Congratulating Bishop Deeley

Hello and welcome!

We were all very pleased this week to learn the news that the Holy Father has tapped our vicar general, Bishop Robert Deeley, for the responsibility of heading the Diocese of Portland, Maine.Deeley_GTracy_01

We are very grateful for his service as vicar general and, before that, his generous service in the Holy See. He responded to a very important need of the Church and it is with the same generosity and enthusiasm that he always responds to the Church’s needs. We are grateful for all his hard work here and for the countless hours he has given to advancing our pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission, and the many other challenges that the archdiocese has faced.

Bishop Deeley is a man of great talent and energy and I know he will be a fine bishop for the people of Maine. We look forward to his installation, which is going to be on Valentine’s Day. So, we are sending a Valentine to Portland!

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I was very alarmed to hear of the recent decision of the high court in the Dominican Republic that is going to cause so many Dominicans of Haitian extraction to lose their citizenship and to be disenfranchised.

I want to share with you a letter that I sent recently to the ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Washington. I think the letter speaks for itself:

December 16, 2013

His Excellency Aníbal de Castro Rodríguez

Dominican Republic’s Ambassador to United States


Your Excellency:

By way of introduction, for over 40 years I have been privileged to have extraordinary associations with the Dominican Republic and the Dominican people in the Diaspora. Over four decades ago I began celebrating a Mass for the Hispanic community in Washington that had really grown up around the local celebration of Our Lady of Alta Gracia. I worked with the Dominican community in Washington D.C. for 20 years, then for 10 years in the West Indies, and now in Massachusetts. President Joaquin Balaguer honored me with the decoration, the Order of Cristobal Colón, for my pastoral work with Dominicans. I have always had a great affection for the Dominican Republic and their people, and it is in the same spirit that I turn to you today to share my sadness at the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling that creates such hardship for so many people of Haitian extraction who live in the Dominican Republic, many of whom have been born in your country. Indeed, their hard work and dedication contribute much to the wellbeing of the country.

By this unfortunate ruling of the tribunal, even Dominicans born to undocumented parents are to have their citizenship revoked. The ruling is retroactive to 1929; and it is estimated that 200,000 Dominican people of Haitian descent, including many who have had no real connection with Haiti for several generations will be affected. To be a person without a state, “a man without a country” makes it nearly impossible to study, to get a decent job, to acquire insurance, to contribute to a pension fund, to get married legally, to open bank accounts and even to travel in or out of one’s own country of origin.

It is the destiny of the Dominican and Haitian peoples to share an island. Events of history have left their scars, but I believe that Dominicans and Haitians of goodwill long for a future of greater solidarity and friendship. I was very encouraged to see the generous and heartfelt response of many Domincanos who hastened to come to the aid of their Haitian brothers and sisters affected by the terrible devastation of the earthquake. As a young priest in Washington, I celebrated Mass for immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Haiti in the very same parish. I never saw any divisions or discrimination. The faith of the people and their common struggle to provide for their families united them in community.

At Christmastime we relive the events of Christ’s life, beginning with the Holy Family’s search for lodging in Bethlehem where there was no room in the inn. It is my hope that at this Christmas season the government and people of the Dominican Republic will reject these unjust rulings that cause so much pain and suffering.

Every country has the right to control its own boundaries, but no one has the right to trample people’s dignity and diminish their humanity. Being an American I have seen the ugly face of racism up close. Although we still struggle with the reality of racism and the terrible legacy that slavery has left in the United States, but I am encouraged that our government, civil organizations and Churches have worked together with the marked success to form a stronger and more just society. I hope and pray that the government and people of the Dominican Republic will be inspired by the ideals of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that appears on your beautiful national flag. The example of leaders like Martin Luther King and President Mandela points to the kind of resolve and humanity that is required to rid our world of the spiritual disease of racism.

At Christmastime the choirs of angels call on us to give glory to God and bring about peace on earth; and our courageous Quisqueyos can do both by breaking the chains that enslave their brothers and sisters of Hispaniola.

Please communicate to your government the concerns and disappointment of a priest who considers himself a friend to the people of the Dominican Republic. I pray that your leaders will have the wisdom and courage to redress these injustices that are being perpetrated on your own people.

With assurances of prayers and best wishes for you and your family at Christmas and throughout the New Year, I remain


Yours in Christ,

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley

Archbishop of Boston

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The regional offices of Catholic Charities have fundraisers throughout the course of the year, and the Christmas fundraiser is always sponsored by Catholic Charities Greater Boston, which was held Friday night.

This year, they honored Brother Celestino Arias, known by everyone as Brother Tino, with the Richard D. Armstrong, Jr. Service Award. CCAB_ChristmasGala004

With Brother Tino and Catholic Charities president Debbie Rambo

Richard was a man who was a great Catholic and supporter of the Church, and Catholic Charities established the award in his honor. We are very pleased that his sisters could be there for the banquet. We were very pleased his sisters Patricia and Kathleen could be with us for the event.CCAB_ChristmasGala005

With Debbie Rambo, Patricia Armstrong, Brother Tino and Kathleen Armstrong

Brother Tino is a Capuchin brother who has worked with Catholic Charities Greater Boston as coordinator of youth empowerment and stabilization services, at the Teen Center at St. Peter’s in Dorchester, and at the Boston Catholic Youth Connection. He also has worked for many years with the Cape Verdean community, particularly the youth, and helped start the Cape Verdean Family Based Services program.

In his work with the Capuchins, he has been involved with many projects sponsored by the Capuchins in Africa, most notably the Capuchin Africa Initiative for Development, known as “CAP-AID.” He is presently the director of our vocation office for the Capuchins of the province of St. Mary’s and he is the Guardian at St. Francis Friary in Jamaica Plain.

He was accompanied by his parents at the banquet, who are from Galicia in Spain. There were also a number of Capuchins at the dinner to accompany him. We are very proud of the extraordinary and effective ministry that he has performed.

In my comments at the gala, I recalled the great support of Catholic Charities provided by Jack Shaughnessy, whose picture was in the program. CCAB_ChristmasGala003

Just a couple days before he died, Jack had called Catholic Charities to tell them that he would not be at the gala because he knew he was not going to be alive, but he still wanted to buy a table! That story illustrates just what an extraordinary kind of man Jack was.

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Friday, we were visited by Maura Hyland from Veritas, which is the Irish Bishops’ publishing house.Veritas

During the course of the conversation I asked her how things are going Dublin, since it has been three years since I made my visitation there. Her assessment was that things were much better for the Church there. As an example, she said that the previous week her publishing house had released the Holy Father’s new Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” and in two days they sold 1,400 copies. She said they had never experienced anything like that before.

I see that as a great sign of the kind of impact Pope Francis is having. One thing is to say that the Holy Father was made Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, it is another thing that, in Dublin, 1,400 people were anxious to read his Apostolic Exhortation.

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Saturday morning, I attended the annual Advent Mass and Breakfast of Women Affirming Life. There was a very good turn-out, despite the bad weather. It was very encouraging to see how many young women were in attendance, particularly daughters accompanying their mothers.WALI-Advent2013-10WALI-Advent2013-11WALI-Advent2013-14WALI-Advent2013-15

As we always do, we began gathering at Mass in the morning followed by the breakfast meeting, where we had a panel discussion.WALI-Advent2013-21WALI-Advent2013-25WALI-Advent2013-26

In my comments to them, I spoke about the need to help create a climate in which adoption is truly more of an option in our culture. I also spoke to them about the March for Life and that we expect to have almost 800 young people from the Archdiocese of Boston join us this year, which will be a record.

WAL is a wonderful group of women dedicated to promoting the gospel of life. They do so much good work and I was glad to able to be with them.

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On Sunday at the Cathedral, I celebrated the Rite of the Blessing of a Child in the Womb at the English Mass, as I did last week at the Spanish Mass.

Once again, the weather was very poor and we are very skeptical as to whether we would have any pregnant mothers who would venture out. But, we had a large group of women who came forward with their husbands to receive the blessing.photoKickham

Advent is such an appropriate liturgical season to be celebrating this rite, a time when we recall the Virgin Mary pregnant with the Christ child.

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That afternoon, I visited with the friars of Saint Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston, who had invited me for prayer and dinner. As always, they were very welcoming and fraternal and I was very happy to have a pre-Christmas gathering with them.

It was also my first opportunity to welcome the new guardian of the shrine, John Hogan. StA-12152013200014_7

We are very grateful for the presence of the shrine in the midst of the city, for their sacramental ministry and their outreach to the poor and disenfranchised, which touches so many.

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Then, we drove down to Hartford for the installation of Archbishop Leonard Blair, who is succeeding Archbishop Mansell.Archbishop Blair installed

Hartford is the diocese where the Knights of Columbus is headquartered. So, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and his wife Dorian were there, along with many bishops, priests, religious and faithful.

They have a very large and modern Cathedral that replaced the former Cathedral which, like our own Cathedral of the Holy Cross was designed by Patrick Keeley, but burned down many years ago.BLAIR-INSTALL

The Cathedral has magnificent stained glass windows.Hart-12162013130545_6


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From Hartford, I went to Chicago to be present for celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cardinal George’s ordination to the priesthood, which was held Tuesday.

It was a way for the bishops of United States to thank him for his extraordinary work, both as Archbishop of Chicago and particularly as president of our conference. As a result, there were over 100 bishops in attendance.cardinal_jubilee03

Cardinal George gave a beautiful homily about the priesthood and he used the example of St. Joseph who he said was the last patriarch of the Old Covenant. Priests, he said, are the patriarchs of the New Covenant.cardinal_jubilee04

Following the Mass there was a gathering at which the auxiliary bishop who was toasting the Cardinal recalled that when Cardinal George first came, they asked him what the difference was between him and Cardinal Bernadin. He said Cardinal George answered, “Cardinal Bernadin was a Southern gentleman, I am from Chicago.”

Afterwards, I took some pictures of the Cathedral, which is also a Keeley church, though it is a bit smaller than our Cathedral. In fact, a few years ago they had a fire in the roof but has been completely restored and is spectacular.  Chicago-12182013121128_1


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Being in Chicago for the day allowed me to have dinner with my nephew, who is an attorney in Chicago.

I also took a picture of one of the concourses in the airport, because I had never seen an airport so decorated for Christmas as O’Hare! OHare-12172013175158_3

Both inside and outside they had dozens of trees, each decorated in a different color with thousands of lights. In the concourses, which have very high ceilings, they had huge lighted wreaths and doves. It was very, very festive and I was struck by how much the Chicagoans love Christmas.

And on that note, I wish you all a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Cardinal Seán

3 thoughts on “Congratulating Bishop Deeley”

  1. Pace e Bene Padre Seàn’s,
    le faccio gli auguri di buon Natale , possa Gesù Bambino con il Santo Mistero dell’Incarnazione Benedirla nella preghiera, per il bene e la salvezza delle anime, bisognose della Misericordia Divina .

    Francesco di Santa Maria di Gesù
    Terziario Francescano

  2. We are so happy for the appointment of Bishop Deeley. He will discover that Maine is the state where life is lived the way it should
    be as the roadside signs proclaim.
    I have lived on the border of The Dominican Republic and Haiti for years. I have witnessed the tremendous generosity of the Dominicans during the earthquake. I have also seen the poor treatment of Haitians by the Dominican Government policies.
    The survival of that island so depends on mutual respect and justice. Both countries have so much to offer one another.

    Sheila Foley
    St. Matthews Parish

  3. Cardinal Sean:

    Thank you for the letter sent to the Dominican Ambassador. You should also inform Pope Francis that the Dominican Catholic Church under Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez agrees with the ruiling that strips Dominican of Haitian decent of their citizenship. At the same time, there are Dominican Haitians who want to enter religious life in the country and due to this chaos Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez will not allow them.

    Thank you for all the great work that you do for the Church.

    Yours in Christ.


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