Hello again, and welcome back.
This week I was saddened to learn of the passing of Archbishop Francis Zayek on the Feast of the Holy Cross in Lebanon.
He born in Manzanillo, Cuba and was the first Bishop of the Maronites in the U.S.
He was great friend and he will be greatly missed.
I received a letter from him recently and I understand he has been in failing health and had gone to Lebanon to be with his family in his final days.
We offer our condolences to our Maronite brothers and assure them of our prayers for him.
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Also last week, we laid Father Gerry Barry to rest last Thursday. His funeral Mass was a beautiful tribute to a great priest.
His nephew gave a beautiful reflection on the life and ministry of this priest who served the archdiocese and God’s people so well.
One of the very striking stories related by Father Berry’s nephew was that, as a young prison chaplain he met a prisoner who had been estranged from his daughters for many years. Struck by his story, Father Barry arranged to bring this prisoner and his daughters together for a meal and there was a reconciliation between them.
When Father was in the hospital dying one of the nurses taking care of him said, “You don’t you remember me, but my father was a prisoner and you helped bring us back together.”
It was just a beautiful tribute to the ministry of this man whose priestly life touched so many people.
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Later that day, I received a visit from Archbishop Joseph Perumthottam, the Syro-Malabar Archbishop of Changanassery, India and Father Kuriakose Vadana, the pastor at our local Syro-Malabar parish — St. Jeremiah in Framingham. Mar Joseph was here visiting his suffragan diocese here in the United States.
With Archbishop Joseph and Father Vadana
Though not widely known by in the United States, the Syro-Malabar Church is the second-largest Oriental, or Eastern rite in the Catholic Church. They have a rich history with roots that go back to St. Thomas the Apostle. Many members of the Syro-Malabar Church are from the Indian state of Kerala, one of the most Catholic parts of India.
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On Friday, I was at St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center in Dorchester, where there was a reception honoring Carolyn Lynch for her longstanding support of St. Mary’s. She will be given the center’s John M. Corcoran Award for Excellence at their annual gala in November.
There was a short reception and a brief speaking program.
St. Mary’s provides shelter and support for women and children facing challenges such as child abuse and neglect, early teen pregnancy, insufficient housing, poor educational opportunities, inadequate job skills and violence in the home and neighborhood. St. Mary’s has a house for pregnant and parenting teens, homeless families, and youth victims of abuse and neglect. They also offer education and job-training programs for women, as well as a summer and after-school youth development program.
The center was started in 1993 in the old St. Margaret’s Hospital. It’s not unusual to meet people from all over Boston who will say they were born there because at one time many Catholic babies were born in that hospital.
Our Planning Office for Urban Affairs is working to develop housing on the site of the former St. Kevin’s Parish that would be of service to the women coming through St. Mary’s.
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On Saturday, I attended one of our regular vicariate dinners at Immaculate Conception in Newburyport. It was a wonderful evening with the priests of that area.
These are dinners that we started during the Year for Priests, but they have become so popular we are just going to continue. It’s an opportunity for me to meet with more priests in an informal setting and to promote priestly fraternity among the priests.
Two of the priests in the vicariate are very ill and were unable to attend.
Father Marc Piche is awaiting a liver transplant and I was able to speak with him in the hospital. The other priest who was unable to attend was Father Dennis Nason. He is just beginning chemotherapy, and we were able to go and visit him.
Please remember both Father Marc and Father Dennis in your prayers.
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On Sunday, I celebrated a bi-lingual Mass at St. Mary Parish in Charlestown.
I told the people that I had been assured by Father Ronan that there would be no villains dressed as nuns with machine guns robbing banks during my visit to Charlestown!
With Father Ronan
It was a beautiful Mass in one of our most beautiful churches — another Keely church.
I asked the parish to send some pictures of the interior of the church to share with you.
I especially like this image of St. John giving the Blessed Mother the Eucharist. It is an image you don’t often see depicted
After the Mass, they were holding sign-ups for religious education classes, so I was able to greet many people there. It was very encouraging to see how many young families are in the parish.
Among the visitors was a very dear friend, Manela Diaz from Washington. She was there with her brother, Mel, and her sister-in-law Susan, and two of her nephews, Brandon and Austin Suarez.
Manela had come up to be a part of the Friends of Caritas Cubana fundraiser at the home of Consuelo Isaacson in Cambridge.
Caritas Cubana is the humanitarian relief arm of the Catholic Church in Cuba. They particularly assist the sick and the elderly, as well as provide emergency relief services. Their mission is analogous to Catholic Charities in this country.
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Later that day we had the celebration for our religious sisters celebrating their jubilees at St. Theresa’s in West Roxbury.
Our Delegate for Religious, Sister Marian Batho, offered some very moving remarks about the immense service these women have rendered to the Church. I’d like to share those remarks with you:
We gather today to celebrate 161 Sisters from 25 religious communities who have given 9,645 years of service to the Church in a variety of works: as educators, administrators, counselors, librarians, musicians… the list goes on and on.
Isn’t that amazing and wonderful?
The Word of God chosen by the Church for today, the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time includes the stories of the Prodigal Son, the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep. These stories speak of God’s unconditional love.
How fitting for us to listen to these stories today as we honor you our Sisters! For you have been the faces, the hearts and the bearers of God unconditional love in the lives of so many people.
I am delighted to welcome you our Sister Jubilarians, your families, friends and religious communities to our celebration.
You honor us with your presence.
Sister Yvonne Papineau, celebrating 75 years
Sister Ann Virginia Donovan, celebrating 70 years and is Sister Jeannette Gonthier, celebrating 65 years
Sister Mary Bernice, 25 year jubiliarian
Afterwards they had a wonderful meal in the school auditorium with the sisters and their families and members of their communities. It’s always very enjoyable.
The Gospel was the Prodigal Son, and I said Msgr. William Helmick had slain the fatted calf for us!
During my visit I was impressed to see that Father Raymond Helmick, the brother of Msgr. Helmick, has added a beautiful mosaic to the church.
Father Raymond also created the church’s impressive tabernacle, which I have spoken of in the past.
I understand this is the first installment, with other mosaics still to come.
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And, of course, this week we also had the ordination of our two newest auxiliary bishops, Bishops Arthur Kennedy and Peter Uglietto.
The evening before, on Monday night, we held a Vespers service for them. The service and dinner were held at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary, where Bishop Uglietto was rector.
Because these two bishops were seminary rectors, we wanted to have an opportunity for the seminary communities to honor them. We invited all the seminarians from the three seminaries in the archdiocese to attend.
Between the three seminaries and the ones we have in Providence, there are about 170 seminarians. Most of them were there for Vespers and filled the chapel.
At the vespers we also blessed the episcopal insignia — the rings, crosiers and mitres that were used the next day.
Tuesday was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and it was our ordination day.
We began the day with a lunch at St. John’s Seminary, where Bishop Kennedy serves as rector.
Ordination was an extraordinary event.
There were about 30 bishops attending, as well as Cardinal Keeler. Many priests and religious were there as well and the Cathedral was full.
The committee worked so hard on all the details. It was truly well-orchestrated.
I want to share my homily I gave that afternoon with you here:
After the ordination Mass, the new bishops addressed the crowd and gave very beautiful witnesses about their vocation.
Afterwards there was a reception at St. John’s Seminary where people could meet the new bishops.
Once again we were using the same ring for the auxiliary bishops, which was created by Bob Rottenberg at Long’s Jewelers.
With Bob Rottenberg
The image is of Our Lady of Guadalu pe as portrayed on a fumi-e used in the early 1500’s in Japan in order to identify Christians to eliminate Christianity.
The fumi-e (from the Japanese words for “step on” and “picture”) were images of Christ or Our Lady, usually about 3 or 4 feet in diameter. They would place one on the ground and order everybody in the village trample it. If anyone refused, they knew they were Catholic and they would torture them to death.
The image of the fumi-e on which the ring is modeled
What was extraordinary about this fumi-e is that it is quite obviously based on an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe — not necessarily an image one would associate with Japan. It shows that already in the early 1500’s there were missionaries there, Franciscans from Mexico who were teaching the Japanese Catholics about Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It is a sign of the universality of the Church, Mary’s important role in evangelization and the importance of the martyrs in our spirituality as being the witnesses of faith that bring people to Christ and the belief.
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Finally I want to conclude this week asking you all to please remember to pray for our Holy Father, who is currently in the midst of his Apostolic Visit to the United Kingdom.
This visit presents great challenges, but at the same time, there is also great opportunity for reconciliation and healing.
While in England, Pope Benedict will be celebrating the Beatification Mass of Cardinal John Henry Newman. You may recall that one of our own deacons, Deacon Jack Sullivan, was cured of a debilitating spinal condition after praying to Cardinal Newman. It was that miracle that allowed Cardinal Newman’s cause to advance. Deacon Sullivan will be proclaiming the Gospel at the Mass Sunday in Birmingham.