From Cardinal Seán’s blog

On Sunday (Feb. 1), two of our priests celebrated the 50th anniversary of their ordination.

I spoke at the beginning of Father Larry Borges’ Mass at St. Albert the Great in Weymouth, and at the end of Msgr. Francis Strahan’s Mass at St. Bridget’s in Framingham.

Father Borges had been a good friend of mine since the early 70’s when we were both involved in Hispanic ministry and participated in various commissions together. We have always maintained contact, so he was one of the Boston priests involved in Hispanic ministry, along with Father Wendell Verrill, who I knew best.

I was very grateful for the wonderful job Father Borges did at St. Stephen’s in Framingham and for his generosity in becoming the pastor at St. Albert the Great, where there had been great tensions over the reconfiguration. I know his pastoral wisdom and unfailing kindness to all brought great healing to that community.

Now that he is retiring, he will continue his pastoral ministry as parochial vicar at St. Gregory’s in Dorchester. I am very grateful for his willingness to continue his ministry and grateful that God has blessed him with the good health to be able to continue serving God’s people in the way that he has.

I also had the opportunity to speak at Msgr. Strahan’s Mass at St. Bridget’s in Framingham and thank him in the name of the archdiocese.

He is a renaissance man who has so many different talents and such great energy.

At the Mass, he received three citations -- two from the state legislature and one from the town. I told them it is a good thing that he wasn’t running for office because he would certainly be elected!

At the end of his Mass, he gave a very moving talk about his ministry. He spoke about the influence his parents and his Catholic family had on his formation, his many years at the seminary, his involvement with music ministry and his tenure at St. Bridget’s, which has been so life-giving for him.

The response of his parishioners to him is so enthusiastic because he has done such an outstanding job at St. Bridget’s.

Bioethics conference

I spent much of the remainder of my week at a conference in Dallas organized by the National Catholic Bioethics Center and funded by the Knights of Columbus. Every two years, the center invites the bishops of Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America to attend various seminars and workshops. This year, there were about 150 bishops in total.

The workshop had as its topic “Christ or Caesar? When compliance violates conscience.” One of the great challenges that we face in the United States is the erosion of religious freedom. At a time when more and more forces are trying to force the Church to become involved in abortion, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, gay marriage, and other issues that infringe upon religious freedom in many different ways, I felt that it was a very timely topic and one that Catholics are going to have to struggle with in the future if we are to maintain our integrity as a religion and be able to practice our faith and have a voice in the public square.

Fire at Chicago cathedral

I was saddened by the news of a fire at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral. Like our own Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, it was built by Patrick Keeley.

We are glad that no one was injured but I am very saddened to see the damage to the historical cathedral and hope that they will be able to fully restore it.