Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

On retreat with prospective seminarians

Each February, the archdiocese sponsors two weekend-long retreats for men discerning a vocation to the priesthood. This year we had over 40 men on the retreats, looking to the possibility of entering either Blessed John XXIII National Seminary or St. John’s Seminary.

I joined the retreat at Blessed John Friday night, where had a Mass and panel discussion with the attendees. IMG_1120IMG_1177

Saturday, I joined the retreat for St. John’s that was being held at the Connors Family Retreat Center in Dover, which is owned by Boston College and is used as a retreat house for students. 2IMG_1815

As I always like to do, I gave a talk to the men, followed by several witness talks by priests and seminarians and panel discussions. These gatherings are a wonderful opportunity for men considering a vocation to have the opportunity to learn more about seminary life and about priestly vocations.

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Sunday, I celebrated a Mass to mark Black History Month at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Roxbury. It was also an occasion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the local council of the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver and they received an award from their national office as part of the Mass.Black History

The parish also is the home of the Nigerian community in the archdiocese. So, they had two choirs at the Mass, the Archdiocesan Black Catholic Choir and the Nigerian Choir.

Following the Mass, there was a reception in the parish hall, but I was unable to stay. I explained to the people that I had to attend the Mass of Thanksgiving for Bishop Deeley, who was following the footsteps of Bishop James Augustine Healy, the first Black American bishop, who was also a Boston priest who went on to be the Bishop of Portland, Maine.

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So, from there, I returned directly to the Cathedral for Bishop Deeley’s Mass. Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

At the beginning of the Mass, I offered some remarks thanking Bishop Deeley for his service and presented him with the gift of the humeral veils with his new coat of arms that will be used by the altar servers at his installation who carry the bishop’s miter and crozier.

Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)The Mass was well attended by many priests, bishops, family members and some of his former parishioners. There was a very good representation of the order of Malta there as well. Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

Realizing that the space in Portland cathedral is limited, and they would not all be able to attend his Installation Mass, it was an opportunity for people in Boston for people to gather with him here. Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)Family, friends and supporters of Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 9, 2014. The Mass was a chance to thank the bishop for his service to the Archdiocese of Boston as the bishop prepared to be installed as the 12th Bishop of Portland, Maine on Feb. 14. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)

 

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That night, I departed for Washington for a gathering at the nunciature sponsored by Caritas in Veritate International. Caritas in Veritate International represents a coalition of several organizations that are working in areas of development and relief. jn021014-070

Speaking with Catholic University President John Garvey and his wife, Jean

The keynote speech was given by Father Robert Spitzer S.J., the former president of Gonzaga University. He spoke about the two aspects of truth and charity and how, in the mission of the Church, they complement each other, particularly in the area of development and service to the poor. jn021014-177

Father Spitzer

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Father Spitzer and Henry Cappello, the president of Caritas in Veritate

During the evening they honored Archbishop Charles Chaput and me with the organization’s first annual Pope Francis Charity and Leadership Award. jn021014-235

Receiving the award from Richard Andreen, the chair of Caritas in Veritatejn021014-277

With Archbishop Chaput

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During my visit to Washington for the Caritas in Veritate awards dinner I had the opportunity to tape an interview for EWTN with their correspondent Raymond Arroyo, who generously served as Master of Ceremonies for the Caritas event. I thought you might like to see the interview:

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The next morning, I was back in Boston where I attended the wake for Father Daniel Harrington, a very famous and prolific Scripture scholar. It was held at St. Ignatius Church and I was able to tender condolences to his brother and his brother’s family who were there, as well as the Jesuit community. 1392042499994

Father Brian Flatley was also there, and he told me that Father Harrington came to his parish every weekend for 30 years. I thought, what a wonderful thing it would be to have someone of that caliber be a presence in your parish!

Father Harrington was the editor of New Testament Abstracts and was a man who was just an extraordinary scholar and teacher. He will be sorely missed.

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From there, we went to the wake for Janmarcos Peña, the 9 year old Mattapan boy who was apparently accidentally shot and killed by his brother with a handgun. His funeral was held yesterday at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

It was a very moving moment and, sadly, underscored the problems that exist with gun violence in our communities. It is my hope that the Church will be able do more to contribute to efforts to address the problem of gun violence in our neighborhoods. We have already begun to hold conversations with our priests and others about what steps we should take going forward.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

One Response to On retreat with prospective seminarians


Comments

  1. Comment by Fr. Carlos Flor | 2014/02/15 at 09:57:43

    Dear Cardinal Sean. I want to thank you again, -on behalf of all those who have been affected by the tragic death of the 9 year old Janmarco Peña-, for your presence at his wake service. Your presence there was a beautiful example of your deep concern for the people of the Archdiocese of Boston, especially at their worst moments. Your compassionate attitude gave lots of support and encouragement to the family and the community of Our Lady of Lourdes. We pray for you!


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