Hello and Welcome!
Last Thursday we had one of our occasional meetings with the auxiliary bishops and vicars forane of the archdiocese.
The vicars perform a very important function in the archdiocese because they have monthly meetings with our priests and support them in their ministries. These vicariate meetings are where the concerns of the priests can be raised and then communicated, through their representatives, to the Presbyteral Council. By the same token, conversations that are taking place in the Presbyteral Council can be enriched by the input of the priests at the vicariate meetings. So, meetings such as this are a very important part of our attempt to involve the priests in the ongoing planning and decision-making in the life of the Church.
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That evening, I visited St. Rose of Lima Parish in Chelsea for the graduation of the Instituto de Formación de Laicos, the Spanish-language lay formation program of our Religious Education Office.
We had a Mass, after which we distributed the diplomas.
We had about 45 graduates of the program, which involves two years of formation. The graduates came from many different parishes in the archdiocese, and I was happy to see that many of their pastors came to support them.
After the ceremony, there was a reception in the parish hall where they presented Pilar Latorre, the director of the program, with a plaque showing that some star in the universe has been named after her.
I do not know if she is planning to travel there to claim the star, but for us she is a star because of the wonderful work she does with the Hispanic community!
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Friday we had one of our regular meetings of the regional bishops, where we get together and hear reports on what is happening in the different regions of the archdiocese.
We also share with the bishops updates on issues facing the archdiocese to get their input.
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That afternoon we had the first profession of Brother Francis, a brother of the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance. It was held in the lower church at the Cathedral.
A number of people were there to share this important moment.
It was wonderful to see his family, who came all the way from Texas, was able to be there: his parents, brother and sister and grandmother.
Father Walter Waldron from St. Patrick Parish in Roxbury, where the brothers have a presence; and the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, a Cape Verdean community founded by Padre Pio, were there as well.
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Saturday was the installation of Father Richard Erikson as pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Sudbury. Father Erikson is a very talented priest who served so well in the military chaplaincy and here as Vicar General.
This is the second important appointment given to him recently. Just a couple of weeks before, he had been recognized by the Air Force and promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.
People gave him an enthusiastic welcome. His father and other members of his family were there for the ceremony, so it was nice to be able to recognize them, as well.
By happenstance, the date of the installation was May 12. I told the people that a year ago on that day I was in Fatima, Portugal celebrating Mass for 300,000 people. Now, a year later, I was in the church of Our Lady of Fatima celebrating this wonderful event.
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Saturday evening, I was very pleased to have dinner with Pierre-Marie Dumont, the founder of Magnificat.
Magnificat is such a wonderful service to the Church in English, Spanish and French, and now they are expanding into other languages. He came to talk to me about some of the new initiatives they are working on and some of their plans for the future.
I presented him with a basket from the Capuchin missions in Papua New Guinea because he has been very supportive of our missions there.
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Sunday morning, which was also Mother’s Day, I visited St. Mary Parish in Chelmsford for the celebration of their 80th anniversary. Father Steve Donohoe is the pastor there.
The parish gave me the gift of this lovely icon
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Each year, volunteers from the Pastoral Center designate a week to go and help out one of the inner city parishes. This year we were at St. Angela Merici Parish in Mattapan.
On Monday, I joined the group of people who were there helping out with the landscaping around the church and school.
I also had an opportunity to visit the children at the Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy campus there. Father Bill Joy is doing such wonderful work there, the school is such an important presence in the neighborhood.
I have to say, the children were just adorable! In one of the younger classrooms, I believe it was pre-K, the children sang a song for us that named all 50 states. I told Father Joy, I don’t know if I could name all 50 states!
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That evening, we had the last meeting of the year of our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Of course, they have been involved in a number of the ongoing issues in the archdiocese, such as the fight against physician assisted suicide and the planning of a conference on the Church’s teaching on social justice.
At this meeting Janet Benestad gave them a very important presentation on our efforts to resist the legalization of physician assisted suicide here in Massachusetts.
The dedication of the members of the APC is admirable. We are grateful for all they do and the excellent work that Sister Marian Batho does coordinating such a large group.
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On a regular basis, I meet with all the priests who have been ordained for 5 years or fewer for Eucharistic adoration, a meal and conversation.
Tuesday evening we had our latest meeting at Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden.
It is always a wonderful opportunity to be with our newly ordained priests and speak to them about priestly spirituality and the life of the Church.
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Wednesday, I was very pleased to be present as Bishop William Lori was installed as 16th Archbishop of Baltimore, the first see in the United States.
Archbishop Lori is taking the helm of a diocese with a very long, important history.
The first bishop of United States, Bishop John Carroll, was the first Bishop of Baltimore. For many years it was the diocese that included Washington, D.C. until Washington became its own archdiocese during the time of Cardinal O’Boyle. It was there that the Baltimore Catechism was written and the Plenary Councils of Baltimore took place.
The basilica there, which Cardinal Keeler renovated, was the first cathedral in the U.S. and one of the most historically important churches in the country. It is now the co-cathedral of the archdiocese.
The ordination took place in the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, which was built in the 20th century and is a very large and modern church.
The papal nuncio, Archbishop Viganó, installed the new Archbishop.
Archbishop Lori gave an extraordinary homily addressing many of the challenges of the Church in Baltimore and throughout the country.
It was a joy to see his mother and father in the first row of the Cathedral. I have known Archbishop Lori since he was a seminarian and, of course, he spent so many years in Washington, which is so close to Baltimore. He served as an auxiliary there before going to the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The ceremony was attended by many bishops and Cardinals. Two of the former archbishops were present: Cardinal Keeler and Cardinal O’Brien, who is now Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Bishop Lori is the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus so many Knights were also there, including Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
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Finally, yesterday I met with our directors of religious education, who were holding their gathering here at the Pastoral Center.
Susan Kay and Susan Abbott of our Religious Education Office did a superb job coordinating the event.
The meeting was an opportunity to talk about their important role in the parishes. We also spoke about the fact that the Year of Faith is part of the upcoming celebration of the anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I expressed my hope that the Year of Faith will be a time for us to strengthen our catechetical programs and ensure that we are looking for new ways to incorporate young people into the life of the Church, particularly the worshiping community.
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Finally, I wish to remind everyone that the Church is preparing for the very special feast of Pentecost, in which we celebrate the moment that God sends the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Blessed Mother. Having celebrated on Thursday the Feast of the Ascension, we now pray the first novena instituted by our Lord: Nine days of prayer, asking for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I invite you all to join me for Mass next Saturday afternoon at 4pm, as we will celebrate the solemn Vigil of Pentecost at the Cathedral. As the Church prepares for this Feast, I invite you to join me in praying this prayer every day between now and Pentecost Sunday:
O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
Until next week,