From Cardinal Seán's blog
While I was in New York last week, I attended an event at the Union League Club with Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Octavio Cisneros to promote the canonization of Servant of God Felix Varela.
Father Felix Varela is a very interesting personage. Born in 1788 in what was then New Spain, he was an incredible scholar and intellectual who was one of the founding fathers of the democracy in Cuba. He was ordained to the priesthood at 23 and immediately joined the seminary faculty, where he went on to be a professor in philosophy, physics, and chemistry. Through his teaching, he influenced a whole generation of young Cuban intellectuals and has even been described as the "Benjamin Franklin of Cuba."
He was eventually elected to the Spanish Cortes (their parliament) and, there, advocated for the independence of Cuba and the abolition of slavery. The king of Spain did not take very kindly to those ideas, and Father Varela was sentenced to death. But he managed to flee and ended up in New York. In New York, his intellect and talents were readily recognized, and he became the vicar general for 25 years. But he also served as a parish priest and ministered to the immigrant populations, particularly the Irish.
His is a very interesting life, which brings together so many different facets of Cuba -- the communist government honors him as one of the founders of the Cuban state, and the Catholics see him as a saint. However, he is not well known beyond the Cuban community, and so this event was an effort to get more people involved in working for his cause of canonization.
Mass at the cathedral
Last Saturday, many local members of the Communion and Liberation movement joined us for the 4:30 Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, which was offered in memory of Father Luigi Giussani. We are blessed to have many different CL groups in the archdiocese, including the Memores Domini and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo.
Of course, they are musically inclined. So, they sang at the Mass and at the dinner we had together at Cathedral High afterward.
It was wonderful to see so many families present for the Mass and dinner.
Dinner with seminarians
Monday, I had another of my dinners with a class of our seminarians. This time, I met with the men in their first year of theological studies. Of course, they all filled me in on the basketball tournament and other things that are going on in the seminary.
It's always good to be able to spend some time with the seminarians, answer their questions, and get to know them better.
Visit at the cathedral
Tuesday, I was visited by the Capuchin Father General Roberto Genuin. He was visiting with the friars of the New York province and came to Boston to meet with the friars in Jamaica Plain and the Cape Verdean Capuchins who are here. So, he stopped by to see me, and we gave him a tour of the cathedral.