This is a privileged week in the Church’s calendar because we celebrate our diocesan patron St. Patrick, but we also celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus who is the patron of the Universal Church.
Although Scripture gives us very little information about his life, his devotion to Mary and his tender love for Christ have won for him a place in the hearts of all Catholics.
In the Italian community in Boston, it is a very special feast day.
So having such large Italian and Irish communities makes this week a very special week in our spiritual celebrations.
We also want to say a word of congratulations to the Sisters of St. Joseph who are a a religious community here in the archdiocese and who will be celebrating their special day today. Our Vicar General, Father Richard Erikson, wrote a piece in this week’s Pilot on St. Joseph and the sisters. You can read it here.
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As you know, we have been closely watching developments in the debate over health care reform.
That issue seems likely to come to a head this week with a vote in the House of Representatives.
Health care is such an important issue for the United States. It’s very disturbing to see that there seems to be a rush to push through legislation without carefully weighing all of the consequences.
I think it’s unfortunate that some Catholic groups have not paid close enough attention to what the bishops are saying regarding the present legislation. It would undermine the Hyde Amendment and put us at the mercy of regulations that could very easily be altered.
As many studies have shown, the vast majority of Americans favored the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal money from being used to pay for abortions. The only thing we are asking is that this be enshrined in the new legislation.
In our enthusiasm for universal health care, we cannot underestimate the importance of having a strong and firm backing for the principles of the Hyde Amendment incorporated into this legislation. The administration should take more time to craft legislation that will create a consensus in the country rather than trying to force through this legislation by using procedural gimmicks.
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Now, on to the events of my week…
Friday evening, I had a Holy Hour and dinner with 30 of our seminarians.
I am always looking for more opportunities to get to know the seminarians better. So, I am having the seminarians come in groups to the Cathedral for Holy Hour and dinner.
It’s always very encouraging to see the very fine men we have aspiring for the priesthood in the archdiocese.
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Saturday, I went to Providence to attend the diocesan Religious Education and Faith Formation Workshop Day and their Men’s Conference.
As part of their Religious Education conference, I celebrated Mass with Bishop Tobin and Archbishop George Pearce, and a number of priests from the Diocese of Providence.
They had about 1,000 catechists at the conference.
In addition to the catechetical conference, they were also having a men’s conference with about 150 men.
After I celebrated at the Mass and preached, I went to have lunch at the men’s conference and then gave them a talk in the afternoon.
The catechetical conference was very well organized by Lisa Gulino, who worked for me for many years in Fall River. She is an outstanding lay evangelist and catechist.
The men’s conference was organized by the Rhode Island Men of St. Joseph, a local men’s organization that has local chapters in parishes and works on encouraging men to be committed to Jesus Christ.
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On Sunday, I celebrated Confirmations for St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Ann and St. Joseph in Somerville.
The celebration itself was held in St. Catherine’s. While I was there, I got some beautiful pictures of the church, which I consider one of the most beautiful churches in the archdiocese, with its impressive murals and altars.
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Early this week, I was in Washington D.C. for a board meeting of the Catholic University of America.
One of the key issues we dealt with was the process of searching for a new president. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Father David O’Connell, after 12 years of service, is moving on.
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Wednesday, I was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass at the Cathedral to honor the patron of our archdiocese, St. Patrick.
In my homily, I talked about this painting of St. Patrick I was given years ago while visiting Puerto Rico.
As you would expect, he is shown with his miter and crosier — the symbols of a bishop — and of course there is the symbol of the snakes. At the same time, it is also quite unique in that St. Patrick is depicted as a black man surrounded by palm trees.
The painting is a tangible reminder that the message of Patrick is truly universal.
For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Cathedral that day, here is an audio slide show with my homily that was put together by our archdiocesan newspaper The Pilot.
I finished my day staying at the Cathedral to hear confessions as part of The Light Is On For You initiative.
Peace be with you,