Last Saturday, I went to Fordham University, where I was invited to celebrate one of a series of special Masses held to celebrate the university’s 175th anniversary.
Fordham is one of the largest and oldest Catholic universities in the country. It was originally founded in 1841 by the first Archbishop of New York, Archbishop John Hughes as St. John’s College. Originally, the seminary of the Archdiocese of New York was located within the University.
Archbishop Hughes was bishop at a very difficult time in the history of the Church in New York City, a time of great immigration and anti-Catholic Nativist opposition. He was a very forceful character and, in fact, he was often referred to as “Dagger John.”
Shortly after he founded the university, he turned it over to the care of the Jesuits who have led the university ever since. Father Joseph McShane, S.J. is the president of the university and concelebrated Mass with me along with a number of Jesuits from the community there.
The chapel is one of the school’s first buildings and the altar there was originally at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
I was so pleased that I was able to see Dan Negrea and his family at the Mass. They are close friends of mine — I celebrated their wedding and baptized all of their children, and now two of those children are students at Fordham.
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Wednesday, we had our annual gathering with the major superiors of women religious orders in the archdiocese for a lunch and a time of dialogue.
This year, the sisters heard a presentation by Father Bryan Hehir on Pope Francis’s pontificate, particularly his priorities on immigration issues.
Sister Marian Batho, our Delegate for Religious, does such important work arranging these meetings, keeping all the orders informed, and looking for opportunities to bring religious communities together. We are very grateful to her and all the religious communities that were represented during our meeting together.
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That evening, we held one of our regular board meetings of Pope St. John XIII National Seminary in Weston.
Father Brian Kiely is celebrating its first anniversary as rector and we heard reports of all the good work going on in the seminary. We were also very pleased to learn that Bishop-elect Roy Campbell, an alumnus of Pope St. John XXIII, had just been named an auxiliary Bishop in Washington, D.C.
Also at this meeting, we had an opportunity to acknowledge Tom Reilly, who is leaving the board after 20 years of service. We are very grateful for all his hard work and support.
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Thursday we had our semi-annual meeting of the bishops of the Boston Province — which includes the dioceses of Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire — at which we come together to discuss issues of common interest. It’s also a great moment of fraternity for the bishops.
We were so pleased that all the bishops of the region were able to be at the Pastoral Center with us, as well as several retired bishops.
It’s always an opportunity to be with the bishops and hear about what’s happening in the different dioceses and facilitate our working together more closely in the region.
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Finally, yesterday I was very pleased to join the Inner-City Scholarship Fund Dinner Gala that was held in the Back Bay.
The Inner-City Scholarship Fund does an extraordinary service to our community and we are so grateful that Peter Lynch, who is the founder of the program, is so dedicated to working towards the gala’s annual success.
The gala is also an opportunity to highlight the wonderful scholars of our Catholic schools. The speaker this year was Januario Carreiro, a student from a Brazilian immigrant family.
Our Catholic schools do such extraordinary job of giving young people an opportunity for quality education. We know that, for many families, it’s an economic challenge send their children to Catholic school, but the existence of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund helps thousands of children every year have the opportunity to obtain a quality Catholic education. We are very grateful to dinner chair John Farina, Peter Lynch, Mike Reardon and all those who did so much to make this dinner a great success.
Until next week,