Hello and welcome,
I want to begin this week by noting that on Holy Thursday Tom Shields, a great friend to the archdiocese and a personal friend of mine, passed to eternal life, joining his beloved wife Mary. We look forward to celebrating his funeral Mass this Saturday in Weymouth.
We are very grateful for all that he meant to us and all the help that he provided, particularly for children in need of a good education.
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As I left off my post last week, we were about to begin the Easter Triduum and, of course, our celebration began with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.
Our celebration is always bilingual and many members of the Hispanic community joined us for it. On this day we commemorate Christ’s institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
We also perform the Washing of the Feet because, just as Christ washed the feet of his Disciples at the Last Supper, on Holy Thursday the celebrant washes the feet of some of the members of the congregation as symbol of service.
After the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is taken in procession to the repository in the chapel, where we have the vigil until midnight, which ends with the praying of compline.
Once again this year, we were joined by many college students, particularly from Boston University accompanied by their chaplain, Father Barnes. We were also very pleased to be joined by the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth.
It’s always very touching to see how the people come to make that vigil with us, to watch one hour with the Lord, as we relive that experience in Gethsemane after the Last Supper.
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On Good Friday there are two groups that make a Way of the Cross procession through Boston, and they conclude their procession at the Cathedral where I greet them and give them my blessing.
In the morning, we had the group of the Way of the Cross for Life.
And then later, I greeted the group from Communion and Liberation. At the end of that ceremony they presented me with a poster of Caravaggio’s “The Calling of Matthew,” with a quote from Pope Francis on it. This is, of course Pope Francis’s favorite picture and that is the feast day he chose from the Offices to take his motto.
Also during the day, at the Cathedral we have the living Stations of the Cross through the streets of the South End around the Cathedral. In some years, we’ve done it at night, but I think it makes a great impression in the neighborhood doing it in the middle of the day.
I’m always very impressed with the job they do with the costumes and the makeup. And at the end, they even reenact the crucifixion in the Cathedral.
Then, at 3:00, I celebrated the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion during which we venerate the cross.
Father Bryan Parrish gave a very beautiful reflection after the Passion was sung in a very moving way by three members of the choir.
We are very blessed to have a relic of the True Cross of Christ in our Cathedral, which we always use for the veneration.
We were very happy to be joined by over 60 members of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre who took part in the ceremony.
In the evening, we had the Liturgy of Good Friday in Spanish, at which I celebrated and preached.
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On Holy Saturday I went to visit the Memores Domini at their house in Cambridge. We are very blessed to have a group of consecrated laymen from the movement of Communion and Liberation in our archdiocese.
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Then, that night, we of course had the Easter Vigil, which always begins with the Blessing of the Fire. Normally, that takes place outside, but because it was so windy, this year we did it in the vestibule of the Cathedral. Father Jonathan Gaspar sang the Exulted and did just a beautiful job. We are very lucky to have him assist with that every year.
This is, once again, was a bilingual celebration and the Cathedral choir in the Spanish choir sang very beautifully for us.
One of the great highlights of Easter Vigil is the welcoming of the new members of our faith. This year there were 13 people received into the Church at the Cathedral.
We are very grateful to Sister Belinda, Sister Ruth, Father O’Leary and all those who prepared our catechumens and those being received into full communion. It is always a very happy event for us at the Cathedral.
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On Easter Sunday I celebrated an early Spanish Mass for CatholicTV and then, at 11:30, I had the Easter Morning Mass at the Cathedral.
Father O’Leary had had a children’s Mass earlier which was very well attended and at the 11:30 the Cathedral was completely full. We were very pleased with the wonderful attendance.
My two cousins Erin and Ellen Mader were in town visiting. So, they joined us at the Mass and spent some time with me afterwards.
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On Tuesday, at the Bethany Chapel here in the Pastoral Center I was very pleased to celebrate the rite of incardination for Father Garcia Brenneville at the noontime Mass.
Father Brenneville has come to us with the blessing of the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince to be a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, where he has worked for many years and where much of his family lives.
In fact, many members of his family were able to join us for the Mass, including his parents and brothers and sisters along with several priests and Bishops Kennedy and Dooher.
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That evening, was the Jesuit Gala at the Copley Marriott Hotel in Boston.
Father James Martin was the emcee of the night.
We also heard from the new provincial Father John Cecero. This is the first Gala they have held since the new USA Northeast Province was formed just a few months ago.
This year, they honored me with the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam award.
In my remarks, I thanked the people and said how blessed we are to have so many fine Jesuits working in the archdiocese — with about 300 Jesuits working in the archdiocese, it is a very significant presence.
I spoke about the Jesuits’ long tradition of service to our people and thanked the people for their support of their ministry. And, of course I mentioned how pleased we are to have a Jesuit pope!
It was a wonderful evening and I was so happy to be able to be a part of it.
Until next week,