From Cardinal Seán's blog

Last Thursday evening, I attended a fundraising gala for the Paraclete Center held at Boston College High School. The center is an educational enrichment program that offers such things as homework assistance, tutoring, and enrichment classes to help Boston students in grades 4 through 8 achieve academic success.

There was a good turnout, which is an indication of the great support people have for the educational works that are being offered by the Paraclete Center.

During the evening, they honored Ambassador Ray Flynn and his wife Kathy with Paraclete's Founders Award.

Funeral Mass

Last Saturday morning, I celebrated the funeral Mass of Msgr. Roger Brady at Immaculate Conception in Everett, which is the parish where he was baptized and remained very close to throughout his life.

His sister Alice Mary, who is a Sister of St. Joseph, was with us, along with many other family members, friends, and loved ones.

Msgr. Brady had a very long ministry working as a chaplain to our veterans at VA hospitals. Father Aidan Walsh, who had worked with him for many years in that ministry and was a close friend of his, was the homilist.

Appeal Commitment Weekend

Over the weekend, I celebrated three Masses in different parishes of the archdiocese to mark Appeal Commitment Weekend.

The first was on Saturday at St. Mary's in Wrentham.

Then, on Sunday morning, I celebrated Mass at St. Agnes Parish in Arlington.

In the afternoon, I had a Mass at St. Angela's in Mattapan for the Haitian community.

In my homily at each parish, I reminded the people that, in the history of the Church, St. Paul was involved in taking up collections to help the Christians in the Holy Land. But it was also a way for him to help create bonds of unity among the different communities of the Church. Our Appeal, I told them, is much the same. In giving to the Appeal, we are supporting those who perform the works of mercy and evangelization for the Church, but also showing that we are not just Catholics in our own parish, that we are part of a larger family and have responsibility for one another.

Meeting with Pierre-Marie Dumont, Jesus Colina, and Tony Rode

On Tuesday, I met with Pierre-Marie Dumont, founder of Magnificat, who came accompanied by Jesus Colina and Tony Rode. I have known Pierre for many years, and he has a great love for the Church and has spearheaded many successful Catholic publishing initiatives.

They came to talk to me about their work and the success they are having with their Catholic information website, Aleteia. It was a nice visit, and I was impressed to hear of the great strides they are making in reaching Catholics online, particularly young people -- which is so important.

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday was, of course, Ash Wednesday, which is an important day for Catholics as we begin the baptismal retreat that is Lent.

At the cathedral, I celebrated Mass with the Spanish community, where there was a good turnout.

We are particularly gratified that the new Seaport Shrine attracted throngs of young people, who went there on Ash Wednesday to receive their ashes.

It is always amazing to see how many thousands of people come to church to receive the ashes. Of course, some of these people have little contact with the Church, so Ash Wednesday is a significant moment to minister to these people.

So, Lent is a wonderful opportunity for Catholics to reconnect with the community of faith and to deepen their baptismal commitments. It is also a time to perform the traditional works of penance, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, which can help us deepen our own personal conversion and rediscover God's presence in our lives.