From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week, we had our plenary meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

The Spanish magazine Vida Nueva did a wonderful write-up of the commission and our plenary session.

They reprinted the text of my opening address for the session in Spanish, but I'd like to share that on my blog ( with you in English, as well.

Mass at St. Peter Tomb

Friday morning, I gathered with the members of the commission for a Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter, and later that day, we had a private audience with the Holy Father. Half of the commission's members were recently appointed, so it was their first meeting with the Holy Father.

Also with us were a number of our new staff members that we were able to bring on because of help from the GHR Foundation. These are young, well-credentialed professionals in the field of safeguarding. Previously, we only had four full-time staff members. Now, we have staff actually working in the regions, and we have set up regional groups to help bishops' conferences, particularly those in the Southern Hemisphere that are just beginning to grapple with the issue of safeguarding.

So, with the presence of the new commission members and staff, there was a great sense of energy and enthusiasm in our plenary session.

Encounter with Bishop Lippert

Every five years, each bishops' conference is expected to make a report on the activities of their diocese and meet with offices in the Curia, including our commission.

The bishops of Papua New Guinea are currently making their ad limina visit, and I was very happy to see my good friend Bishop Donald Lippert who was among them.

Dicastery for the Evangelization

That day, we also met with the Dicastery for the Evangelization. This dicastery oversees the mission dioceses that make up about half the dioceses of the world.

Those dioceses are in parts of the world where the Church is under-resourced and where the issue of child protection is just beginning to be dealt with. So, we have a special interest in them, and the Holy Father wants to support them. As part of that, we have established a fund to award grants to dioceses that need help to initiate programs of education on safeguarding.

Return to Boston

I returned from Rome early in the week, and on Wednesday, I was very happy to visit St. Elizabeth's Hospital as they marked National Hospital and Nurses Week. They held a breakfast for the staff, and I gave them a short talk and a blessing.

Afterward, I went over to visit with the staff at SECAP (St. Elizabeth's Comprehensive Addiction Program). They couldn't leave their facility to join the breakfast, so I wanted to take the opportunity to greet them and thank them for their important work.

St. Elizabeth's Medical Center is a place where nurses, doctors, and all healthcare workers are committed to collaboration and cooperation on behalf of the people they serve. We are grateful for the leadership of President Paul Smith and his senior leadership team of Dr. Richard Freeman, Kim Basset, and Michelle Kap, and also to Director of Spiritual Care Ellie Goeke.