Hello again and welcome!
I hope you all had a safe and happy Independence Day.
As I mentioned in my post last week, we ordained six men to the priesthood at the Cathedral the Holy Cross on June 23.
It has been our custom to gather with the newly ordained and their families after the ordination for a luncheon. So, I was pleased to host them here at the Pastoral Center on Wednesday.
It is a wonderful opportunity to hear some of the experiences of the First Masses and meet the families. Of course, I had an opportunity to meet many of them around the time of the ordination, but there is so much activity going on in those moments, it is nice to have this chance to speak to them in a relaxed atmosphere.
We had a very nice lunch and conversation and then afterward I was able to spend some time meeting each of the families.
We were also happy to have Father Jason Brilhante, who studied at St. John’s and was recently ordained for the Diocese of Fall River, and his family with us as well.
I gave them each a rosary to remember the occasion.
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This week, I was also pleased to have three visitors from Fatima, Portugal. One was Sister Angela Coelho who is the vice-postulator for Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the three children who saw the apparitions of Our Lady.
She is a young religious who belongs to a new community founded for the new evangelization in Braga, the Congregation Alliance of Saint Mary. The community is about 10 years old and has 30 members.
She was accompanied by the Rector of the Shrine of Fatima, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, and Father Vitor Coutinho, who is the secretary of the Bishop of Fatima, Bishop António Augusto dos Santos Marto.
They are visiting the United States because they have already begun the planning for the centennial of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima and they would like to schedule some events in this country. They came to discuss some of these plans with me.
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Father Tom Foley, who has been our Secretary for Parish Life and Ministry, is leaving us to become a chaplain in United States Air Force.
So, on Thursday, we had a celebration including a Mass and reception here at the Pastoral Center to thank him for his service and wish him well in his new ministry.
Many people who have been parishioners of his in various parishes as well as other friends, relatives, members of the staff and clergy, were there.
We are so grateful for all he has done for us but, as I reminded those at the Mass, the ministry to the Armed Forces is also critically important because it is a place where there are literally hundreds of thousands of young Catholics needing spiritual care. It is important that the Church be present for them, particularly in time of war.
Here in Boston, we have a very long-standing tradition sending many of our finest priests to serve in the military. It has been a source of great blessings for us and we are very grateful that Father Foley has volunteered for this mission.
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Friday, I was visited by a group of altar servers from the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet, which is part of the Fall River Diocese. They had asked me to give a vocation talk. There was quite a group of them. In fact one of them is already scheduled to enter the seminary. They were visiting the pastoral center and had lunch here.
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Friday, at the Pastoral Center I celebrated Mass for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the patronal feast of the Church in Rome.
On the same day in Rome, the Holy Father was receiving a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Here in Boston, we have a traditional of reflecting those reciprocal visits. Metropolitan Methodios was unable to be with us this year because he was attending a gathering in Phoenix Arizona, so he sent two representatives. We were very pleased to be joined by Deacon Andreas and Father Panteleimon Manoussakis.
We were also joined by Vito Nicastro and Father David Michael from our Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Father Manoussakis read this message on behalf of Metropolitan Methodios at the beginning of the Mass:
Your Eminence, Cardinal O’Malley, Reverend Fathers, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The exchange of formal visits between Catholic and Orthodox, both on the universal level as well as in the local level, on the patronal feasts of our Churches, honoring their respective founders and two brothers among the Apostles, Saint Peter for the Church of Rome and Saint Andrew for the Church of Constantinople, has become a meaningful tradition that both Your Eminence and Metropolitan Methodios has faithfully kept over the years. Sadly, Metropolitan Methodios, who leads the Orthodox faithful in Boston and throughout New England, was not able to be here with us today, on account of the clergy-laity Congress that meets these days in Phoenix. Nevertheless, he has entrusted us with the duty of representing Him and of conveying to all of you His fraternal wishes and blessings on this solemn day of the feast of the first among the apostles, Peter and Paul.
This exchange of visits goes beyond ecclesiastical formality: there are real, visible tokens that affirm in the most unambiguous way the desire and commitment of our Churches to be united again in perfect communion around the Eucharistic table. They are signs that profess in the clearest way our respect for each other’s traditions; they remind us of everything that we held in common during the first thousand years of the Church’s history and that we continue to confess today; they encourage us to work sincerely towards overcoming whatever misunderstandings keep us apart, so that the Church’s witness may remain strong and beyond any reproach, such that our divisions might invite from those who haven’t yet embrace Peter’s confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16).
It is thus that Peter’s confession becomes the unshakable rock over which our Lord’s Church is built—the rock over which the futile waves of relativism, secularism, and atheism break. Throughout its history, the Orthodox Church has kept Peter’s confession in adverse times and in the face of fierce adversaries. I pray that our Lord will bring it to pass that we continue to do so in the future, in unity with St Peter’s successor.
V. Rev. Panteleimon Manoussakis, Ph.D.
Later this year on the Feast of St. Andrew, the patronal feast of the Church in Constantinople, I will attend the liturgy at the Metropolis Center in Brookline.
Also at the same Mass was Bishop Alfredo Petit, auxiliary Bishop in Havana, who was here visiting. He was accompanied by Dr. Kouri from Harvard and his wife. We talked about the Holy Father’s visit and what a wonderful success it was.
We are very happy that Bishop Petit was able to visit us here in Boston.
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That day was also my birthday and I got an unexpected surprise.
I was having dinner with the priests who live here at the rectory and Bishop Donald Lippert, the bishop in Papua New Guinea, who was stopping by on his way back from having made his ad limina visit. As we finished dinner, a band of mariachis appeared at the window playing the traditional Mexican birthday song, Las Mañanitas. (Although they should have been “Las Nochecitas” because it was about eight o’clock at night!)
I commented that when I was a priest in Washington, on my birthday I would often be awakened at five o’clock in the morning by people singing me Las Mañanitas. So, they were very merciful to have done it at night!
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On Saturday, we celebrated the diaconal ordination of Deacon Thomas Macdonald, who is studying at the North American College in Rome.
Normally, Tom would have been ordained either with the rest of our deacons in January or with his deacon class in Rome. But, because much of his family would have been unable to make the trip to Rome, we decided to ordain him while he was home during the summer.
The ordination was held in the seminary chapel. It is the first time in many decades that there has been an ordination there. It was a very beautiful celebration.
I also complimented Bishop Kennedy for the refurbishment of the paintings, the lighting and the air-conditioning that they now have at St. John’s Chapel, which not only makes it very beautiful venue to have the ordination but also very comfortable one.
Deacon Macdonald will return to Rome to finish his studies and is scheduled to be ordained with his classmates here in Boston next spring.
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That afternoon I celebrated a wedding in Cambridge at St. Paul’s Church.
Afterwards, I was greeted by John Robinson, the new head of the Archdiocesan Choir School. The school has been very successful and experienced tremendous growth.
I want to express my gratitude to Father Michael Drea, the pastor at St. Paul’s, and of course Mr. Robinson for all the good work they are doing there.
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There is a wonderful tradition in Gloucester of each year holding a Mass and procession followed by the blessing of the fishing boats.
Father John Kiley and Father Matthew Green of Holy Family Parish worked very hard to make it a wonderful celebration.
This year I celebrated the outdoor Mass.
The fishermen in Gloucester are principally Italian and Italian-American, but there are also a large number of Portuguese fishermen and now a strong Brazilian community. So, in the procession there were a number different saints representing the different groups in addition to, of course, St. Peter and statues of the Virgin.
Then in the afternoon there was the blessing of the fleet itself.
Fishing is of course a very dangerous profession and we pray for the safety of all the fishermen and their families.
Until next week,