Hello and welcome!
This Saturday, we had the joy of ordaining seven men as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Boston.
Of course, the “original diaconate class” in Jerusalem was of seven and, much like the first deacons, our deacon class represented the diversity of our local Church including Vietnamese, Portuguese, Brazilian, and American ordinands.
Because of the renovations in the cathedral, we are holding these types of events in different parishes, and this time, we were at St. Edith Stein Parish in Brockton. Father Joe Raeke and his parishioners were overjoyed to have the ordination in their parish and were such gracious hosts.
The ministry of the deacon enriches our local Church, and we are grateful to the generosity of the newly ordained deacons and their families for responding to this vocation. We are delighted that our diaconate program is ordaining a new class every year. It is a great blessing for us.
– – –
Then, that afternoon, I went to Lowell to attend the Reason for Our Hope Conference held at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.
Two of the organizers of the conference, Mary Dumont and Jason Lampron, spoke with CatholicTV in August to explain how the conference came together.
It was a wonderful gathering of about 1,200 or so people. There were witness talks by Jim Wahlberg, Andy Lavallee, Father Volney DeRosia, Sonja Corbitt and Father Mark Nolte, along with times of praise and worship, confessions and adoration.
I was very happy to celebrate the closing Mass for them.
The title of the conference, and the movement it represents, The Reason for Our Hope, is a very beautiful one. In the Scriptures, we are challenged to tell people the reason for our hope and witness to our faith. In my homily I reflected on these themes.
We’re very grateful to all the organizers and all those who worked so hard to make the conference the wonderful success that it was.
– – –
The following day, Sunday, we held our annual Mass for Public Safety Personnel and Families at St. Theresa of Avila Church in West Roxbury. We are grateful to the parishioners of St. Theresa’s and Msgr. William Helmick for graciously hosting us there.
As in years past, the Mass began with a grand procession of the Boston Police pipe and drum corps and a number of honor guard units from different area departments.
We were so happy to be joined by so many different groups of first responders, including several different departments of law enforcement officers and firefighters, as well as a number of our prison chaplains including Sister Maureen Clark.
The homilist at the Mass was Boston Police chaplain Father Sean Connor, who had been a policeman himself and is from a family with many police officers. He gave a very beautiful reflection on the vocation of those who are called to protect the people of our communities.
The Mass was held just hours before the terrible events in Las Vegas, which just served to underscore the dangers that our public safety personnel are exposed to in their duty to protect and defend us all.
– – –
I left directly from the Public Safety Mass to head to the Boston Common to join the Massachusetts March for Life, which was already underway. This was an opportunity, on Respect Life Sunday, to witness to the importance of defending human life in all the stages, especially the most vulnerable.
There was a wonderful representation from St. Mary’s in Lynn, Sacred Heart School in Kingston and Immaculate Conception Parish in Revere. We were pleased to see so many young people and families there, as well.
Once again this year, Father Matt Williams served as the emcee of the rally before the March, and during the March helped organize and animate the participants.
The March concluded at the steps that lead from the Boston Common to the State House. There, I had a chance to address the people and give them my blessing.
This was another opportunity to express the important witness that the Catholic community is called on to give to the preciousness of life and to build a civilization of love. This means creating a community where people care about each other and for each other, so that no child will feel unwanted, no woman in a difficult pregnancy will feel unassisted, and that no elderly person will feel abandoned or a burden because of their infirmities. This is a very important part of the message of the Church, and we’re grateful to all those who came out to witness to it.
– – –
Later that afternoon, I went to visit the Carmelite monastery in Danvers to celebrate Mass for the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. It was a beautiful Mass, and the sisters’ chapel was filled to standing room only capacity.
I told the people that very often for this feast day I am in Rome at my titular church, Santa Maria Della Vittoria. There, the major feast day of the year is this very feast because the church is run by the Carmelite Friars in Rome and it is the place where St. Therese came to pray when she was on her pilgrimage to Rome, hoping to get permission from the Pope to enter the carmel before the usual age.
Following the Mass, we had the blessing of the roses, and then I was able to have a meeting with the community.
I was so pleased to see that they’re getting vocations and see the wonderful support of the community for their vocation and their witness.
– – –
Finally, on Monday, I went to Franciscan Children’s Hospital to take part in a press conference announcing a new initiative on mental health. We were joined by Congressman Joseph Kennedy, who’s family was very instrumental in the establishment of Franciscan Children’s so many years ago.
When I arrived, I was greeted by a young man in a wheelchair named Cory, who speaks with the aid of a computer. He is just a joyful exponent of the wonderful work that is being done by Franciscan Children’s.
The Franciscan Children’s is working with McLean Hospital, and now the archdiocese, to help raise awareness of the importance of mental health care. In the archdiocese, this will involve programs to raise awareness in our parishes and schools.
There is such a stigma around the issue of mental health, leading many youth not to seek help, and sadly, in many cases, little help is offered. At Franciscans Children’s, they do great work particularly with children who are experiencing emotional and mental problems. As they pointed out, the second most common cause of death among teenagers is suicide. So, we look forward to doing our part to aid in this very important initiative.
Until next week,