The ordination of a new class of deacons is always a very important event in the life of the archdiocese. This year we ordained seven men: Deacons Chris Bae, Matthew Conley, Patrick Fiorillo, Thomas Gignac, Stephen LeBlanc, Huan Ngo and Thomas Sullivan. There are two other deacons in their class who have already been ordained. They are all poised to present themselves for priestly ordination in the spring.
I would like to share with you my homily that I delivered at the ordination:
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Each year, around the Christmas season, I celebrate a Mass for survivors of sexual abuse and their families that is organized by the Office of Outreach and Pastoral Support, which is headed by Vivian Soper with the help of Deacon Paul Kline. We celebrated the Mass of the Baptism of the Lord on Sunday in Bethany Chapel at the Pastoral Center, followed by a reception.
The Mass is a very important way of trying to promote healing in our community and, historically, it’s been an opportunity for many people who have stepped away for a long time to reconnect with the Church.
At the Mass, I always reiterate the sorrow of the community for peoples’ suffering and convey our apologies. I also reiterate our commitment to child protection in the Church and working for the safety of children in society.
We are very grateful to all of those who came and participated as well as all those who work with Vivian Soper in the very important ministry of outreach to survivors.
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Sunday, I went to St. Joseph’s Friary in Lawrence to visit with the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance. The friars are opening a new house in Lawrence, which will be their novitiate. I went to bless the house and celebrate Mass with them.
I was very pleased that the friars have returned to work in Lawrence because many of their members speak Spanish and have been very helpful in Hispanic ministry to the people of Lawrence.
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Each year, the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master hold a dinner to which they invite priests from the area. This year, we had the dinner Sunday evening in the sisters’ West Street store.
It was a beautiful evening. Father Paul Rouse played piano for us and we sang Christmas carols and other songs.
This picture is of the sisters’ crèche which is from Nicaragua.
They also have a very beautiful Stations of the Cross in their chapel.
The sisters are such an important presence and are so supportive of our priests, not only at Regina Cleri, but throughout the archdiocese. We are very happy to have them take care of the Bethany Chapel here at the Pastoral Center. They also help out at the sacristy of the Cathedral and, of course, they have their ministry on West Street.
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Monday, I attended a fundraising banquet for Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem. It is a maternity hospital with a special ward for premature babies that is just 1,500 feet from the place where Christ was born in Bethlehem.
The hospital was founded as a general hospital and orphanage in the 1880’s by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, but in 1985 it was forced to stop operating due to the difficult conditions in the Holy Land. The hospital was transferred to the care of the Order of Malta by St. John Paul II and, after 5 years of renovations, it was reopened as a maternity hospital in 1990.
It’s a very important ministry and, of course, there is great symbolism in caring for mothers and infants in the place where Christ was born.
Of course, there were a large number of people from the Order of Malta in attendance, as well as members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
One of the main organizers, Ellen Shafer, is the wife of the Order of Malta’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Shafer.
We are so grateful to all those who came out to support this important work of the Church in the Holy Land.
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Tuesday, I went to our Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline to celebrate the Rite of Candidacy for two seminarians.
This year, because we are going to begin ordaining transitional deacons at the end of their third year of theology studies, we scheduled this special candidacy ceremony for two seminarians, Pablo Gómez and Wellington Oliveira, who will be ordained deacons.
Up until now, the practice in Boston (as we saw this week) has been to ordain the transitional deacons in January followed by their ordination to the priesthood in May. However, we have found that this doesn’t give them much time to function as deacons.
We feel that having a full year between their diaconal and priestly ordinations is going to allow the men to have more opportunities to preach, baptize, preside at funeral liturgies and, in general, “learn the ropes” in the parish, which will provide a better preparation for priesthood. So, with the support of the faculty of the seminaries and many of the dioceses that send men to Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, we have decided to make this change.
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Wednesday, in preparation for Catholic Schools Week, we recorded a television program with a number of different children from various schools throughout the archdiocese. It was done in sort of an interview format.
Afterwards I was interviewed by CatholicTV and Paula Ebben from WBZ TV, which I understand will air next week.
Until next week,