Hello and welcome!
Last Friday I went to Catholic Memorial School to celebrate Mass with the students, faculty and friends of the school and for the dedication ceremony of the renovated student lounge, which has been named the Kennedy Commons for Father Dan Kennedy.
It was amazing to reflect on his short life as a priest — he was ordained less than a year before he died ten years ago, and since his death a bridge in Needham has been dedicated to his memory and now his alma mater has dedicated the Kennedy Commons.
Clearly he’s made a very deep impression on people and his ministry touched so many lives. It was certainly very encouraging to be there.
They began the celebration with a video showing Father Dan leading a prayer and the video ends with him giving a blessing. It was a wonderful tribute.
His father, siblings, nieces and nephews, and other family and friends were there. Also there were Barbara Finigan and Paul Fitzgerald and their children, who made the lead gift to fund the Kennedy Commons.
Father Dan’s chalice was used during the Mass, and I’m told that he designed the chalice with Catholic Memorial in mind. It is silver and red, the same colors that represent his alma mater. Several priests who knew Father Dan concelebrated the Mass with me.
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The next day, I had the joy of ordaining new priests here in Boston. This year, because of the upper church of the Cathedral being closed, the ordination was held at Mission Church.
There were seven ordained for the Archdiocese and there were two ordained for the Diocese of Thanh Hoa in Vietnam.
Fathers Joseph Tung Tuan Nguyen and Joseph Son Van Trinh studied with us at St. John’s Seminary and they will continue into graduate studies in the states and then they will go back to Vietnam to be part of the formation program to train priests there.
It was a full church and a beautiful celebration. It was a cross section of the population with people from every different background, including those of Hispanic, Korean and African heritage.
Ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston were Priests Benito Moreno, Andrea Povero, Eric Velasquez, Joseph Kim, Michael Rora, Baldemar Garza and Lambert Nieme.
It was on the eve of Pentecost so it was really the Pentecostal experience! The next day, the young priests celebrated their first Masses on the Feast of Pentecost, which is such a beautiful day. It’s the birthday of the Church, and the beginning of the Church’s mission to preach the Gospel to all peoples.
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That evening I celebrated Mass with the Little Sisters of the Poor at their Jeanne Jugan Residence before their annual fundraising gala.
There were a number of priest concelebrants, especially those whose mothers are in the Jeanne Jugan home. The sisters have such a wonderful ministry in the Archdiocese and we’re so grateful for the great work that they do.
While I was there, I had lunch with Abbot Mark Cooper of the St. Anselm Abbey and college president Steven DiSalvo.
Dan Flatley’s son, Daniel, graduated from the school. It was very nice to be able to be there with the Flatley family.
There was a little rain so the graduation ceremony was held indoors, but graduations are always very joyful celebrations. St. Anselm is a Catholic college with a strong religious identity and the presence of the Benedictine monks and the liturgical life of the monastery is a great blessing on that campus.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Atlanta, was their commencement speaker, and he gave a beautiful commencement address and he was given an honorary doctorate.
His address was on the power of words and the importance of living lives coherent with our words, and he talked about the need for civility and discourse. It was a beautiful and very well-thought-out address, and he received a standing ovation at the end.
Interestingly enough, The Pilot carried this week an article about one of my predecessors, Bishop Fitzpatrick, and referred to the moment in the mid-1800s when the bishop met with the Jesuits in Rome and asked them to come to Boston to found a school. Clearly the Jesuits really did a great job!
Every year B.U. awards about a dozen full scholarships to graduates of Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese. This tradition was begun many years ago by B.U. president John Silber in honor of Cardinal Medeiros.
In total, the scholarships are worth about $2.5 million, and since the beginning the scholarships that have been given out total over $50 million. It’s a very great blessing for those families and the young people who receive the awards.
We know that in today’s world, college education is so expensive and many people graduate with huge debts. These young people have the opportunity to receive a wonderful education debt free, so we always challenge them to be aware of all they have received in their Catholic education and in this scholarship and to look for opportunities to give back in their professional lives going forward.
Father David Barnes , our Catholic chaplain at at B.U. also attended the event. It’s always a very joyful occasion.
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On Tuesday, I traveled to Regina Cleri to celebrate Mass with the priests marking their 50 year ordination anniversary.
It was a very happy time, and we were joined by not only our diocesan priests but also by some religious priests.
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In the evening, there was the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization graduation at St. John’s Seminary. This year, there were 21 graduates and I think this was their largest graduation class.
I certainly want to also encourage people reading this blog to consider the possibility of taking advantage of the wonderful programs offered by the Theological Institute and St. John’s Seminary for leadership training in the Church.
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The next day, I was able to have lunch with the newly ordained priests and their families at the Pastoral Center.
It’s a very special event because at the time of the ordination ceremony and the first Masses there are such huge crowds you don’t really have the opportunity to spend time with the new priests and their families. This lunch that we hold every year gives us that opportunity.
Father Andrea Povero said a few words on behalf of the class and I also addressed the families.
Many of the priests talked about their experiences with their first Masses. They seemed to have all gone very well and the priests were very happy.
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Later on, I welcomed scientists and faith leaders to the Pastoral Center for a press conference to urge action on climate change.
Several months ago, we had a meeting at the Pastoral Center with scientists and Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders to discuss the environment and climate change, and out of that came this follow-up meeting.
At the press conference, there were religious leaders from many different churches, including two episcopal bishops, one from Eastern Massachusetts and one from Western Massachusetts. Dr. Philip Duffy from the Woods Hole Research Center, Rev. Mariama White-Hammond from Bethel AME Church, and I addressed the group.
The conference, of course, came at a time when we are completing the installation of our solar panels at the Pastoral Center.
The panels are an initiative to use sustainable energy and to accept the challenge the Holy Father is giving all of us in “Laudato Si” to protect our common home by taking care of the environment.
Until next week,