Hello and welcome!
On Wednesday of last week, I was visited by Bishop Antonisamy Francis of the Diocese of Kumbakonam, India, who was accompanied by Father Father Selva Raj, the Mission Coordinator for his diocese. They were here to meet with Maureen Heil of our Pontifical Mission Societies Office and also to explore the idea of sending some of their seminarians to study at St. John’s Seminary.
Bishop Francis presented me with this very nice shawl.
You see, it is an Indian custom to greet someone by draping a garland of flowers around their neck — something like a Hawaiian lei. However, when you are in a situation where you wouldn’t have fresh flowers, a scarf or shawl is used instead.
Father Selva also presented me with a commemorative plate of Mother Teresa and St. John Paul II.
Later that afternoon, I greeted the parish business managers who were gathered for the ceremony marking their completion of our Finance & Operations Certificate Program.
Many of the business managers were accompanied by their families, pastors and other representatives from their parish for the proud occasion.We are very grateful to be able to have business managers who are being trained so they can fulfill their very important function from a pastoral point of view but, striving always to have the best professional qualifications and preparation possible. So, I wanted to thank them personally for their efforts and extend my congratulations on completing the program.
Thursday morning, I went to participate in the Funeral Mass of the mother of Father Sean Connor, Mrs. Sarah Connor. The funeral was held at Father Connor’s church, Sacred Heart, Weymouth.
Father Connor is a Boston Police Department chaplain and his brother is a State Trooper so, in addition to the many priests, members of the extended family and friends who gathered at Sacred Heart, we were also joined by a number of police officers.
That afternoon, I was visited by representatives of Bright Futures Adoption Center.
They have been working with our Pro-Life Office, and certainly, we all realize the importance of promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion. Yet, we also realize how complicated this issue is and that, very often, women have a negative perception of adoption. So, we are very anxious to work with groups like this one to help people understand the benefits of adoption.
Then, last Friday, I went to The Connors Retreat Center in Dover to meet with a number of bishops and catechetical scholars from Latin America who were gathered for meetings at Boston College organized by Hoffsman Ospino. They invited me to have lunch and a time of dialogue with them.
Among the bishops attending are Bishop Diego Padrón, president of the Venezuelan Conference of Bishops and Bishop Eugenio Rixen from Brazil. We were also joined by two bishops from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization: Bishop Octavio Ruiz Arenas and Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.
Sunday, I went to Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston for Mass at which we blessed the renovations of the sanctuary, which came out just beautifully.
We are so grateful to Father Tom Domurat and his parishioners who worked so hard to complete this work, which is a real sign of hope.
As I always tell my priests, deferred maintenance can end up destroying a parish. Things can get to the point where the cost of restoring a church is so great that a community just cannot support it. And here’s an example of an immigrant community that has worked so hard and committed itself to maintaining this church and making it a safe worship space for generations to come.As i told the people at the Mass, 175 years ago, very poor, uneducated, hard-working immigrants sacrificed to build this very beautiful parish, and we are the beneficiaries of that sacrifice. Now it’s our turn to make sacrifices, so that hundreds of years from now, other Catholics will be able to be part of this faith community and have this wonderful place to worship God.
On Monday, I went to the house of the Missionaries of Charity in Dorchester to visit with the 50 or so children from the neighborhood who take part in the sisters’ summer program. On that particular day, Mayor Walsh also visited them.
The children sang songs and presented a play on the Pentecost experience of the Church.
The sisters are such a wonderful presence in our archdiocese especially with the work they do with homeless women and children. They are such a blessing, and we are so grateful for their presence!
Much of the rest this week I spent attending the 135th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in St. Louis.
With members of the Massachusetts delegation
It’s always very edifying to attend this important event. In a particular way, it is very edifying to see the continued growth of the Knights – there are now almost 2 million Knights around the world, and we see new groups at the Supreme Convention every year.
This year, the latest group came from France, and there were also large delegations from Poland and the Philippines. Of course, the United States and Canada have always been the bulk of the attendees, but now there are so many other nations represented.
This just shows what impact the Knights are having, not just in the United States but throughout the world, and the impact of their good works — they help families in need, disabled children and victims of earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Currently, there is a great impetus to help refugees from the Middle East and those who are suffering persecution for their faith.
In fact, on August 2, I celebrated Mass with that theme. I’d like to leave you with my homily from the Mass:
Until next week,