From Cardinal Seán's blog

Last Thursday evening, I attended the Diamonds of Dorchester Gala to benefit the St. Mary's Center for Women and Children.

This year, instead of honoring an individual, they honored all those who have been served by the Center. This was a wonderful idea because it gave them an opportunity to showcase the transformational services they provide for mothers and children, helping them turn their lives around.

Of course, with us for the evening was Director Alexis Steel, and several of the former directors, as well.

Our emcee was Paula Eben of WBZ. She told us that she was one of 11 children and that, when she was growing up, her parents would take in young women who were experiencing a crisis pregnancy.

She was very glowing in her remarks about her parents, and it sounds like she came from just a wonderful Catholic family. So, it was very nice to hear the witness of her life, as well.

It was a very successful evening and we are all very proud of what the Church is doing for these mothers and children by providing housing, education, and opportunities for job training.

School anniversary Mass

Friday, I went to Ursuline Academy in Dedham for a Mass to mark the school's 75th anniversary. The Mass was on the feast of St. Ursula and the 11,000 virgins. As I told them at the Mass, when Columbus arrived in the Virgin Islands, he named them for St. Ursula and the virgins.

It was wonderful to meet several of the young women.

The school is still sponsored by the Ursuline Sisters and they do a wonderful job maintaining the spirit and ideals of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Ursulines. As I told the young women, my mother studied at Ursuline College, and I also knew Sister Dorothy Kazel, an Ursuline Sister from Cleveland who was one of the churchwomen murdered in El Salvador.

It was a wonderful occasion and I was very happy to be a part of their anniversary celebration.

Parish anniversary Mass

On Saturday afternoon, I went to Quincy for a Mass to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Church of St. Ann, which is a worship site of Divine Mercy Parish.

It was a very joyful celebration. We were, of course, joined by the pastor, Father Louis Palmieri, as well as several former priests from the parish, including Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland, Maine, who returned for the celebration.

During the Mass, I blessed their beautiful new pulpit.

Trip to Spain

On Sunday evening, I departed for Spain for a conference I was giving at the Pontifical University of Salamanca.

My flight landed in Madrid. So, on the day I arrived, I had a chance to spend some time in the city. We visited the largest park in the city, El Retiro, which has an artificial pond where people can rent a rowboat.

We also passed by Plaza de Cibeles. So I took a picture of the fountain, which depicts the Roman goddess Cybele, the goddess symbol of earth, agriculture, and fertility.

And we had a chance to see the very historic Church of San Gines. Playwright Lope de Vega was married there, poet Francisco de Quevedo was baptized there, and composer Tomas Luis de Victoria is buried there.

I was also very happy to visit with two young women whom I baptized many years ago as part of my Portuguese ministry in Washington, DC. They now live in Madrid, and it was nice to be able to see them again.

From there, I went to Salamanca to give the three-day conference, entitled "Prayer in a world that suffers."