Hello and welcome,
In this Holy season of Advent the Church’s message is one of hope and peace. It is a time for reflection, prayer and reaching out to those in need. These themes – hope, peace and compassion – are urgently needed in our nation as we pray for the Brown and Garner families and all who have been impacted by the turmoil of recent weeks.
Issues concerning race in our society call for recognition of our shared humanity. We are all well served by productive dialogue and cooperation between the members of our communities and those in public service. Each person’s dignity must be respected and protected, while the safety and good of all people is upheld.
We are grateful for the thoughtful leadership shown by Governor Patrick, Mayor Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner Evans as citizens have expressed their concern that there be effective means of providing social justice, equality of opportunity and respect for all. May peaceful dialogue on these important issues be a source of betterment for our society.
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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is such a beautiful American feast. It brings families together and reminds us that the way to express our gratitude to God for the blessings we have received is to share them with others. It also reminds us to be grateful for the relationships in our lives, particularly our families.
I was grateful that I was able to be with my family for Thanksgiving. We had Mass at St. Richard’s Parish in Miami.
Afterwards we went back home for a dinner with probably around 50 O’Malley’s. Much of my family lives in Miami, which is very convenient place for this type of gathering because there you can hold an outdoor dinner, even in late November. Otherwise, I’m not sure anyone’s house could hold all those people at one time!
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After the holiday, I returned back to Boston and on Sunday we had the dedication of the renovations at St. Francis Xavier Church in Weymouth, where Father Charles Higgins is the pastor. We were also joined for the celebration by former pastors Father Dick Deveer and Father Eugene Sullivan, as well as by one of our seminarians who is from the parish, Joe Hubbard.
This is something the parish has been working on for a very long time and we were fortunate to have such a beautiful day to bless the final renovations.
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The following day, Monday, I went to Springfield for the funeral Mass of Bishop Joe Maguire.
He was ordained a priest of Boston in 1945 and served as Cardinal Cushing’s secretary. He went on to become an auxiliary bishop here and then became Bishop of Springfield in 1977. He was a very kind and pastoral man who was always present to the people. Even after he retired in 1991, he was very generous with his time. I particularly remember him giving priest retreats. A few years ago, when I was Bishop of Fall River, he led a retreat for us in Assisi.
He had a very long ministry and he was a very beloved man, which was evidenced by the many priests and bishops who were able to be there for his funeral Mass.
At the funeral, they distributed this prayer card with a very nice prayer on the back that seemed to be attributed to Bishop Maguire:
I never could complain, Lord,
About my work for you.
I find delight and meaning
In the things a priest can do.
There is joy in serving others
And sharing in their trials –
In quieting their heartaches
And quickening their smiles.
There is charity in listening
With a sympathetic ear
To distressed and lonely people
Who need someone just to hear.
There is peace in understanding
That your way, not mine, is best –
That when I’ve done my utmost,
Your grace will do the rest.
I am more convinced and certain
The longer, Lord, I live –
That every earnest priest receives
Much more than he can give.
And so my heart is grateful
For your goodness, Lord, to me.
A priest now and forever
Is all I wish to be.
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Also that day, I was visited by my good friend Bishop Adalberto Martínez from Paraguay, who is the Bishop for the Military Services of Paraguay as well as the Secretary General of the Bishops Conference of Paraguay. He stopped in Boston for a visit on his way to New York, where he was invited to preach a triduum and the celebration of Nuestra Señora de Caacupé, the patroness of Paraguay. A few years ago I was in Paraguay celebrating that feast for over 1 million people at the shrine there. It was the largest Mass I have ever celebrated.
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I invited Bishop Adalberto to accompany me to the St. Andrew’s Dinner for young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood hosted by Father Joe Raeke at St. Edith Stein Parish in Brockton. This is one of the larger turnouts we have had. I would say there were about 100 young men that came to join us. As we always do, we had vespers and, afterwards, there was the dinner and witness talks.
I was very happy to introduce him to the young men there, because he had been a parishioner of mine in Washington, and was very active with young people in the parish.
Eventually, he entered the seminary and I had the joy of ordaining him to the priesthood. And now we see that his vocation has flourished and touched so many lives — but it all begins in the life of young people like these young men who had gathered for the St. Andrew’s Dinner.
It is always an opportunity for young men to be invited to become interested in vocations, and their own personal vocation. It is also an opportunity for us as Catholics to be promoting vocations in our communities of faith. We were so pleased that so many different parishes responded and sent young men to the St. Andrew’s Dinner. It is a very important part of our vocational promotion in the archdiocese. We are also very grateful for the work that Father Dan Hennessey, Father Carlos Suarez and Father Mike Harrington did in preparing for the evening.
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Wednesday, I went to St. Anselm College to give a conference as part of the Advent Day of Recollection for the priests and deacons of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire. They asked me to give them a talk about the Holy Father and his ministry.
Bishop Labasci was with us. We were also joined by Bishop McCormick and Bishop Joe Gerry, who is now a resident at the monastery there.
It was a very nice gathering, infused with an attitude of prayer.
We had midday prayer in the Chapel with the Benedictine monks.
It is the second time I have been to St. Anselm for a Day of Recollection with priests. I have always been very impressed by the atmosphere there and find it a spiritual oasis for many priests who go there for prayer, confession and spiritual direction.
Abbott Mark and all those at the college were very gracious in hosting us.
This is a picture of the plaque that commemorates the Chapel that was a gift of Cardinal Cushing. As I have said before – I could easily fill all my time doing nothing else but going around to the 50th anniversary celebrations for all the things that Cardinal Cushing established!
Also during my visit I met St. Anselm’s president, Dr. Steven DiSalvo. He was inaugurated as their first lay president last year and I was very glad to have the opportunity to meet him.
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Wednesday night, back at the Cathedral, I met with the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation working in Honduras.
In the year 2000, when I was still the Bishop of Fall River, as a Holy Year activity we took over the pastoral care of two parishes in the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. At that time, I sent a team of two priests, a deacon and his wife and two Sisters of the Presentation to help.
This is the same community of sisters that worked with me for 20 years in Washington and their motherhouse is in Dighton. So, when we opened the mission in Honduras, we asked them to send sisters. They responded, and their community and commitment there has grown since. They have started a clinic and a school as well as a farm where they grow much of the food for the children at the school.
We were so happy to see them and to hear about the wonderful work that is being done there. Their presence there has made an extraordinary difference in a very poor and rural part of Honduras.
Until next week,