Hello and welcome!
Last Friday, I celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, where I received an honorary degree in Theology.
Steubenville, of course, is making a very unique contribution to the life of the Church. It has been a great source of vocations and training for Church leadership. Something like 70 to 80 percent of the students there are in studies related to theology or evangelization. Wherever you go in the country, you find young people teaching Catholic schools, or running RCIA, youth ministry, and campus ministry programs, who have been trained at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
It was great to see the new friary there.
After the Mass, I paid a visit to the local bishop, Bishop Jeffrey Monforton.
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I returned to Boston very early Saturday morning to be present for the Pentecost Vigil at the Cathedral the Holy Cross with representatives from the different ecclesial communities and apostolic groups in the archdiocese.
The Pentecost Vigil is much like the Easter vigil, with an extended Liturgy of the Word, and the Gospel was proclaimed in about 10 different languages.
Also, like the Easter Vigil, the Pentecost Vigil is also a time to welcome new members into the Church. So, during the Mass, we also celebrated the baptism of little Agnes Claire, the daughter of Jesus Manuel and Leticia Rendon from St. Patrick’s Parish in Brockton.
This is a wonderful celebration, and I’m so happy we have done this for the last several years, following the example of Pope John Paul II who popularized this vigil, particularly to bring together the different charisms represented in different ecclesial communities.
It was truly a very worthy celebration of the ‘birthday of the Church.’
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On Pentecost Sunday, I celebrated Confirmations for almost 150 members of the Brazilian community of the archdiocese at the Cathedral.
We began with a procession through the Holy Door of Mercy.
We had a full Cathedral and, of course, the music is always very uplifting and inspiring. The Mass was concelebrated by many of the Brazilian priests working in ministry here, along with Father Michael Harrington from our Office for Cultural Diversity.
The Brazilian community is one of the largest ethnic groups represented in the archdiocese, so it’s wonderful to have them come to the Cathedral.
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Monday, I visited Immaculate Conception Church, part of the Stoughton Collaborative, to participate in the activities of our Pastoral Center Service Week. Each year, staff from the Pastoral Center volunteer to go to a different community to help beautify church facilities, particularly with such things as landscaping and cleaning.
One of the people I was very happy to see was Umbelina Costelho Fraga, whose uncle was my deacon at my Portuguese Parish in Washington D.C., Deacon João Costelho. She had been there 30 years ago when I preached that mission, and she is still a very active member of the parish.
I have many fond memories of Immaculate Conception, because the first time I visited the parish was 30 years ago, when I was a young bishop in the West Indies. They had invited me up to give a mission in Portuguese, and on the last day they had a huge procession, and even Governor Dukakis came to participate. Now, there is also a very active Brazilian community in the parish as well.
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That evening, we had one of our regular meetings of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. At the meeting, our Judicial Vicar, Father Mark O’Connell, gave a presentation on the Holy Father’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and we had a discussion on Disciples in Mission.
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Tuesday, I went to Boston University for the presentation of the Medeiros Scholarships. Each year BU presents these full, four-year scholarships to graduates of our Catholic high schools. This program was begun 30 years ago by President John Silber in honor of Cardinal Medeiros. The scholarships presented over the years have a combined value of $15 million.
Provost Jean Morrison and I presented the students with the scholarship and with us at the presentation was our Superintendent of Schools, Kathy Mears, and Father David Barnes, the Catholic chaplain at BU.
This year’s recipients are:
William Barnard, Xaverian Brothers High School
Ishrat Chowdhury, Bishop Fenwick High School
Aidan Coia, Xaverian Brothers High School
Erin Condon, Marian High School
Samantha Curley, Lowell Catholic High School
Anna Daher, St. Joseph Preparatory High School
Sarah Golden, Archbishop Williams High School
Brian Harrington, Catholic Memorial School
Carina lmbornone, Central Catholic High School
Emily Masse, Academy of Notre Dame
Nicholas McCool, Central Catholic High School
Meaghan Walsh, Fontbonne Academy
We congratulate them all!
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Thursday, we had a meeting of our Presbyteral Council. This is a very important way of having a great deal of consultation amongst our priests. The topics we discuss the Presbyteral Council are then brought to the local Vicariate meetings. So, it is a way of “taking the pulse” of the presbyterate, in preparation for making important policy decisions and pastoral planning.
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Also that day, I was visited by representatives from IMEC America.
This is a group, headquartered here in the archdiocese, that began by collecting used medical equipment in order to build hospitals in Third World countries. They have now expanded to building schools and agricultural projects as well, partnering with different religious orders throughout the world.
They do such wonderful work and I was happy to hear about their latest efforts!
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Finally, I want to remind everyone that I will be ordaining nine men to the priesthood tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross: Deacons Christopher Bae, Matthew Conley, Patrick Fiorillo, Thomas Gignac, Stephen LeBlanc, Dominic Ngo, Thomas Olson, Kevin Staley-Joyce and Thomas Sullivan.
We are blessed by the commitment of these nine men to walk in the footsteps of Christ in service to the Church. Each of these newly ordained brings their own unique and special gifts to the priesthood.
We pray that God grants them good health, joy in their daily ministry and the loving support of the Catholic family every day of their priesthood.
Until next week,