From Cardinal Seán's blog

I want to begin by offering our prayers for all those affected by this week's violence in Mattapan.

We are very distressed by the violence in the city. I know the priests in the neighborhood are working with Mayor Menino and the other clergy to try to bring some measure of healing to the people who have suffered so much from these senseless killings. It just demonstrates the evil that can come from the proliferation of illegal drugs and guns in our communities.

Life is precious and we must never stop proclaiming that message, particularly to our young people.

Please pray for all those affected by this tragedy, and that our community and religious leaders will be guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit as they work for peace.

Meeting on Haiti

Late last week, I took part in a special meeting with bishops from around the world to discuss the status of relief efforts in Haiti.

The meeting was organized by the USCCB and the Haitian bishops' conference. Representatives from various Catholic agencies and the bishops' conferences of Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and Italy participated. Archbishop Tom Wenski of Miami, Bishop Guy Sansaricq of Brooklyn and I, are on the USCCB special committee for Haiti and Archbishop Broglio represented the bishops from CRS.

The meetings were geared particularly toward planning the rebuilding of the Church in Haiti and the Catholic institutions at the service of the Haitian people.

A number of important ideas were broached, including a plan to guarantee that all projects that are funded by the bishops will be constructed according to architectural and engineering standards that will allow them to endure future natural disasters.

(...) The people of Boston have been exceptionally generous in their support of the Haitian relief efforts. Over $3 million was raised and many of our parishes and organizations are supporting relief efforts in Haiti. More than 70 doctors and nurses from our Catholic hospital system, Caritas Christi, have volunteered to help treat earthquake victims.

Another organization, The St. Boniface Haiti Foundation, is supporting hospitals and other social services in Haiti. They recently held their fundraiser at the Boston Garden.

Visit to Our Lady of Grace Parish

On Saturday afternoon, I visited Our Lady of Grace Parish in Pepperell to mark their one-year anniversary. Our Lady of Grace was formed in 2009 from the merger of St. Joseph Parish in Pepperell and St. James-Sacred Heart Parish in Groton. A few years ago (I am not sure exactly when this occurred) St. James merged with Sacred Heart in Dunstable to form one parish. The parish has two worship sites -- St. Joseph's in Pepperell and St. James in Groton.

I celebrated a Mass at St. Joseph's Church there and afterwards addressed parishioners at a meeting where they gathered to discuss the future of the parish.

Father Paul Ring is the pastor there and he has done a wonderful job spearheading a vision for the parish.

After the Mass there was a town meeting of the parish, so I addressed them with some words of encouragement and thanks for the leadership of Father Ring and the people of the parish to form this new community and encourage them in their plans for the future.

Franciscan Hospital Award Dinner

Tuesday night I went to the Franciscan Hospital for Children's Community Leadership Award Dinner.

During the evening they honored three individuals: Julie Khan of Entercom New England, Bob Wilson of Cambridge Savings bank and a young girl who has received care at the hospital, Kiki Nelson.

It is a wonderful children's rehabilitation hospital started by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Boston, and serves children with various health problems with such love and care.

I was happy to be a part of their annual fundraiser.

Their provincial was there with a number of the other sisters, as well as the CEO, Paul DellaRocco.

They are doing a wonderful job and we were happy to lend our support with their fundraising efforts.