Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Archive for 2013/06/21


Welcoming the Apostolic Nuncio to Boston

Hello and welcome!

We were delighted this week to learn that Ken Hackett, who is a native of West Roxbury and served for many years as director of Catholic Relief Services, has been named to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. There had been a long hiatus since the departure of Ambassador Diaz.

We are very pleased that someone who has so much international experience and has worked with the Church so closely has now been appointed to this very important post.CARDINALS-CONSISTORY

CRS is the Catholic Church’s relief organization, and is one of the largest relief organizations in the world. CRS provides food, medicine and clean water throughout the world.

Particularly under Ken Hackett they have tried to work very closely with the local Caritas groups in the countries that they serve in order to deepen the Catholic identity of CRS. Also under Ken’s leadership they made an effort to further the cause of reconciliation in countries that were very conflicted or within which there were problems of violence, racism or ethnic cleansing. They saw great success in bringing people to work together.

Catholic relief services has been very successful in addressing problems of famine and suffering occasioned by war and natural disaster such as earthquakes. They certainly did a commendable job in Haiti. We saw how quickly they were there to provide emergency aid and transitional housing.

Diplomatic relations — both by receiving and sending ambassadors — is a very important tool in the Church’s mission to promote world peace, harmony among nations and religious freedom in the many countries where it is being trampled.

The nuncios, who are the Holy See’s ambassadors to other countries, are also involved in the important relations between the Holy See and the bishops conference of the country where they are but, in addition to that, they also build a relationship with the larger national community.

In the early days of our country, we had diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Then because of anti-Catholic sentiment it was discontinued in 1867, and has only been resumed in recent times. It can be a very good opportunity for the United States to have representative there, not only to have close communications with the Church but also to be a listening post in a diplomatic center where the Holy See has relations with so many countries, particularly Arab countries and countries in the Third World.

We congratulate Ken on his new post!

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This week we also welcomed the news that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

The sentencing of Doctor Kermit Gossnell in Philadelphia has brought once again to the American consciousness the horrors of abortion. This initiative in Congress has capitalized on studies that indicate the pain inflicted on the unborn child by an abortion procedure. In the United States, where pain is many times considered the worst evil possible, it is a very cogent argument.

Of course, our opposition to abortion is not contingent upon the level of pain that is inflicted, but on the fact that it is the unjust ending of an innocent human life. However, this particular legislation, I think, captured peoples’ imagination in light of what happened in Philadelphia and also because, as Americans, we are a culture that has very little tolerance for pain and we are sympathetic to people who experience pain and suffering.
Any legislation that can save innocent human lives is a step in the right direction — though it is still only a step.

I want to share with you the text of a letter I sent as chair of the US Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities to all the members of the House of Representatives urging the measure’s passage:

June 14, 2013

Dear Representative:

As chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, I am writing today to urge your support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797).

The Catholic Church’s teaching concerning abortion is well known. We hold that every child, at every moment of existence, deserves love and the protection of the law. We do not believe any person or government has the right to take the life of an innocent human being – and we hold that the real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and child. We understand that not everyone agrees with the Church’s teaching and that there are other views regarding these matters.

It is widely recognized that our citizens were deeply shaken by the revelations of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s actions that led to his being convicted of murder and other crimes committed in the course of providing abortions. This tragic circumstance led many Americans to realize that our permissive laws and attitudes have allowed the abortion industry to undertake these procedures. All decent and humane people are repulsed by the callous and barbarous treatment of women and children in Gosnell’s clinic, and in other clinics that abort children after 20 weeks. Among the lessons learned are these:

1. The Supreme Court’s past insistence that unborn children must be “viable” to deserve even nominal protection is not meaningful or workable. “Viability” is a prediction about whether a given child would have survived indefinitely outside the womb if given medical support. Some children killed by Dr. Gosnell were surely “viable” in this sense – though that can be difficult to prove if they are killed at birth. The reality, as attested by eyewitnesses at the clinic, is that the children were born alive and crying or screaming in pain, until their lives were intentionally and deliberately ended.

2. These procedures after the middle point of pregnancy also pose serious dangers to women – as evidenced by Dr. Gosnell’s own manslaughter conviction for one woman’s death, and news about the death or serious complications of other women undergoing such procedures.

3. Some have tried to argue that such difficult and risky procedures should instead be done in more “mainstream” abortion clinics. This misses the point. Many women were sent to Gosnell by those very clinics, because they wanted nothing to do with abortions performed at such a late stage in the child’s development. What does it say about us as a nation, if we will not act against abortions that even full-time abortionists find abhorrent?

For all these reasons, the proposed ban on abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization is a place to begin uniting Americans who see themselves as “pro-life” and as “pro-choice.” On behalf of our country and the children whose lives are at stake, I urge you to support the common-sense reform offered by H.R. 1797.

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On Saturday I went to St. Timothy’s in Norwood for a Mass to celebrate the parish’s 50th anniversary. StTim_012StTim_019StTim_021

It is a very beautiful parish, on the shores of a lake and, fortunately, after so much rain we had beautiful weather for the celebration.StTim_St Tim 2StTim_AERIAL2007_0506Image0008

St. Timothy’s was established during the time that Bishop Minihan was the pastor at St. Catherine’s Parish. He acquired this magnificent piece of land for the church.StTim_construction 1StTim_construction 2StTim_construction 7

Father John Culloty and his team have done a marvelous job with the parish.StTim_025

There are just so many different parish activities involving a very wide range of people in the parish. During the Mass they were able to showcase a number of those activities which included works of mercy, religious education and outreach.StTim_053

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Sunday, I celebrated the Spanish Mass for Father’s Day at the Cathedral. We had a group of visitors from Toronto joining us.

Of course, we gave a special blessing to the all the fathers in attendance at the end of Mass.

We always like to stress the role the father in the religious life of the family. Many people are surprised to learn that one of the highest predictors of whether someone is going to practice their faith is the example they receive from their father. I think it is very common for people to think of the mother as the transmitter of the faith. Of course, women are often the more religious members of the family and do so much in the spiritual formation of their children, but what makes an incredible and indelible imprint on a child is the example of their father.

Certainly, in my own life, my father gave a wonderful example of a devout Catholic. He often went to daily Mass, prayed the rosary with us and spoke to us about our faith and the Scripture readings at Mass.

I was also very touched while reading the biography of Pope John Paul II when he spoke of seeing his father kneeling by his bed every night saying his night prayers and how, as a child, that impressed him.

So, on Father’s Day we prayed for all our fathers and thanked God for them. We want to encourage fathers to embrace the role that they have for the faith formation of their children and to realize how important that is.

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That afternoon, we welcomed the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who was the guest of honor and speaker at the gala dinner for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. TracyRedemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. TracyRedemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy

Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy

There was a wonderful video about the seminary. The video also highlighted the success of the street mission that was carried out during the Easter season by members of the Neocatechumenal Way all around the world, including at several sites here in the archdiocese.

The archbishop gave a very beautiful address and afterwards, on behalf of the seminary, I presented him with the gift of a lovely pectoral cross.Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. TracyRedemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. TracyRedemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. TracyRedemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. TracyRedemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. TracyRedemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy

 

Towards the end of the dinner the seminarians delighted us by leading us in song.Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy

The Redemptoris Mater Gala Dinner is always a very joyful event! Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston Fourth Annual Gala Dinner, Four Points Sheraton Norwood, Mass., June 16, 2013.  
Photo by Gregory L. Tracy

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On Monday, I was invited to dinner in Boston and was surprised to run into Father Tom Rafferty and a group from St. John’s in Swampscott.

While we were there (as has been all too common in Boston lately) a strong storm came up with thunder, lightning and hail. But, when it cleared, it left one of the most beautiful rainbows I had ever seen.Rainbow

 

Looking out over Boston Harbor, the end of the rainbow looked like it was coming from Revere, which happened to be where we were heading next!

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In Revere, I attended a Vespers service at which the national responsible for the Neocatechumenal Way in the United States, Giuseppe Gennarini, presented the different groups of the Neocatechumenate in the archdiocese and explained the stages that they go through in their processes of Christian formation.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. TracyCardinal Sean O'Malley meets with membersof the Neocatechumenal Way at Immaculate Conception School in Revere June 17, 2013. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy

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On Tuesday, I went to Sacred Heart Retreat House in Wareham for our annual seminarian retreat. Father Jim DiPerri is preaching the retreat and I celebrated Mass and had a dialogue with them.

It is always a wonderful opportunity for the seminarians from all the different seminaries to pray together, be together and get to know each other better. It is also a good way for them to begin the summer, as they prepare for their summer assignments in the different parishes and ministries.

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Wednesday, I was visited by Father Denis Tracy, who is a cousin of Mary Myers who works in our Pastoral Center. He has been a Mill Hill Missionary working in Kenya for many years and is now doing mission promotion with the Mill Hill Fathers.FrDenisTracy_photo (2)

With Father Treacy and Mary Meyers

It was a pleasure to meet him.

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That evening, was the Mass and dinner at the Cathedral for the jubilarian deacons.Deacon25_photo (1)

Among of the jubilarians was Father Joe Arsenault. He was ordained a permanent deacon 25 years ago with this class, but went on to become a permanent priest!

Also concelebrating the Mass was Father Frank Silva, who had been the director of the diaconate program at the time of the ordination.

Following the Mass there was a dinner for the deacons and their wives, during which they showed pictures of the class at the time of their ordination.Deacon25_006

We had presentations to the deacons and their wives and we prayed for the members of the class who have passed on. Deacon25_002Deacon25_003Deacon25_005

It was a lovely evening. We congratulate all the jubilarian deacons and want to express our gratitude to Deacon Pat Guerrini, who did so much to make the celebration possible.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán