From Cardinal Seán's blog

A week ago, as we were vesting for Pope Benedict's funeral Mass, I greeted Cardinal George Pell, a longtime colleague on the Council of Cardinals. Cardinal Pell, who died in Rome on Jan. 12 at the age of 81, was a formidable man, physically, intellectually and in the multiple roles he fulfilled as a priest, bishop, and cardinal in Australia and the Roman Curia.

Appointed by John Paul II, he served as archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, Australia's two largest cities. Early in his papacy, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Pell as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, commissioning him to address serious and complex problems left unattended in the Church's financial structures. The Holy Father also appointed Cardinal Pell to the C-9, the circle of advisors created by the pope to assist him in the governance of the universal Church.

When the cardinal was accused in Australia of sexually abusing minors, I was deeply saddened but then relieved when his conviction was overturned by Australia's highest court. During his 404 days in solitary confinement, he maintained a quiet dignity.

A major characteristic of Pope Francis's papacy has been the effort to listen to all voices in the Church. Cardinal Pell was a man of strong convictions, stated often in private and in public. Pope Francis was clearly aware of the cardinal's positions. Those convictions inspired many and disappointed many. He was a polarizing figure to some, but he will be sorely missed by his numerous friends in the English-speaking world.

George Pell deeply loved the Church, and he served the Church vigorously in every assignment he was given.

May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace.

St. Leonard Parish

Sunday, the feast of the Epiphany, I went to St. Leonard's Parish in the North End for a Mass to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the parish and the installation of their pastor, Father Michael Della Penna.

There was a huge standing-room-only crowd, which included the mayor, other civic leaders, and Father Francis, the vice provincial of the Franciscans.

In my homily, I spoke about the history of the parish and about the faith of the Italian immigrants who built that community 150 years ago, always with the Franciscans of the Province of Immaculate Conception who ministered so generously and faithfully to the community.

Interview with Terry Beatley

Monday, I recorded a video interview at the cathedral with Terry Beatley, the president of the Hosea Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the legacy of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who, as many of you know, was a leading abortion advocate who later became strongly pro-life.

I look forward to sharing the video with you when it is released.

Board meeting

Also on Monday, we had our annual board meeting of our Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline.

While I was there, I was very pleased to greet the seminarians. Normally, several of them are in different places on itinerancy, but they were all back on this occasion.