Hello and welcome,
Each year around the Feast of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests, we hold a lecture, Vespers service and cookout for our priests at St. John’s Seminary.
This year, Father John Sassani gave the lecture on prayer. It was a very helpful and practical conference that was much appreciated by the priests.
After the Vespers service in the Chapel at St. John’s, we had a lovely cookout outside on the lawn. It was very well attended. I think we had about 100 men with us.
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Tuesday, I had the joy of attending the installation of the new Bishop of Springfield, Bishop Mitchell Rozanski. The nuncio was in attendance as well as a number of bishops, particularly from the Northeast.
Bishop Rozanski was formerly the auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore so also in attendance was Archbishop Lori and the former archbishop, Cardinal O’Brien.
His parents and family were also in attendance.
The people were very pleased to welcome their new Bishop. He gave a lovely homily and he spoke a bit in Spanish and also in Polish, which was well received because they have a significant Polish community in the Springfield Diocese.
The occasion was also an opportunity for us to express our thanks to Bishop Timothy McDonald, who has served as Bishop of Springfield for 10 years.
During my time in Springfield I also had a chance to visit with Bishop Joe Maguire, who lives very near the Cathedral. He is originally from Brighton, was ordained for Boston and was a Boston auxiliary before being named coadjutor bishop in Springfield in 1976.
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Among the vocations in the Church, particularly one that was restored after the Vatican Council II, is the vocation of the consecrated virgin.
We were very happy to have the consecrated virgins from the archdiocese join me at the noon Mass here at the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center, and afterwards for lunch.
We were joined by Sister Marian Batho, who is our Delegate for Religious and Consecrated Life and is the one who coordinates their activities here in the archdiocese. During lunch, they had a chance to update me on their latest activities.
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We are very pleased that Pilot reporter Christopher Pineo has received the Archbishop O’Meara Award from the Pontifical Mission Societies. The Pontifical Mission Societies (the most well-known of which is the Society for the Propagation of the Faith) gives the award each year to recognize excellent coverage related to the missions in the Catholic press. Chris won the award for his story about youngsters from Plymouth running a lemonade stand to raise money for the Missionary Childhood Association.
Father Rodney Copp and Maureen Heil of our local Pontifical Mission Societies office were present for the official presentation of the award in my office Wednesday afternoon.
The Pilot has always been a very important instrument for raising mission awareness so, it seemed very fitting that there should be a recognition of the good work that is being done there to help people grow in their knowledge and commitment to the Church’s mission “ad gentes,” to the peoples.
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In the afternoon, we met with the auditors who come each year to the archdiocese to examine how well we are in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
This is a very important service of the local church to help us make sure that we are fulfilling all our commitments to screening, education and the other requirements that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has implemented to guarantee best practices in the area of child protection.
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That evening, I went to Dedham to join the Society of African Missions house in Dedham for their annual Mass and social. The provincial was the celebrant, but I addressed them at the end of the Mass.
The SMA fathers have been in the diocese for about 50 years. Previously they had a seminary here but now they have a mission house. They always send a group of about a dozen priests for the summer who help out at different parishes. It is a wonderful assistance for the archdiocese because very often our own priests are looking for a replacement so they can take a little time off during the summer.
The SMA Fathers were there, as well as a number of pastors and some of the parishioners of the parishes where they have been helping out during the summer.
At the Mass they sang in French and English and some members of our local African communities sang in some of their native languages. The meal following the Mass featured a number of different African foods.
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Thursday, Congressman Stephen Lynch came to see me. He recently made a visit to the Texas-Mexico border as well as to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
He was there on a fact-finding mission for the Congress regarding the situation of the unaccompanied minors who are attempting to come to the United States. He has also been on several missions to Afghanistan and Iraq and wanted to discuss some of these issues with me.
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We have many priests visiting Boston from different parts the world during the summertime. So, this week we were happy to welcome a professor and the spiritual director of the seminary in Turin, Italy to the Cathedral for a couple of days. They stayed at St. James Church but we invited them to eat with us at the Cathedral.
I told them that we had Capuchins from Torino province working for many years in the archdiocese, at St. Patrick’s in Roxbury.
It was very interesting because one of the priests from their diocese was the rector of the seminary in Verapaz, Guatemala when I made my visitation there. It was a seminary for indigenous peoples and he was an Italian Fidei Donum priest working there. I could not recall his name but I remembered him very well. So, it was surprising for me when these priests said he wanted to be remembered to me. It just goes to show, it really is a small world.
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Thursday afternoon, I was visited by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the newly named Chief of the American Interests Section, which is what we call our quasi-embassy in Cuba since we do not have formal diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. They have their representatives in Washington and we have ours in Havana, but they are not a full Embassy though Ambassador DeLaurentis has full ambassadorial rank.
He has had a very interesting diplomatic career. He has been most recently involved in the United Nations, but in the past he has worked in the mission in Cuba. So, he is returning to a country where he spent time before.
This is a very important moment in American diplomacy, particularly around the issue of Alan Gross’s captivity and the desire to normalize the relationship between our countries and bring an end to the embargo.
It was an interesting opportunity to hear some of the ambassador’s ideas and share some of my own recent experiences in Cuba. He also told me he is very aware of the important work that is being done here in Boston to support Caritas Cubana, particularly through the efforts of Consuelo Isaacson and Micho Spring. Their work with Friends of Caritas Cubana is vital in supporting the Church’s programs helping the elderly and children and through food and medical aid programs.
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Finally, in light of the terrible recent events in Iraq, the Church throughout the world and locally have asked Catholics to offer their prayers.
Tonight, I will be celebrating a Mass with young adults at St. Leonard’s in the North End on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and I will be offering the Mass for the people of Iraq. After the Mass, Mother Olga, who is from Iraq, will address the young adults. Tomorrow, there will also be a special Mass at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton at 5:30pm, at which we will join the Iraqi Community of Boston in praying for peace and an end to the persecution of Christians.
We have also asked all our parishes this weekend to remember the people of Iraq in their prayers of the faithful. It is important that we pray for them during this time when so much of the Christian population has been completely displaced and so many people have lost their homes, their families, and even their lives.
Until next week,