Hello and welcome,
This week, the whole country was shocked and grieved by the violence at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a congregation that had reached out to immigrants and was targeted by an anti-Semitic gunman. There, 11 people were murdered and six others were wounded. I think the reaction throughout the nation was one of horror and dismay.
Here in Boston, I was pleased to be able to participate in a gathering on the Boston Common the day after the shooting where many religious and civic leaders came together to pray and reflect on this terrible incident. It was encouraging to see the huge crowd that assembled to be a part of that event and express their solidarity with the Jewish community.
In my own remarks, I told the people that the gospel that was being read that day in all the Catholic churches in the world, and in many Protestant churches as well, was the story of Jesus on his way to the temple.
I said it was a reminder that the Church is the daughter of the synagogue and that today we are all congregants of the Tree of Life Synagogue, that we all share in the pain and the sadness that was caused by the violence that was inflicted on those innocent people as they came together to worship God.
Friday evening, we continued with our series of meetings with small groups of seminarians as an opportunity to gather for prayer, reflection and a meal. It is an opportunity to get to know them better as well as to hear about their experiences and concerns.
At this gathering, we also marked the birthday of our vocations director, Father Daniel Hennessey, with a wonderful carrot cake!
Saturday morning, I gathered with the permanent deacons of the archdiocese and their wives at the Pastoral Center. Much as I have been doing with the priests of the different regions of the archdiocese, it was an opportunity to reflect with them on the state of the Church and recent events and to answer their questions and listen to their concerns.
Later that morning, I went to the Marriott Hotel in Quincy to celebrate Mass for the U.S. Catholic Mission Association, which was holding its annual gathering in Boston this week.
Our local Ugandan choir sang for liturgy and did a wonderful job.
Locally, Father Gabe Troy and Maureen Heil of our Pontifical Mission Societies Office and Father David Costello of the St. James Society were all very much involved in planning and organizing the conference. We thank them and commend them for their wonderful work.
That afternoon, I went to St. Agnes Church in Reading for our annual Appeal Appreciation Mass. We hold this Mass each year as an opportunity to thank those in different parishes who volunteered to assist with the work of the Appeal, which is the lifeblood of our local Church.
Following the Mass, there was a reception that included an opportunity for dialogue with those who attended.
Sunday, I gathered with the members of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Archdiocese of Boston for our annual Red Mass at Our Lady of Good Voyage Shrine in Boston’s Seaport District.
The Red Mass is a very venerable tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages, when lawyers and judges gathered at the beginning of the court’s term to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in all their endeavors. Red, of course, is the liturgical color associated with the fire of the Holy Spirit and the Mass takes its name from the red vestments worn by the celebrants.
After the Mass, the Guild members always gather for a luncheon at which they bestow the Honorable Joseph R. Nolan Award and hear from a keynote speaker. This year, they presented the Nolan Award posthumously to Camille F. Sarrouf, who died in September after a long career as an outstanding jurist.
His wife Joyce and his son Camille Jr. were present with us to accept the award on his behalf.
In her introductory remarks, Maura Doyle, vice president of the Guild, made a beautiful reflection on the life of Attorney Sarrouf and the influence of faith in the life of a professional, particularly those in the legal profession. It was a very moving address.
With Guild president Michael Gillis and vice president Maura Doyle
I was so happy that a number of law students from Harvard and Suffolk universities were able to be with us. I think it was wonderful that they could hear those remarks by Maura as well as the keynote address by former Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, who is now at Boston College.
The group from Harvard Law School
Then, in the afternoon, we had the annual celebration our annual Silver and Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass for those celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries. Because the upper church of the Cathedral is still being renovated, this year the Mass was held at St. Mary’s Church in Waltham.
During the Mass, the couples renewed their vows and received a special blessing.
This is always a significant event in our annual calendar because the witness of these couples’ lives of married love and fidelity are a very important testimony in today’s world. Their witness encourages people to have the courage, generosity and faith to embrace this vocation and this sacrament.
We are so grateful to Liz Cotrupi and all those in the Family Life Office of the archdiocese who did so much to make this Mass such a wonderful success.
Thursday, I met with Father Alejandro Lopez Cardinale for an initial planning session to a follow-up on the work of the V National Encuentro, which was held in Texas in September.
There is still great enthusiasm on the part of those who participated in the national gathering as well as those who were part of the preparation that took place on the diocesan and regional level, and we hope to be able to implement some of the ideas that came out of the Encuentro.
Finally, in these days we have marked the Feast of All Saints and All Souls. The month of November is the time in which the Church holds up for us our brothers and sisters who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and are now alive in eternity.
On All Saints Day, we honor all those who are already in God’s presence, many of whom are “the saints next-door,” as Pope Francis calls them — ordinary people who led faithful and good lives and have passed on to eternal life in eternity. And, of course, today, All Souls Day, is the day on which we offer special prayers for all the faithful departed.
Until next week,