From Cardinal Seán's blog

Like many of you, I spent Thanksgiving with my family. Thanksgiving is such a beautiful celebration because it brings families together and makes us more aware of our indebtedness to God's gracious and loving providence, and helps us to see that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from Him.

We had Mass at 3 o'clock in the afternoon at St. Richard's Church where my cousin, Rob O'Malley, serves as deacon and where many of my family are parishioners. We had about 60 people for the Mass and the dinner that was held at the house of my cousin, Kelly Mulligan.

Jack Shaughnessy funeral

I returned to Boston on Friday, to be able to celebrate funeral Mass for Jack Shaughnessy on Saturday morning at Saint Elizabeth's Church in Milton. There was a tremendous outpouring of respect and affection for Jack shown by the many bishops, priests, religious, friends and members of the community who attended the wake and the funeral. I had visited him in the hospital just a couple days before he died. I prayed with him and entrusted him to Our Lady.

Jack Shaughnessy was a man who lived his faith very profoundly and who was generous to all causes, particularly helping the poor and his Church. Jack's generosity to the Church, the Catholic community and many good causes that help people in need was extraordinary.

Spanish Mass and blessing

Sunday (12/1), I celebrated the Spanish Mass for the first Sunday of Advent at the Cathedral the Holy Cross. During the Mass, we celebrated the Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb for the new mothers. This is a beautiful rite that was issued by the bishops' conference in early 2012 and we celebrated it for the first time last year, also in Advent.

The Messiah at Symphony Hall

That afternoon, a group of us from the cathedral rectory attended the Handel and Haydn Society's performance of The Messiah at Symphony Hall. It was a beautiful way to mark the beginning of Advent.

I had not been to Symphony Hall in a couple of years, so it was wonderful to go back for such a beautiful celebration. I was very happy to see many priests, religious, deacons and lay leaders from the community there as well. The Society has performed the Messiah at Symphony Hall every year for over 150 years. In the program, they had pictures of some of the bulletins announcing the performance, the first one being from 1817.

Meetings in Rome

That night, I departed to Rome for my meetings with the Holy Father and the group of cardinals advising him, of which I am a part. Immediately after I arrived, I was invited to attend a concert by Andrea Bocelli at the Vatican organized to benefit the Rome children's hospital, Bambino Gesu. I was also pleased to have a chance to visit with our seminarians studying in Rome and Monsignor Connie McRae.

Then, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we had our meetings. We celebrated Mass with the Holy Father each morning, followed by morning and afternoon meetings of the council. Of course, I cannot speak of the content of our meetings. However, yesterday we did announce the Holy Father's acceptance of our recommendation to establish a commission for child protection. I was part of a press conference with Father Federico Lombardi, where I announced the formation of the commission and described generally what we hope it will accomplish.