Last Thursday evening, I had the privilege of going to Regis College to join president Dr. Mary Jane England for the Presidential Scholars Awards ceremony.
At Dr. England’s initiative, with the support of the board of trustees, Regis College each year provides a series of four year scholarships to young men and women who are graduates of Catholic secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Boston.
With Dr. Robert Sperber, Mary Grassa O’Neill, Mary Jane England, Father Paul Kilroy
It was very encouraging to hear of the accomplishments of the students who were awarded scholarships; their academic achievement, extracurricular activities and community service are exemplary.
One of the things we have tried to stress is the continuity of Catholic education: from primary school, to secondary school to Catholic colleges. The Catholic colleges have also been helping us with teacher training and board development in our primary schools. Certainly, helping Catholic students who graduate from our high schools attend Catholic colleges is a great service to the Church.
We are grateful to Regis and Dr. England for this gift in support of Catholic education and look forward to working together in developing the future leaders for our society and the Church.
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On Friday afternoon, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas visited me.
The CDA is one the oldest and largest group of Catholic Women in the Americas. They do such wonderful work supporting the mission of the Church through charitable work and being involved in their parishes and the archdiocese.
During this particular visit, they updated me on their latest efforts to support the pro-life cause, the work they are doing in conjunction with the women religious to prevent human trafficking, their project to help children with cleft palates and their success in starting a court at Stonehill College.
State Regent Linda Coletti
The Catholic Daughters also presented me with a significant donation to support our pro-life ministry. We were very grateful for that.
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That evening, I had confirmations at St. Pius V Parish in Lynn.
It was a very large confirmation of over 70 young people.
At this time of year, I am doing many confirmations. It is a wonderful opportunity to speak to young people and to be present to them and share this moment of joy with their families and their communities.
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Saturday morning, I was visited by a large group of about 50 seminarians from the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary of the Archdiocese of Newark.
They were traveling through the Boston area and, during their time here, they spent some time evangelizing in the neighborhood. They asked me to address them and join in midday prayer with them. I spoke to them about evangelization and the risen Christ, gave them a blessing and sent them forth.
I had conducted the visitation of that seminary many years ago. The spiritual director of the seminary, Father Roberto Santamaria, was a deacon back then and he remembered my visit with them.
Father Roberto introducing some of the seminarians for me
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That afternoon, I visited with the group of about 60 pilgrims from St. Anthony Parish in Cambridge who will accompany me to Fatima in May.
This group was organized by Father Walter Carreiro, the pastor at St. Anthony’s. He will be going to the Santo Cristo Feast in Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel in the Azores and then joining us in Fatima for the Holy Father’s Mass there on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13.
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I also went to St. Maria Goretti Parish in Lynnfield that afternoon for the celebration of the parish’s 50th Anniversary Mass.
Many of the former pastors returned for the Mass, including Father Michael Lawlor. I was teasing him because they planted a tree in his honor. I’m very jealous because I am still waiting for them to give me the Cardinal Seán O’Malley memorial speedbump!
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On Saturday evening, I attended a gala fundraising dinner at the Boston Public Library for the Catholic Schools Foundation and the Inner City Scholarship Fund. It was the first time it was held in that venue and it was just spectacular.
Peter and Carolyn Lynch
The dinner honored Peter Lynch for 20 years of outstanding dedication and service. Peter has chaired the foundation for 20 years and, under his leadership, it has raised $100,000,000 and has given scholarships to more than 60,000 students at our inner-city Catholic schools.
It’s just an incredible contribution that has strengthened Catholic education in the archdiocese and given the opportunity to many underprivileged children to get a good education — which means a good start in life — and, therefore, to be able to go on to higher education.
This cause has been a passion of Peter Lynch and his wife, Carolyn. They have a great love for the Church, for Catholic education and a great concern that children receive the opportunity for this kind of formation.
Bob Kraft and his wife Myra chaired the dinner this year and I thank them and all the dinner co-chairs for their important support in helping children get the quality education our Catholic schools offer.
With the Krafts and the Lynches
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I ended the evening at another event for the Little Sisters of the Poor at the Four Seasons Hotel.
The sisters follow the charism of their foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan (who was canonized last year) in caring for the elderly poor.
They depend very much on divine providence, and are often out begging for food and supplies to continue their work. They have this annual gala fundraiser to help support the wonderful work of their home in Somerville.
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On Sunday I travelled to Washington and was the main celebrant and homilist at the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The shrine was packed with pilgrims. It began at 2 p.m. with the Divine Mercy chaplet.
On Monday, I had two meetings — one at Catholic University of America and the other with at Capuchin College with the Catholic Leadership Institute.
As a Catholic University board member, I participated in an accreditation meeting there. The head of the accreditation team was Dr. Antoine Garibaldi, president of Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. They wanted to interview the board about our participation in the governance of the university.
We’re also in the process of looking for a new president to replace Father David O’Connell, who has done such an extraordinary job over the last 12 years.
That same day, I had meetings with Tim Flanagan, Ambassador Jim Nicholson and Dan Cellucci of the Catholic Leadership Institute.
The Catholic Leadership Institute is the group that organized Good Leaders, Good Shepherds, a program a number of our priests have participated in.
This program has provided important leadership training for our priests and now they are initiating a program for lay leadership in the Church.
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On Wednesday, I gave the keynote address for annual luncheon of the sodalities of the parishes of West Roxbury.
It was held at the Charles River Country Club and, in all, about 185 women attended.
We went there with Msgr. George Carlson and Father Marty Dzengeleski, the chaplains for the West Roxbury Sodality. The members come from all the parishes of West Roxbury, but they meet at Holy Name.
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In the evening, I had confirmations at St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Cambridge, which was combined with Sacred Heart and St. Francis Parish.
It’s a very beautiful Church, particularly the altar which has a large, wood carved triptych that they close during Lent. It’s a beautiful wood carving.
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Finally, Monday is a holiday here in Massachusetts: Patriot’s Day, marked most famously by the running of the Boston Marathon.
I wish good luck to all those who are running and a safe and restful holiday to those who are not!
Until next week,