Two new saints

Hello and welcome!

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week I travelled to Rome to attend the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II and have remained here for meetings with the Holy Father.

Leading up to the canonization, on Friday, I celebrated the Mass at my titular church in Rome, Santa Maria Della Vittoria, with the pilgrimage group that was there from Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary.Blog-009

In all, there were about 20 or 30 priests concelebrating the Mass and among them were four men who have served as rectors of the seminary: Msgr. Connie McRae, Msgr. Francis Kelley, Bishop Peter Uglietto and Father Bill Palardy.Blog-008

I’d like to share my homily at the Mass with you here:

After the Mass we joined the group from Pope St. John Seminary for dinner.

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We had lunch on Saturday with the Franciscans from St. Leonard’s Church in the North End who were also in Rome. They have a house of formation very close to the Vatican. So we all went there for lunch.

We took this picture on the roof of the monastery. They have a wonderful view of St. Peter’s.Blog-019

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That afternoon, there was a reception at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See for some of those in Rome for the canonization. Blog-011

With former Ambassador Ray Flynn and his wife Kathy at the receptionBlog-023

Former U.S. Ambassadors to Holy See the Miguel Diaz, Ray Flynn and James Nicholson with the current ambassador, Ken Hackett (the second from the left)

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That night, Father Bob Oliver and I had dinner with the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes.Blog-013

President Cartes had an audience with the Holy Father on Tuesday.

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Then, of course, on Divine Mercy Sunday we had the canonization of the two popes.SAINTS-MASS

Blog-016The crowds were just enormous. Of course there was a huge number of Polish pilgrims. The whole area around St. Peter’s was blocked off as of Saturday night. Blog-021

In this picture of the piazza at night you can see with the images of the two popes hanging on the front of the BasilicaSAINTS-MASSSAINTS-MASS

There were probably a couple million people here for the canonization.SAINTS-MASSSAINTS-MASSSAINTS-MAS



Of course it was great joy to have Pope Emeritus Benedict with us for the canonization.


Many heads of state also attended.

I met Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain after the Mass and they were very gracious. Queen Sofia wore a white dress, which I understand is the prerogative of queens of Catholic countries, and of course she wore the traditional mantilla.


Queen Sofia of Spain

Of course, the reason for this great outpouring of affection is that these two popes had a very profound influence on the history of the world and the history of the Church. Both of them, also, had a connection to Boston in some ways.

Pope John XXIII, who initiated the great renewal in the Church with the Second Vatican Council, really began the ecumenical movement in the life of the Church. It was he who inspired Cardinal Cushing to found the St. James Society, which sends diocesan priests to serve in South America. In fact, it was also Pope John who inspired me to learn Spanish, because he had asked that a percentage of priests and religious from North America should go to help the growing Church in South America.SAINTS-MASS

Blog-015He was also the inspiration for the founding of Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, because he had said that a vocation can come at any time in a man’s life. So Cardinal Cushing, having heard this, came back to Boston and founded the seminary for second-career vocations, which has served the Church throughout the United States so well.

Pope John Paul II was, of course, the only pope to ever visit Boston. Many remember the visit in which he celebrated Mass for over 1 million Catholics on Boston Common. And many people from Boston had an opportunity to travel to World Youth Days throughout the world to be with Pope John Paul II.

Pope John Paul II made more than 100 missionary trips throughout the world, and because of this was seen by many millions of people around the world. It is said he was seen in person by more people than anyone else in the history of the world. Many of those people grew to have a very strong connection with him and his great spirit of the new evangelization has motivated many people in their faith.SAINTS-MASS

His impact in the world contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the advance of freedom in Eastern Europe, something that everyone is very grateful for.

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They say it seemed like the whole world had come to Rome for the canonizations and I was beginning to think it was true because everywhere I went during those days, I kept running into groups of people from Boston.

This is a picture of a group from St. Catherine of Siena in Norwood.Blog-010 I didn’t know they would be in Rome but we just ran into them, so we took a picture together.

I met another group from the Madonna Queen Shrine in East Boston who were there with Father Marcelo. They joined us for the Mass at Santa Maria Della Vittoria.

There were also a number of priests from Boston who were in Rome for the canonization: Father Michael Drea, Father Dan Hennessy, Father Michael Nolan, Father Jeremy St. Martin.

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This week, after the canonizations, the group of cardinals appointed by the Holy Father to discuss the reform of the Roman Curia met for three days to continue our work. We have finished the review of the Pontifical Councils and prepare the ground work to continue our meetings in July.

Thursday, on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which is a holiday here in Italy, I had Mass with the members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors at the Tomb of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica and that day we began our meetings.

This is the first meeting of the child protection committee, which is a very important initiative of Pope Francis. We have a distinguished international group including a member of the British House of Lords, a former Prime Minister of Poland, a very well-known survivor of sexual abuse by clergy from Dublin and experts in psychology and Canon Law. This committee will help to advise the Holy Father on best practices for child protection in Vatican City and throughout the world.

This morning we had Mass together with the Holy Father at Domus Sanctae Marthae.-SS. Francesco-Domus Sanctae Marthae-Gruppo del Card. O'Malley  02-05-2014

 - (Copyright L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO - Servizio Fotografico -

These meetings will last until Saturday, after which we will have a press conference to report on our progress. Then on Sunday, I will return to Boston.

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And, in conclusion this week, I want to share a couple of pictures with you.

While I was in Rome, I visited the Church of St. Clemente and took a couple photographs, since I have mentioned it a few times lately. Blog-002

This is the altar were St. Cyril is buried, one of the great apostles to the Slavs, is buried.


Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

4 thoughts on “Two new saints”

  1. Querido Cardenal O¨Malley: Soy su amigo guatemalteco, no puedo olvidar la grata experiencia de conocerlo en Boston y encontrarlo en Roma para el funeral de San Juan Pablo II, recuerdo su gesto de amabilidad al invitarme a acompañarlo a orar ante el Papa, invitado como su “secretario hispano”. Espero un dia poder volver a saludarlo personalmente, actualmente soy párroco y Canciller en mi Diócesis de Escuintla. Le envío saludos filiales y la certeza de mis oraciones.

  2. Dear Cardinal O’Malley: in regard to your response to the Harvard Satanic Mass planned by this ever more morally disintegrating institution of ”learning”, I could have told one of these misled students or teachers or the president of Harvard himself , that freedom of religion means practicing one’s religion without being attacked all the time like the Catholic Church is being attacked, relentlessly. If the Church is under siege, as it surely is, to me, at least, it means that prelates such as yourself and in this instance, must speak up for The Christ and his Church and in no uncertain terms. It is ever more disheartening to the faithful not to have leaders of the faith who speak up for Jesus Christ and his bloody Crucifixion when those who look for entertainment are led to mock the Chutch so flagrantly. I understand how the USA is in an ever deeper mire of mud of people who don’t know any better. Strong words are called for at least for Catholics.

  3. Hi Cardinal Seán,

    I wish to offer some insight to the struggles which we all face and how we easily ignore what has been clearly given to us in
    1 Corinthians 6:12–8:13. We are called to follow and we do not.
    Each system works against this message because each works for its own good and not Our Lord’s.

    I truly hope you reflect on this and move to establishing a new way; have to reject the old to have New Life!

    Your response is most welcomed. May you see God’s true work in your life. Praise God!

    Your Brother in Christ,
    Bob Petitti

  4. In noting the New York Times article on “Clear rules pledged on church sex abuse”….I welcome your efforts, and that of the commission, to set things right. In doing so, I wish to encourage you and the commission to not limit your concerns to only children, but to also include similar-abuse of adults. Likewise, the matter of abuse should not be limited to only physical and/or sexual (only acts which may be criminal), but to other forms of abuse….which may be of equal or even greater effect on the victim, e.g. psychological. In 2011 the USCCB updated its 1992 statement on Domestic Violence Against Women. The abusive-acts therein described were called “violence”. Certainly, this 2011 statement on abuse/violence should not be limited to women. All these forms of abuse involve somewhat equal moral considerations….to everyone.

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