Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

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Celebrating the New Year

Hello and welcome!

I began my New Year’s Eve with a lovely dinner at the home of Antonio and Reyes Enrique. The meal featured a beautiful paella prepared by Reyes, which we enjoyed with some of our friars and the Enrique family.IMG_5422File Jan 08, 5 45 51 PM

From there, we went to St. Clement’s Shrine in the Back Bay for a Holy Hour where Father Eric led the Holy Hour and Father Peter Grover preached on the different mysteries of the rosary.New Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeNew Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark Labbe

As part of the Holy Hour, we prayed the very beautiful pro-life prayer of Pope John Paul II taken from his encyclical Evangelium Vitae.New Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeNew Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeNew Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeNew Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark Labbe

After the Holy Hour I celebrated the Mass, which began around 11:30 so that we would end the old year and begin the New Year in the Eucharist.New Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeThere was a very large group of people, mostly young adults, who were gathered for the Mass. It was standing-room only.New Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeNew Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeNew Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark LabbeNew Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark Labbe

Afterwards there was a reception downstairs in the parish hall.New Year's Eve Holy Hour and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston Dec. 31, 2015. Pilot photo/ Mark Labbe

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The following day, we had the celebration of the Mass for the Haitian community at the Cathedral, which we hold each year. January 1, besides being New Year’s Day, the Feast of Mary, Mother of God and the Day of Prayer for World Peace, is also Haitian Independence Day. After the United States, it’s the oldest republic in the hemisphere.

There was a very good turnout for the Mass. We were joined by almost 2,000 people, and among them were almost 20 Haitian priests and the Haitian consul in Boston, Farah Chatelier.IMG_5424IMG_5434

With Consul Chatelier

At the very beginning of Mass, I led a procession with the priests and the choir, and all the people followed behind us. 1

We went out the main door of the Cathedral, walked around the Cathedral, and entered through the Holy Door of Mercy, so that each person would have an opportunity to enter through the holy door. Then, we incensed the crèche before the liturgy.image045image002image049

There was a beautiful choir made up of members of different parishes who sang for us.image027

At the end of the liturgy, according to custom, everyone sang the Te Deum in Latin, which is a prayer of Thanksgiving that in Europe and South America is often prayed on New Year’s and on their Independence Day. After that, the national anthem of Haiti was sung.

Following the Mass, there was a reception in the lower church with the Soup Joumou, which is a pumpkin soup that the Haitians traditionally serve on New Year’s Day.

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On Saturday, I joined St. Theresa’s Parish in Billerica for their celebration of the Epiphany. DSC01164IMG_2798IMG_1487

It was a wonderful celebration and I was very struck by the star they have hanging in the church.

 Star

As I told the people, if the Magi had had that star, they never would have had to consult with Herod!

Afterward, there was a reception in the church hall. There I met this couple, the Diazs from Mayagüez, who were celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary and they asked me for a blessing.IMG_5451

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Then, on Sunday, I celebrated the Spanish Mass at the Cathedral, celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings. I always like to celebrate Mass with the Spanish community on that day because in many Spanish communities, the Epiphany is even more important than Christmas itself.

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That night we went to St. Mary’s of the Assumption in Danvers for dinner with a group of priests.

It was also a chance for us to view the newly renovated church, which came out just beautifully.IMG_5435IMG_5436IMG_5437IMG_5439IMG_5442

The pastor there is Michael Doyle and he has done just a spectacular job with the renovations. They have a new crucifix, baptismal font, altar, and he dedicated the new meeting room to Father Dorgan. IMG_5440

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Then, last night, I went to St. Bridget’s Parish in South Boston for another gathering of priests hosted by the pastor, Father Casey. We were very pleased to be joined by Abbot Mark from St. Anselm’s who was with us. IMG_5454

I always enjoy these opportunities to be together with priests during the Christmas season.

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Also last night, the Ge’ez Rite Ethiopian and Eritrean community of the Cathedral was holding their celebration of Christmas. The Ge’ez community celebrates Christmas on January 7, because they follow the Julian calendar, as do many of the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches.

After the Mass, they sing Ethiopian Christmas carols accompanied by very enthusiastic drumming! Then, around midnight, they have a very big meal. It is always quite an event!

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Finally, I want to remind everyone that tomorrow I will be ordaining seven men to the transitional diaconate at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross: Christopher Bae, Matthew Conley, Patrick Fiorillo, Thomas Gignac, Stephen LeBlanc, Huan Ngo, Thomas Sullivan.

I invite everyone to join us at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and, of course, those who cannot be present can still share in this important moment for the archdiocese by watching the Mass on CatholicTV.

Please pray for these men on this special day and as they continue their journey toward the priesthood later this year!

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán