I want to begin this week by offering a word of congratulations to Bishop Richard Malone, who was of course formerly an auxiliary bishop of Boston and then Bishop of Portland, Maine. Just this week he was appointed by the Holy Father to be the bishop of Buffalo, New York, which is a very large diocese.
We congratulate him and ensure him of our prayers and best wishes. We will also pray for the Diocese of Portland, which is now awaiting the appointment of their new bishop.
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Last Thursday, I was pleased to attend the annual dinner sponsored by the Order of Malta for our retired priests at the Boston College Club. The club is located in Boston’s financial district and has a spectacular view of the city and the harbor. There were about 100 people there for the dinner.
As always, the evening was very entertaining. Music was provided by a corps of Irish bagpipers, as well as former state treasurer Bob Crane and his singing group, “The Treasury Notes".
Dick Flavin delivered a couple of very funny monologues about baseball and politics.
Father Richard Fitzgerald sang "Southie My Hometown" to the delight of the Boston priests.
It was a beautiful evening and a great sign of the affection and gratitude that the Catholics of the archdiocese have for their retired priests who have served so mightily, and who continue to serve in many capacities.
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Friday, at the Pastoral Center, we gathered at the daily noontime Mass with the consecrated virgins of the archdiocese, followed by a luncheon for them.
Theirs is a very special presence in the Church, which dates back to the first generations of Christians. We currently have 13 consecrated virgins here in the archdiocese and I was very happy that a great many of them were able to join us for the Mass.
These are women who have consecrated themselves to the Church and to a special life of prayer and service to God’s people, even while many continue with their secular careers. It is one of the earliest forms of consecrated life in the Church.
This vocation has been strongly encouraged by the Archbishops of Boston and I am proud to say that we are among the dioceses with the largest number of consecrated virgins in the country. We are very blessed to have their presence in the archdiocese.
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Saturday morning, we had one of our regular meetings of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the organization that represents the bishops of Massachusetts on public policy matters.
There are many issues of importance to the archdiocese that we are currently facing in the Commonwealth and I can say it was a very fruitful and important meeting.
It was also the last meeting for Fred Torphy, who has been part of the Mass. Catholic Conference for over 40 years. At the meeting, I thanked him for his over four decades of service. He began as counsel for the Diocese of Fall River during the time of Cardinal Medeiros and has served three bishops of the Diocese of Fall River. He has been very devoted to the Church and served the Church zealously in his profession.
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Saturday afternoon, I presided over the Pentecost vigil at the Cathedral with the new ecclesial movements and communities.
Father Jonathan Gaspar had suggested that it would be nice for us to celebrate the Pentecost Vigil at the Cathedral. It is not something I have normally done in the past, but I thought it was a brilliant idea. We invited various ecclesial communities and ethnic apostolates of the archdiocese. I was very pleased to see that over 1,200 people responded to the invitation.
There were many different ethnic groups there, as well, and many different languages were used during the Mass for the prayers and readings. Everyone was delighted by the positive response.
The Pentecost Vigil in many ways parallels the Easter Vigil. It is held the night before Pentecost with an expanded liturgy of the word, with many of the readings speaking about the Spirit guiding God’s people.
During Mass we were praying for the unity of our Church and that the Holy Spirit will renew all of us in our commitment to live our faith and make it present to the world. It was a very moving experience.
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Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo of the Diocese of Kasese, Uganda also joined us at the Vigil. After the Prayer Vigil, the Bishop expressed how he was struck by the fervor and devotion of the faithful that night.
Bishop Egidio is in town for the celebration of the Uganda Martyrs Feast that takes place this Sunday at St. Mary’s in Waltham.
Each year, the Episcopal Conference of Uganda sends a representative to this celebration where Ugandans from all over the United States join in prayer and thanksgiving. It is believed that Boston is home to one of the largest populations of Ugandans outside of Africa. The prayers of the Martyr’s Mass are spoken in English and Luganda, the language of Uganda, while traditional African music and processional dance accompany the celebration.
Bishop Egidio’s presence is a sign of communion and unity between the churches and peoples of our two countries.
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Each year on Pentecost, I celebrate a Portuguese Mass at the Cathedral, during which we confirm people from the Brazilian community. This year there were about 170 confirmandi.
It is a very long Mass with a great deal enthusiastic singing. I am always very touched to see the fervor of the young people being confirmed. You see many of them coming up with tears in their eyes because it is such a very important event in their life. As a bishop, it is so gratifying to experience that moment with them.
It is also very moving to see the Cathedral filled with young families. This Mass is just another indication of the many ways that immigrant communities are a great blessing for the Church in Boston.
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Monday, I visited with Father David Costello, the new head of the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, more popularly known as simply the St. James Society.
It was founded by Cardinal Cushing over 50 years ago to serve the Church in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Over 300 priests from Boston have served in the society over the last 50 years and today there are about 20 priests serving there.
I was very happy to meet Father David and to express my thanks for the ministry of the outgoing director, Father Kevin Hayes.
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Finally, I am currently in Milan to take part in the Seventh World Meeting of Families that is organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, of which I am a member. The Holy Father will be joining us here and we expect one million people for the closing Mass.
The theme of the family is at the heart of the Church’s mission so please join me in praying for the success of this very important ecclesial event. I look forward to sharing the details with you next week.
Until then, blessings to you all!