Hello and welcome!
Much of this past week I spent in Rome at meetings of the Council of Cardinals advising the Holy Father. But before I left, on Friday evening, we had our annual St. John’s Seminary Alumni Dinner, which we began with the celebration of Vespers.
Afterward there was a light reception followed by the dinner.
I was very pleased that as part of the evening’s program they presented the new biography of the late Father Daniel Kennedy, which was written by his father, Dan Kennedy, Sr. The name of the book is “247 Days: Father Dan Kennedy, A Proud and Happy Priest” taken from the short amount time Father Kennedy was ordained before his sudden and untimely death in 2008 at the age of only 34.With the Flynns and the family of the late Father Dan Kennedy.
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Also, I was able greet those participating in a meeting of the Labor Guild, which is now housed at the Pastoral Center.
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I also want to mention that on Saturday, we hosted the New England Pueri Cantores Choir Festival at the Cathedral, which brought together choirs from the archdiocese and as far away as Connecticut and New Hampshire.
I had hoped to be able to celebrate Mass with them, but my schedule didn’t allow for it. I am so grateful to Father Jonathan Gaspar for celebrating with them and for all he and Michael Olbash did to facilitate this wonderful event at our Cathedral.
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I arrived in Rome over the weekend and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we had meetings of the C9 with the Holy Father to continue our conversations about different aspects related to the reform of the Curia. Cardinal Oswald Gracias could not be with us for health reasons.
The Holy Father is considering the publication of a new Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia and we are now focusing on proposals for the Holy Father to create two new dicasteries, “Laity, Family, and Life” and “Justice, Peace, and Migration.”
At the meeting, Cardinal Pell briefed us on the work of the Secretariat for the Economy and I had the opportunity to speak to the group about the works of the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors.
With the staff of the Council for the Protection of Minors
On Thursday, I had a private audience with the Holy Father at the Apostolic Palace. He is getting ready for his upcoming trip to the island of Lesbos in Greece, and then Armenia in June. The trip to Lesbos is, once again, to draw attention to the plight of refugees.
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While in Rome, I always try to spend some time with our seminarians who are studying there. So, on Sunday I had dinner with Kevin Leaver, Kevin Staley-Joyce and Chris Boyle.
Although Michael Zimmerman wasn’t able to join us for dinner, I was glad that we were able to meet up with him in the Square, where he was helping to feed the homeless with a group from St. John’s University in New York.
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It was very nice to see the great crowds in Rome for the events of the Holy Year.
The Holy Father is having audiences on Wednesdays and Saturdays outside and there are just huge crowds of people there for the Year of Mercy, which is very encouraging.
Rome was having perfect weather, 70° and sunny, which just made me regret that I was indoors at meetings all day — but for people who are there on pilgrimage, it is a wonderful time of year.
And, speaking of visitors to the Vatican, I want to share this photo of a group of mallard ducks that I found swimming in the fountain in St. Peter’s Square. I’ve never seen them there before, but they seem to be very happy!
Until next week,