Last Thursday we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Regina Cleri, the archdiocese’s residence for retired priests in Boston’s West End.
As I have mentioned in the past, we recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge and before that we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Society of St. James the Apostle. It just goes to show how, half-a-century ago, many wonderful initiatives were being undertaken by Cardinal Richard Cushing that we still benefit from today.
Regina Cleri has been an extraordinary facility for our aging and infirm priests. We are very blessed to have the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master ministering there as well as a wonderful lay staff under the direction of Stephen Gust.
At the celebration they showed an inspiring video produced by Scott Wahle which told a little bit of the story of Regina Cleri.
We were also joined at the celebration by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who gave a wonderful talk.
Two retired priests, Father Mark Sheehan and Father John Grimes, spoke about the wonderful care they have received at Regina Cleri.
I also offered remarks at the gathering. I said almost 400 priests have been housed there in the 50 year history of Regina Cleri.
We honored Teresa McCallion who has been working there for, I believe, 43 years.
They also had the most extraordinary cake that I have ever seen in my life!
Part of the ceremony was blessing the cornerstone that, for some reason, was not attached to the building when it was constructed. So, we used the occasion to attach the cornerstone but my comment was that the cake was big enough they should have just stuck it right on the cake!
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Friday was a very busy day with many meetings, including a meeting with our auxiliary bishops, but in the evening I went to Casa Monte Cassino in the North End, which is a wonderful initiative that for many years has provided free housing for children and their families coming from abroad to seek medical care in Boston.
We had a dinner with some members of the Communion and Liberation family who have been associated with the Casa Monte Cassino as well as Alpha and Maurizio Cattaneo, who run Casa Monte Cassino, and Guido Vittiglio, who founded the facility with his late brother, and members of the Vittiglio family.
we had a lovely dinner and then we sang some songs. Father Stefano, of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo (the clergy branch of Communion and Liberation) served a sort of the master of ceremonies of the evening.
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Following the custom that was brought about by Pope St. John Paul II — and replicated by Pope Benedict and Pope Francis — we gathered with the members of new ecclesial communities, movements and groups at the Cathedral the Holy Cross for the celebration of our Pentecost Vigil.
We had a very good turnout and I would say there were about 1,000 people there from about 20 different movements.
There were also many different language groups that were represented. The Pentecost Vigil is similar to the Easter vigil in that it has a prolonged Liturgy of the Word, so we used that occasion to incorporate many of the different languages into the readings, songs and prayers.
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That evening, there was a dinner at St. Brigid in South Boston to honor Father Matt Janeczko, OFM Cap. whom I ordained a couple weeks ago. He had served at the parish as a deacon so the pastor, Father Casey, very graciously hosted a week for his parents who were in town to be at his first mass at St. Brigid’s the next day.
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Sunday, as I like to do each year, I celebrated Confirmations for members of the Brazilian community at the Cathedral.
I think there were about 150 young people. It is always a very beautiful celebration. Sister Elisete Signor plays such an important role in bringing this all together and organizing everything.
This year, we had the special joy of having Father Steven Clemence, who was just ordained two weeks ago, join us for the celebration. He is our first Brazilian-born priest ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston. The people were very happy to see him there.
We were also very pleased to have some Brazilian Daughters of St. Paul who are very active in the Brazilian apostolate with us.
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From there, I left to attend the annual spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in New Orleans. Prior to the beginning of the bishops’ meeting itself, there are meetings of the various subcommittees.
On Monday, I participated in the meeting of the Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America. This is the committee that is in charge of distributing the funds from the annual collection for Latin America. Our archdiocese is the diocese that always contributes the largest amount of money to this collection and we are very proud of the Catholics of Boston for their generosity. This committee also oversees the funds for Haiti that were collected throughout the United States after the earthquake of 2010 that are used for purposes such as rebuilding churches, schools and convents. These are separate from the funds that were donated to Catholic Relief Services, which are primarily used for the general needs of the people, such as food, shelter and medical care.
On Monday evening we had a dinner meeting to plan the Congreso Hispano de las Américas de Respeto a la Vida y Evangelización, a pro-life conference for Hispanic leaders, which will be held in the Diocese of Orange, California in 2015. Regular readers will remember that I attended last year’s Congreso that was held in Texas and we are beginning to plan the next one.
Tuesday, we had the meeting for the subcommittee for the Church in Africa which is also involved in distributing funds from the collection for Africa to support the projects of the Church there. Then, in the afternoon, we had a meeting of our Pro-Life Committee, of which I am the chairman. That was followed by a dinner with the U.S. Bishops working group on The Life and Dignity of the Human Person which has been studying the results of different surveys that have been done around the practice of the faith, people’s commitment to pro-life issues and social justice issues.
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Yesterday, I made a trip to New Jersey for the funeral of Rosario Corredera, a woman who worked for me for 20 years when I was in Washington. She was very involved in the Centro Catolico Hispano and was very close friend of my family. She died at 91.
There was a large group of her friends and family who gathered at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Fort Lee.
Her father was born in Spain but was a Cuban diplomat and was in Spain at the time of the Spanish Civil War. The family left Spain following the Civil War and returned to Cuba. In the 50’s she left Cuba and came to the U.S. She and I were together during the riots in Washington following the death of Martin Luther King. I remember she quipped that everywhere she goes civil unrest follows her!
She was a great lady and she will be sorely missed.
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This coming Sunday is, of course, Father’s Day. We pray for all our fathers, living and deceased, and pray that our young men who have a vocation either to be fathers of families or spiritual fathers as priests will respond generously to that vocation.
Until next week,