Hello and welcome!
Because all the activities of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall just at the time I would normally be posting my blog, I have decided to post it a little bit early this week.
– – –
Last Friday was visited by Father José Medina, who is now the responsible for Communion and Liberation in United States, taking the place of Father Lorenzo Albacete who died last year.
Father José, of course, has a strong connection to the Boston area particularly because, for a number of years, he was head of Cristo Rey Boston High School and he still maintains contact with many people here.
– – –
The following day, Saturday, I was visited by a doctor who is very close to Communion and Liberation, Dr. Tom Heyne. We had a nice visit and we spoke about some of the medical needs for the missions.
– – –
Then, Father Hilario Sañez, the pastor at St. Rose of Lima in Chelsea, came for a visit along with his two vicars, Fathers Joseph Xuan and Reynaldo Escobar. They came to talk to me about some new renovations they hope to make at St. Rose.
– – –
In the afternoon, I went to our Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline for the seminary’s annual board meeting.
It was a very good meeting, and afterwards I had an opportunity to visit a little with the seminarians and admire the beautiful crèche that they have set up.
– – –
On Sunday, I visited Marion Manor in South Boston to celebrate Mass with the residents there. I had seven priests concelebrating with me, including Father Joe Kane, who is the chaplain there.
We are so grateful for the wonderful work the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm do in the archdiocese.
As I reminded them, I have been lucky to have nursing homes run by the Sisters in three of the four dioceses where I have served as a bishop, and in all three cases the sisters were greatly beloved by the people. We are so grateful for the excellent care they give, particularly to our priests and to the relatives of our priests.
While I was there, I was able to visit Mary McHale, who is one of our parishioners from the Cathedral and who co-founded and for many years ran the Sancta Maria House, the first homeless shelter for women in Boston. She has also been active in the Legion of Mary and our praesidium here at the Cathedral.
– – –
Tuesday, I went to have lunch with and visit our retired priests at Regina Cleri.
During my visit I was able to spend some time with Bishop Irwin, who is there in residence.
As always, the Sister Disciples have put up a delightful crèche this year.
We are so blessed to have a place like Regina Cleri in the archdiocese to care for our priests.
I want to remind everyone that the collection taken up at parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston on Christmas go to support the Clergy Funds, which provide for the health and retirement needs of our priests. I invite you to be generous to them, as they have been generous in devoting their lives to the Lord and his Church.
– – –
Finally, I want to share with you all my Christmas card for this year.
It was created for me by a team of people in the archdiocese from Boston Catholic Development Services and Pilot Printing.
I gave them a general idea of what I wanted, and they came up with this beautiful image depicting the Christ Child in the manger. Over the manger, where usually you expect the Star of Bethlehem, is the Arabic letter N, for Nazarene, because in some places in the Middle East where Christians are being persecuted for their faith, they are obliged to put that N on their doors. For many, this brings to mind the way the Star of David was used by the Nazis to identify the Jews for persecution.
So, on the inside of the card I give a brief explanation of this symbolism and ask people to pray for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith throughout the world. I would note that John Allen wrote a series of articles in the Boston Globe just recently documenting the terrible and bloody persecution of Christians in so many different parts of the world in recent months.
In my Christmas greetings I wanted to recognize this problem of persecution and encourage people to pray for peace and pray for our fellow Christians who are shedding their blood and laying down their lives for the faith.
May Christ be born in our lives! Merry Christmas!