Hello and welcome!
Last Thursday, I attended the Jesuit Gala, held each year to support the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus.
The evening included three very beautiful witness talks by Father Russell, Father O’Neill and Father Nolan.
This year, they presented their Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Award to Deacon Chuck Clough and his wife, Gloria.
Chuck and Gloria Clough have been so active in the archdiocese and in their parish, particularly in youth ministry. It was a very well-deserved recognition and I was very happy to be part of the event.
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Also that night I attended the Catholic Charities Labouré Center Annual Spring Benefit at John Hancock Financial in the Seaport District.
During the evening, they honored Sister Maryadele Robinson, who is stepping down from the directorship but will continue to work at the Labouré Center, with the Jack Shaughnessy award, which was presented to her by one of Jack Shaughnessy’s sons.
I was happy to be part of this event supporting the Labouré Center, which provides the community with so many services, such as mentoring and tutoring, after school programs, counseling and family intervention, elder outreach, job training, and recovery connections programs.
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Friday, I met with MC Sullivan, Father Bryan Hehir and Dr. Ira Byock at the Cathedral.
With Dr. Byock and MC
Dr. Byock, a nationally known palliative and hospice care expert, was the keynote speaker at our first Palliative Care Colloquium that was going to be held the next morning at the Pastoral Center. However, since it coincided with the ordinations, I wasn’t going to be able to attend, so I wanted to meet with them before hand to discuss this very important initiative.
I consider the colloqium very important as part of our commitment to take end-of-life issues seriously and try to ensure that the necessary pain management and palliative care is available for people at the end of their life.
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As I mentioned, on Saturday, we had our second transitional diaconate ordination of the year. As I say, we had a “two- crop year.” These men have two classmates in Rome, as well, that I will be ordaining to the diaconate in October. So, actually, we will have three transitional diaconate ordinations for the archdiocese in one year.
In January, we ordained the transitional deacons who will become priests later this month. The men we ordained this week will be ordained to the priesthood next year. This is the first time that we are ordaining men in the third year of theology, so that they will have a full year of the diaconal ministry before their presbyteral ordination. We feel this will be a very good experience in preparation for priestly ordination.
I was also very pleased that there is such diversity in this class. In my homily, I related that to the very foundation of the diaconate in the Church, with the deacon’s role to build unity out of the diversity in the Church.
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That evening, I went to participate in the Easter Vigil celebration at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis in Brookline. The Greeks, of course, follow the Julian calendar and the provisions of the Nicene Conference — Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the equinox, following the Jewish Passover. Because of the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the Eastern Churches celebrated Easter on May 1. So, I was able to be with them for their celebration and the Metropolitan said he has come to like being able to celebrate two Easters, because he comes to our Holy Week celebrations at the Cathedral the Holy Cross.
During the Vigil, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios invited me to address the people, bringing the greetings of the Roman Catholic community.
The Metropolitan and I serve on the joint commission set up by the USCCB and the Orthodox bishops of the United States, and we will be meeting later this month at their retreat house in New Hampshire.
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I came back from the Vigil at the Orthodox Metropolis at about 1 o’clock in the morning, just in time to be present at the closing part of the Vigil in our own Cathedral with the Ethiopian and Eritrean community who celebrate according to the Ge’ez Rite.
They presented me with a gift of a hand cross that the Ge’ez use in the liturgy.
When the priest gives a blessing, he gives it with a small hand cross such as this.
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Sunday, we celebrated First Communions at the Cathedral, and it was the first time that we have had First Communions in English in decades.
Previously, they had only been in Spanish but as more English speaking Catholics are moving into the neighborhood, the parish is reaching out to them and trying to engage them in the life of Cathedral Parish. I am so pleased to see that this effort is bearing fruit.
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Tuesday, we held our annual Presbyteral Convocation, which featured a wonderful talk by Msgr. John MacInnis, who spoke on the ministry of the diocesan priest.
We also had a fine keynote address by Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland.
I was so pleased that so many of our priests were able to be with us, as well as our two classes of our newly-minted transitional deacons. It was a wonderful, uplifting celebration.
Also during our gathering we honored those priests that we had intended to honor at the Chrism Mass Luncheon, but because the microphones failed in the gymnasium of Cathedral High, we postponed it until our gathering this week.
We honored Father Mark O’Connell, Father Tom Nestor and Msgr. John McDonough — three very fine priests who each gave a short witness talk.
It was just a very fine day, and I think the priests enjoyed the opportunity to be together and to reflect on various aspects of our life and ministry.
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Wednesday, we gathered with the Major Superiors of Men’s Religious Communities at the Pastoral Center.
We spoke to them about a number of issues concerning religious in the archdiocese, and also had a dialogue and presentation on the Year of Mercy led by Father Jonathan Gaspar.
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At the same time as our meeting with the superiors, there was a meeting being conducted by Deacon Jim Greer on the subject of how to respond to situations of trauma, particularly suicide. There are certainly many different kinds of trauma, but certainly suicide is a growing problem – suicides are up by 25%.
There were over 100 participants there for the conference and I was very happy to be able to greet them and thank them for their willingness to learn more about this topic and prepare themselves to better serve in our parishes in such an important capacity.
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Also that day I met with Rev. Gary Cobb of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
During our meeting, he presented me with a book about the life of Billy Graham.
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Wednesday, we had our annual board meeting of the Missionary Society of St. James.
With director Father David Costello and former director Father George Emerson
We heard reports of some of the good work they are doing, including preparations for the Society’s 60th anniversary next year and that there will be five new priests serving the society.
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Wednesday night, I went for dinner at St. Joseph Parish in Lynn.
I was very happy to share a wonderful Spanish meal with the priests, which was prepared by Father Quique Martinez, and then we were joined by Father Steven Clemence who serves in Peabody.
It was a chance to hear more about some of the things that are happening in Hispanic ministry in the Lynn area.
Until next week,