Hello and welcome!
Last Thursday, I celebrated the annual Catholic Schools Foundation Scholars Mass at the Cathedral. This year, the scholars and their families almost fill the Cathedral.
Afterwards we had a reception. It’s always very nice to have a chance to meet the students and their families and it is a way of recognizing their commitment and hard work.
We are very grateful to all of those who support the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which provides the scholarship money for these young men and women and that allows us to make Catholic education available to many who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
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That evening, I was very happy to attend the first annual fundraising dinner for Matignon High School.
During the evening, they honored Marshall Sloane and his family.
The evening was very successful. They raised $250,000 during the evening.
Matignon is doing very well and during the evening we heard from a couple of students who spoke about their experience there.
Marshall Sloane, along with the rest of his family, has been so supportive of Catholic education and Catholic Charities.
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Friday, I was visited by Kari and Steve Colella, who for many years worked in the archdiocese.
They came to say hello and also to discuss their hopes for expanding the marriage preparation program, Transformed in Love, which Kari founded while she was here in the archdiocese.
I am hoping that more people become acquainted with Transformed in Love, which I consider to be one of the finest marriage preparation programs available, because of its large catechetical component. It really is helping people understand the faith and understand the Church’s teachings on marriage.
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Later that day, I had Mass for the patients and inmates at Bridgewater State Hospital. There has been some controversy surrounding the facility recently and so the Superintendent was very happy to have me come and say Mass for them.
The Mass was held in the auditorium and a large group of men were able to come.
The chaplain there, Peg Newman does excellent work. There are a lot of very sad cases there because they don’t get visitors.
In addition to the inmates, many of the staff also attended the Mass.
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On Saturday, I attended the commencement ceremony at Emmanuel College, where I gave the commencement address and also received an honorary degree.
We had a beautiful day for the ceremony.
Not only did they give me an honorary degree but they are also naming their ministry department after me.
They presented me with a picture of the plaque that will be on the building. I told them I was very honored, because the only thing named after me so far is the Cardinal Sean O’Malley Memorial Speedbump at the Pastoral Center!
In my address, using some of the themes of Pope Francis, I spoke about the importance of Catholic education preparing them to be protectors of the gifts and caretakers of creation and of one another. I also spoke of the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame at the school, particularly their foundress St. Julia Billiart and Sister Dorothy Stang, who was murdered in Brazil.
Emmanuel College has been very successful at facing the challenges that most small Catholic colleges have had to deal with over the last decade. As a result, they are flourishing. We are so grateful to Sister Janet Eisner for all that she does to make the college the success that it is.
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On Sunday, Mother’s Day, we went to St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham to celebrate Mass with the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers — and even great great-grandmothers — who are residents there.
Of course, we also were there to honor the sisters, the Carmelites of the Aged and Infirm, who are our spiritual mothers. The Carmelites do such extraordinary work in their ministry of caring for the elderly.
After the Mass, we met with some of the residents and had lunch with the sisters, including their new superior, Sister Michelle.
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Each year our Central Ministries staff at the Pastoral Center volunteer to go out to an inner-city parish to help beautify the facilities as part of our Parish Service Week. This year, they volunteered at the three parishes of the Roxbury-Jamaica Plain Collaborative.
So, on Monday, I went to spend some time with the people working at St. Mary of the Angels in Roxbury. It really was quite a facelift for the parish and, thankfully, it was very beautiful day.
The pastor, Father Carlos Flor, and a number of his parishioners were there with us as well.
Each year, they let me use a new toy, and this year I was able to use a cordless weed whacker. In my day, we had a manual one, so this was quite a treat!
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Monday night the FOCUS campus missionaries who are working at Harvard, MIT and Boston University came together for a dinner at St. Mary’s Parish in Waltham. Father Michael Nolan was our very gracious host.
During the evening I was able to hear their reflections and stories of what the missionaries have been experiencing during their time here in Boston. We are so grateful for their presence and we know that they reach a great many young people. Of course, Boston has one of the largest populations of 25 to 35-year-olds in the United States. Add to that the hundreds of thousands of university students (who would generally be younger than 25) and it really demonstrates that we have a large young adult population to serve. And, in fact, you only have to go through certain sections of Boston to know this is true. There are places where you are hard-pressed to find anybody under 30 walking on the street.
Our young population is a great blessing, but it is also a challenge because that is the demographic that is the most secularized and the least churched. So, we are very grateful to the FOCUS missionaries who have a great capacity to connect with our young people and share with them the joy of the Gospel.
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On Tuesday, we had a Mass and dedication of our statue of the Blessed Mother outside the Pastoral Center to the late Jack and Mary Shaughnessy.
Many members of the family were able to join us.
Jack and Mary Shaughnessy were great friends of all things Catholic and they were immensely supportive of all the ministries of the archdiocese.
We were happy to memorialize their presence by recognizing their great devotion to our Blessed Mother, on the day before the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima during this month of Mary. It was a very fitting way of expressing our gratitude for their faith and generosity.
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Then in the afternoon, we had a tour of some the renovations of Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy Lower Campus. The building is 100 years old, but they are hoping that the renovations will be completed by September. When it is complete, they will have the capacity for about 400 students there.
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Wednesday, I attended the funeral of Father Jack Roche. Father Jack was one of the “Roche Bros.” and his family have been great benefactors of the Church.
The Roche family is very much associated with Sacred Heart Parish in Roslindale, and the pastor, Msgr. Frank Kelley, celebrated the Mass and preached.
Father Jack was a Colomban missionary and I knew the Columbans well from their work with me in the Virgin Islands, though Father Jack himself was a missionary in Korea. At the funeral Mass we were joined by many of the Columban fathers and a number of our diocesan priests.
At the end of the Mass we also heard reflections by the Columban provincial Father Bergen and by Father Jack’s nephew Daniel Roche.
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Then, in the afternoon, we met with the Major Superiors of women religious at the Pastoral Center.
We meet once a year to learn about their work and to have a conversation about the Church and issues related to their mission.
This year, in relation to the upcoming Synod on the Family, we focused on the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world.
Father Mark O’Connell, our Judicial Vicar joined us on this conversation.
Of course, we also talked about the ongoing celebration of the Year for Consecrated Life and announced that we will celebrate a Mass closing the year at the Cathedral on Nov. 29.
The meeting was very well attended and I was happy to see the vitality of the religious congregations of women that are serving our people here in Boston.
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Finally, Thursday night I was very happy to attend the Catholic Charities spring celebration at the John F. Kennedy Library.
Catholic Charities president Debbie Rambo
EJ Dionne of The Washington Post was the evening’s speaking and Father Bryan Hehir was the honoree.
There was also a beautiful film that the John Hancock company helped produce about the works of Catholic Charities.
The evening raised $1.1 million for the works of Catholic Charities.
Until next week,