Each year we have a celebration to mark the silver and golden jubilees of our priests, so on Thursday evening I presided at the 50th Anniversary Mass for our golden jubilarians. The Mass was at Regina Cleri. Several of the men are residents of Regina Cleri and we also prayed for the deceased members of that class.
It was the first time that I was there since the renovations; they did a beautiful job. The director, Stephen Gust, is to be commended for the wonderful refurbishing of the facility. They fixed up the lobby, got new furniture, gave a new look to the entrance and the common areas, they’ve been fixed up and it looks very nice.
As he has been in the past, Msgr. Frank Strahan is very generous in providing the music for the festivities. Several of our auxiliary bishops and other guests were also part of the celebration.
It’s important for us to mark these important anniversaries in priests’ lives and to express our gratitude for the priesthood and for their particular ministry.
There are 700 years of priestly ministry represented in those 14 men and thousands of Masses, baptisms, confessions, weddings, funerals, and hours of service to God’s people. So, on behalf of all the people whose lives were enriched by their ministry, we express our thanks and evoke God’s blessings upon them and their ministry going forward.
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On Friday night I gathered with the deacons to be ordained the next day at the rectory for vespers and an evening meal and at that time I gave them their assignments, as well as a small gift to help them in their ministry.
These are their assignments:
Father John D’Arpino will serve at St. Thomas Aquinas, Bridgewater.
Father Michael Farrell will serve at Holy Family, Amesbury and Star of the Sea, Salisbury.
Father Kwang Lee will serve at Sacred Heart, Weymouth.
Father Mark Murphy will serve at St. Agatha, Milton.
Father Carlos Suarez will serve at Christ the King, Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Edith Stein, Brockton.
Father Seán Hurley, FPO, who will be working in the ministry of the Friars of Primitive Observance.
Of course, on the following day, which turned out to be a very beautiful day, we celebrated their ordinations at the Cathedral.
There were many bishops, priests, and lay people in attendance.
In the homily, I reflected on the meaning of priesthood, particularly reflecting on the moments that the cenacle is mentioned in the New Testament and how that helps us to discover the various facets of the Catholic priesthood. I want to share it with you.
Each year it’s a very important event in the life of the Church.
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That evening I went to St. Benedict Parish in Somerville, to join the community there for their Centennial Mass. It was a very beautiful celebration to mark the 100 years of St. Benedict Parish in Somerville with Father Bob Carr, who’s doing an extraordinary job.
It’s a parish that has always welcomed immigrants and now serves many people from Spanish speaking countries who are an important part of that parish. I concelebrated Mass with a number of the Jesuit fathers who help out there ordinarily in that ministry.
They had a lovely music program with great enthusiasm. Many parishioners who have moved away from the parish had returned to be a part of the celebration including a number of Sisters of St. Joseph. One Sister, Sister Stephen Marie, who had worked for many years in the parish was there. The mayor of Somerville, Joseph Curtatone, was also present and read citations marking the parish centenary and thanking Sister Stephen Marie for her service in the parish.
Father Carr has developed technology that allows them to transmit the videos of the weddings, funerals, first communions and other important events of the parish back to the native lands of the immigrant population of the parish. In that way, their relatives who could not be a part of those important moments can participate vicariously through the videos. The parish is very creative, in particular with the special service that they give to the immigrant community.
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On Sunday I went to the Merrimack College Commencement where I received an honorary Doctorate of Education.
Thomas Kinton, who is retiring as the head of Massport, gave a very interesting talk that reflected the witness of his personal faith and his love for Merrimack College, of which he is an alumnus.
The Augustinian friars have done an extraordinary job there. It was Cardinal Cushing who asked them to begin that college to be able to educate young Catholics coming back from World War II with their G.I. Bills. It was originally a chicken farm and they’ve transformed it into a beautiful, just a stunning campus.
With Dr. Hopey
The new president, Dr. Christopher Hopey, brings a lot of enthusiasm and talent to his new role as the president of Merrimack College. He comes from Northeastern University, and has increased enrollment and enhanced Catholic identity there.
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Later that day, I was at the Cathedral to celebrate the Confirmations for St. Mary Parish in Foxborough. This is their second visit to the Cathedral because this year their confirmation class had 300 people in it, and their church was too small to accommodate such large group. So they asked if I would do the confirmations at the Cathedral and I was very happy to oblige.
We did it in two groups, 150 in the fall and the other 150 this past Sunday. The Cathedral was almost filled. Father Steve Madden and Father Matt Wescott, from the parish accompanied the young people.
It was a very moving experience and it’s always wonderful for the young people to experience the Cathedral and have a sense of history of our Church. One of the advantages of coming to the Cathedral is that there is plenty of space for guests, and they certainly took advantage of it!
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Later we gathered at Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden to celebrate Father Kevin O’Leary’s birthday with a group of priests. Father Richard Mehm hosted the evening and had a nice turkey dinner for us.
Of course, there were many Father O’Leary stories. One of the more amusing events of the evening was that Bishop Hennessey had a solemn reading of Father Kevin’s Baptismal certificate to ascertain the exact day — and year — of the blessed event!
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On Monday we awoke to rain but it cleared in time for a beautiful commencement celebration in the stadium at Boston College.
Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation, was the commencement speaker. He did a very fine job and talked about the needs for community and for civility and challenged the young people to use the new media wisely.
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On Tuesday, I went to the Catholic Schools Foundation Scholars Award Mass.
This was the inaugural class of CSF Scholars. Nearly 100 incoming high school freshmen attended the Mass at the Cathedral.
The class includes 172 students and is receiving over $400,000 in scholarship aid. The scholars were selected by their high schools as students who were determined in their educational endeavors and showed leadership in their communities.
After the Mass we had a reception and each of the scholars was given a pin to mark the occasion.
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The Pastoral Center staff has taken on different service projects throughout the diocese and one of them was to do some landscaping work this last week at St. Katherine Drexel, to clean and beautify the parish. So on Wednesday I stopped by to greet them and to thank them.
While I was there I met with the pastor, Father Gerry Osterman, and then spent a little time with the girls from Mother Caroline Academy.
On the way out, I happened to meet the president of the school, Ingrid Tucker.
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Later that day I went to our Luncheon for the newly ordained at the Pastoral Center. Since the day of the ordination it’s always a time of such excitement and crowds, we have the custom of inviting the newly ordained and their parents during the following week to come together for a luncheon and to have them talk about their first Mass experiences.
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Also this day, I attended the graduation for our Master of Arts in Ministry program at St. John’s Seminary. There were seventeen graduates from MAM this year, one of their largest classes.
Bishop Dooher gave the keynote and Peter Braudis gave the graduate speech.
The MAM program, along with the other programs of the seminary, are invaluable for the archdiocese as we prepare more and more people for ministry and to participate in the evangelizing mission of the local church. We want to thank Dr. Lingertat and the faculty and staff of MAM for all of their hard work and prayers to run this important program.
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Finally, I want to wish you all a good long weekend and a blessed Memorial Day. On this important day, let us pray for all those who gave their lives in service to our country.
- Cardinal Seán