From Cardinal Seán’s blog

(On Nov. 20) I met with the Joint International Methodist-Catholic Dialogue Commission which had been meeting for several days at the Connors Family Retreat Center in Dover. They came for a courtesy visit and to share with me the progress that they had made.

The commission is the official international Methodist-Catholic dialogue that was established by the Vatican to have theological conversations with the Methodists. It is headed by an Australian Catholic bishop.

We had a very interesting meeting. They pointed out that, while there is great awareness of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue and the Anglican-Catholic dialogue, people are largely unaware that this dialogue has been going on for many years.

I was familiar with the Methodist-Catholic dialogue because my friend, Cardinal Peter Turkson, was a part of this dialogue years ago.

Visiting St. Cecilia’s

On Sunday morning, I went to St. Cecilia Parish in Ashland to celebrate the parish’s 125th anniversary with the community there. It was the feast of Christ the King and the feast of St. Cecilia.

I complimented them on their choir. The children led a “Pie Jesu” and other very difficult pieces. They did them to perfection. It was very moving. I told them St. Cecilia would have been proud. They have a magnificent adult and children’s choir.

It’s a wonderful active parish. Father Paul Cornell has done a fine job there.

At the offertory, they brought up different symbols of the faith life of that community for 125 years.

The former pastor, Father Mulligan, was there. He received a great standing ovation. He was very encouraged by that.

The people are very warm and enthusiastic. It was a lovely celebration.

Visiting with an old friend

Following the Mass, I came back to Boston to meet with Bishop Nicanor Pena, the bishop of Higuey, in the Dominican Republic.

He is an old friend of mine who was in Boston visiting people in the Dominican community here.

The Dominican national shrine, Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia, is in his diocese.

The shrine is a very modern structure. There was some sort of competition to build it. I think it was a French architect whose plan was chosen. I love the image of Our Lady of la Altagracia. It’s a very “Christmassy” image because St. Joseph is with the Holy Family.

I told the bishop that once, when I was bishop in the West Indies, I was decorated by the president of Santo Domingo. They put a helicopter at our disposal to take me to the shrine. Cardinal Baum was with me as well as Father Lorenzo Albacete. We got there without problem but on our way home, Father Lorenzo ? who in a former incarnation had his doctorate in aerospace science ? pointed out to the pilot that we were running out of fuel. Of course, we had to make an emergency landing and we set down in a field.

The campesinos were so nice to us. They brought us coffee and things like that. So, I complimented the bishop on the hospitality of his people!

I very much enjoyed sharing my adventures with Bishop Nicanor and recounting them to him. I’ve tried to stay off of helicopters ever since then.