Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Archive for 2013/07/03


The Fortnight for Freedom

Hello and welcome!

This week, I am posting my blog a bit earlier than usual, as I will be heading away to spend some time with my family during the Fourth of July holiday.

While Independence Day is certainly a time for barbeques and celebrations, it is also a time to reflect on the gift of freedom we have as Americans.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Bishops Conference has called for a Fortnight for Freedom during the two weeks leading up to Independence Day as a time of prayer and reflection on religious freedom.FFF-eng

The national observance of the Fortnight began with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Lori in Baltimore on June 21 and will close with a special Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on July 4.

I observed the Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass at the Pastoral Center June 26.

Cardinal O’Malley marks the U.S. bishops’ second annual Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass celebrated June 26, 2013 at the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center in Braintree.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. TracyCardinal O’Malley marks the U.S. bishops’ second annual Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass celebrated June 26, 2013 at the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center in Braintree.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

This year, the Fortnight for Freedom comes at a time when we face challenges due to the Supreme Court decision concerning the Defense of Marriage Act, which will certainly create many church-state conflicts in the future. We also have just received the finalized version of the HHS mandate for insurance coverage of objectionable drugs and procedures, which is also problematic for the Church in the United States. Of course, we also remember the many, many challenges faced by Catholics who are suffering persecution around the globe because of their religious faith.Cardinal O’Malley marks the U.S. bishops’ second annual Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass celebrated June 26, 2013 at the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center in Braintree.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Cardinal O’Malley marks the U.S. bishops’ second annual Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass celebrated June 26, 2013 at the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center in Braintree.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. TracyCardinal O’Malley marks the U.S. bishops’ second annual Fortnight for Freedom with a Mass celebrated June 26, 2013 at the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center in Braintree.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

In light of all this, I am delighted to share with you some of the reflections in my homily during the Mass to mark the fortnight for freedom:

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Each year, the Order of Malta and Boston College Club host a dinner for the senior priests of the Archdiocese of Boston.BC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTS

It is always a very festive event with great entertainment such as the singing group The Treasury Notes and bagpipers.BC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTS

We are very grateful to Jack Joyce, Jim O’Connor and to all the benefactors who make this event possible. It is always a very enjoyable evening.BC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTSBC CLUB GATHERING FOR SENIOR PRIESTS

 

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On Thursday, I was visited by Mario Paredes and Father Alejandro Ramos. Father Ramos is part of La Fraternidad De Agrupaciones Santo Tomas De Aquino, known as FASTA, a community founded by the Dominicans in Argentina.logo_ufasta

Father Ramos is on the faculty of their university, Universidad FASTA and he came to speak to me about some of their programs.

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I share a birthday with Msgr. William Helmick, the pastor of St. Theresa of Avila in West Roxbury. photo (10)

So he stopped by on Thursday evening for a joint celebration.

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Friday, I was visited by a delegation from the Bruderhof community.

The Bruderhof are an Anabaptist denomination, similar to the Amish and the Mennonites. They live in a community where everything is shared in common and they have very strong pacifist beliefs.Bruderhof_IMG_4230

The Bruderhof were founded in Germany in 1920 but had to flee just before the World War II because of persecution by the Nazis. They went first to England, then to Paraguay, and then to the United States. They now have several communities here. Bruderhof_IMG_4209

They have recently purchased the former Redemptorist seminary, Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, New York, which they are renovating to use as a center for their religion.

The Bruderhof have always had very good relations with the Catholic Church. I was pleased to be able to meet with them and we were also pleased that they were able to join us for the ecumenical Vespers service held with the Greek Orthodox that evening.

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Each year, on the feast of St. Andrew, November 30, and the feast of St. Peter and Paul, June 29, we exchange delegations with the Greek Orthodox just as the Holy Father does with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.20130628-EcumenVesp-00220130628-EcumenVesp-006

Our celebration was hosted by St. Joseph’s Parish in Needham, thanks to the gracious hospitality of Father David Michael who, along with Vito Nicastro, works in our Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Office.20130628-EcumenVesp-014

We gathered for a Vespers service. I preached at the service and Metropolitan Methodios addressed the congregation.20130628-EcumenVesp-02620130628-EcumenVesp-041

This year, there was a very large crowd of priests and laity from the Archdiocese of Boston as well as the Greek Orthodox Metropolis. In fact, this year was probably the largest number of people that I recall attending — I would say around 300 people — including a large number of the lay people had been on the joint Catholic–Orthodox pilgrimage that the Metropolitan and I led in 2007 to Rome, Constantinople and St. Petersburg.

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The cathedral choir provided inspiring music for the Vespers service.20130628-EcumenVesp-04420130628-EcumenVesp-012

Afterwards, there was a reception in the parish Hall and they had a birthday cake for me.

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The Metropolitan and I with Kristine DeMatteo. Kristine provided a great deal of assistance to Father Michael in making the evening possible.20130628-EcumenVesp-067

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On Saturday, I met with Bishop Dooher and Father John Kennedy Arockia Jockim Raj.

Father Arockia Jockim Raj has been helping out at St. Jerome Parish in Weymouth, where Bishop Dooher is in residence, and is now being sent to serve as a chaplain to the Indian community in Paris.2

He came to say goodbye and presented me with an Indian shawl. I now have a beautiful collection of them, thanks to the graciousness of many visitors from India.

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Sunday, I celebrated the Mass at St. Ann’s in Neponset. Family, friends and parishioners arrive at St. Ann Church in Dorchester for the June 9, 2013 birthday memorial Mass for Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The PilotIt was an opportunity to visit the parish and to thank Father Sean Connor for his work there.StAnnNep_002_2

Father Connor will be leaving the parish at the end of July. I want to express my gratitude for his work in the parish and also the outstanding service he gave as police chaplain and priest ministering to all those affected by the marathon bombings, particularly the Richard family. He was very generous in his service to Father Brian Smith in his last days.

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That evening, I attended a farewell gathering for Sister Dorothy Burns, who is retiring after serving for many years as the principal of Cathedral Grammar School. Sister Dorothy is a woman who has completely dedicated her life to the children that she served and their families. SrDorothy_2

With Sister Dorothy and Father Kevin O’Leary

There were many people who attended the farewell gathering including many Sisters of St. Joseph and sisters from other communities as well.

We wish her all the best and I wish you a safe and blessed holiday!

Cardinal Seán