From Cardinal Seán's blog

Last Sunday, I went to St. Mary's in Plymouth for a Mass and procession that was part of the parish's Holy Ghost Feast.

This is a tradition that comes from the Azores and, particularly, from the island of San Miguel. (So much so that when they got their autonomy from Portugal, the people wanted to make the Holy Ghost Hymn their national anthem!) They have a Holy Ghost Society at St. Mary's, and the community has preserved this tradition for many decades.

As I told the people, when I was in the sacristy before the Mass, someone asked me, "Cardinal, have you ever been at one of these Holy Ghost celebrations before?" I replied, "Let me remind you, I was Bishop of Fall River for 10 years. I've lost count!"

The feast has its origins with St. Elizabeth of Portugal, a queen who was very devoted to the Holy Spirit and service to the poor, and she is remembered for helping the people of the Azores after a famine struck the islands.

So, at the Mass, they have a crowning of girls as "queens," followed by a procession with bands and a woman dressed as St. Elizabeth carrying a crown. There are also people giving out bread, symbolizing the way the queen distributed bread to the poor.

It is always a joyful occasion, and we are so grateful to Father Jack Graham and Father John Culloty for doing such a great job preparing the festival.

Parish festival

Then, in the afternoon, I visited the parish festival at St. Benedict's in Somerville. They had an excellent turnout of hundreds of people there.

The pastor, Father Alejandro Lopez-Cardinale showed me around and introduced me to the people. They were having a wonderful time and enjoying all kinds of Hispanic food, especially Salvadoran food, like pupusas!

Sister Marie Puleo

Tuesday, I was visited at the cathedral by Sister Marie Puleo, a local sister who is part of the leadership team of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, the order that sponsors Mt. Alvernia High School in Newton. For her part, Sister Marie has been very involved with Catholic health care, including serving as vice president for Mission of Steward Health Care and serving as interim president at Carney Hospital.

She had just returned from Papua New Guinea, where their sisters work with the Capuchin friars. She joined me for dinner, and I got to hear about her experiences there.

Dr. Peter Kilpatrick

Wednesday, I was visited at the cathedral by Dr. Peter Kilpatrick, the new president of the Catholic University of America. Dr. Kilpatrick taught for many years at North Carolina State and then went on to serve as dean of the engineering school at Notre Dame for 10 years. Most recently, he was provost and vice president for academic affairs at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

He has just begun his tenure as president of CUA after the retirement of John Garvey, and we are very happy to have him with us. Since I am a board member, he wanted to come and have a conversation about plans for the university and some of my hopes going forward.