From Cardinal Seán’s blog

This week we mark the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to Boston and the United States. The Holy Father’s visit to Boston was both inspiring and energizing for millions of Catholics here and across the country. His presence radiated brightly across the city and all of the archdiocese during what would be a rainy and windy day.

Pope John Paul II offered hope to the world. He guided our Church for more than two decades, touching the lives of millions of people, young and old, calling each of us to trust in the goodness of our Lord.

His presence and his imprint on our Church remain as strong today as it did throughout his entire pontificate. In his funeral homily for the late Holy Father, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who himself would be elected Pope just two short weeks later, said, “We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father’s house, that he sees us and blesses us.’’

Pope John Paul II continues to bless Boston and all of the Catholic Church just as he did 30 years ago on a windswept rainy occasion of his visit to the United States.

Conference on Priestly Celibacy

From Sept. 25 to 27, St. John’s Seminary hosted a Conference on Priestly Celibacy, entitled, “Chaste Celibacy and Continence of the Diocesan Priest.”

Over a year ago, I had a conversation with Cardinal Francis Stafford (who, at that time, was still heading the Apostolic Penitentiary) in which we both realized how important it is for us to present, particularly to our seminarians and priests, the very deep theological meaning of celibacy.

We were very lucky to be able to assemble an extraordinary group of speakers, including Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec, Cardinal Stafford, and Archbishop Allen Vigneron from Detroit, as well as Father Stefan Heid from Cologne, Germany.

Father Heid, like Father Christian Cochini, a French Jesuit, has written extensively on the apostolic origins of celibacy.

It’s a theme that interests me very much because people often have difficulty understanding clerical celibacy. You read in the popular media that it was invented in the Middle Ages to protect the real estate holdings and avoid nepotism and such things. But, the real meaning of celibacy, in faith, is the celibacy of Christ, which he invites the apostles to participate in. That was a tradition in the Church right from the first century.

Father Heid made a magnificent presentation. We were happy that the seminarians were able to participate in it so much.

We had two sessions at the seminary and one evening session at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton that was open to the priests in the archdiocese.

Most of those participating were seminary rectors from about 60 seminaries around the country. St. John’s will publish the talks.

It was certainly an extraordinary event and one that was very timely given the fact that the Holy Father announced the ‘‘Year for Priests’’ after we planned it. This was certainly a very important way to celebrate the ‘‘Year for Priests’’ by focusing on celibacy, which is an important charism for the Catholic priesthood.

On Sunday, I presided at the 150th Anniversary Mass for Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Marblehead. I celebrated Mass and afterward had a chance to greet some of the parishioners.