Last Thursday, I celebrated a Mass for the Catholic School Foundation’s second class of CSF Scholars. These are children who are receiving scholarships as they graduate from our Catholic primary schools, so that they can continue on to Catholic high schools.
At the Mass they are given a pin to honor their achievement.
The Class of 2016 CSF Scholars met those who were inducted into the program at last year’s event. After Mass, we had a reception in the gym of Cathedral High School, and of course their families were all very happy to be able to be a part of this wonderful program.
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Saturday, I went to Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton to celebrate the Confirmations of about 60 young people. People were very enthused, the young people were very attentive.
One of my favorite tasks as a bishop is celebrating Confirmations in the parishes.
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That evening, had a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the orchestra and choir who were in town to perform the symphony “The Suffering of The Innocents” at Symphony Hall on Sunday.
In addition to the orchestra and choir, which was just under 200 members, the Mass was also attended by several hundred members of the Neocatechumenal Way in the Archdiocese.
During the Mass, I gave the musicians my blessing.
The symphony’s conductor, Pau Jorquera, and the composer, Kiko Arguello, who is one of the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way
I was very happy to welcome them to the Cathedral. As you can imagine, the singing and music at the Mass of course were spectacular!
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That Sunday we celebrated the 50th anniversary of St. Blaise in Bellingham.
I was happy to see Father Al Faretra and Father Al Sallese at the Mass.
They had a procession of banners to indicate the various ministries within the parish.
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From there, I headed over to Symphony Hall for Kiko Arguello’s “The Suffering of The Innocents,” conducted by Pau Jorquera.
The event was a catechetical celebration that included the Symphonic work that focuses on the suffering of Mary under the cross, as a prime example of the suffering of the innocent in the world who can share their pain with Mary’s pain under the cross.
Kiko explained that when he was writing this work he was thinking on the suffering of all innocent people and particularly the suffering of the Jewish people in the Shoah.
The celebration began with readings from Scripture, followed by the performance of the symphony. Afterward, I gave a homily and prayers were offered for all the innocent victims of the world.
Carmen Tracy, a local college student who is the daughter of Greg and Donis Tracy who work for The Pilot,
proclaimed the Prayer for All Innocent Victims
To me, the most moving moment came when Kiko spoke about the suffering of the Jewish mothers, who would have been praying the Shema as their children were being led to the gas chambers, and that Mary certainly would have been praying that same prayer at the foot of the cross. Then he invited everyone at Symphony Hall to stand and sing the Shema. I found that very moving.
Conductor Pau Jorquera leading the audience in singing the Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael
It was wonderful to see Symphony Hall filled with people. I suspect many of them where in Symphony Hall for the first time in their lives, which is a wonderful thing.
I attended the first performance of the Suffering of the Innocents during a retreat in Israel last year and I was very happy to see it performed in Boston. I am not an authority on music but people who are told me how good the orchestra and choir were. They said this was the kind of quality that you would expect to hear in Symphony Hall.
I must say I do not remember another religious event of this type held in Symphony Hall. Symphony Hall is an iconic cultural venue for Boston, one of the oldest auditoriums of this nature in the country. I think it a very historic event to be able to have a Catholic celebration there.
It was also very encouraging to see the participation of the Jewish community, with a number of Rabbis there.
For those of you who were not able to be present for the symphony, you can get a sense of the work from this video:
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Tuesday, I met with Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, head of the new ordinariate for Anglican groups entering the Catholic Church.
Because the Holy See was approached by many Anglicans looking for a path to enter the Catholic Church in a way that would allow congregations to maintain some of their traditions while, at the same time, fully embracing Catholicism, The Holy Father issued in 2009 Anglicanorum Coetibus, an Apostolic Constitution that allows Anglican congregations, and in our country Episcopalians, to join the Church. Through the directive, they can have an association with others who have been on the same journey.
The document provides that a bishop or a priest be named the ecclesiastical superior of this group. In this case Msgr. Steenson, who was the Bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Rio Grande, and has become a Catholic priest, was put in charge of this group in the United States.
We have one Anglican usage parish in the Archdiocese of Boston. Msgr. Steenson wanted to come to inform me about their plans and how things are going. He wanted to make contact with the archdiocese. I was very impressed with him. He is very zealous, really wants to help Episcopalians who want to become Catholics, and at the same time to maintain a certain cultural continuity with their past.
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On Wednesday, we had twelve priests celebrating their 25th Jubilee. They were here at the Pastoral Center for the noon Mass. Combined, their work provided 300 years of ministry to God’s people.
We thanked them for their generosity and urged everyone to pray for vocations.
With the priests marking their 25th anniversary after the Mass at the Pastoral Center
A blessed week to you all!