Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Archive for 2013/12/13


Welcoming the God of This City Tour

Hello and welcome!

This week, I was pleased to see that Time Magazine has chosen Pope Francis as their Person of the Year. time-person-of-the-year-cover-pope-francisHowever, I don’t think Catholics really needed Time magazine or anyone else to confirm what we already know: that the Holy Father has captured the imagination of the world with his simplicity and emphasis on the message of love and compassion of Jesus Christ. So, we are happy when people recognize this, but not at all surprised.

We hope that people will listen carefully to the message that he is trying to communicate, which is a message that is so sorely needed. In today’s world, where there is so much pain, isolation and despair, the Holy Father, like John the Baptist, is pointing us to a path that leads to Christ, the Light of the World.

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Friday, the final stop of the 2013 God of this City tour was at the Cathedral.Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

I was very pleased that I was able to return from my meetings with the Holy Father in Rome in time to be present for this beautiful celebration. Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

Father Matt Williams and his team put together this tour, in which hundreds of young people came together for worship and talks during the course of the week.Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

The speaker on the final night at the cathedral was Mother Olga. We were very happy that, despite some recent health problems, she was able to be there and speak with the young people.Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo 
Final stop of the December 2013 God of This City Tour Dec. 7, 2013 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  The evening’s featured speaker was Mother Olga Yaqob.
Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo

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Saturday, I celebrated confirmations at Saint Helen’s in Norwell. Father Chris Hickey is taking care of that parish while they are waiting for the local collaborative to be officially established.

It was a beautiful celebration during which we confirmed about 60 or so young people.

StH-12072013122039_5651

It is always a joy to be able to celebrate confirmation and be able to talk to young people about the gifts of the spirit and the life of faith to which we are called in today’s world.

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On Sunday, I celebrated Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent at Holy Family in Concord. It was standing room only.HF-01012012000000_IMG_7660

Of course the pastor there, Father Austin Fleming, is quite a liturgist and this is evident in the congregational singing and the liturgy, which is executed in such great taste.HF-01012012000000_IMG_7703

HF-01012012000000_IMG_7692HF-01012012000000_IMG_7794They had a beautiful choir and, in fact, there was also a group of young people from a local Protestant church who sang for us as well. HF-01012012000000_IMG_7697

Sometimes when a church has an excellent choir, people just want to sit and listen, but here is a parish where they have a beautiful choir but at the same time they have the congregational singing that complements that.

Following the Mass, there was a reception in their newly refurbished hall in the basement of the church.HF-01012012000000_IMG_7989

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In the afternoon, we had the Advent Gathering for the Cardinal’s Leadership Circle with a Mass and a reception here at the Pastoral Center.  20131208Advent_gm_024

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Tom Tanous proclaims a reading

The event provides us with a chance to gather with the members of the Leadership Circle and their families and express our gratitude for all they do in supporting the ministries of the archdiocese. 20131208Advent_gm_094 20131208Advent_gm_116

Neal Finnegan and Mike Daley

At the gathering after the Mass we heard remarks from Bishop Deeley and one of the Appeal leaders, Sarah Madigan. 20131208Advent_gm_130-2

Bishop Deeley speaking with Sarah Madigan

Bishop Deeley spoke to us about the new evangelization and how our pastoral planning initiative is an essential part of our efforts.

Sarah shared with us how she has spoken on behalf of the Appeal to fellow parishioners. She said that personal witness can make an important difference in moving fellow Catholics to support the ministries of the archdiocese.

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That evening, despite the bad weather and all the flight cancellations, I managed to catch the last plane out of Boston to Washington to be able to attend meetings of the board of The Catholic University of America and the Papal Foundation on Monday.CUA-001

On Tuesday, we prayed midday prayer in Caldwell Hall Chapel at CUA as part of the world-wide "wave of prayer" to end hunger. Cardinal Wuerl leadsUniversity Prayer Service to End World Hunger
Pope Francis Endorses Global Campaign by Caritas
  Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Chancellor of The Catholic University of America (CUA) and a member of the CUA Board of Trustees, will lead students at the University in prayer, joining Pope Francis and Catholics worldwide in support of a campaign to end world hunger. Fellow University trustees  and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; and University President John Garvey, along with other CUA trustees, are expected to join Cardinal Wuerl at the campus prayer service at Caldwell Chapel. 
Ed Pfueller/The Catholic University of AmericaCardinal Wuerl leadsUniversity Prayer Service to End World Hunger
Pope Francis Endorses Global Campaign by Caritas
  Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Chancellor of The Catholic University of America (CUA) and a member of the CUA Board of Trustees, will lead students at the University in prayer, joining Pope Francis and Catholics worldwide in support of a campaign to end world hunger. Fellow University trustees  and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; and University President John Garvey, along with other CUA trustees, are expected to join Cardinal Wuerl at the campus prayer service at Caldwell Chapel. 
Ed Pfueller/The Catholic University of America

Cardinal Wuerl leadsUniversity Prayer Service to End World Hunger
Pope Francis Endorses Global Campaign by Caritas
  Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Chancellor of The Catholic University of America (CUA) and a member of the CUA Board of Trustees, will lead students at the University in prayer, joining Pope Francis and Catholics worldwide in support of a campaign to end world hunger. Fellow University trustees  and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; and University President John Garvey, along with other CUA trustees, are expected to join Cardinal Wuerl at the campus prayer service at Caldwell Chapel. 
Ed Pfueller/The Catholic University of AmericaSpeaking to a member of the media that day, I mentioned that four decades ago, in the same place on that very same day — December 10 which is U.N. Human Rights Day — I had invited Dom Hélder Câmara of Brazil to give a conference on human rights.

As it was this year, also on that day 40 years ago it was snowing in Washington, which is a very rare occurrence. I remember being very nervous, because here we were bringing this very famous bishop to speak and I thought that nobody would come out in the snow. But it turned out that it was wall-to-wall people. In fact, we had to turn people away because we could not fit them in the auditorium.

I was so impressed by Dom Câmara’s talk because he began by saying, “Though this is Human Rights Day, I want to remind you that human rights do not come from United Nations they come from God.” So I related that to this day of prayer for hunger, saying what human right can be more basic than the right to have enough to eat? I also said that we have the capability of eliminating hunger from the world, but simply lack the will and the Holy Father is trying to hold this up to people to motivate them. He is calling for prayers so that people will be moved to find solutions to this problem of hunger.

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Wednesday, I was back in Boston and hosted a meeting here at the Pastoral Center on our ministries on college campuses and promoting vocations. It was a very fruitful meeting and we were all very encouraged by the positive reports and the work of FOCUS at three of our area universities.

I always enjoy these brainstorming sessions at which we gather those who work in different ministries such as Vocations Office, Ethnic Ministries, the Office for New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults, Campus Ministry and others.

Of course here in the archdiocese, where we have over 250,000 students, the outreach to students is a very important ministry. We are very grateful to all those who are involved in this area, to the FOCUS program, and all the benefactors to support their work.

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Then, in the afternoon, we had our annual Advent Mass for the staff at the Pastoral Center.Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The PilotPhoto by Gregory L. Tracy, The PilotAfterwards, we gather for refreshments and they always have drawings for prizes. Perhaps the most coveted of those is a parking space in the indoor garage at the Pastoral Center. We got a big kick out of the fact that one of our staff members who drives a Smart Car won one of those spaces. We joked that he could probably let somebody else parking the space with him and they would still fit!

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In the evening, I joined the celebration for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Cathedral.

We are very grateful to Father Paco and Father Felipe who organized it.

One of the highlights of the evening was the wonderful dancers they had, every much like the Aztec dancers who perform outside the shrine in Mexico.Lup-035

I gave the people a short talk on Our Lady of Guadalupe. Lup-033

Our Lady of Guadalupe is such a beautiful advent feast because, as I always tell people, the black belt that she is wearing is not a sign of proficiency in the martial arts, but part of the maternity garb of the Aztec woman. And she is the woman of advent, Mary pregnant with the Christ child preparing for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán