Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Archive for 2011/11/04


Beginning the ad limina visit

Hello and Welcome Back!

In the centuries-old tradition of the Church, every five years each bishop goes to Rome to meet the Holy Father, visit with the different offices of the curia and pray at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul.  We also present a report to the Holy Father on what has happened in our dioceses in the intervening years.  This visit is called the ad limina Apostolorum, which means “to the threshold of the Apostles”, though it is now commonly referred to simply as the ad limina visit.

The bishops of the New England Province are now in the midst of our ad limina visit, and throughout the year, bishops from the other regions of the country will go and spend about a week in Rome for these meetings.   

Yesterday morning, I concelebrated a Mass with the Pope at St. Peter’s, which was celebrated for all the deceased cardinals and bishops. 

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Then, in the evening, we have had preliminary meetings with all the bishops of New England and later had a Mass with our Boston seminarians who are studying at the North American College, at which I presided and preached. 

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Now on to the events of the week…

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Last Thursday I was in New York for an event to support the organization Hope for a Healthier Humanity, which works to aid the poor in Central America, particularly in providing health care and other human services. 

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I was honored during the evening with the organization’s John Cardinal O’Connor Global Health Award, along with Dr. Jeffrey Freed of Mt. Sinai Medical center who received the HHH Humanitarian Award.

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With HHH Chairman of the Board, Cardinal Oscar Rodriquez of Tegucigalpa, and Dr. Mary Sedutto, founder and executive director

I was very happy to be a part of their celebration and to be able to support this very crucial work that’s being done in Honduras and other countries in the Caribbean and Central America.      

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On Friday, I spent much of the day with my brother priests of the Archdiocese.

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In the afternoon, I attended a luncheon for about 70 mostly senior priests organized by Bishop John Dooher at Lombardo’s in Randolph.

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We had a wonderful time, including a sing-along with Father Paul Rouse playing the piano. 

Then that evening I attended a dinner at St. Mark’s in Dorchester with Father Dan Finn, organized for the priests working in his vicariate.  This was another large gathering, with maybe 40 priests or so.

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On Saturday morning, we had our 3rd Annual Archdiocesan Justice Convocation.  There were over 200 people in attendance. It was wonderful to see so many people enthusiastic about the Church’s social gospel.

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I had the Mass and it was standing room only in the chapel.

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Father Bryan Hehir delivered the day’s keynote address.

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Justice_07_7 Crowd at Immigration and Refugees

As in its’ first two years, the convocation was again very successful. Father David Couturier, Sister Marian Batho, Father Bryan Hehir, members of the archdiocesan Pastoral Council and Mary Ann McLaughlin all lent their talents to making the day a success. We are very grateful them and to all of those who worked on organizing this event.

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That afternoon, I had the annual White Mass with the members of the Guild of St. Luke, an organization for Catholic physicians and other health care workers.  This year they are celebrating the 100th anniversary of their founding of the the guild in the archdiocese.

Annual White Mass for Catholic physicians, Oct. 29, 2011 at the cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The Mass was accompanied by an all day conference hosted by the Guild of St. Luke.
Pilot photo/ Justin Bell

Annual White Mass for Catholic physicians, Oct. 29, 2011 at the cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The Mass was accompanied by an all day conference hosted by the Guild of St. Luke.
Pilot photo/ Justin Bell

Dr. Helen Jackson, president of the Guild

Annual White Mass for Catholic physicians, Oct. 29, 2011 at the cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The Mass was accompanied by an all day conference hosted by the Guild of St. Luke.
Pilot photo/ Justin Bell

As I appealed to the Lawyers’ Guild  at the Red Mass, so I appealed to the physicians to work to prevent the legalization of physician assisted suicide in Massachusetts.  Dr. Helen Jackson, the president of the guild, and all the doctors were very supportive.

They had a day of speakers and programs.  The evening program featured Dr. John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who gave an extraordinary exposition of some history of medical ethics starting with the Hippocratic Oath. 

Annual White Mass for Catholic physicians, Oct. 29, 2011 at the cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The Mass was accompanied by an all day conference hosted by the Guild of St. Luke.
Pilot photo/ Justin Bell

Annual White Mass for Catholic physicians, Oct. 29, 2011 at the cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The Mass was accompanied by an all day conference hosted by the Guild of St. Luke.
Pilot photo/ Justin Bell

John Haas

He gave a beautiful picture of the Catholic concept of medicine, which sadly, contrasts with ideologies prevalent today.  However, he asked the Catholic doctors to remember Hippocrates and, of course, the Divine Physician, Jesus Christ. 

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán