Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Beginning the New Year with the Lord

 

Happy New Year to all!

Each year since I have been ordained a priest, I have always celebrated a midnight Mass to begin the New Year. This year was no exception.

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

I remember that when I was in the Virgin Islands, I was amazed at how this custom was central in the spirituality of the people there. Virtually all of the churches would be packed with people going to church to end the old year and begin the new in church. It was really a very moving experience.

When I arrived in Boston, there was already a tradition of having a midnight Mass sponsored by the Pro-Life Office and the Young Adult Ministry, and I have been happy to continue that tradition.

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

  20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

In the past, the New Year’s Eve Mass has usually been celebrated in one of our parishes. This year, however, we thought it might be interesting to try holding it at the Cathedral, in light of the fact that there is a First Night celebration in downtown Boston, which is nearby.

We began the evening with a Holy Hour, the theme of which was “Peace.”

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

Sister Olga Yaqob, who is a native of Iraq and works in campus ministry at Boston University, gave a very moving testimony about her experience of war in her own country.

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

Just before midnight, we began the Mass that celebrated the New Year and the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God.

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

Father Carlos Flor of Immaculate Conception in Revere chanted the Gospel

 20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

Afterwards, there was a social to celebrate a little bit with the people.

We had a wonderful attendance this year from all over the archdiocese — I would estimate that there were about 600 people, as well as many priests who came to concelebrate. We were very pleased that so many from the Neocatechumenal Way joined us.

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

Between the Holy Hour and Mass, the children of the Neocatechumenal Communities sang carols for us

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com  Marianne Luthin of our Pro-Life Office proclaimed the Prayers of the Faithful

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

This  couple, Peter Spilka and Rosa Fernandez-Pizzi, had just gotten engaged earlier in the evening, so I gave them my blessing. Congratulations Peter and Rosa!

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

20091231 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates a Holy Hour and Mass Dec. 31, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to celebrate the New Year and the Feast of Mary Mother of God. Iraq native and Boston Univeristy campus minister Sister Olga Yaqob offered a reflection at the Holy Hour.
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, www.GregoryTracy.com

It was a very wonderful event and a good way to begin the year 2010 asking God’s blessing for peace in the world and an end to abortion in our country and our society.

- – -

The next morning, I celebrated Mass with the Haitian community in the archdiocese at the Cathedral.

Haitian_DSC03299

When I came to Boston, I initiated a Mass to mark Haitian Independence Day, which is January 1. It is always a wonderful opportunity to gather the Haitian Catholics from our various parishes to come together in the Cathedral to mark this very important day in their life as a nation. Haiti was the first black republic in the world, having had a slave rebellion that freed them from French colonialism over 200 years ago.

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This year, in addition to the beautiful choir that always sings so beautifully, the Haitian American Marching Band of Boston performed.

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The band presented me with a copy of their DVD

Here is a video of one of their performances:

At the end of the very long and beautiful Mass, we chanted the “Te Deum.” It is the custom of the Haitians to begin the New Year with that beautiful hymn that is traditionally said in Catholic countries on New Year’s Day. It is a prayer from the breviary of praise and thanksgiving to God.

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It was a fitting end to our celebration of the Haitian Independence Day.

- – -

Later that day, I travelled to Florida to join a group of Boston students in attending the bi-annual conference of FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students).

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With the Boston group

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There were many inspiring speakers and I celebrated the closing Mass for the conference, which, I would say, was attended by about 6,000 young people.

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This video gives you a sense of the spirit of the conference.

Last year, we brought FOCUS to the archdiocese to assist in campus ministry. FOCUS is a peer ministry by young adults who commit themselves to be missionaries for a year or two and to work in campus ministry throughout the country. We have four such missionaries who come to help us in Boston with campus ministry, which, of course, for us is such an important activity since we have about a quarter of a million college students.

The service they provide to the Church is truly inspiring. We know that it is making a big difference on many, many campuses throughout the country.

While we were there, we also visited the very famous National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando.

The sculpture of Mary, Queen of the Universe

I had never been there before. It is a very beautiful church. That church was built to accommodate the thousands of tourists who go each year to Disney World.

It is truly a stunning church that was recently elevated to a minor basilica.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

22 Responses to Beginning the New Year with the Lord


Comments

  1. Comment by Ruth | 2010/01/08 at 22:57:42

    I saw you at the FOCUS conference! I almost got to talk to you but you hurried into an elevator. It was great having you there! It looks like you’ve had a great past week, very beautiful pictures!

  2. Comment by Mike Jaklitsch | 2010/01/10 at 18:33:56

    Hello Cardinal,

    My name is Mike Jaklitsch and I am a student at Boston College High School. I enjoyed reading about your celebration of the new year at the Cathedral and your visit to the conference of FOCUS. I was particularly impressed with the use of videos in your blog and think they are an excellent tool in offering people insight to the activities within the arch-diocesce. Listening to Pacific Grandeur was a unique privilege. My religion teacher constnatly stresses the importance of music in worship, and I think Pacific Grandeur added a very value component to the new year’s worship. Good luck in the new year.

    -Sincerly
    Mike Jaklitsch

  3. Comment by Shelly | 2010/01/12 at 13:17:35

    I have always loved mid night mass, there is something magical about it!

  4. Comment by Gabrielle | 2010/01/13 at 13:51:03

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I enjoyed reading about your celebration on New Years! The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe seems like beautiful church. I also liked reading about the FOCUS confrence and the Haitian American Marching Band was fabulous.

    Thank you!

    Gabrielle
    St. Paul School
    Grade 8

  5. Comment by Caroline | 2010/01/13 at 13:54:19

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    The church was decorated beautifully on Christmas Eve and I have always wanted to go to midnight mass. I loved reading about the conference of the FOCUS and I thought it was wonderful on what you did. The Haitian American Marching Band played very good. I loved your blog and can’t wait to see what you do next week!

    Caroline Hughes
    St Paul School, Hingham
    Grade 8

  6. Comment by Mackenzie | 2010/01/13 at 13:55:49

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    The church you attended on New Year’s Eve was beautifuly decorated! I’m glad that the new year was begun by asking for the blessing of peace. I also enjoyed the Haitian American Marching Band of Boston video, their music is very moving!

  7. Comment by Mariah Ward | 2010/01/13 at 13:56:06

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    The Midnight Mass in Boston, which you attended, seemed to make a great start for this new year of 2010. The decorated Cathedral shown in the pictures looked beautiful. I hope that you have a joyful new year filled with peace.

    Sincerely,

    Mariah
    St. Paul School
    Grade 8

  8. Comment by Paul Woods | 2010/01/13 at 17:45:56

    Your Eminence,

    In the wake of the monumental tragedy in Haiti barely within two weeks of your recent celebrations within their community, I am sure that all those affected are especially on your mind and in your prayers — mine as well.

    I am hopeful that His Holiness will see his way to visit Haiti very soon to lend his spiritual blessings and comfort to a people who seem to have suffered far more than imaginable for far too many years. And now this.

    As the Vatican’s site is currently inundated, and I am not sure that it provides a vehicle such as your blog, perhaps you and other Cardinals will make a plea to the Holy See for the Pope’s in-person intervention?

    In addition to the consolation a papal visit would bring, no doubt it would also inspire the world’s Catholics to further support the relief efforts.

    With respect and every good wish,
    Paul Woods

  9. Comment by Sean | 2010/01/13 at 22:23:41

    The church was decorated beautifully on Christmas Eve and I have always wanted to go to midnight mass they have a magical influence on me.. Youth for Jesus | Nothing is Impossible with God

    Sean

    Youth For Jesus

  10. Comment by Lindsey | 2010/01/17 at 20:24:09

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Hi! Thats really cool that you go to a Midnight Mass every New Year! I didn’t know that they had them on New Year’s until I read the blog, it seems the best way to welcome in the New Year!
    The Haitian Marching Band sounded very good!The Mass must have had wonderful music with them there!

    It was also very nice to hear about FOCUS, I had heard of it before, but now I fully understand what it is.
    -Lindsey
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 8

  11. Comment by Liam Whalen | 2010/01/17 at 23:02:00

    Dear Cardinal,

    Hello. My name is Liam Whalen and I am in the 9th grade at Boston College High School. During this past week, the students at my school have come together in their concern for the thousands of people hurt by the disaster in Haiti. Our school community was motivated by our desire to be “Men for Others” and decided to act. Every Thursday our school holds a collection for the mite box. Last week our mite box was designated to help the victims of Haiti. Boston College High School was able to demonstrate that we are men for others because we raised money to give to the victims in Haiti. We also pray everyday for those who are suffering because they can use God’s grace to help them through these tragic times. By helping the people of Haiti we are not only developing relationships with them but we are strengthening our relationship with God.

    God Bless,

    Liam Whalen

  12. Comment by Louise | 2010/01/18 at 18:14:58

    Dear Cardinal Seàn,
    What a beautiful mass!!! The church was so beautiful and bright. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and have a great and peaceful New Year.

    Thank you,

    Louise Falvey
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 7

  13. Comment by Louise | 2010/01/18 at 18:15:55

    Dear Cardinal Seàn,
    What a beautiful mass!!! The church was so beautiful and bright. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and have a great and peaceful New Year.

    Thank you,
    Louise Falvey
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 7

  14. Ben
    Comment by Ben | 2010/01/19 at 19:59:02

    Hi, my name is Ben Fruth and I am currently a student at BC High. I read your blog on the Haitian disaster and it is just horrible. I am happy though that the Catholic Church has made many donations towards the Haitian community and have helped bring hope into them through prayer.

  15. Comment by Kate | 2010/01/19 at 23:49:38

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    The midnight Mass looks like it’s a beautiful, spiritual, and uplifting celebration. What a wonderful way to celebrate the new year! I hope you have a happy, healthy year!

    The FOCUS conference must have been wonderful; it’s great that today’s youth is able to take such an active role in their Church communities!

    Thank you for another great blog!

    Kate
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 8

  16. Comment by Mikayla | 2010/01/20 at 08:21:16

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    The Church looked beautiful in the pictures of the midnight mass. I loved the Haitian American Marching Band. They play very well! Our school has raised money to help the Haitians and help them to be able to rebuild their country. Thank you for a wonderful blog again!

    Mikayla
    Grade 8
    St Paul School

  17. Comment by Nikki | 2010/01/20 at 08:21:59

    Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I loved your blog this week! The sculpture of the Mary, Queen of the Universe was beautiful! The midnight Mass was beautiful. I cannot wait until next week!

    Nikki
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 8

  18. Comment by Jack Farrell | 2010/01/20 at 19:53:45

    Dear Cardinal,
    My name is Jack Farrell. I am a 9th grader at Boston College High School. After the shocking earthquake in Haiti, our school rallied over 10,000 dollars to assist the people whose lives have been devastated by the earthquake. Every week we have a mite box collection for a charity in the Boston area. This week, after news was heard, the collection changed from a charity to Haiti relief. Before every class during prayer I try to keep in mind the people who have suffered from this and the families of those suffering. I hope that our prayers are answered and the victims of the earthquake have assistance brought to them.

    Thank you,

    Jack Farrell

  19. Comment by Michael | 2010/01/21 at 07:59:55

    Dear cardinal,
    I am a student at Boston college High School. I am very impressed at the work you are doing with FOCUS. I’m sure it is teaching those young people a lot about how to become more interested in religion. It must feel great to help all tose people become more in touch with their spiritual side.

  20. Comment by Sean Wright | 2010/01/21 at 19:25:31

    Hi Cardinal Sean,

    My name is Sean Wright and I am Senior at Boston College High School. Regarding your blog written about the terrible tragedy in Haiti, it is refreshing to see the world come together as one to help the people of Haiti. The willingness to help is what is needed in a world where selfishness seems to be the motivating power. This disaster has shown that willingness to help across the globe. I am happy to report that BC High raised $10,000 last week for Partners in Health. The small donation from each person adds up to really help these people who have been struck with devastation. May we all keep the people of Haiti in our prayers.

    God Bless,
    Sean Wright

  21. Comment by alyssa | 2010/01/22 at 09:47:11

    dear cardinal sean,

    i just wanted to say that what you do is truly a blessing. you are so into your faith and you touch the lives of so many. i dont know how you do it.
    pray that i grow deeper into my faith, i am slowly moving away and im trying to be a better catholic.
    god bless.
    alyssa barry

    p.s. you recently were in dedham were kathy reda had gotten married. thank you! beautiful night!

  22. Comment by joseph p bell | 2010/02/01 at 09:44:31

    DEAR Cardinal :wit all respect to your position in life .I tooam pro-life ,but it extends to all living children in the WORLD. which includes Afghanistan and Iraq. where the usa is “killing mercilessly “humans of all ages // What prompted me to write was the fact that the Boston Globe (the worst paper in the world) carried a story about a 19 year old from Waterville ,ME. a town of 325 people ,and he excelled in sports and drama in H.S. HE was sent to Afghanistan as part of a “Psychological Operation “.? and killed. Will his life be meaningless if the CHURCH does not speak out against the bushbama regime ? We are in Afghanistan protecting the Chinese while they mine for COPPER ,in the most dangerous TALIBA area . are we SICK or what …


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