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The Oath of Fidelity of our Bishops-elect

In the Franciscan order, we have a tradition that on the Feast of St. Francis we invite a Dominican to come and preach and preside. In turn, the Dominicans, on the feast of St. Dominic, always invite a Franciscan.

So, this year I was invited to celebrate the Mass and preach for the Feast of St. Dominic at St. Pius V Parish in Providence, Rhode Island. This is also the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Dominican order. So this celebration of St. Dominic’s day had a particular significance this year.Pages from 800th Jubilee Program

IMG_4267IMG_4268IMG_4269IMG_629020160808_201012

The parish is right across the street from Providence College, and is named for Pope Pius V who was a Dominican.

IMG_6291This picture of Pope Pius V is just inside the entrance of the church

Pope Pius was pope in a very tumultuous time in the Church. He is actually the pope who ended up excommunicating Queen Elizabeth I of England.

He was also the pope who helped resist the invasion of Europe by the Turks. He called for a novena of the rosary before the Battle of Lepanto and out of that comes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary that we celebrate in October.

As I mentioned in my homily, della Robbia, Fra Angelico, Dante and so many writers and artists speak about these meetings between St. Dominic and St. Francis.Andrea della Robbia_Embrace between Sts. Francis and Dominic_1493-95_Florence_Spedale di San Paolo

I was very honored to be part of the celebration and happy to continue a tradition that goes back to the special friendship that existed between St. Dominic and St. Francis.

 

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Also, this week the German Consul General in Boston, Ralf Horlemann, came to pay me a visit.IMG_6292

The German Consulate here serves several states and, although we don’t have a large German immigrant population in this area, there are many Germans who come here to study or work in research. The German government is always trying to promote these types of relationships.

I told him a little bit about my experiences in Germany and we also spoke about the German International School in Boston, which uses the building of the former St. Anthony’s School in Allston.

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I was also visited this week by Bishop Peter Paul Yelezuome Angkyier of the Diocese of Damongo, Ghana. Father Bob Murray, Pastor of St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes in Haverhill, hosted the bishop for a missionary appeal visit to the archdiocese.IMG_6288

Mission appeals, which often take place during the summertime, are a very important way that we support missionary activities throughout the world and also raise mission awareness among our own Catholic people here in the archdiocese.

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Yesterday, I attended the wake of the father of Father Jim DiPerri, which was held at St. Brigid’s in South Boston. The DiPerris are a prominent South Boston family, so it was very fitting that they had the wake in the parish he shared with so many of his friends, family and neighbors.

Father Jim DiPerri is, of course, an outstanding pastor in the archdiocese at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted in Waltham, and that is where visiting hours were held today and where the funeral Mass will be held tomorrow.

I was very happy to be able to tender my condolences and say a prayer with the family.

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Yesterday also was the Feast of St. Clare.StClare

I’ve always had a great affection for the Poor Clares and so on the Feast of St. Clare, I remember all of these holy women, particularly of the two communities we have in the archdiocese, who are leading lives of prayer and witness. They are truly the spiritual powerhouse of our Church, following the beautiful tradition of St. Clare, who is so closely associated with St. Francis of Assisi.

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Finally, this morning, I went to CatholicTV to celebrate a live television Mass. Since it is the Year of Mercy, we celebrated the Mass of the Sacred Heart with the theme of mercy.

In the context of the liturgy, Bishops-elect Reed and O’Connell made their Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith in the presence of the community. During the Mass, we also blessed the symbols of the episcopal office — the bishop’s ring, the crosier and the miter — that they will receive as part of their ordination ceremony on August 24.Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy 
Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Even before he is ordained, when a man is named bishop and becomes Bishop-elect, the custom is that he immediately begin to wear the pectoral cross and zucchetto for liturgical celebrations. However, the ring, miter and crosier are given to the bishop as part of the ordination ceremony.Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

The rings that I will be presenting to our new auxiliary bishops are similar to those we’ve presented in the past to our auxiliary bishops, which are based on a “fumie” of Our Lady of Guadalupe.Bishops-elect Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell take their Oath of Fidelity before Cardinal O’Malley during a Mass broadcast live on CatholicTV Aug. 12, 2016. During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the insignia — crossiers, mitres and rings — that the bishops will receive at their ordination.
Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

As I explained in my homily, during the 1600s, when the first missionaries were evangelizing Japan there was quite a backlash against Christianity and a terrible persecution broke out. One of the ways that the shoguns and others identified Christians was by putting large medallions, called fumies, on the ground depicting either Christ or the Blessed Mother and then lining up all the villagers and having them walk over the images. Those who refused to step on the images were identified as Catholics and tortured to death.519px-Virgin_Mary_tile_to_step_on

One of the original fumies the rings is modeled after

One of the early fumies that was used is actually an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe because there were early Mexican missionaries in Japan, one of them was a Franciscan, St. Felipe de Jesús. So even within decades of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, there was already a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe among the Japanese Catholics.

So to me using the fumie on the bishops’ rings brings together so many different themes. One is the theme of martyrdom and of being a witness – the bishop is called to be a witness of the Resurrection and must, as St. Paul says, embrace the hardships of the gospel. It also reminds us of the patronage and protection of the Virgin Mary in the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe who is the principal American Madonna.

It was a very beautiful celebration and I know we are all looking forward to the ordination of our new bishops in less than two weeks.

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Finally, earlier this summer executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey provided me the opportunity to view an advance release of the new Ben-Hur film, which opens in theaters next Friday.BenHurThe film is a powerful presentation of this classic story of how an encounter with Christ can change a person’s life.  In addition to the compelling human drama, the special effects in this production carry the viewer into experiences beyond our imagination.

We are blessed that Mark and Roma have directed significant resources to produce a faith-affirming film that delivers a message of hope and holds up the power of Christ’s presence in the world.  Following are links to my commentary on the film and those of Cardinal Wuerl and other Catholic leaders.

I hope you will join us in seeing Ben-Hur as it opens next week and encourage your families and friends to do so also.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archdiocese of Boston: https://vimeo.com/178053672

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archdiocese of Washington:  https://vimeo.com/177163308

Mark Hart aka “The Bible Geek” and Lino Rulli aka “The Catholic Guy”: http://sharebenhur.com/what-leaders-are-saying-catholic

Lisa Hendey, CatholicMom.com and leading Catholic author: http://sharebenhur.com/lisa-hendey-judah-helps-jesus

Sister Rose Pacatte, Sister Rose at the Movies: http://sharebenhur.com/sister-rose-pacatte-judah-esther-at-camp

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

August 2016
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