Christ is Risen!
I hope you had a happy and blessed Easter!
Last Thursday, I met with Dr. Laura Garcia of Boston College, Lisa Alberghini of our Planning Office for Urban Affairs and Sister Nancy Kehoe. Sister Kehoe is a psychologist who is very involved in trying to provide pastoral care for people with mental illness. That is a theme that interests me very much and one of the things we have been trying to do is to look at the problem of housing for mentally ill people. Of course, housing development is an area that the Planning Office has great expertise in, so that is why I asked Lisa to join us.
Many cases of homelessness today are not merely the result of a housing shortage or unemployment but a great deal of it can be traced to mental health problems. We had a wonderful meeting and we hope to be able to start some new initiatives along these lines in the archdiocese.
There was great symbolism for me in holding this meeting on Holy Thursday, the day that we celebrate the new commandment of love, because our mentally ill are some of the most marginalized people in society and in the Church.
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That evening, we had the bilingual Mass of the Last Supper for Holy Thursday.
I’d like to share my homily with you :
Following the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is brought to what is called the “altar of repose” in the chapel of the Cathedral. There, we had adoration until midnight.
We are always very pleased to be joined by a large group of college students for the Eucharistic Adoration. I always give them a brief reflection on the meaning of the vigil at Gethsemane.
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On Good Friday I was visited by those participating in three different Way of the Cross processions.
The first was the group from the Way of the Cross for Life. Each year they do the Stations of the Cross through the streets of Boston and the last stations are done in the Cathedral.
Then, this year instead of having the Living Stations of the Cross in Spanish at night, it was decided to hold it at noon.
Sister Belinda did a wonderful job planning and arranging the whole thing and the result was just spectacular. I also think it made much more of an impact in the neighborhood doing it during the day.
The third visit was the group from Communion and Liberation. During their visit, I preached to them and gave them my blessing. They have a wonderful choir and they always sing so beautifully.
They gave me a poster that they make up every year at Eastertime with quotes from the founder of Communion and Liberation, Msgr. Luigi Giussani, and Pope Francis.
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Then, in the afternoon, we had the English services, which were very well attended. We also had many of the members of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher who attended the service and also served as an honor guard for the cross as the people made their act of veneration.
Father Kevin O’Leary preached at the afternoon service in English. Then, in the evening, I celebrated the services in Spanish.
Saturday, as I do most years, I went to have lunch with the Memores Domine in Cambridge.
The Memores Domine are lay members of the Communion and Liberation movement who take vows and live in community. There are currently five members in the community in Cambridge, four of them are from Italy and one is from Spain.
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At night, of course, was the Easter vigil.
Father Jonathan sang the Exulted
You can hear my homily here:
It was a great joy to welcome a particularly large group of people into the Church this year with the catechumens receiving the Sacrament of Baptism and the candidates receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.
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This year, the dates of Easter in the Eastern churches and in the Western churches coincide so, after our own very beautiful Easter Vigil, I went to join the Greek Orthodox for their vigil at Annunciation Cathedral in Brookline.
The Metropolitan extended his greetings to me and then I addressed the people.
In my remarks, I said how it was beautiful that this year we share the same feast together, standing at the entrance of the empty tomb celebrating the victory of Christ over sin and death. And I spoke about anticipating the visit of the Holy Father to the Holy Land next month at the invitation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
I also congratulated the Metropolitan on the 30th anniversary of his episcopal ordination and enthronement as Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Boston.
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From there, we went back to the Cathedral to greet the Cathedral’s Geez Rite community who were just ending their Easter Vigil. Because the Geez also follow the Julian calendar, their Easter also coincided with ours as well.
So, I had an opportunity to participate in three Easter Vigils in one night.
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The next day, I celebrated the Easter Sunday Mass at the Cathedral. The Cathedral was filled. There were at least 1,800 people there and many members of the media.
Then, at the end of the Mass, we invited those who were going to be running the Boston Marathon the following day to come forward for a blessing.
I think there were about 200 people. It reminded me of the Rite of Election because there were so many people.
Also joining us at the Easter Mass were my cousins Ellen and Erin Mader, the daughters of Maureen O’Malley Mader, who were in town. It was lovely to see them.
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Then on Monday, Patriots’ Day, I attended the Mass. State Council of the Knights of Columbus’ annual Lantern Awards Dinner in Framingham. In addition to over 500 Knights of Columbus, the dinner was also attended by many of the bishops of Massachusetts including the State Chaplain Bishop Robert Hennessey, who was also celebrating his birthday.
This year’s Lantern Award recipient was Dr. David King. He is a Boston trauma surgeon at Mass. general Hospital who had served with the military in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He was running the Boston Marathon last year and at the time of the bombings ran straight to the hospital and began operating on the wounded. He gave a very stirring speech he was there with his wife and two daughters as well as a number of the members of his family.
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Tuesday, I was visited by Sister Georgeanne Donovan, the general superior of the Marist Missionary Sisters. The sisters have a house here in Waltham, and Sister stopped by for a visit.
I had their sisters working with me in the Virgin Islands and they also have many sisters working in the Pacific, in places such as Papua New Guinea.
They have just a wonderful missionary charism. It was very nice to spend some time with Sister Georgeanne and hear a little about some of the activities of the sisters.
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That evening I departed for Rome, where I am as of this writing, to be here for events surrounding the canonizations of Popes John XIII and John Paul II.
I look forward to sharing my experiences of this exciting time with you all next week!