Hello and welcome!
This Saturday, I was invited to give the keynote address at the regional Encuentro (Spanish for “Encounter”) held at Our Lady of La Salette Shrine in Attleboro.
This gathering followed on the local and diocesan Encuentros that were held in the different dioceses throughout the region over the past few months including our own Encuentro for the Archdiocese of Boston, which was held at St. Stephen’s Parish in Framingham a few weeks ago. These local and regional Encuentros are an opportunity to bring forth experiences and ideas for ministry to the Hispanic community that will ultimately be brought to the V National Encuentro that will be held in Texas this September.
Those gathered here were delegates from the dioceses of Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. There will be a second regional Encuentro for the dioceses of Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts on May 12.
We are so grateful to all those who have devoted their time and efforts to this most important endeavor.
That afternoon, I went to St. Cecilia Church in Boston for the Pueri Cantores Boston Choral Festival and Mass.
At the festival, Pueri Cantores, which is the student choral organization of the Catholic Church, brings together school and parish youth choirs for a day of performances.
The children sang many beautiful traditional and modern hymns.
It was very encouraging to see so many young Catholics involved in sacred music, which is so important for our Church. It’s wonderful to see that these young people are becoming involved in music ministry at this young age and I know they will certainly be leaders in their parishes in the future.
On Appeal Commitment Weekend each year we encourage our parishioners to pledge their support to this effort, which is truly the lifeblood of the archdiocese.
In the morning, I celebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s.
At St. Patrick’s, Father Paul O’Brien gave a very moving talk to his parishioners, encouraging them to participate in the Appeal and to make sacrifices in their giving. He called their attention to the fact that these funds are involved in training people for ministry, providing chaplains in our prisons and hospitals, and so many services that are vital for the spiritual life of our Catholic people.
In the afternoon, I celebrated with the parish community at St. Mary’s.
We are so grateful to all those who give to the Appeal for their support of our works of mercy and evangelization in the archdiocese.
At St. Patrick’s, I also had an opportunity to greet the team that is working at our Spanish Catholic radio station in Lawrence. I was amazed to see how many volunteers they have working with them, and how successful the station has become.
One of my ambitions was to bring Catholic radio programming to our Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities here in the archdiocese, and the two licenses we acquired were in Lawrence and Framingham. Regular readers will remember that I visited the studios of the station in Framingham a few weeks ago and so this was a wonderful opportunity to greet those working at the Spanish-language station in Lawrence.
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Sunday, I went to the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brighton to meet with the congregation’s new leadership team, who were elected the day before.
Among the newly elected leaders is our own Delegate for Religious, Sister Marian Batho. Of course, we are very happy for her but, at the same time, we are sorry that this will curtail some of her activities at the archdiocesan level.
We assure Sister Lee Hogan and the other sisters of the Leadership Team of our prayers and best wishes as they begin their new responsibilities of guiding the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.
On Monday, I spent some time at the cathedral recording a video interview with Prior Gabriel Landis of St. Benedict’s Abbey in Kansas.
Each year the abbey holds a dinner promoting monastic life and honoring notable individuals. This year, they are presenting their pro-life award to Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who is the chairman-elect of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. They asked me to share some reflections of Archbishop Naumann pro-life activities for the video as well as to speak on the importance of monastic life in today’s world.
That afternoon, I had a lunch with members of the St. Joseph Society of the North End. We were also joined by Father Antonio Nardoianni of St. Leonard’s Parish and our Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto.
We had a wonderful gathering together, and I was very pleased to hear about their work in support of the good works of the Church and the ministries of the archdiocese. It was also an opportunity particularly to thank them for all their outstanding support providing for the renovations of St. Leonard’s Church.
Wednesday, we held our annual Lenten Day of Prayer and Reflection for our employees at the Pastoral Center.
As anyone in the Boston area will remember, Tuesday we had quite a blizzard, and many people were still digging out on Wednesday morning. So, this caused us to delay the day’s program. Ordinarily, we would have begun around 9:00 in the morning and concluded in the early afternoon. Instead, we began with my Mass at 11:15 in the Pastoral Center Chapel, followed by lunch, a talk by Father Tom Carzon, OMV and a time of adoration, rosary and confessions.
We are so grateful that, despite the snow, Father Carzon was able to be with us to preach the retreat for our staff.
It’s always a great joy to hold this annual event for our Pastoral Center staff. I think people very much appreciate this opportunity for confession and a day of recollection as part of their Lenten preparations for Holy Week.
That evening, I went to Merrimack College for a time of dialogue with members of the college’s Austin Scholars program. This is a group of extraordinary young people who commit themselves to some additional studies on the faith and to working at area community service projects each week.
There was a group of about 150 students with us, along with Father Ray Dlugos, Sister Jeanne Gribaudo and other members of the administration and faculty.
The students shared with us many of their experiences of their service projects and working among the poor.
I also had an opportunity to address them and thank them.
It was very edifying to see how this program has given our young people a sense of mission and a greater understanding of their faith and the social gospel.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t wish everyone a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Despite the ongoing renovations at the Cathedral, there will still be a Mass with the blessing of the shamrocks in the lower church Saturday at noon, followed by a reception at Cathedral High featuring Irish music, soda bread and tea. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the feast of the Patron Saint of the Archdiocese and I hope you all can make it!
Until next week,