catholic school and we are very pleased.

Good Shepherd School Oct 2009 025

Until next week,

In Christ,

Cardinal Seán

25 thoughts on “Justice Convocation”

  1. Wow! I am new to this site and haven’t read any post, except this, and I cant help but mesmerize with the information I have seen here. It is really nice to hear that there are certain organization here in Earth raising fund to let others benefit, be supported. And as with you guys, you let young ones be learned from a prestigious school whom you have raised through your divine efforts. Continue spreading the good news! May God continue blessing you guys!!

  2. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    It is amazing how you can be the main celebrant for a funeral. I tmust have been a great honor. It also must have been an honor to accept the cross that the middle school students made for you. You must always have very busy weeks. I hope some time you can come to Saint Paul School and join us for our mounthly masses. Can’t wait for your next blog.
    Morgan Giblin
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 7

  3. Cardinal Sean,
    Another week full of holy accomplishments. I am sorry that Mother Anne died, but she is now at her rightful place with God.
    I noticed the Arise program you wrote about and wanted to add that my school, St. Paul’s in Hingham, participates in that program. I liked reading about the middle school rally, for I am in the middle school grades, and thought it was nice that people are working on icluding our age group. I also thought it was nice that the priest, Father Bill Devine, said Mass for the soldiers in Iraq, who give their lives for us and should still be included in worshiping Our Lord.
    God Bless
    Katie Irish
    Grade 7
    Saint Paul School, Hingham

  4. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Another busy week again, its amazing how you can fit all that stuff in one week. I thought the picture of Mother Anne holding the power saw was hilarious! She also was a great Reverend.
    Alex Giblin
    St Paul’s School
    Grade 7

  5. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Hi, I’m a seventh grade student at Saint Paul school. We are all very sorry for the loss of Mother Anne, she was a woman of great faith and she will be missed greatly. The mass in Iraq looked very touching, we are very lucky to have those men and women protecting us. It is great to hear that the Arise meeting had a huge turn out. Good luck with your many adventures next week.
    God Bless.

  6. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Once again, another busy week. You attend numerous ceremonies, both large and small, which promote the Catholic faith. It is truly amazing.

    I am sorry to hear about the death of Reverend Mother Anne. She seemed to be an amazing women who made quite an impact on the community.


    Mariah Ward
    Eighth Grade Student at St. Paul School

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I think that it is wonderful that Father Bill brings the Eucharist to the troops! I also thought that the picture of Mother Anne holding the power saw was very funny. It sounds like she was a very influential person. I loved your blog this week!

    Thank you,

    Grade 8
    Saint Paul School Hingham

  8. Dear cardinal sean,

    Thank you for creating this wonderful blog, May mother anne find new life and eternal peace in heaven.

    Thank you once again for creating this blog,

    Hugh Gorman
    Saint Paul School Hingham
    Grade 7

  9. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    The Francisian cross that the students made looked very interseting. It is neat how the cross is different from a regular cross, and has a reason behind it. For the soliders, it must be very nice that Father Bill comes and says mass to them in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ihope that you are having a wonderful Halloween and I look forward to reading next week’s blog!
    God Bless You,
    Kathleen Ryan
    Grade 7
    Saint Paul School

  10. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Have you ever had a lazy day? It seems like you do so much in one week!! I thought it was very interesting to know about Father Bill Devine and how he served in the army! It’s really cool that he did that. I thought the picture of Mother Anne holding the power saw was really funny! She must have been a very unpredictable person!
    I enjoyed reading your blog this week!
    Saint Paul School Hingham
    Grade 8

  11. I wish to extend my deepest thanks to Bishop Irwin for his service to the Archdiocese. The number of candidates for Confirmation who have benefited by His Eminence’s humble holiness and good humor over the years is countless!

    This fine man concelebrated at my beloved Dad’s funeral Mass late last year, whom he didn’t even know, but out of generous solidarity with my uncle, a priest of the Archdiocese.

    You are truly loved, Bishop Irwin, and you will be greatly missed.

    I might also add how uplifting it is to see commentary by young men from BC High; it’s a true source of encouragement to middle-agers such as myself! Perhaps there’s a future Bishop Irwin or Cardinal Sean amongst them.

  12. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Hello,my name is Erin Duffey and i attend St.Pauls School in Hingham MA. I think that it is great that you keep us informed on how your week is and keep us informed. I am sorry to hear about the passing of Reverend Mother Anne and will make sure to keep her in my prayers. By the looks of the pictures that you added it looks like the Arise program had a great turn out. The newest Catholic school in the Arcdiocese, the Good Shepard School the preschool in Charlstown looked great. I appreceate the blogs and i cant wait until the next one is posted.

    Erin Duffey
    Saint Paul School
    Hinham MA
    Grade 7

  13. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    My brother is a junior at B.C. High, and it looks your visit there went very well! We look foward to your coming here also. I am so sorry to hear about Reverend Mother Anne, and I will remember to keep her in my prayers.

    Mackenzie Voke
    Saint Paul School

  14. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    My brother is a junior at B.C. High, and it looks your visit there went very well! We look foward to your coming here also. I am so sorry to hear about Reverend Mother Anne, and I will remember to keep her in my prayers. Thank you for your news about this week in the Archdiocese!

    Mackenzie Voke
    Saint Paul School

  15. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you for your blog this week it was very interesting. That’s amazing how Father Bill was celebrating the Eucharist in the Iraq desert. It’s so sad how Mother Anne had died sudden and unexpected. It was moving to see how many people turned out for the wake and funeral, that’s so nice. I will keep her in my prayers. You should visit our school soon.


  16. Dear Cardinal Seán,

    Thank you for another wonderful blog! I read that you visited Boston College High School. I know a few people who go there and some who are planning to go there. It seems like your visit went very well!

    And it must have been hard for those who knew Mother Anne when she passed away. But it’s reassuring to know that she is with God now in eternal life.

    The Adopt-A-Student Foundation sounds like a wonderful way to raise money for students. And the improvements to Cathedral High School sound excellent!

    Thank you again for the great blog! We hope that you can come to our school sometime soon and celebrate Mass!

    God bless!

    Kate, 8th Grade
    Saint Paul School
    Hingham, MA

  17. Dear Cardinal Seán,

    This was another great blog! It was great to see you at B.C. high! I want to go there for high school. I am currently at St. Paul’s in Hingham (the school you visited last week). Thank you for writing your blog. It is great to see all the current things taking place in our Arch-diocese. Thanks again!

    John Kenneally
    Saint Paul School
    Hingham MA

  18. Hello again.
    It was nice to hear about the ARISE program. My church is also participating in it. I believe it can teach many people of God’s message, and every one should join.

    Best wishes,
    Aidan Hogan

  19. dear cardinal sean, i thought it was cool that you went to the adopt a student foundation i belive my teacher mr mihal taught at cathedral high school what did they do at the convention. brendan sullivan

  20. Dear Cardinal Seán,

    I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is Alexander Hickey. I am a Freshmen at Boston College High School. I read your post above and I would like to say that you are a wonderful example for all. It is a very generous thing that you attended the fund raising dinner. I also thought that it was a wonderful thing that you spoke at Xaverian Brothers High School, to the middle school children. It is a great thing for them and I wish I had been in their position in middle school. Extending the ministry to middle school children is great. The final thing that I would like to say is that the Franciscan cross given to you is very nice. The cross is given to you, in appreciation of how great you are for the Archdiocese of Boston.

    Thank you for your continued work in the Church,
    Alexander Hickey, Boston College High School ’13

  21. Hello, this is Mike Jaklitsch, a student at Boston College High School. I was very pleased to see that the social justice convention at B.C. High was a success and that the Cardinal was able to attend and offer his words of wisdom. I feel that it is extremely important for the church to speak out in a more public and vocal manner on the church’s stance on many social justice issues. In my experience the church’s teachings and stance on social justice issues is often misconstrued by the media and other sources and as a result people hesitate to support the church or in some cases leave altogether. I believe that if the church actively commits itself to publicly preachig its teaching and the source of that teaching (in Scripture) that people will change their view of the church in the modern world and begin to realize that the church has a distinct role to play in addressing the issues they face in the 21st century. I applaud the cardinal adn his efforts to voice the church’s stance on social justice issues and I hope to see more of the church’s leaders do the same in the future.

  22. Hello Cardinal Sean, it’s Hugh from Boston College High School. I used to comment on your blog every week last year when I was at St. Paul School. I noticed that you visited my school last week! Its looks like it was a great day with some excellent speakers. I find it interesting that you were talking about how the Church was persecuted for teaching about God because that it what I am learning about in school. We are studying the Jesuits and some of them were also persecuted for trying to spread the Gospel. Although many have lost their lives, all of their hard work has really paid off.

  23. Cardinal Seán:

    Thank you for your blog. I have been keeping up with it in the past few weeks and it has given me insight into what happens in the diocese as a whole. It is amazing that both large and small events contribute to the strength of the Catholic community and the advancement of the kingdom of God all over the world.

    Dolo Nosamiefan
    Boston College High School

  24. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    My name is Matt Blanchard, I am a Senior at Boston College High School. I just wanted to praise your blog, it is a nice way for the people of the archdiocese of Boston to keep up some of the many things you do. The pictures add a great touch to the blog. I just want to thank Father Bill and the other priests for their work in the middle east and around to world, bringing the Eucharist to our troops.

    Thanks for the blog and have a good week

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