Father Antonio Medeiros, the rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, presents Cardinal O'Malley with a statue of St. Francis. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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I want to begin this week by joining the rest of the community in mourning the loss of the 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing attack at Kabul's airport last week and, in a special way, Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario of Lawrence.
She is remembered by those who knew her as someone who was kind, loving, generous, and someone always willing to give of herself. Indeed, as a high schooler, she volunteered at our Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence, where she helped provide food to those in need. Of course, that same spirit of selflessness manifested itself in her willingness to serve our country and, sadly, to make the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.
Johanny and her fallen comrades will remain in our prayers, as will their families. We pray for peace in Afghanistan and throughout the world. We ask God to bless our military everywhere to keep them safe.
On Saturday, I attended a Memorial Mass for Sal DiDomenico, who ran his flower shop in East Cambridge, Flowers by Sal, for more than 50 years and was a pillar of his parish at St. Francis. Sal died on the eve of St. Joseph's Day last year but, because of the pandemic, the family decided to wait until this year to celebrate this Memorial Mass.
He was always generous in bringing flowers for the cathedral (along with some delicious Italian pastries) and was a wonderful family man. So, I was happy to be invited to celebrate the Memorial Mass, where we were joined by his wife, Marie, and his children.
There was also a group of priests who were very close to Sal and his family as well as members of the Shalom Community, which is based in St. Francis Parish.
It was a beautiful celebration. They actually brought a group of musicians who have been very popular in Boston over the years, called The Platters. They learned all of the liturgical music, which they executed beautifully, including some Italian hymns.
Sal was a true leader in the Italian-American community. He was an officer in the Dante Alighieri Society, as well as several other organizations.
He was also very involved in religious and cultural causes, including serving as president of the Sts. Cosmas and Damien Society, which hosts one of the largest Italian festivals in the area. The devotion has its roots in Gaeta, Italy, and that society dates back to 1926. Very much like the St. Lucy Society I mentioned last week, the longevity of the Sts. Cosmas and Damien Society is just another example of how these manifestations of popular religiosity really do have the power to draw people into the community of faith and keep them associated with the Church. The Sts. Cosmas and Damien Society was certainly something that was very near and dear to Sal's heart.
Masses of the Holy Spirit
This is the time of year when we celebrate the Masses of the Holy Spirit to begin the academic year in our seminaries. After not being able to hold them last year, it was good to be able to observe this tradition with the three seminaries once again.
The first of the celebrations was on Sunday when I went to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline.
I was happy to meet a number of the new seminarians who have arrived to begin their studies.
After the Eucharist, they presented me with a statue of St. Francis.
Then, on Tuesday, we celebrated the Mass at St. John's Seminary.
At St. John's, we were joined by a number of priests and associates of the seminary for the Mass. Among them was a group of young Carmelite friars who will be studying at St. John's.
It was certainly a joyful celebration.
Then, on Thursday, I celebrated the Mass at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston.