From Cardinal Seán's blog

On Christmas Eve morning, I was pleased to join Angela Menino and many other members of the Menino family for their annual holiday distribution at Catholic Charities' Teen Center at St. Peter's in the Bowdoin Geneva section of Dorchester. The Teen Center does tremendous work in that neighborhood, particularly with the Cape Verdean community.

Before the pandemic, they would traditionally arrange for a very large number of toys and bicycles to be distributed to the families. However, given the realities of the pandemic and the economic crisis many are facing, it was decided that they would distribute food baskets to local families.

I was joined by the local pastor, Father John Currie; Catholic Charities President and CEO, Kevin MacKenzie; Catholic Charities COO, Kelley Tuthill; the director of Catholic Charities of Boston, Beth Chambers; and a number of our Cape Verdean Capuchins. Mayor Michelle Wu stopped by to greet the people, as well.

Pine Street Inn

Following that visit, I went to Pine Street Inn to greet the residents there. We assembled outside, and the residents came to receive gifts of scarves, gloves, and other warm clothing.

The shelters, of course, are very challenged because they depend so greatly on volunteers at this time of year. But because of the pandemic, those volunteers, who are often older, are unable to come.

This event always attracts many members of the media, and it is an opportunity for us to remind people of the great challenge of homelessness in our country. Currently, in the U.S., there are over half a million people who are homeless. All of us must try to look for ways to address this challenge right here in our own community, where so many people are suffering because of the shortage of housing, drug addiction, and mental illness.

Midnight Mass

That night, I celebrated the midnight Mass at the cathedral. I was very gratified that, despite all the challenges of the pandemic, so many people came out to celebrate Christmas with us. The cathedral was filled for the vigil Masses as well as the Masses on Christmas Day.

Of course, the music program was spectacular. I think the recent article by Thomas Farragher in the Boston Globe helped a lot of people to realize what a beautiful program we have for Christmas, and some came for the first time, having read about it in the newspaper.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning, we had the televised Mass from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Once again, Richard Clark and the Cathedral choir did a tremendous job with the music program.

I also celebrated the 11 a.m. Christmas Day Mass with my friend, Father Simeon Gallagher, who was visiting.

That evening, we went to the Capuchin Friary in Jamaica Plain for Christmas dinner. Brother Jim and the friars prepared a wonderful meal for us.

While we were there, they showed Father Simeon the van the friars use in their ministry to the homeless.