Happy Easter! Christ is Risen!
This week, we received word that the Holy Father has named Archbishop Jose Gomez, of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas to be the Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States with over 4 million Catholics, 70 percent of whom are Hispanic — mostly Mexicans.
Archbishop Gomez himself is a Mexican from Monterrey. Like so many Mexicans, he has family on both sides of the Rio Grande.
It is wonderful news that the Holy Father has chosen a Mexican-American for that post. I know it will be a great source of blessings for the Church. Archbishop Gomez is a man of great pastoral experience. He has many talents and gifts that will be put to good stead.
It is my privilege to serve with him on the bishops’ Latin American committee and on the subcommittee for Haiti.
I first met him when he was the president of the National Association of Hispanic Priests in the U.S. I think it is quite telling that priests from all over the country recognized him for his talent, ability, and dedication to immigrants.
He was also instrumental in establishing the Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City for Hispanic seminarians from the U.S. and Canada. I visited that seminary last year and was quite impressed with it.
Last June I visited his archdiocese while giving a retreat and I was also able to address a group of Latino professionals he started called CALL, The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders.
With Archbishop Gomez and the group from CALL last year
During my visit, I had an opportunity to tour the San Fernando Cathedral there. At that time, Archbishop Gomez told me that his grandparents, in fact, had been married in the cathedral in San Antonio. Eventually, they returned to Mexico, though other members of his family remained in the United States.
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Last week, of course, we celebrated the Triduum, the three days starting with Holy Thursday and ending at the Easter Vigil.
On Holy Thursday, I presided at the Mass of the Last Supper at the Cathedral.
Bishop Hennessey was the homilist
This year I washed the feet of 12 of our priests as a way to mark the Year for Priests and following the example of the Holy Father.
Following the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is placed in repose in the chapel, and there is a time of adoration.
Many students came from Boston University and Northeastern and stayed until Midnight praying and singing.
The chapel was filled, it was standing room only. The Brothers of Hope and Sister Olga were also there with us.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had asked the Apostles to watch and pray, so the BU students observed the ancient custom of going to visit seven churches. This has become an annual tradition for them and they always end at the Cathedral for the last hour.
It was a very beautiful way for us to end the Feast of Holy Thursday, the feast of the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood.
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On Good Friday several groups in the archdiocese pray the Way of the Cross walking the streets of Boston. Two of those groups ended their stations at the cathedral, where I welcomed them and prayed with them.
First was a group prays a Way of the Cross focused on the defense of life. It is organized by Colby Mazzarella. I prayed the last two stations with them.
Later in the afternoon came the group from Communion and Liberation, which also leads a Way of the Cross through downtown Boston and the Common. They came for their final station and I gave them a talk.
Then, we had the Good Friday service at 3:00 at the cathedral with the singing of the Passion. Father Bill Kelly gave us a reflection on the Passion.
That evening, I had the Good Friday liturgy in Spanish, and afterwards the Stations of the Cross through the streets.
On Saturday evening, we had the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral.
We received three people into the Church. It was very well-attended. It was a beautiful celebration.
This year, the Julian and the Gregorian calendars coincide for the celebration of Easter, which means that the Orthodox had their Easter the same day we did. So, following the Vigil at the cathedral, I went to their cathedral for their Midnight Service. Metropolitan Methodios invited me to read an Easter Gospel and to address the Greek Orthodox community.
They gave me an Easter basket with many red Easter eggs in it, which is the Greek custom.
From there, I went back to the cathedral for the ending of the Ethiopian Geez-rite Easter celebration. They meet regularly at the cathedral. They re Catholic but they follow the Eastern calendar.
Then, the next morning, I had the television Mass at 7:00 on Channel 7. That Mass is seen all over New England. Members of the Order of Alhambra participated with me at this Mass.
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Later in the morning, I had Mass with some members of my family. My nephew Ted’s second son, little Grant, received his First Communion.
Also with us were friends of my nephew. Their daughter also received First Communion and I baptized their baby.
Then, I went to lunch with my family.
In the afternoon, I went to vespers and dinner with the Capuchins in Boston.
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Yesterday, I hosted a meeting with major superiors of men’s religious communities in our archdiocese at the Pastoral Center.
We began with a Mass in the chapel and then we gathered for a light lunch.
It was an opportunity to give them an update on what is happening in the diocese, and also for them to tell me and share with each other their ministry plans and other things of recent importance in their various religious communities.
I am very grateful to Sister Marion Batho, our Delegate for Religious, who did such a wonder job putting the day together.
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Finally, I am very pleased that the Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a Novena for the intentions of our Holy Father. I encourage you all to join in praying this novena and spread the word to your friends, families and parishes.
PRAYER FOR POPE BENEDICT XVI
Lord, source of eternal life and truth,
give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit
of courage and right judgment, a spirit
of knowledge and love. By governing
with fidelity those entrusted to his care,
may he, as successor to the Apostle
Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your
Church into a sacrament of unity, love
and peace for all the world. Amen.
V/ Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
R/ May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.
V/ May your hand
be upon your holy servant.
R/ And upon your son,
whom you have anointed.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. May the peace and joy of our Risen Lord be with you now and always.