Hello and welcome,
I want to begin this week by saying how sad we were to learn the tragic news this morning of the death of Watertown firefighter Joseph Toscano, who succumbed while responding to a fire in that community.
This tragic loss reminds us once again of the sacrifices that our firefighters, police officers and EMTs make each day, putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure our safety and protection.
We pray for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his wife and five children, his fellow firefighters, and all those who knew and loved him. May God grant him eternal rest.
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Last Friday evening I conferred the Ministry of Lector during a Vespers celebration for one of our seminarians from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Vincenzo Caruso. It is always a joy to celebrate these ministries because it indicates the men are advancing on their journey towards priesthood.
After the celebration, we enjoyed a meal together with all the seminarians and after the meal, we had a sing-along, with many new songs added to their repertoire. We were all replete!
Saturday morning, I went to Stonehill College at the invitation of Bishop D’Acunha to speak at the Women and Men’s Conference organized by the Diocese of Fall River. They had over 800 people there. It was the first time they’ve done one of these conferences and it was very well received as the attendance shows.
Other speakers at the conference were Dominican Sister Terry Rickard from RENEW International, Christian singer ValLimar Jansen and lay evangelist and Catholic convert Michael Cumbie.
Lent is such a wonderful time to have these conferences. People are looking for a retreat experience and Stonehill College was a great venue to have it because they have a beautiful auditorium and breakout rooms for workshops.
Last weekend was the kickoff of the Annual Catholic Appeal. As I do every year, I celebrated several Sunday Masses at different parishes across the Archdiocese.
Saturday, I went to St. Anthony’s in Cambridge and celebrated Mass in Portuguese with the parishioners there. The music was very beautiful. Afterwards, Father Walter Carreiro invited the priests to a lovely dinner of Portuguese food that included Bacalhau com natas.
The next day I celebrated the Mass at St. Ann’s in Somerville with Father Brian McHugh. We had a bilingual Mass as he joined the Haitian and English Masses together. They had a wonderful choir.
Later in the afternoon I celebrated Mass at Immaculate Conception in Malden with Father Al Capone. He did a great job introducing me to the parishioners and said that usually we have a video, but this time he brought the cardinal in person.
It was a very cold weekend but I am glad that so many people turned out and I think it was a very good way to initiate our annual Catholic Appeal.
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The next day, Monday, I traveled to Washington to attend the board meeting of The Catholic University of America. That evening I gave a talk to a Catholic University vocation discernment group followed by a question and answer period.
The Conventual Franciscans are chaplains there and, of course, they were also with us for the meeting. It was quite a large group, around 20, and they were quite diverse, including some from Boston. I was happy to be able to spend the evening with them.
Tuesday we had a sort of a “snow day” in Washington. As you can see in this photo taken from Capuchin College, it doesn’t take much snow to bring Washington to a grinding halt!
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As also happened last year when I was in Washington for another CUA meeting, I was invited to the White House for the traditional “handing over of the shamrocks.”
The Taoiseach, the Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, presented the shamrocks to President Trump in the Oval Office.
I also took some pictures of the outside of the White House, including this one of the fountain behind the White House where they had dyed the water green for St. Patrick’s Day.
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Today, of course, was St. Patrick’s Day and, despite last week’s snowstorm that has left sidewalks icy and parking in the South End a bit difficult, we were so pleased that so many hundreds of people were able to join us for our annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass at the Cathedral the Holy Cross.
Among the special guests for the Mass were the Vice Consul of Ireland in Boston and Ambassador Flynn and his family.
We were also very pleased to be joined by some special groups, including a delegation from the Archdiocese’s Irish Pastoral Center led by Father Dan Finn, and a number of members of the County Meath Civil Defense, who were in Boston to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston.
As always, the Mass was a grand affair, beginning with Irish harp and bagpipe music before the Mass and including the blessing and distribution of shamrocks, which is always very popular with the people.
We are so grateful to Bishop Mark O’Connell who served as our homilist, offering a beautiful reflection on the life of St. Patrick and his example for us as one who was once enslaved, but found freedom in the Lord. He said that, like St. Patrick, the Lord can free us from whatever holds us captive, not just physically but also from such things as addiction, and even fear.
We are also grateful to the students from the Irish Studies program at Catholic Memorial High School, led by teacher Mary Concannon, who joined us once again this year to lead the Prayer of the Faithful in Irish and English.
The CM students also helped us with the distribution of the shamrocks after the Mass.
It’s always wonderful to see so many people come out for the Mass in their Kelly Green and Irish sweaters!
Following the Mass, we had our traditional reception downstairs featuring Irish music, dancing and of course soda bread!
Until next week,