Hello and welcome back!
I want to start this week’s posting by sharing a statement printed in this week’s Pilot that clarifies some media reports on the recent developments at St. Cecilia’s Church in Boston. Unfortunately, many sources are saying the archdiocese is allowing the celebration of a rescheduled “Gay Pride Mass” in that church.
The philosophical and political agenda of Gay Pride in relation to marriage and sexual morality is incompatible with the Church’s teachings. For that reason, Father Unni rescheduled a Mass of welcome for all his parishioners to a time that would not associate the Mass with the Gay Pride agenda.
I realize that Catholics who have same-sex attractions are often criticized by their friends for coming to Mass and that the parents and friends of homosexual members of our Church are distressed that their loved ones feel rejected by their Church. We want all baptized Catholics to come to Mass and be part of our community, but we cannot compromise the teaching of the Church rooted in Scripture and tradition.
We hope that all Catholics will come to experience the love of Christ in our community and that in that love they will find the courage and strength to embrace the cross that is part of the life of discipleship.
It is regrettable that there has been so much confusion about this matter. I hope the statement on my blog of last week and The Pilot editorial "A teachable moment" will help people to understand the Church’s teaching. We must be a community that reflects both the love and the truth of the Gospel.
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Last week I went to Puerto Rico, and I met with Archbishop Roberto González, the archbishop of San Juan; Bishop Camilo Gonzalez, the bishop of La Vega in the Dominican Republic; and Bishop Lazaro Martinez, the bishop of Ponce.
We celebrated the ordination of one of our Capuchin brothers, Friar German Quinones, in the church of his home town of Guanica, which is in the Diocese of Ponce.
The ordination took place at the local parish, Parroquia de San Antonio Abad
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After my return to Boston, on Monday I went to Temple Sinai synagogue in Marblehead, at the the invitation of Rabbi Reb Aaron Fine and the director of their adult education program, George Gammel.
They had asked me to give a talk on the theme of “Tikkun Olam.” This is the Hebrew expression for “repairing the world,” the social doctrine in the Jewish community. The tenets of “Tikkun Olam” are the obligation to work, to perform the works of mercy, to make ours a more just society, and to serve the poor. It is tantamount to our Catholic social Gospel.
The synagogue was filled with members from that congregation, some neighboring congregations, as well as from Catholic parishes in the area. I was also very pleased that Father David Michael could be with us. He does such wonderful work with interfaith issues on behalf of the Archdiocese and is a key liaison with the Jewish Community .
Each year, I typically receive at least one invitation to speak at a synagogue, and I’m always gratified. The people are always gracious and it is clear they are anxious to have a close relationship with the Catholic Church.
The Jewish Journal wrote an article on the visit and posted this video in YouTube that I want to share with you.
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On Tuesday, I joined our seminarians for their annual retreat. Every year between the end of the school year and before the beginning of the summer, we have a retreat that brings together the Boston seminarians who are studying in different seminaries.
We had some men from Blessed John XXIII, St. John’s Seminary, Redemptoris Mater, and also those currently studying outside the archdiocese at Providence College and at the North American College in Rome.
I celebrated Mass for them and then I gave them an opening talk at lunch. The rest of the conferences were given by Father Brian Flatley.
We have a wonderful group of men. I was also very happy that some of the new men who have just been accepted into the seminary for September, were able to participate in the retreat with us.
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After my time with the seminarians, I returned to the Pastoral Center and met with a wonderful group of people who have been working on the preparations of the Clergy Funds dinner.
This is one of the newest but largest fundraising events of the year, which we will be having in September. The dinner supports our fund for senior priests that provides support for them after a life devoted to serving God’s people.
We had Mass and, afterwards, a reception.
At the reception I was happy to have a chance to speak to Doug and Joanie Kingsley who are co-chairs of the dinner. They were there with three of their four sons: Max, Scott, and Doug.
I am very grateful for the work of the entire group who are working on behalf of our senior priests.
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On Wednesday, we celebrated the anniversaries of the professions of our religious brothers.
This year three were in attendance: Brother Lorenzo from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who celebrated 60 years of religious life, Brother Joe from the Brotherhood of Hope, who is a chaplain at Northeastern, and Brother John, who is a Marist. Brother Joe and Brother John are both celebrating 25 years.
After the Mass we had a luncheon for them with some members of their respective communities.
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I want to end this week reminding everyone of a very special event that will take place next week.
On Wednesday, June 29, the Feast of St. Peter and Paul, we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s presbyteral ordination. To mark the joyful occasion we will be having a Holy Hour at the cathedral from 7 to 8 p.m. to pray for the Holy Father, the sanctification of priests and for priestly vocations within the Archdiocese.
The Holy Father has been such a great gift to the Church, with his ability to teach the faith with such clarity and to inspire people by his gentleness and deep faith.
If you can, please join us at the cathedral for this event.
Until next week,